When most people go on vacation, they book the hotel that it close to where they are trying to go, and don’t give it a second thought. However, there are plenty of hidden secrets about hotels that you need to look out for. Here are 30 facts that will help improve your experience when you stay at a hotel.
30. Yes, There Is A Vacancy
When you are driving past a hotel, you should ignore when the “No Vacancy” sign is lit up. Hotels usually do this when they only have 2 or 3 rooms left, but there is still a chance that there may be a vacancy. Call the front desk to see if they have any rooms available, instead.
29. They Want You To Steal the Samples.
Some people think they are being sneaky by grabbing the free bars of soap, shampoo, and other toiletries that are left out for you in the hotel bathrooms. What you don’t realize is that if it has the hotel’s logo on the side, they want you to take their toiletries, because it’s like free advertising for them when you put those items in your home.
28. Big Brother is Always Watching
You would be surprised at just how many people try to sneak in an adult movie in their hotel rooms, and claim that they clicked on it “by accident” so that it’s not charged on their bill. However, the front desk can see how long you watched a movie. If you quickly turn it off after a few seconds, they will believe you. But if you went ahead and watched the whole thing, don’t even bother trying to lie. You will just embarrass yourself.
27. They Know Who You Are
Nowadays, almost everyone has a Facebook or Instagram profile online. At upscale hotels, they will often look up guests on Google to see who you are. This is not to be creepy. They want to see who you are and make your stay more comfortable. Even at lower-end hotels, the front desk clerks might have a lot of downtime while they wait for new customers. If you leave an impression on them, they just might research you online.
26. Don’t Always Trust Third-Party Websites
There are a lot of websites out there that claim to have the lower prices on hotel rooms. Sometimes, you truly can find a great deal. However, in some cases, you can actually get a better deal by going directly to the hotel website, instead. Always double-check before you confirm your purchase. Even if you do find a great deal somewhere like Trivago or Expedia, call your hotel directly. The booking manager will gladly accept the price, because it means they can avoid paying commission to those third-party websites. They may even give you a room upgrade as a “thank you”.
25. Look For the Pin with the Golden Keys
When you see a hotel employee wearing a golden key pin on the lapel of their suit jacket, this means that they are a concierge that belongs to an organization called Les Clefs d’Or. That’s right- it’s not just a concept written for The Grand Budapest Hotel. These employees are usually very knowledgeable about getting reservations at local restaurants, finding concert tickets, and many other things that you might have a hard time doing on your own.
24. If You Request a Room, It’s Not Guaranteed
Some people like to visit the same hotel every time they go on vacation. Or, maybe you requested a specific room for the view. However, even if you call and request a specific room number, that does not guarantee that you will actually get the one you wanted. Keep in mind that if the room was recently occupied, and it’s not clean yet, that room will not be available for you. This has nothing to do with booking manager, or the person at the front desk. Sometimes, it is simply out of their hands.
23. Yes, They’re Talking About You
Have you ever gotten that creeping feeling that someone is whispering about you behind your back? Well, they just might be. Hotel staff is trained to keep an eye out for odd or potentially illegal activity, so don’t get offended if you think that they are talking about you, or another guest. They are just trying to keep everyone safe.
22. Time Your Booking Wisely
If you plan on going to a huge event like a concert or a convention, it would be wise to book your hotel room ahead of time. However, if you are not going on a holiday or special occasion, it is actually best to wait until the last minute to book a room. Hotel managers will drop the price up to 50% when they are trying to fill empty rooms.
21. They May Not Have Changed Sheets
Luxury hotels have a policy of changing sheets after every single guest leaves. However, cheaper hotels don’t change the sheets after every guest, but rather every 3-4 days. Some low-end motels may wait until once a week. Always check your sheets first. If you notice anything nasty, contact the manager immediately.
20. Overbooking Is Not The Hotel’s Fault
Since hotels rely on third party websites to help them book their rooms, this will sometimes cause a mixup where the hotel gets overbooked. Unfortunately for you, this could mean showing up to your hotel and finding out that your room has been given to someone else. Just keep calm and realize that this is not the hotel employee’s fault. They will often try to help you find a room somewhere else.
19. Online Reviews Really Do Matter
Before you leave a negative review on Yelp, keep in mind that hotel managers and owners really do take it to heart. And if you say something negative about your experience, it may mean that someone is getting fired. Sometimes, your temper tantrum writing a negative comment online could ruin someone’s life. So be careful what you say.
18. Always Rinse Your Cups and Glasses
Many hotels will leave glasses for you in the bathroom so that you can brush your teeth., as well as coffee mugs. However, you have no idea how long that glass has been sitting there. Dust could have accumulated in the glass, and you took a big gulp of it together with your water. So remember to always rinse it out, first.
