Going on a vacation or on a business trip, we dream of having the most comfortable accommodation at the lowest price. However, there could be some unpleasant surprises: the breakfast may not be tasty or additional services may be overpriced. Is it possible to avoid these situations and get the utmost comfort for the price you pay? There are a few tricks that you should know that aren’t easily found on the internet.
Here at 5 Fun Facts we decided to study this matter thoroughly and interviewed a real hotel employee. We found out which things deserve our attention when choosing a hotel and checking in.
The best way to book your room
1. Before booking a room at a chosen hotel, compare the prices for the rooms on different booking systems. In order to find the best price, use special apps like Trivago. In the majority of cases, booking systems offer lower prices than they do on the hotel’s website. In addition to that, some services like Booking.com give additional discounts to travelers that use their services often.
2. If you find a good offer on a website, you can try to call the hotel and ask the reservation agent to book a room for you for the price you found. Most likely, they will book the room for you. It’s more profitable for a hotel to book a room for you directly than via a booking system because they pay a 10-20% commission.
3. If it’s not your first time in your chosen hotel, tell this to the reservation agent. Hotels appreciate their regular visitors and you may get an extra bonus or a discount.
4. Not everyone knows that in the majority of hotels, you can book half the day — only 12 hours of stay or even less. The price will be respectively lower. Booking systems do not offer these variants, so you have to contact the hotel directly or use a special app.
Important tips and facts
1. If you plan an early check-in or a late check-out you have to confirm the possibility of doing this beforehand. Check-in time normally starts at 2 p.m. or even later. Before this time, the room may be occupied by other guests. The room is considered to be free after the check-out time on the day of your departure. Be aware that you might have to pay extra for an early check-in and a late check-out.
2. You have to inform the hotel about the number of guests that are going to stay in one room, how many beds you need, and whether you need a child bed or an extra bed. Sometimes people book a single room, but they are traveling as a couple. In this case, you’d have to pay extra for the second guest.
3. You should bring your passport with you. Many hotels also accept other forms of identification like your driver’s license, for example. You should contact the staff of the hotel beforehand and figure out which documents they may need.
4. If you find yourself in a hotel in your own country without any documents you might be able to ask your relatives to take a picture of them and send it to your phone. Show these photos when checking in. It could help, especially if you have been to this hotel previously. But remember, a hotel may refuse to check you in if you don’t have your identification.
1. If your birthday or honeymoon are going to be during your stay in your chosen hotel, don’t forget to tell this to the hotel’s management. As a rule, hotels try to congratulate their guests on their birthdays or honeymoons by decorating their rooms, leaving presents, or offering free services.
2. Find out which attractions there are at your hotel. It’s better to use a sauna, a swimming pool, or a play room for kids in the mornings. There are fewer guests and if the hotel charges for these amenities, the price is usually lower than in the evening.
3. You get some services for free. You can ask for a wake-up call, have them call a taxi, or book a table at a restaurant. The concierge will provide you with information about the city and available excursions.
4. In the majority of cases, in many hotels, you can get things like a portable heater, a fan, a teapot, an iron, a phone charger, a sewing kit, an umbrella, and many other things you can use for free. However, if you go to a small, cheap hotel that doesn’t belong to a chain, you probably won’t be provided with the amenities mentioned above. In any case, it’s better to find out beforehand what you can have access to while in the hotel, and what you will need to take with you.
5. If you need an extra blanket, a pillow, or a towel, don’t hesitate to ask the hotel to give them to you. Every hotel has a lot of them.
6. The majority of hotels don’t allow pets. However, sometimes it’s acceptable to leave a deposit in case the animal damages the hotel’s property. During check-out, a staff member checks the room, and if the pet didn’t scratch or chew on anything the deposit will be returned to the owner.
1. In many hotels, the room price already includes breakfast. If you don’t need it, ask about excluding it from your bill and you may be able to pay less.
2. Before ordering food in the hotel, read other guests’ reviews about it. In big chain hotels, the food is required to meet some special standards. However, smaller, private hotels can surprise you. For example, a hotel may promise a buffet and have only a little table with snacks, and not all hotels have vegetarian or kids menus, so it’s always better to find out everything beforehand.
3. For those who paid for their stay with breakfast included but don’t have time to sit down and eat it, the hotel staff can usually arrange a bagged breakfast to go. Tell the staff about your early departure beforehand, otherwise they may forget to prepare it.
Room cleaning standards
1. Every hotel has strict cleaning schedules and procedures. However, there are some housekeeping norms and standards that have to be followed by the majority of hotels.
2. Don’t be afraid that housekeepers won’t change the sheets after the previous guests; this is simply unacceptable. However, if this ever happens to you, immediately report this to the front desk because it’s a gross violation.
3. It is an accepted standard that while a guest lives in a room, it has to be cleaned daily. Housekeepers clean rooms while the guest is outside. If you are in the room, the housekeeper will knock on the door and ask if he or she can clean your room at this moment. If you use the “do not disturb” sign, nobody will enter the room. As long as the sign is there, nobody will clean the room.
4. You usually have to pay for extra cleaning and also for the washing and ironing of your clothes.
5. Towels and linen changes for the guests during their stay is normally made once every 3-5 days. This rule works for 2- and 3-star hotels. In 5-star hotels, your linen and towels can be changed daily at your request.
What are the little tricks that you use for making your stay more comfortable and cheap? Share your tips with us in the comments.