These Are the Most Surprising Ways You Can Get Amazing Hotel Service

No matter how luxurious your room or upscale the amenities, a stay at a hotel isn’t complete without excellent service. Even staying at an expensive hotel doesn’t guarantee great service. But if you know what to say and how to act, you can definitely increase your chances of being treated well by the hotel staff.

Below, discover some tried-and-true tips for getting amazing service the next time you stay at a hotel.

1. Choose the right hotel

hotel check-in

Know your preferences. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Your definition of amazing hotel service varies from the next person’s. So getting your ideal version of excellent service starts when you book your hotel. The New York Times explains that you could spend the same amount of money at two different high-end hotels, but end up with a completely different experience at each. Some offer their guests formal and traditional service. Others take a more colloquial approach, greeting guests by first name, for instance. Additionally, some hotels have their staff check in on guests frequently, while others prefer to give guests more space. Decide what you prefer, and research which hotels will provide what you want.

Next: Try booking your stay this way.

2. Consider booking through a travel agent

Family with travel agent

You might get some free amenities. | comstock/iStock/Getty Images

Some travelers love booking through travel agents, while others would prefer to steer clear. But the Times recommends that if you want great hotel service, you call up your travel agent. Many travel agents, especially those who participate in networks like Virtuoso or Signature Travel Network, can get you free amenities at the hotel. Those could range from property credit to free breakfasts. Plus, if you book through a travel agent, the hotel may flag you as a VIP and offer you better service. The Times advises, “You pay a premium to use a travel agent, but in addition to the other services they provide, the added perks can be worthwhile.”

Next: Place this call before you arrive.

3. Call the hotel ahead of your trip

woman traveler on mobile phone call

The concierge might give you some perks. | beer5020/iStock/Getty Images

The New York Times also recommends calling the hotel before you arrive. Talking with the concierge in advance of your stay can enable the hotel to provide you with better service, especially if you tell them why you’re traveling and what you want out of your experience. If you’re celebrating a birthday or are in town for another occasion, make sure that you tell the hotel. That way, they can do their best to anticipate your needs or to tailor the experience to you and your family.

Next: Definitely call if this applies to you.

4. Make a point of calling especially if you booked online

Senior couple checking in at hotel reception smiling

Verify your reservation. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Condé Nast Traveler learned that it’s especially important to place a call to the hotel if you booked your reservation online. When you book your room online, you become “slightly less important” in the hotel’s hierarchy, the publication explains. So you’ll want to make a call to the front desk — not to reservations — to make sure that “you’re no longer a discount customer in a sea of reservations.” Even if the person you speak to won’t be there when you arrive, you’ll create a contact. And that can help you get better hotel service during your stay.

Next: Make sure that the hotel knows about this.

5. Verify any special requests you made while booking

Hotel receptionist checking couple in

Make sure everything is set for you. | Viktorcvetkovic/iStock/Getty Images

Another reason to call the hotel’s front desk before you arrive? To ensure that any special requests you made when you booked your room actually got to the hotel. Forbes learned that when you book on third-party travel sites, any specific requests you made — like two king beds or a large bathroom — might not get transferred to the hotel. Making those requests again is a great excuse to establish contact with the hotel. And it can still help you get better service throughout your stay.

Next: Tip this member of the hotel staff.

6. Tip the doorman

A doorman stands in front of the Pierre Hotel

Use tips to your advantage. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Whatever you think about tipping culture in the United States, you can definitely use it to your advantage to get better hotel service. Condé Nast Traveler recommends tipping the doorman at your hotel. The publication advises taking the time to tip the doorman as he gets your luggage out of the car. After that, he’s more likely to go above and beyond to take care of you, getting you an umbrella, giving you directions, or even getting you access to the house car.

Next: You might want to tip these people, too.

7. Give tips to other hotel staff members, too

bellman, at the Ritz-Carlton

Tips are a valuable tool. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Speaking of tipping, Condé Nast Traveler argues that it really is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal if you want the best hotel service possible. Tipping the bellman can help you get inside information, or enable you to ask for favors that you wouldn’t normally get. Tipping the housekeeper, especially at the start of your stay, can ensure good service (and plenty of towels). And if you tip the concierge early in your stay, they’re more likely to work harder for you.

Next: Do this to ensure great service from the valet.