17. Nice Works Better Than Being Rude
This may sound like common sense, but if you are being nice to the staff at a hotel, they will be more willing to do a better job to help you in return. So always put a smile on your face, and remain calm and understanding. They will truly appreciate it, and give you great service.
16. Germs Show Up In Hidden Places
Most hotels do their best to make sure their rooms are clean. But switch plates and remote controls are the dirtiest things in a hotel room. Even if the maids are in there frequently, they are not always looking to clean and disinfect these items. Do yourself a favor and bring some wipes to clean these before you use them.
15. Tips Make a Huge Difference
If you leave a tip for the maid or the bellhop, they truly will give you better service. This may be in hopes that you will give them another tip later on. However, if you choose to be a cheapskate, don’t expect to be treated like royalty.
14. Make Sure You Call The Right Phone Number
If you are searching for a hotel’s contact information, do not call a 1-800 number. That number is usually some booking agency that is miles away. Call the local number, instead. This way, you know that you are actually speaking to someone who physically works in the hotel itself. They are obviously better at helping answer any of your questions.
13. Skip Yelp and Ask the Front Desk
In today’s modern world, a lot of people turn to Yelp and Google reviews to find more information about things to do and see in that local area. But the receptionists working at the front desk are trained to give you the best recommendations, too. So, instead of spending hours staring at your phone, why not go downstairs and ask an expert, instead?
12. Hotel Stars Do Not Always Matter
Some people really care about going to a 5-star hotel. However, those ratings are usually coming from publications who may be biased. People don’t realize that a 3-star down the street is even more comfortable at a lower price. Instead of reading the arbitrary star system, read the reviews of former guests, instead, and you just may find a diamond in the rough.
11. You Can Change Your Room For Free
If you show up to your hotel room, and you are disappointed by the view, broken furniture, or basically anything at all, you can go down to the front desk and politely ask for them to swap you to a new location. As long as there are other rooms available, it is not a big deal at all, and you will not be charged extra. They would rather make sure you are a happy customer.
10. How Much Maids Are Really Paid
Most hotels pay their maids on the number of rooms they complete in a single day, instead of pay-per-hour. This is why they are frequently knocking on doors and trying to clean as many rooms as humanly possible.
9. Remember To Use Your “Do Not Disturb” Sign
Many maids are instructed to clean the rooms every day. They are usually instructed to wait until you leave, or knock and ask if they can enter. If you would prefer to be left alone during your stay, remember to put the “do not disturb” sign on your door knob.
8. High Rollers Get Secret Perks
This may not be a surprise to anyone, but if you are rich, famous, or a high-rolling customer that visits often, you will get the VIP treatment at a luxury hotel. Some of those perks include monogrammed bath robes that you get to keep, free concert tickets, or a visit to the spa. Not all of us can be celebrities, but if you want to get these kinds of perks, try to sign up for a hotel’s loyalty program or credit card, and you’re more likely to begin receiving special treatment.
7. Sometimes, Kids Get Free Perks
If you are trying to bring kids along with you, don’t keep that a secret. Hotels will often help you get a cot for your kids to sleep on, but you should notify them in advance. This way, they will have it ready for you. Some hotels may also give your children free perks like free cookies and coloring books. At upscale hotels, they may even give them teddy bears or cooking classes.
6. Celebrity Death is Good For Business
Whenever a celebrity dies, it becomes big news. And when they just so happen to die in a hotel room, it’s actually good business for them. When Whitney Houston died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, people actually started to flock there. Yes, it’s morbid, but it’s just true.
5. There Is A Half-Day Option
Sometimes, if you are in a city just one day because of a layover, road trip, or a special event, you may just need your hotel room for a few hours to take a shower and sleep before you’re ready to leave. Some hotels will give you a 12-hour option, instead of 24 hours. This is usually half the price of a full day, and it can help you save a ton of money.
4. Don’t Forget Your ID
If you are going to a hotel in your own country, the staff is going to ask for your driver’s license. They cannot let you into the room if they do not have that information. If you are out of the country, you will need to show your passport and visa.
3. Tell The Staff About Your Special Events
If it is your birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, or any other major event in your life, mention that to the hotel staff. They often have special perks set aside for their guests who are celebrating a special occasion.
2. Forget Something Important?
If you forgot to bring your toothbrush or umbrella, ask the front desk if they can provide one for you. Many hotels will keep items on-hand to help guests. This can save you time and money going out to a shop to find small essentials that you need during your stay.
1. Sometimes, Pets Are Accepted
Most people assume that they have to board their dog in a kennel, or ask their friends and family to look after them while they are away. Some hotels will actually accept dogs. If you are on a road trip and you want to bring Fido along, just ask the front desk if it’s okay. You may have to leave a cash deposit, just in case your dog destroys something. But if everything looks fine, you get your money back, and you can go on your way.
Shannon Quinn is the editor-in-chief of InspiringHome.org