1. It pays to be nice
Room assignments – including upgrades – are often still made by actual people, usually front desk managers. If they associate your name with a friendly face, you may find yourself in a spacious corner suite on your next visit.
2. “Ask and you shall receive,”
says Hilary Lewis, a hotel housekeeping manager. Most hotels will be happy to provide extra items, such as DVD players or microwaves, at no extra charge if they have them on hand.
3. Loyalty counts, so stick with one chain
Frequent travellers can achieve a preferred status level, which comes with privileges – special amenities, freebies and access to perks such as free breakfast or happy hour drinks.
4. If you use third-party sell-off sites
like Expedia, you’ll snag bargain rates, but you’ll get what you paid for. You’ll likely end up with a less-than-ideal room – lower floors, bad views.
5. Ask the concierge
about local attractions and where to eat.
6. Some of the best offers are hidden.
Hotels will occasionally give out discounts and perks to guests who post TripAdvisor reviews or fill out hotel surveys. You can also ask to join their email list to keep up to date with special deals and packages.
7. Star ratings systems vary widely between countries.
For example, in Italy, a hotel can earn five stars by simply having a 24-hour reception desk, rooms that start at 16 square metres and receptionists who speak three languages. A single star is awarded for changing the sheets once a week.