When life costs as much as it currently does, there’s not much room left in the budget to splash on fancy hotels when you do finally get the chance to get away from it all. So it’s good to know some of the little tricks that could help you get a few perks and perhaps even a room upgrade every once in a while.
Firstly, you need to be booking your hotel directly through the hotel’s own website, as opposed to doing it through a third party site or agent. Because whilst comparison sites are useful for comparing prices, hotels tend to reserve their best rooms in each price bracket for people who book directly with them.
This is because the hotel have to pay between 10 and 30% commission every time they get a reservation through a third party site, so of course they want to encourage guests to book with them directly. You can still use the comparison sites for price checking, but then we recommend going direct and seeing if they can beat their competitors. It sounds cheeky, and it is, but I’m ruthless when it comes to this tactic and I’d say 8 out of 10 times I’ve been successful.
It’s pretty obvious, but the quieter the hotel, the more chance you’ll have of getting an upgrade. So travel at off-peak times like on weekdays, or away from holiday times. Business travellers are always much more likely to get an upgrade too, so drop that in, subtly, when you can.
You can also try arriving after 6pm when more rooms become available and the hotel has a better idea which rooms are likely to stay empty. If you also plan on staying for only a night, you’re more likely to get an upgrade because the hotel knows they’ll be able to sell the room at its normal price again the next day.
Not many people know this, but some hotels do punish people for booking through third-party comparison sites. You see, they don’t like paying the commission and would rather you booked with them directly. The result is usually that you’ll get the worst room within the category your reservation is in, a lot of the time. It’s worth noting that hotels you book directly with are much more likely to be generous with upgrades and all of the other little add-ons too. Also, be sure to let them know if it’s a special occasion, because birthdays and anniversaries are all valid reasons for a bonus upgrade.