to Eat and Travel
Lists of Tips & Ideas -
9 Secrets That Hotels
Want You to Know
You want a hotel to be your home away from home,
but many aspects of hotel pricing and policy are anything but homey.
Here's what you need to know...
1. You can get the best rate
by calling the hotel's local number, not the 800 number,
which usually links callers to an off-site, centralized call center.
Instead of asking the reservations desk, ask to speak with the
Manager on duty, the General Manager, or the Director of Sales.
These people have the authority to negotiate room rates.
2. Rooms are more expensive
in the morning.
The best time of the day to make a reservation by phone is right
after 6pm. This is when hotels wipe out all the no-show reservations
that were unsecured by a credit card. They then offer these rooms
at bargain rates. Note: In high-occupancy cities like
New York or San Francisco, the deadline is 4pm.
3. Everything is negotiable.
Think parking is overpriced? If the lot looks half empty, offer
less than the daily rate. Planning to make a lot of phone calls?
Some hotels offer a per-day flat fee for long distance in the
U.S. and local calling — usually $9.95 — but you
must ask for it.
4. Rooms are available even
when a hotel has no vacancies.
In any large hotel, a few rooms usually are listed as "out of order" at
any given time. The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet
or a chair that has been sent out for repairs. If you're desperate for a last-minute
room in a hotel that claims to have none available, tell the manager you are
willing to take an out-of-order room that has only a minor problem.
5. A thief takes one credit
card, not your entire wallet
It's no secret that crime is common in hotels. The new twist is that some hotel
thieves now take just one credit card when they find an unguarded wallet in
a room — and leave everything else untouched. Often, the victim doesn't
notice the card is missing until the credit line is maxed out.
Travel only with the credit cards you really
need, and check your wallet carefully if you accidentally leave
It pays to tip the housekeeper every day.
Exchange a few pleasant words with the housekeeper if you see him/her — and
leave a $2 or $3 tip each day. You'll get better service. Housekeepers
are the most overworked, underpaid, under appreciated people in the
hotel, so any gesture will be appreciated.
Knowing the housekeeper also reduces the chances
that your room will be burglarized. Dishonest housekeepers are
less likely to target guests they have met. And if a thief enters
your room while it is being cleaned and pretends to be you — a
common ruse — the housekeeper will be able to spot the imposter.
7. Your bags aren't safe with
Even in elite hotels, luggage can be stolen right off the luggage
carts in the lobby. Though these bags theoretically are in possession
of the bellhop, the hotel assumes no legal responsibility for
If your bag is going to sit for more than a few
minutes, ask that it be placed in a secure room. Keep valuable
items in the hotel safe.
Helpful: High-end luggage might impress fellow
travelers, but it also impresses thieves. The cheaper or uglier
your luggage looks, the greater the odds that a thief will target
8. Hotel rooms are infested
items in hotel rooms never get cleaned. The biggest trouble spots include
the TV remote control, telephone, and clock radio. Travel with a package of antibacterial
wipes, and clean these items when you arrive.
Also, while reputable hotels provide fresh lines,
bedspreads might be cleaned only once every few months. Remove
them from the beds when you check in. Ask for clean blankets as
soon as you arrive.
9. The lost and found is a great resource for
cell phone users.
If you use a cell phone, odds are that someday you'll forget to
bring your recharging cord or lose it in transit. If you're staying
at a hotel, there's no need to buy a replacement. Recharging cords
are the No. 1 item left behind in hotel rooms. Most hotels are
willing to lend cords from their lost and found — but guests