How can you get an upgrade when booking a hotel room?
Craig Hewett, cofounder and chief commercial officer from wego.com said it might be old-fashioned, but he believes good manners are the first and most important thing to remember when traveling, especially when checking in to a hotel.
Receptionists work long hours, which often include overnight shifts as well as weekends. Guests with a bad attitude will certainly make their working hours seem longer and more exhausting.
"Seasoned travelers will tell you that the receptionists hold all the keys to larger rooms, rooms with more windows, balconies, best views, the rooms furthest away from the elevators, corner suites and many other common requests to make your stay a little more special. So, remember to be friendly and respectful to the receptionists, they hold a lot of power," Hewet pointed out.
Jeremy, who previously worked for three-and-a-half years at an American five-star hotel chain in Singapore, agreed.
From Jeremy's personal experience as a receptionist, he carried out thousands of upgrades for guests based on his personal judgment.
"Usually, it's because first, the booked room-type is already full. Second, it may be because there is no suitable bedding arrangement as preferred by the guest. Third is a service recovery if a guest receives bad service, and fourth, because the guest is staying for one night only and there is only one standard or suite rooms left."
If the last option applied, Jeremy would upgrade the guest to a suite and offer the standard room to longer-stay guests.
But Jeremy admitted he had also provided upgrades upon a guest's request for a bigger room if they checked in with their family.
"Sometimes I gave in, because I think it's important not only to please our guests but to have a little compassion. After all, if they only intend to stay for one night, why not [provide an upgarde?," he said.
Another hotel employee, Steven (not his real name), who has years of experience managing a front office department at an international hotel and resort in Indonesia, summed up these insights behind hotels' upgrade policies:
Join the hotel’s loyalty program
From a hotel sales and marketing perspective, joining the hotel’s loyalty program is a way to enjoy some extra benefits and privileges because, as a member, you will be indicated as a potential repeat customer.
In practice, this gives you a greater chance to obtain extra benefits and privileges, such as a complimentary upgrade to a superior room, or a room on higher floor, with private balcony, facing the pool, and so on.
More nights, more benefits
The more nights you book, the greater the chance you will receive more discounts, have certain fees waived or get some extra benefits, such as a complimentary room upgrade, because you are considered a potential source of additional revenue in the hotel's spa, restaurants, laundry facilities, and so on.
Contact the hotel in advance
A hotel's front-desk staff check daily reservation reports, the Expected Arrivals List, and they pre-assign the rooms. This is usually done each morning, although some hotels delegate this task to night reception staff.
It is highly recommended that you contact the hotel in advance (as early as possible) to request a room that is available for early check-in or one that matches your preferences. Sometimes, however, this can only be done when you arrive at the hotel.
Be a celebrity
It is no surprise that those with VIP status have the best chance of having their room upgraded, based on availability or request.
This can only be done with the approval of the front office manager or on-duty manager and, of course, it is subject to availability.
However, Steven emphasized the point that aside from status distinction, all guests should be treated the same in any hospitality business.
Finally, if you get great service, don't hesitate to offer a tip to show your appreciation to the staff.
You never know when you may be back to stay again, and you might find when you return that one of the staff on the front desk greets you with your name and offers you a complimentary room upgrade.