10 Hotel Front Desk Secrets

2014-08-02-roomservice400There are couple of things you might not know about hotels that could vastly improve your next stay. Garnered from the advice of former front desk staff, cleaners and security guards, here is a list of front desk secrets that’ll be your secret weapon when you’re making your next booking:

1. Big money

On average, it costs between $30 and $40 to turn over a room between guests and keep it operational (electricity/water). Think about that next time you spend over $200 for a nightly stay.

2. Getting walked

Because of the prevalence of cancellations, hotels often overbook. When the gamble doesn’t pay off and the hotel must now choose whose reservation to honor, you’ll be on the losing end of the stick if you’ve booked a very short stay. In this case, a hotel should “walk” you, or pay for your stay at a comparable hotel (including transportation). Be prepared for this situation if you’ve booked a one-night stay, used an online travel agency, are a first-time guest or simply unfriendly.

3. Complain better

While it’s true that most of the times you need to speak up to get what you want at a hotel, the key is in the delivery. Outline your problem briefly and succinctly, offer your idea of a solution, and then ask to be referred to whichever person or department can help you. Try being nice and friendly at first – it’ll usually get you much farther. In order to ensure that something actually gets done, make sure to ask for an employee’s name.

4. Keep it closed

Minibars offer you convenient food and drink at ridiculous prices. Everyone knows that. These charges are also the most disputed in any hotel, anywhere. So, if you have been charged too much or wrongly, don’t be shy to say something. Most likely, the charge will be reversed quickly and easily.

5. Lemony fresh

A trick used by hotels for cleaning windows and mirrors is using furniture polish. Unfortunately, housekeepers sometimes cheat and make drinking glasses look extra-shiny with some Pledge, as well. Make sure, before drinking form them, you rinse them out with water first.

6. Bellboys hate wheels

The invention of the super-portable four-wheeled suitcase is the bane of every bellboy’s existence since it simply makes his job obsolete. Try and imagine a time and place where bellboys were a necessity for every traveler and you’ll understand why they appreciate the chance to carry your bags and get a tip for it.

7. The case of the pillow

Hotel housekeepers insert pillows into cases by folding pillows in half and stuffing them in a case.

8. Discount vacation

Hotels almost always give lesser treatment to reservations made through discount sites, and it makes sense: these customers paid less and therefore the hotels earn the least profit from them. Other guests, who paid premium prices and hand-picked a particular establishment, will get better rooms, favors and service in general.

9. Key karma

If you’re rude to your front-desk associate, don’t be shocked when your electronic keys fail to work. Front desk staff can play little tricks that you’ll never notice which cause your electronic keys to stop working when you least expect it.

10. Upgrade you

Don’t be ashamed to tip extra if you want an upgrade or special treatment. Don’t believe the nonsense a front desk person tells you, about all the hotel’s rooms being exactly the same. There’s always a better layout, nicer view, quieter floor or bigger bathroom, somewhere. You’d be surprised how far a 20-dollar bill can get you in a hotel setting. And, if there really is no free room on a better level, there are plenty other ways a front-desk staff member can spoil you: late checkout, free movies, free minibar, room service amenities, etc.