1. It pays to be nice to hotel staff.
Room assignments—including upgrades—are often still made by actual people, usually front desk managers. If they associate your name with a friendly face, you may find yourself in a spacious corner suite on your next visit.
2. Request hotel extras (politely).
“Ask and you will receive,”.Most hotels will be happy to provide extra items, like DVD players, microwaves and even fridges, at no extra charge if they have them on hand.
3. Loyalty counts, so stick with one hotel chain.
Frequent travelers can achieve a preferred status level, which comes with privileges—special amenities, freebies and access to “hotel within the hotel” areas that include perks such as private check-in and free breakfast or happy hour drinks.
4. Handle hotel comforters with care.
At some hotels, bedspreads aren’t washed or even changed between guests. If you’d rather not deal with the uncertainty, toss the comforter in the corner, wash your hands and call for a replacement.
5. Wash your hands after using the hotel remote.
That said, the filthiest thing in the room might be lying on your bedside table. In 2012, researchers at Ontario’s Guelph University swabbed surfaces in 54 hotel rooms across the country. They found that TV remotes were covered in more bacteria than previous studies had measured on public-toilet surfaces.
6. When in doubt, ask the hotel concierge.
Trust the concierge as a source for local intel. “They are the highly trained professionals who are the eyes and ears of the community”
7. Don’t leave everything until check-in.
If you have preferences for where you’d like to sleep, have special requests, call ahead. Earlier is better, but even if you call the morning of, you’ll just need to give time to make it happen,”
8. Be wary of hotel sell-off sites.
If you use third-party sell-off sites like Expedia, you’ll snag bargain rates, but you’ll get what you paid for. You’ll likely end up with a less-than-ideal room—lower floors, bad views.
9. Tip hotel staff generously.
Tipping lets you express gratitude and ensures you’ll get good service again. Experts recommend giving bellhops up to $5 per bag; valets should get $2 to $3 for retrieving your car; housekeepers should be left $2 to $5 daily; and concierges should be rewarded for exceptional service ($10 to $20).
10. Some of the best hotel offers are hidden.
Hotels will occasionally give out discounts and perks to guests who post Tripadvisor reviews or fill out hotel surveys. You can also ask about “recontact” lists, where special deals and packages are sent to patrons via email
11. Hotel star-ratings sometimes lie.
Hotel ratings systems vary widely between countries. For example, in Italy, a hotel can earn five stars by simply having a 24-hour reception desk, rooms that start at 16 square metres and receptionists who speak three languages. A single star is awarded for changing the sheets once a week.