10 Awesome Insider Hotel Secrets For Your Next Visit

Are you hunting for a Hotel room and been informed the Hotel is full? Or do you want to be upgraded to a better room? Maybe the Best Available Rate (BAR) is not the best rate for your budget. Is it possible to get the room for half the price?

We as humans tend to take verbal and visual information for granted. If the person at the Call Center tells you the Hotel is full then most people will accept this. And if your favorite booking site tells you that the Hotel is full they will also accept this. Or the Call Center and booking site might tell you there were no upgrades available for the period you were looking to make a reservation.

Working at a Call Center myself our primary goal was to sell or upsell room nights. We provided room nights based on the Hotels inventory. If the booking system told us there was no more inventory left for the period then we had no way to override this. If you were a decent or good Reservation Agent you would provide the customer with alternatives then.

Here are a list of Insider Hotel Secrets.

1. Call the Hotel

Working both at a Call Center and Hotels I learned that the Hotel has much better control over the inventory themselves. Cancellations and changes happen all the time. The only way to find this out is to call the Hotel directly.

Calling the Hotel directly is always the best way to ensure that everything is set up to meet your expectations. One note here is to make sure you reached the Hotels in-house reservation or the front desk. Some Hotels will at times direct their in-house reservation calls to the Call Center. There were several times I responded to a call as I was at the Hotels in-house reservation. The Call Centers booking systems provided us with a lot of tools that made it easy to provide fairly accurate Hotel information. Though I still was looking at the same inventory as if the customer would call the Call Center.

2. Go for Direct Bookings

I am not one of the Hoteliers that will tell you to avoid Hotels.com, Booking.com or Expedia.com. I rather present Hotels as sustainable, affordable and competitive alternatives with a unique ability to personalize the guest experience.

Online booking services have staged themselves in ways where customers tend to believe this is where they will get the best rates today. Customers today often are put in a scenario where the booking service uses an urgency strategy. I don’t know how often I see “only 1 room left”, or 5 people booked this room last hour. People tend then to make the reservation in fear of that the Hotel is getting full. Just like the Call Center works out from a set inventory same is the case with online booking services.

The best alternatives here is then to go directly to the Hotels website and check their availability, or as mentioned call the Hotel.

3. Full is not the same as Sold Out

What is Hotel website, online booking site, and Call Center tells you Hotel is full? Many Hotels have set off some rooms for their Platinum and Gold members or others that reserved a room but then turn out don’t need the room.

I worked at Hotel where it was not uncommon on very busy days that the Hotel was overbooked. This meant we had more bookings than available inventory. Sometimes this could be caused by that a room was taken out of service or was in out of order status. It was not uncommon that out of service rooms was put in this status for minor incidents.

Out of order rooms is typically more complex. I went through a renovation process with one Hotel where available inventory was a lot less than the total amount of rooms. In this process, a certain block of rooms was put in out of order status for renovations purpose.

In some situations, the Hotel has a certain room of flexibility to accommodate customers. Here is often best to call the Hotel itself to check the status with the front desk. Or if you are close to the Hotel then it will not hurt to stop by and check.

4. Upgrade is a courtesy

The most basic rule here is to Ask Nicely. Upgrades are always courtesy of the Hotel, never a requirement.

If you have booked a basic room at an absolute lowest rate through an online booking service and request upgrade don’t be disappointed if you get turned down. Of course, the Hotel will still do everything in their power to make sure you still have an awesome experience.

Many Hotels tend to reward Direct Bookings versus Online Booking services. When you do a Direct Booking make sure to use the comment / special request field. Here it is ok to request an upgrade. Make sure you add a compelling reason.

And if the Hotel can grant your request please show some gratitude.

5. Room change

It was not uncommon that guest would check into their room and it was not what they anticipated.

The solution here is the same as for upgrades Ask Nicely. Often we could move a guest like this to the Loyalty Members floors. Here they would receive some perks that often would compensate for their initial experience.

In the case where there was no another room to move the guest to then, the Hotel has to provide alternative solutions. Often this can be alternatives like Free Breakfast/Lunch, accommodate late checkout requests, access to Loyalty Member floor or in some incidents room discount.

6. Best Day for reservation

I don’t know how many reports, studies, research, and articles I have read that will tell the customer what the Best Day for a Hotel reservation is.

Customers make reservations every day! The best day is when you are ready. Hoteliers are always ready to serve you.

7. Out of service room

As indicated Hotels often have rooms in their inventory that is taken Out of service for minor incidents. It can be that the in-room TV is not working, no desk in the room, someone checked into the room and decided to check out of Hotel after a few hours, etc.

In the incident with an in-room TV not working the Hotel can provide this room for a discounted rate if the customer is ok with no working TV in the room. If the Hotel has a night Housekeeping crew they can clean the room that unexpectedly became available.

Allowing customers to utilize a room that misses in-room TV is an extraordinary circumstance, and both parties should sign an agreement about the situation.

As long as the Hotel has a standard room available an Out of service room is not part of the available inventory.

8. Room Block availability

A lot of Hotels depends on that events or groups sets of a block of room for either the event or an occasion.

Here Hotels often experience cancellations or that someone will not show for the event or the occasion.

I worked for a Hotel that had a contract with some airlines. And the Hotel would always set a block of rooms for the airlines. There were times where some of the flights got canceled for various reason, the most common reasons were related to weather. In these incidents, the Hotel got unexpected inventory available.

This illustrates why the customer should call the Hotel directly. The Hotel inventory is always dynamic and never static.

9. Flirt

Hoteliers love a happy and positive customer. Customers with a happy and positive attitude are more likely to get an upgrade.

It is always a smart move to be happy and positive, and it is ok to flirt a little. Treat front desk like you wants to be treated yourself. Most front desk members today are empowered to make decisions that will make it an extraordinary Hotel experience for you.

10. Get onboard with electronic billing and Social Media

We live in the technology age, most of the travelers today travel with multiple smart devices. Get your bill sent to your email or Smartphone.

This will help you and the next guest have the best possible experience during your stay.

Some Hoteliers might say “wait a minute” here. They indicate check-out is the best time to learn how their stay was, and give the guest some affirmations that will get them coming back again to the Hotel.

And this used to be the case. With Social Media and New Media, we now have new tools available that allow us to capture important information before and during the stay. The same tools are also very effective for customer retention.

Today customer will not only call the Hotel but also use their Social Media networks to reach the Hotel directly. Soon new demands will require Hotels to make Direct Booking more accessible from Chatbots.

I have given you some Insider Hotel Secrets to take with you for your next stay.

Have fun and enjoy your experience.


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About the author

Are Morch is the founder and owner of Are Morch – Hotel Marketing Coach. Get more from Are on Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Instagram| Podcast