8. Take a walk around your car

Luxury car and valet attendent

Note its condition before and after the valet drives it. | Jupiterimages/iStock/Getty Images

Worried about leaving your car with the valet? You can’t do much about it at hotels where that’s your only option. But Condé Nast Traveler learned a surprising way that you can ensure that the valet will be careful with your vehicle. When you drop off your vehicle, take the time to walk around the car, taking a good look at it, within full view of the valet. That way, the valet will know that you’re aware of what scratches are — or aren’t — on your car. And they may be a little more careful with it once they see you paying attention.

Next: Know how this works if you hope to check in early.

9. Know how check-in works

Couple standing on hotel reception

Don’t be surprised. | iStock.com/Zero Creatives

If you want an early check-in or a late check-out, you’ll need to ask politely at the front desk. But Forbes notes that you should keep your expectations realistic — and know how the process works. Forbes reports that at many hotels it’s difficult to check in between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. “Checkout is usually around then, so if you come in during that time, it may be very difficult to get a room.” If you need an early check-in, call the hotel that morning and ask to be preregistered. If the hotel was only 60% full the night before, for instance, 40% of the rooms are still clean. The front desk agents can start assigning those rooms.

Next: Keep this in mind when you interact with the hotel staff.

10. Never act entitled

a businessman talking to a receptionist

Be polite. | LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images

When you get to the front desk agent, your fate pretty much rests in their hands. They will choose what room you get. And if you start acting entitled or making demands, you definitely won’t get what you want. Condé Nast Traveler reports, “the difference between requesting and demanding is big.” The hotel won’t guarantee you much, but you can always request a big closet, a good view, or a room with a lot of light. Speak politely, provide a $10 to $20 tip, and make requests instead of demands and you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want.

Next: Ask for this information when you interact with the hotel staff. 

11. Find out employees’ names

Attendant talking with room guest

This will hold employees accountable. | yacobchuk/iStock/Getty Images

If you really want to get the best hotel service, you might want to ask hotel employees for their names. Forbes learned, “Nothing will make an employee accountable more than knowing their name.” Knowing names can help you out later if something goes wrong. But asking for someone’s name can also enable you to give a special thanks to somebody who proves particularly kind or helpful during your stay.

Next: Always remember to do this.

12. Maintain realistic expectations

Young couple lying on their bed in their hotel room

You’ll get what you pay for. | DGLimages/iStock/Getty Images

If you want excellent hotel service, The New York Times advises that there’s one key thing to keep in mind. You’ll need to set realistic expectations for the kind of service you can reasonably expect when you stay at a hotel. “Most luxury hotels have an ingrained service culture, while budget and mid-tier properties often don’t,” the publication notes. If you stay at a three-star hotel, for instance, you can’t expect the staff to do the same things for you that a five-star property would provide. “That doesn’t mean you can’t have a stellar experience at a budget hotel — you should just be reasonable with your desires and demands before you book,” the Times recommends.

Next: Also remember to do this throughout your stay.

13. Don’t be shy

Traveller calling front desk

Speak up if something goes wrong. | dima_sidelnikov/iStock/Getty Images

Another key strategy for getting excellent hotel service? Remember to speak up if something goes wrong or doesn’t meet your expectations. According to The New York Times, the hotel manager will want to know if your room service took an hour to arrive or if housekeeping missed your room. If you speak your mind, the hotel staff can either fix the issue or find a way to make it up to you. But if you keep it to yourself, you may leave feeling like you got stuck with bad hotel service on your vacation.

Next: The same thing applies when you need something the hotel hasn’t provided. 

14. Ask for what you need

The concierge is not your babysitter.

There are many amenities available if you just ask. | iStock.com/Monkeybusinessimages

Similarly, a smart way to get good service is to ask for whatever it is that you need. Hotels offer a surprising number of amenities for guests who just ask. From extra toiletries to a clean comforter, bicycle rentals to discount admission to attractions, the hotel may be able to provide what you need. But you actually have to ask to find out if they can provide what you want.

Next: If all else fails, keep this piece of advice in mind.

15. Stay at a luxury hotel

Luxury hotel room

It might be worth the price. | Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

If you want to be assured of truly stellar service, then it may be worth it to book a room at luxury hotel, according to the Times. The staff at luxury hotels often receive training in anticipatory service. And staff members are also tasked with pleasing their guests. According to The New York Times, “They may even have a budget to ‘wow’ guests with surprise gifts such as a bottle of their favorite Champagne, complimentary meals or included activities, or other amenities designed to make a stay at a luxury hotel live up to the luxury price tag.”

Read more: 15 Secrets Hotels Don’t Want You to Know

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