You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Elite status is only a start. Plenty of people have hotel elite status. It isn’t always properly recognized, and it isn’t always enough.
At a minimum you may want to avoid connecting rooms, rooms by the elevator, or over the HVAC system. On some stays you care more about the view, or size of the room, than on other stays. When it matters you need to learn how to ask for what you want. You won’t always get it, but it’s worth choosing from among these five questions if you want to improve your stay.
- “How is your day?” You’re checking into a hotel with a person most of the time. That person has good days and bad days, they can help you if they want or give stick you in an odd shaped room without any natural light (even if you were pre-blocked into a nice room, you can be moved!).
You want to develop a rapport with the agent. Theirs is a generally-thankless job (except where tipping is involved). They deal with everyone else’s problems. Be nice.
- “I’ve really been looking forward to this hotel for its..” and finish the sentence as appropriate, views of the X, great big rooms, what have you. “I’ve needed this trip for awhile. What kind of room do you have for me?”
Now, you’ll find the most extensive advice on how to ask for and get an upgrade for free in this post, complete with video.
Just asking doesn’t mean you’ll get the Presidential Suite. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re nice, and get the check-in agent on your side, they might at least help you out with that better view.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur View of the Petronas Towers
- “I won’t have nearly enough time to enjoy the hotel as I had hoped and wonder if you could help make it special. Would you be able to give me complimentary…” and finish the sentence, breakfast/extra toiletries/free internet.
Again, know what you want and ask for it, small items can be granted, different agents have different levels of discretion and it varies by hotel. They get asked for things all the time, and the answer is most often no, but it could also be yes.
- “This hotel has such a great location and I don’t have a lot of time here, what is your one favorite place to..” and ask what you’re most interested in, eat/drink/relax/etc.
Take advantage of local knowledge. It’s like asking a cab driver for the best food, you may discover some place new. Do not ever ask because the front desk agent doesn’t know you and will probably assume you’re the same generic idiot tourist they deal with every day. What you want is their knowledge, so you’re asking where they would go, or where they would tell their best friend from out of town to go.
- “What a great suggestion, I’m going to take you up on it. Could you give me a late check-out, in case I wind up up/out late because of it?”
If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you’ve got some kind of hotel elite status. Marriott and Hyatt guarantee late checkout for their elite members. Hilton and IHS Rewards do not. But even the guarantees have some limitations, and they’re always dependent on the willingness of the local property. So develop that rapport, ask the check-in agent’s advice, and then make a final ask that flows naturally from the conversation. It can be for late check-out, or something else that makes the say — in the context of what you’ve already been talking about — that much easier or special.
Some of these are long shots. But asking is cheap.
Sometimes — even if it is just 10% of the time — you get a yes. And that makes the strategy pay off, as long as you do not mind getting a no the other nine times That, incidentally, is also really good dating advice.