The hotel industry has a whole lot of secrets. Some of those secrets have been exposed for a long time, while others are still kept hidden, well…until now. Thank goodness for the digital age because now travelers have access to all sorts of information online. For instance, more than ever before, people are checking their beds for bed bugs as soon as they arrive in their hotel rooms. Why? Because there have been studies that have revealed that bed bugs are actually much more common than most people think.
Staying at a hotel can be part of the highlight of any trip. If you choose a great hotel, then you’ll awaken from clean sheets on a perfect mattress, to the perfect breakfast or room service, and then enjoy some amazing activities that may have been recommended by the concierge. If you choose a terrible hotel, then none of this would be possible.
Getting the perfect hotel for our trips means a lot to us. This is probably why hotel staff go out their ways to make sure that we have unforgettable trips. This does, however, also mean that they go out their way to keep some things from us. Read below as we take you through the things that hotel staff keeps on the DL and some that have long been exposed.
25 Keep On The DL: Every Room Isn't the Same
You might assume that a standard price for the rooms means that you pay for exactly the same thing, but as many hotel staff people know, this is not the case. Some rooms have better views, others are located far from noisy areas in the hotel and environment, some even have larger and better bathrooms. Getting yourself a better room mostly depends on how lucky you are and sometimes being nice to hotel staff may get you the upgrade that you’re looking for.
24 There’s a Way to Avoid Cancellation Fees
You may have booked yourself a hotel appointment and have every intention of going but life happens and a few weeks or months later, you realize that you really can’t make it. There’s a simple little trick that you can do in order to avoid some or even all cancellation fees. This Insider highlights that you can “call your hotel and ask to push your reservation to a later date (one that’s outside of the window in which you can be charged for cancellation). After a few days, you can call again and cancel the reservation without any additional charges.”
23 Very Early Checkin is Possible
If you’re a frequent traveler, you most probably are aware of the fact that if you’ll be arriving an hour or two earlier than the standard check-in, you can call the hotel and make arrangements for an early check-in. One thing you might not have been aware of is if you’re going to be arriving super early, you can call the hotel and if your room will not be ready, they can offer you another available room while yours is getting sorted.
22 Don’t Get Carried Away with Room Service
Using hotel room service is one of the highlights of many people’s hotel stay. You get to skim through all the menu items you desire and then request it to be delivered to your room when you want it. The best part is that you don’t have to get out your PJs to enjoy yourself a meal in your room. Although the convenience of room service is great, be careful not to get too carried away. Items such as coffee are often burnt and the fish ordered is not so fresh. If you’re in the mood for coffee, rather use the coffeemaker in your room.
21 Tipping Will Get You a Better Experience
Most people know that tipping the butler at the hotel is standard procedure. One can even say that’s its part of the standard hotel guest etiquette. One thing you may not have been aware of though is how this tipping can get you much more than you bargained for. Obviously, when you tip the staff member, it will be appreciated from their end, but this particular hotel staff member will be more likely to get you the deals that you’re looking for so don’t forget to tip!
20 Your Room is Full of Germs
Number 20 on our list is an unfortunate one to come to terms with but hey, we have to keep it real with you, right? Hotel rooms are often filled with tons of germs because hotel staff don’t usually perform a thorough deep clean between guests arriving and leaving. There simply isn’t enough time to do a deep clean so most cleaners just use soap and water to clean, and don’t include any disinfect in the water. Most people advise guests to carry their own wet wipes and wipe down any common areas.
19 5 Stars Doesn’t Always Mean the Best Service
This one on our list may come as a surprise to many. Most people assume that the more the stars a hotel has, the better the service they’re likely to receive from them. While most hotels with a higher grade and more stars make an effort to go the extra mile with their customer service, remember that the stars are actually an indication of the amenities available at the hotel. The best way to get an accurate idea of the service is just to hop onto the net and read the customer reviews. This will indicate to you if you should really spend your hard-earned money on that hotel.
