It always helps to get the inside scoop, so in order to get the best rate and the best experience with your hotel, we have listed some of the hotel industry’s best kept secrets.
Booking ahead of time will always get you the best rate. Rates will increase as demand increases.
Check many different sites before booking a room and do not be afraid to book through a third-party booking site. It’s the same room and the same service. Just be aware that many of these charge the money when you book and are non-refundable.
If you reserve a room and do not guarantee it with a credit card, the hotel has a right to cancel your reservation without notice. On the other hand, if you book a room and guarantee it with a credit card and do not use the room, the hotel will charge you for the night because they kept it open for you and did not give it to anyone else.
If you reserve a room for several days and do not show up on the first day, the entire reservation will be cancelled. Do not assume each night is its own reservation.
Hotel sales people set a limit to the number of reservations they will take OVER the number of rooms they have. This is a risk game on all sides. If a hotel shows it is at 99%, they can still take additional reservations to ensure they are at 100%, even if people cancel or check out early.
Sometimes, people who say they are checking out, decide to extend their stay. This is completely allowed, even though it may overbook the hotel.
When a hotel is overbooked, it is the hotel’s responsibility to find a room for everyone who has reserved one. They will try to make it comparable-but not better (they do not want you to like the other hotel more.) Moving a reservation from one hotel to another is called a Guest Walk. If you are “walked” to another hotel, the home hotel should pay for the first night, your cab/Uber/Lyft fee and, if you are really upset, but really nice, sometimes they will pay for your dinner.
In all cases, the rate that you booked is guaranteed, but rarely is the room type guaranteed. This is important to know if you need a room with multiple beds. Some hotels will split a rate and give two rooms to accommodate this, but some will not care that 4 adults are now crammed into one queen bed.
Check in as early as you can. Hotels have a check in time set to mid-afternoon, to allow them time to clean the check out rooms. Even if a room is not clean yet, you can check in and tell them you will come back for the key when it is ready. This will guarantee you first pick of the available rooms for that night.
Read reviews to know if a hotel is clean, if the staff is nice and professional.
June McCreight began her career in the hospitality industry as a housekeeper in 1996. In the years since, she has risen through the ranks, learning maintenance, front office, sales and revenue management, property management and district management, bench management and opening team management. She has trained hundreds of hoteliers and won many awards for her management successes. In 2011, June wrote and published, The Strangers in My Beds, a fictional novel based strictly on the strange events of her career in hotels. In 2014, June partnered with her father, a very accomplished software architect, and opened the business, Coba Enterprise Management, LLC with a very unique and specialized CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) software for hotels.