Alright, so you want to know how to get a free hotel upgrade. I understand. The feeling of immense smugness as you dive on to your incredible duvet and gaze out at the spectacular panoramic view having paid for a bunk bed in the basement is a tough one to top.
Happily for you, I happen to consider myself rather an expert in this field and have devised a few top tips for you. There’s no golden rule or guarantee, but I’ve found over time there’s a few simple things you can do to improve your chances. It involves a smile and a little bit of strategy…
1. CHARM AND DISARM
Should be top of any list in life. The simplest route to an upgrade is to be polite and charming – you don’t need to overdo it and ask the receptionist out on date (draw the line between ‘friendly’ and ‘leery’, you creep) but generally being a nice person will get you a long way. Ask how they are, compliment the hotel, make a joke, and once you’ve built up a rapport dive in with the better room request.
2. LOOK AWESOME
Look like you’ve arrived and you’re more likely to be taken seriously. Hotels like a smart, attractive guests – it helps their brand and shows them you’re the kind of person they want to impress and see again.
3. MEET THE BOSS
Take the time to introduce yourself to the manager and compliment their hotel. Do your research and know what you’re talking about – which are the good rooms, maybe some of the history… impress them. They’re the ones with the power to upgrade you instantly if it takes their fancy, whereas a receptionist may need to get approval.
4. DON’T BE A CHEAPSKATE
Getting moved from a budget double that you booked online for £50 to the £300 luxury suite is going to be tricky. If you’re pushing for an upgrade it’s probably only going to be to the next best room, maybe two up if you’re lucky. Book a mid range room for the best chances of a home run.
5. ARRIVE LATE, STAY SHORT
The later you get to the hotel, the less chance there is of them being able to let the room so the higher chances there are of you being nudged up. You’re also more likely to be upgraded if you’re only staying for a night or two.
6. WHAT’S YOUR ‘SPECIAL REASON’?
Birthdays and honeymoons can get a little dull, but come up with a niche reason to be upgraded and it may just swing it for you. Special weekend with your mum who’s never left the country? Last night of travelling? Recently divorced?! Creativity people, creativity.
7. JOIN THE CLUB
Sign up for hotel loyalty cards and schemes. Even if you only stay once it gives the impression you intend to return which could be your golden ticket, and if you actually are going to return you’ll quickly accrue free nights and great rooms.
8. TAKE A LITTLE, GIVE A LITTLE
Let them know what your upgrade can do for them – are you a business executive who can recommend the hotel to your colleagues, a regular who’s signing up for member points or a writer or photographer who can provide some coverage online or in print? Show that their kindness can work for both parties.
Have you got any upgrade hacks I’ve missed? I’d love to hear them. Comment below with your most cunning suggestions!