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10 Hotel Hacks for Your Next Stay

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Written by   33
6 months ago
Topics: Travel

During your next hotel stay, be sure to check out some of the items below that you may have missed completely on your prior visits. You may be missing out on cutting costs, complimentary items, a custom-tailored agenda and ways to suit your schedule more to your liking. The one requirement for most of everything below is that you ask.

Items with the hotel branding

  • The pad of paper and pen sitting next to it, does it have the hotel name on it? It’s free for the taking. Hotels try and put their name on as many items as possible to increase their visibility. Once it’s out of the room, it’s free marketing for them. Shampoos, lotions and mouthwash included. One item that is usually off limits is the cool spa bathrobes - hotels may let you take it but plan on being charged for this item. Slippers with their logo, also fall in this category. Always double check to see what the hotel may charge you for or not, there is always someone with an answer.

Resort fees

  • While Las Vegas hotels are notorious for these, double check that you’re not paying for services that you won’t be using, such as the fitness center/pool, business center, daily newspapers or wifi. I have seen hotels include fees for golf course use. Some hotels have an a la carte service where you can pay for Wifi separately. Depending on your needs, it would be another expense to cut. If you're on vacation, how much time do you plan to spend at the hotel anyway? It’s nice to have the amenities to fall back on but I can tell you how many times I’ve used a hotel gym: zero times. While I have jumped in a pool or jacuzzi, it was often at someone else’s hotel and not on my dime. The business center option is nice, but as you’ll read on , it’s an amenity that is literally shrinking in size and may go away and is being re-invented altogether by the industry. Wifi is really the only necessity I may see from the resort fees and even that is arguably a feature that is no longer needed with so many having hot spots on their mobile devices. Resort fees are definitely something to ponder.

Concierge

  • You can always call or stop by the concierge’s desk with your questions about your trip. They are there to give customer suggestions about their stay, from dining to entertainment, transportation, local businesses, shopping, salon services, golf courses or where the best place is to lose yourself as a local. The concierge is there to serve you. Sometimes they might even provide you with tips, maps, pamphlets or coupons to help guide you in your decisions. Some will even arrange restaurant reservations, show tickets or other events for your stay. Their nice prominent position in the hotel is not just for looks. They are a wealth of information right in the place you are staying. It never hurts to reach out and seek the help of the concierge desk. 

Toiletries

  • Those small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap are there for the taking. At times, cotton balls/pads and cotton swabs may also be present in the bathroom, they are there for your use - or to take home for later. There are some toiletries in your room that don’t necessarily show up. A razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, bath salts, sewing kits, shoe shine kits, if not in your room when you arrive, it’s worth a call to the front desk. If you are able to grin bear through a short moment of asking for one of these items, you might just get it. It’s not always a guarantee, and some places will charge you, but you never know until you ask.

Check-out Time

  • The standard time for check out across the industry is usually 11am local time. What the front desk doesn’t tell you is that it’s quite lenient and 12p is a given. As I have learned from the entertaining memoir of a hotel staff member. You can always depend on a late check out. I’ve only had a few occasions when it was not okay because it was a holiday weekend or a big event was in town. There are some loyalty programs that offer a later than 12p check out time as one of their perks in a higher tier level, such as the Wyndham Rewards or Courtyard by Marriott's Bonvoy programs.

Room Upgrades

  • If you aren’t a member of a loyalty program that grants free room  upgrades, try and use your power of persuasion and hope for good timing. The motto of this list is “it never hurts to ask”. Hopefully you get the picture by now. Upon checking in, just ask the person checking you in if there are any upgrades available. An upgrade will be granted if available and the front agent can do it for you. Las Vegas has taken it to a new level though with the $20 dollar trick, which now even has its own website where people share when the $20 dollar sandwich trick worked for them and not. Try at your own risk but the front desk agents in Las Vegas have seen this done so often they know the drill. If they can’t do anything for you, they’ll return your $20. 

Special Occasion Requests

  • If there is a reason for your stay, a special occasion, birthday, anniversary, graduation, bachelor/bachelorette party, etc. mention it to whoever you make your reservation with if live on the telephone or be sure to mention it to the front desk clerk checking you in. Besides them, reach out to the concierge (see Concierge above) and see if there are any suggestions about recommendations on your celebration. Hotels are in the business of providing the best customer service and having repeat customers. In order to do so, providing you with a memorable experience and sharing it with who you know, is exactly what they want for your stay. Special occasion mentions could include room upgrades, restaurant discounts, spa discounts or at more upscale venues a bottle of wine/champagne or chocolates. They may come with a cost but hotels are more than willing to help you celebrate your occasion. 

Transportation/Shuttles/Car rentals

  • If you are visiting a city where you know no one to come pick you up or transport you around the area, double check with your hotel before opening that Uber app. As a courtesy, hotels often provide free shuttle service to and from the airport, especially if it’s only a few minutes away. A great way to continue cutting costs to use your money in a more enjoyable way during your stay. If you would like to travel independently of a taxi or shuttle service, check to see if there is a car rental desk located where you are staying or ask the concierge about any associated car rental services. Location is key and hotels and these car rental services get it.

  • Number 18 on this list, has car service as a benefit for staying at a luxury hotel. If you find yourself at one of these palatial stays, be sure to inquire about a Rolls Royce for your night out.

Business Center/Computers/Printers

  • If you need to print something, check something online or fax something, check no further than the hotel business center. While shrinking according this article from the New York Times it is still on the minds of hotels to design a new type of business center that keeps customers engaged in the ways they like best. Due to the pandemic, the hotel industry has parlayed its spaces to hopefully entice those stuck at home to one of their packages accommodating a typical work day, but supplemented with snacks, a pool, gym and bottled waters.

Loyalty Programs - Matching Status

  • One of my favorite things to do if I reach a certain elite or higher tier in a loyalty program is to match with any other program. By matching your status tier to another company's program, they are able to acquire you as a new customer by bringing you in from your gained status with another program.

  • Here’s an example of how I status matched multiple times in the past year. I made the Total Rewards Diamond level - which is the program associated with the Caesars Resorts.

    • I used my Diamond Level to match Wyndham Diamond, double dipping in the benefits of both programs. Then I used the Diamond Level to match to MLife Gold level - which is the MGM Resorts loyalty program. MLife currently is offering a match status with Hyatt Explorist level. It’s a dizzying array of matches, but by having that one initial Diamond level, I was able to elevate my status with three different programs.

    • For the order in which I matched my statuses, the reverse can also be done. So if you’re at the Hyatt Explorist level, you can match the MLife status and take advantage of the benefits and discounts available at MGM resort or those in Las Vegas. I now have the benefit of upgrades, late checkouts and discounts amongst too many hotels for me to stay in. Always be on the watch for these matching opportunities, as they don’t last long and are a great opportunity to maximize your benefits while traveling. 

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Avatar for ladyanneclare
Written by   33
6 months ago
Topics: Travel
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