Hotel Hacks To Maximize Your Guest Experience
As someone who has worked with hotels and hospitality brands extensively over the years, I have a few suggestions for you to get the most with these hotel hacks to maximize your guest experience.
As previously discussed, I was once the Director of PR & Communications at the famous Beverly Wilshire, and continue to work with brands around the world on their branding and creative marketing/content. I genuinely love hotels, but until I worked in-house for one (hello Four Seasons), I didn’t realize how much more I could better my stay as a guest by participating more in the booking and follow up process. This is certainly geared more towards luxury hotels, but you would be surprised how many places want to hear from you and help you to make your trip the best it can be. So here are some suggestions for you to get the most with few hotel hacks to maximize your guest experience.
1. Give Detail Upon Booking: The more information a hotel has about you (guests, room/bed preferences, arrival time, needs, special occasion, etc) before you arrive, the better. It makes their life a lot easier and will make yours too, with everything set up for arrival (trust me, it will be appreciated). I often book through a third party myself (if you use a travel agent, they can do this for you too), so I always send a follow up email to the hotel directly after I’ve booked. *P.S. I ALWAYS email instead of call so there is a record of it and can be shared with necessary staff. They will also note it in your reservation.
2. Arrive Early/Stay Late: This can sometimes be difficult during high travel seasons, so certainly be aware of that, but if you need an hour here or there, hotels are usually open and will work with you on arrival & departure times. And if your room isn’t quite ready, other accommodations can be made (ie. pool access, spa shower access, etc). If you are part of a hotel loyalty program it will certainly help, but it’s also something to give the front desk a heads up on – that you’re thinking of coming early and staying late. While they’ll often say, “We can’t guarantee this request in advance,” they will at least make a note in the system, and most properties will try and accommodate the request.
3. Concierge/Celebration: Also something to email about in advance, is in the event of a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, babymoon, etc). This gives the property a reason and opportunity to gift you with perks they have at the ready, whether it’s chocolate-covered strawberries, a bottle of bubbly, a cheese plate, or potentially to help book you in a restaurant, etc.
4. Know the hotel amenities: Don’t show up to reception with zero idea of what amenities are included and what fees or incidentals are extra. Do your research in advance to avoid any surprises, and to hit the ground running. (ie. Hit the gym, take a yoga class, visit the spa’s eucalyptus steam room, sign out a bike for local exploration, or take advantage of the hotel’s nightly wine and appetizer hour.)
5. Know the hotel language: This might sound crazy, but when requesting an upgrade or a room change, or lodging a complaint, make sure you talk the talk. Using hotel verbiage such as occupancy, satisfaction, loyalty, or guest profile reinforces your status as a frequent traveler who is aware of your rights. And please, if there is an issue, speak to a manager directly and never berate the staff. That’s just rude and shows poor manners. Which leads me to…
6. Get to know the staff + tip well: We’re all humans just trying to do our best, and people in hospitality work unbelievably hard at every level. I have witnessed terrible behavior from guests, so friendliness goes a long way with the staff. Rule no. 1: Call them by name. Rule no. 2: Ask staff for their local insights. I often get to know hotel employees, and friendliness combined with tipping well makes all the difference from a service point of view.
7. Loyal = royal. And points: When it comes to travel, unless you book the presidential suite or spend money like a celebrity, it’s mostly loyalty that equals royalty. Furthermore, knowing the details of your loyalty program (hotel and/or credit card), and how it relates to redemptions or perks for your stay is very important as far as augmenting your experience.