18 Be Careful of the Free Wifi
Cyber Security is one of the most important topics that every internet user needs to understand. Many people are getting hacked daily and for you to be safe, you need to know and understand the simple strategies that you can put into place. One strategy is to avoid public Wifi as much as possible. This is because public Wifi is more vulnerable to attacks. If you happen to need that connection, make sure that you don’t log on to sites such as your banking apps where your personal information may be at risk.
17 The Staff Sometimes Lies
Okay, you may have come across a number of surprising points on this list. You’re okay with all this information because you want to travel armed with information and tricks up your sleeve. Even though knowledge is power, the last thing you want to hear though is that hotel staff sometimes lie to us. Sorry guys, but we had to keep it real with you.
Probably the most disturbing part is that they do it so often. For instance, sometimes a hotel manager will advise staff to say to guests that "someone" is coming soon to fix that broken elevator soon, even though they know that the guy is only coming over the weekend.
16 Don’t be Afraid to Ask for a Price Match
The hotel industry is very competitive. They all want to be the go-to place for travelers and most are willing to do whatever it takes to get there. One thing you may not have been aware of (until now, of course), is that if you already have a reservation at a hotel, you can call another hotel in the same neighborhood and see if they can match the deal or even give you a better one. If it’s an off-peak season, you might just be able to get the hotel you prefer at a better price.
15 Consult With Concierge for Tickets
Most of the time, if you’re planning to head out to different locations while on vacation, you might have already called ahead and made the bookings yourself or, if you’re using the services of a travel agent, they may have already done that for you. If you’re really interested in getting major savings, don’t discard using the services of the concierge. The great thing about using a local concierge is that they already have contacts and can get you a great saving on any museum outings, concerts, or any other activities you’re interested in.
14 They are Tight-Lipped about Celebrity Guests
This may be a bitter/sweet point on our list. On the one hand, it can be exciting to know that you’re staying at the same hotel as one of your favorite celebrities. On the hand, if the hotel staff have it their way, you will never even know about it.
Most celebrities like to travel incognito, especially while on vacation. This is understandable, especially since everybody deserves a break from time to time. Hotel staff often go out their ways to remain tight-lipped about any famous guests who may be visiting, and sometimes even organize secret backdoor exits and entrances.
13 Kids’ Food is Often Discounted
So, this one on our list may come as a bit of a surprise to our readers. We understand that regular restaurants have a kids' menu with better rates but hotels as well? Yes. This means that even when it might not be on the hotel’s menu, kids' meals are offered at a special rate and all you need to get it is to just ask nicely. List25 explains that “even if the menu doesn’t have a children’s section you can almost always get a discounted kids menu if you just ask.”
12 Getting an Upgrade is Easy
Most people assume that getting an upgrade is something that happens if there’s something wrong with their room and they have to be moved. For instance, if you arrive in your hotel room and notice bed bugs, the hotel staff will go out their way to make sure that they not only upgrade you but give you a great experience at the hotel. This is not the only way to get an update though. If there is availability, sometimes asking really nicely, can get you that ideal room you’re after.
11 Direct Bookings are Better than Third-Party Bookings
If you used a third party internet site to book your hotel room, chances are, you got a great deal. This is because most third party bookings often have rates that even far below the standard rates for the room at the hotel. When hotel staff see that you didn’t book directly with them but rather, you booked from a third party, as tough as it may be to come to terms with it, you’re really not a priority. Sure, you’re still at their hotel and they will still treat you like a guest, however, hotel staff gives the best deals, recommendations, and extra care and attention to guests who booked directly with them.
10 Long Been Exposed: Hotel Staff have the Best Recommendations
When planning your vacation, it is natural to do a bit of research before heading to your destination to see what fun activities and adventures you can add to your itinerary. Although doing your own research is always a good thing, speaking to the hotel staff about places they can recommend can offer you unexpected restaurants, festivals, and other fun activities that wouldn’t easily pop up on the internet. Hotel staff can also be able to recommend if there’s a new bar in town that has really great specials.
