Sunday, May 29, 2011

Top 7 Ways to Score Free Hotel Upgrades

Today I am very pleased and honored to share with everyone a great guest post by Amy Chan, Director of Marketing for Kiwi Collection. She was gracious enough to offer some great insider tips on how to get the best upgrade possible at hotels.
Sometimes, just being personable and friendly can go a long way in scoring a free hotel upgrade. But for times when a nice smile and pleasant demeanor aren’t enough, here are some other tricks to try.
1. Timing – The front desk needs to know the inventory of rooms they have. If you check in later in the day, between 4-6PM, you can increase your chances because they can see the cancellations and no-shows. Also, if your dates are flexible try to avoid busy holiday times, as upgrades cannot be given if a hotel is at full occupancy.
2. Book a room in the middle price range – It doesn’t help your odds to get an upgrade if you book the cheapest room category available. Book a room that is in the mid-range for better chances.
3. Ask - It doesn’t hurt to ask, and the worst thing that can happen is that you get declined.  If it’s a special occasion, it doesn’t hurt to volunteer that information either.
4. Hotel mistake? – Sometimes a hotel’s mistake can work to your advantage. Maybe your room wasn’t ready upon check-in, or there was heavy construction causing a sleepless night – you can always address a hotel issue with the management in a nice manner and see if they will do something to compensate for the inconvenience.
5. Where you book matters -  If you’re booking a standard room, a hotel can actually give you a different room just based on the booking source. Ever experience a really bad room close to the hotel’s laundry room when booking on Expedia, only to find that your friend who booked elsewhere paid the same price but got a better room? Blame it on sheer bad luck or the booking source.
6. Loyalty — You will have better chances of a free upgrade if you are loyal to the hotel and provide repeat business. Participate in loyalty programs and start accumulating points, they are usually free to join. It doesn’t hurt at the time of reservation to let them know that you’ve stayed there before either. Hotels know that it costs a lot less to keep a repeat customer happy than it is to acquire a new one, so often times they’ll give special treatment to return customers.
7. Title drop — There aren’t any guarantees, but you may find that title dropping can increase your chances of special treatment and upgrades. Hotels may want to impress you more because they know you’re an important businessperson, someone who can refer new business or have blogging or press power.

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