1. Check online rates—then book by phone.
“Third party sites take a big percentage of each reservation made, so it isn’t advantageous for the hotel if you’re booking indirectly. Use these sites to gauge rates, and then mention them when you call to book. Chances are they’ll give you the same rate. Be sure to call the hotel’s front desk, and not the reservations line. Many hotels contract their telephone reservations through a third party system as well, and you want to speak with someone personally invested in the property.”
2. Use your manners.
“Very simply: If you want upgrades or perks, be polite and take names. Just don’t be threatening when asking for someone’s name. Introduce yourself over the phone, ask if he or she will be onsite during your stay, and try to make an in-person introduction when you arrive. Go for that human connection. It can only benefit you to be nice.”
3. Aim for the real perks—not just a room upgrade.
“Forget the room upgrade—how much of your vacation do you actually want to spend in your room? The real perks are things like early check-in, late check-out, rooms with a view, free WiFi, and free parking. Most of these come at no expense to the hotel, too. Ask in advance for an early check-in if you need to arrive sooner. Even if they decline, you can show up with your things and ask to stow them until check-in. There’s a good chance they might switch you to an open room on the spot.”
4. Get a great last-second rate.
“The app Hotel Tonight has great rates on same-day bookings. However, you can only book for a single night. It’s perfect for emergency situations or if you need to extend your trip.”
5. Let the concierge do their job.
“A good concierge is one who won’t send you to the same restaurants as everyone else. They listen to your needs and recommend real gems. Just remember, politeness goes a long way. And so does a $20 tip.”