9 You Pay For the Location
As a frequent traveler, you may already be well aware of this “fun” fact. If you’ve only recently started your traveling escapades then you might have noticed something – hotels that are closest to the main street in the city or town you’re in, or hotels that are closest to famous sites are much more expensive than hotels that are a few blocks away. Whenever you’re traveling and trying to save some money, consider getting a hotel that is not so central and this could save you a few hundred dollars.
8 They Have a Good Relationship With the Police
Number 8 on our list is very understandable since we all know that where there is a gathering of people from all walks of life, there is bound to be some trouble or misunderstandings. This is why the hotel staff generally has a great relationship with the police as they are their go-to people if things get a little out of hand with a guest or some guests who refuse to follow the rules. This is also the reason why if there’s ever an issue that needs law enforcement at a hotel, they seem to rock up just minutes after the incident.
7 The Rooms Aren’t Cleaned Properly
So, earlier on our list we touched a bit about the fact that hotel rooms have a lot of germs. This one is an extension of that point because although the room may look clean, don’t get comfortable touching things and drinking what you shouldn’t. Independent explains that hotel “staff warned clients away from the glasses by the sink (as they are never washed), to always check the seals on bottles, and advised people to never check under the bed or hard to reach places as they are never cleaned.”
6 Tip as Soon as You Can
This one on our list is for all the readers out there that think that they should only leave a tip for their doorman right at the end of the trip. If you’re accustomed to doing that, you’ll want to get rid of this habit as soon as possible. The Daily Meal explains that “Tipping is always appreciated and likely to get you a better experience. Right from the beginning of your stay, you should give a small tip any time they help you out.”
5 Request a Room on a Higher Floor for Peace and Quiet
If you’re traveling with a group of friends and you guys are in for a good time, then you probably won’t mind being in a section of the hotel that’s a little noisy (or, you might be responsible for the noise yourselves). However, if you’re on a peaceful vacation, or if you’re traveling for work and the last thing you want is to hear the hustle and bustle of partying hotel groups, asking for a room on higher floors will help give you the peace and quiet that you’re really after.
4 One Night Stays can get “Walked”
This might be a bit of a hard pill to swallow but, if you’ve ever been called by a hotel after making a reservation with them and asked if you’re okay being transferred to another hotel, then you know exactly what we’re referring to here. Most hotels will overbook rooms because statistically, around 10% of reservations don’t actually show up. It does, however, mean that there are certain times when the hotel is overbooked and then has to transfer some of their guests to another hotel nearby that they have a good relationship with. Who is first considered for these transfers? People who have one night stays, of course.
3 Staying Longer can Get You a Nice Discount
Most travel agents and frequent travelers know this little trick and now that you’re reading our article, you know it too! Generally speaking, staying more than 3 nights at a hotel can get you lots of savings. If you’re making your reservations on the hotel’s site and there is no indication of a discount, call the reservations department and explain to them that you’ll be staying at the hotel for a while and are interested to know if they can offer you a discount for the many nights you’re staying there. Most guests can save anything from 10% and up to 50%.
2 Always Check for Bed Bugs
Checking for bed bugs as soon as you arrive at a hotel is something most people are now well aware of. If you’re new to traveling, you’ll want to make sure that you do this as soon as you enter your hotel room. You can check for bed bugs by removing your sheets and doing a thorough visual scan. Remember to also lift the mattress to see if there are any signs of bed bugs. Keep in mind that bed bugs normally run and hide in crevices that aren’t visible to us so you also want to make sure that you keep an eye out for any brown or red smudges that may be left behind like a trail of evidence.
1 There are Tons of Freebies Available
This is number one on our list because, well…who doesn’t like freebies? The best part about getting yourself freebies at hotels is that sometimes all you need to do is ask really nicely and be polite. Yep, it turns out that good manners can get you rewarded. Independent highlights that “be nice to staff, particularly the doorman. ‘I can give you free water bottles, tampons, valet parking, tours, shuttle rides, reservations, dry cleaning, hell even an upgrade to a better room if you just ASK ME. But no one ever does because they think I’m just a doorman.”
References: This Insider, List25, Independent, The Daily Meal