Who doesn’t love a good upgrade? The key is to know how, where and when to get them! Author, Jacob Tomsky, who is best known from his book, Heads in Beds, is giving us a rare peek into the world of hotel secrets.
Mr. Tomsky says you’ll need to be clever and cunning to score your upgrade.
“I’ve heard it suggested that one might mention a special occasion: It’s my anniversary! I just got a promotion! It’s my birthday! I’m celebrating a divorce.”
“From my perspective, as a front desk agent, if you had to pick one of the above reasons, which do you think I’m most likely to respond to?
“If you guessed ‘celebrating a divorce’ you’d be correct.”
Mr. Tomsky is quick to point out, front desk clerks have probably heard it all once before, as they check in as many as 250 guest per day so, the more unique your ‘special occasion’ is, the better chance you have on reeling in that upgrade.
“When someone comes at you with one of these standard situations and it’s the 4000th time you’ve heard it, it really does lose its power. Point is, your special occasion probably isn’t that special, as far as a hotel employee is concerned.”
“But celebrating your divorce? Well, ma’am, I don’t hear that one too often. I’ll take care of it. Here you are: Upgraded corner suite with a tremendous view. Feel better,” Mr. Tomsky said.
If you’re not comfortable with fibbing about your marital status, it’s always worth mentioning your other travelling companions like your children or partner. Hotel staff will usually relate and sneak in an upgrade as they have families themselves.
Big tippers usually catch the eye of the front desk, Mr. Thomsky says.
“Once a guest has definitively improved my life (I would spend my new-found tips on anything from a healthy lunch to rent) I would immediately set out to repay the favor and improve their life. Often with an upgrade.”
“And if not that, the very best room in the category they have booked, because, believe me, there is always a nicer room. Or amenities,” says Mr. Thomsky.
Check out other pointers to score your hotel upgrade:
* Loyalty. Increase your chances of an upgrade by being loyal to a hotel and providing repeat business. Casually mention when reserving your room that you’ve stayed there before.
It costs a lot less for a hotel to keep a repeat customer happy than to acquire a new one, so they will often give special treatment to frequent guests.
* Don’t you know who I am? Title dropping can increase your chances of being upgraded. Hotels may want to impress you more when they know you are someone who is an important businessperson, can draw in more guests or have press power.
* Take advantage of a hotel’s mistake. Room not ready upon check-in? Construction noise causing a loss of sleep? Make a hotel issue work to your advantage by talking to the management, nicely and, seeing if they will offer a form of compensation for the inconvenience.
* Timing is everything. When possible check in between 4-6pm as the front desk will already be aware of any cancellations and no-shows. Also avoid booking during busy holiday periods as upgrades cannot be given if a hotel is at full occupancy.
* Ask. Try your luck and ask directly for a hotel upgrade. The worst that can happen is they will say no, and you might get what you wish for.
* Be nice. Front desk staff and hotel managers deal with a lot of people and handle a range of problems during their day. Sometimes being friendly can go a long way.
When vying for a hotel upgrade, where there’s a will, there’s a way and, all it takes is a bit of ingenuity on your part!