You’ve just arrive in your hotel after that 10 hour flight to get to your vacation destination. Now you’re waiting patiently at the check-in line at your hotel and you’ve got one thing on your mind is to get a room upgrade. We’ve all heard the stories of someone slipping the front desk agent at $10, $20 or $50 and then magically get upgraded to a beautiful view of the ocean, park, mountain, street or if you’re in Las Vegas the all important Strip. As much as I’ve travelled and as many hotels I’ve check-into, I’ve yet to score that room upgrade – sometimes my chain loyalty program works out in my favour and sometimes you happen to smile at the right person and bat those eyelashes of yours in the right direction. While complimentary move to a better room accommodation isn’t guaranteed, you can always improve your odds of receiving an upgrade.
1. Timing, Timing, Timing
There are circumstances in which you are more likely to receive a room upgrade: during a slow season, on a weekend at a hotel frequented by business travelers and for a short-term stay. During off-peak times, here in Toronto (January to March usually when there aren’t many events in the city) many hotel rooms are empty, so they have more rooms available for upgrades be it that corner suites or ocean view . Similarly, if you’re planning only a short stay, room turnover is less problematic. If you arrive late and leave early, for instance, because of an unexpected change in travel plans, a room upgrade is a distinct possibility. This is because it is easier to make alterations for someone who is planning a short stay.
2. It’s all about the look
While it’s not necessary to arrive dripping in jewels and covered with designer labels, an upscale appearance can be a deciding factor in whether you get an upgrade. If you look like a backpacker, it is unlikely you will be upgraded. On the other hand, front desk staff are often sympathetic when you arrive looking exhausted. Especially if you have a pleasant demeanor, you may receive an upgrade at least to a higher-quality bed. Overall, be nice and polite!
3. The Right Conduct and Attitude
While legitimate complaints will not be held against you, a demanding and rude attitude towards the front desk clerk will nearly guarantee that you will not receive an upgrade and mind you the front desk will take a note of this and might count against you during future stays. Letting the front desk know you’re celebrating a special occasion will often score a better room for you. When your making your reservation recommends having the reservation agent note your special occasion next to your booking so that the front desk staff can see it when you check in. The front desk reviews special requests on the day of arrival and tends to have a soft spot for guest celebrating special occasions.
4. Just Ask … You Never Know
One means of obtaining a room upgrade is not subtle: ask for it. However, the request should be made politely. If you’re a regular guest at the hotel, there’s nothing wrong with dropping a subtle reminder to the front desk. I’ve always recommended to my frequent traveller friends to be specific with their request be it a room for nice view, say so. When you ask for an upgrade, specify what you are looking for, whether it’s a room with a view or a suite with a living room space.
Lastly,when all said and done, don’t forget to write a Thank You letter to the General Manager of that hotel or a Tripadvisor review referring to the front desk agent assisting you with the upgrade. Hotel’s like to receive exceptional feedbacks from their guest stay after they checkout for guest experience improvement learning more about their guests and staff recognition. By the end of the day – it’s all about building relationship with these hotels that will enhance your future stay … and you never know you might get a surprise upgrade in your future stay with them