Elevate your hotel stay from standard to standout with these 10 tips and tricks from industry insiders
By Amy Cooper
Get in early
Dylan Cole, Hotel Manager at Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour says an early check-in is often possible – as long as you give your hotel a heads-up. “Advise at the time of reservation that you would like to check in early,” he says. “More times than not, this request will be granted if you’ve asked in advance.”
Ask; don’t demand
Amanda Cottome, General Manager at Sydney’s Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour, says that it never hurts to ask a hotel to go above and beyond what you’ve paid for, but the trick is to keep it subtle. "We’re always looking for ways to make our guests' stay as happy as possible, and understand guests are also looking for ways to elevate their experience,” she says, advising that the trick is never to ask outright but perhaps phone ahead to plant the seed by telling them about a special event or occasion. “Don't ask for the upgrade. Let us surprise you."
Spread some love
“Being pleasant to the guest service agent at check-in goes a long way towards heightening your chance of preferential service,” says Dylan Cole.
Mark Harris, a former member of concierge teams at luxury hotels throughout Europe, agrees. “Whether or not you’re a high-paying guest, being obnoxious is the quickest way to get hotel staff offside. Just being polite to the person who checks you in could convince her to put you in the room she knows has a better view than the one three doors down. If you’re rude, you’re more likely to end up in the one next to the service elevator.”
Tell them your good news
Says Dylan Cole: “Let the hotel team know if you are celebrating something. We love to recognise those moments.”
Mark Harris adds: In one of the properties I worked in recently, all staff were connected 24/7 on WhatsApp. If a guest mentioned they were celebrating something to any team member – from a restaurant server to the bellboy – they’d share the info, guest name and room number with all staff as soon as possible.” You may find a complimentary bottle of champagne in your room celebrating a new partnership, promotion or big win. If appropriate to your business, Cole says to always mention it; “Even if it’s something small, like a work promotion. A good hotel will respond however they can.”
The Sunday secret
Often a quiet night for both business and leisure travel (with the obvious exception of long weekends, school holidays and public holidays) Sunday is your optimum window of opportunity for an upgrade – so if your workload permits fly in Sunday rather than Monday morning for that early-week meeting. "Looking for the cheeky upgrade without being too obvious?” says Amanda Cottome. “Sunday is the perfect night to score a superior suite. Traditionally it is the quietest night of the week, so it definitely improves your chances for a bigger, sweeter deal!"
Yes, you can linger longer
“Late check-outs up to midday are frequently granted,” says Dylan Cole. “Have a chat with that guest service agent you were so lovely to on arrival!” Adds Mark Harris: “Increase your chances by showing consideration to the hotel staff; ask if they need the room back right on checkout or if there’s a chance you could stay just a little bit longer. And also tell them why it would really help you to do that.”
The rewards of loyalty
It’s quick and easy to sign-up for your hotel’s loyalty programme, and the rewards are often immediate; free in-room wi-fi, discounts in the restaurant, drinks vouchers. On future visits, you’re likely to be offered preferential room rates, speedy check-in, and access to member lounges.
Ask for extras
Most quality hotels are stocked up with spare slippers, robes, toiletries, phone chargers, extra pillows, quilts and more – all of which can make a difference when you get in late from all your work commitments. All of which can come your way if you just ask, politely as always.
Balance your stay
Choose a hotel that offers lifestyle choices as well as meeting rooms and unlimited WiFi. An in-house spa, a gym, a library or even a podcast channel are all great ways to get you away from laptop and encourage a balanced business stay.