Hotel room upgrades

Old Sep 11th, 2003, 09:38 PM
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Hotel room upgrades

Just a question on hotel room upgrades, how does one (front desk when you check in) determine which guest gets a free upgrade and which ones should pay for it? Read many reviews and had firsthand experience as well. Just came back from Waikiki and paid for an upgrade even though we were on our honeymoon. Heard other guests tell us that they got a free upgrade without even asking. Very strange. Am I missing something here?
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 10:00 PM
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Part of it is what the available inventory is when you check in. If you're staying for 5 days, but the better room doesn't appear to be rented for another week, you might get it. But if that better room will likely be used in 4 days, you're probably not gonna get it.

Another part, human nature, is how the clerk perceives you. If s/he thinks you're demanding, a pain, or even that you're kissing up, you're probably not gonna get an upgrade either. If the clerk likes you, is not too busy, and having a good day, well you might do better.

So those reserving rooms for shorter stays actually are most likely to get a free upgrade. Doubly true for "loyalty" programs (Hilton Honors, etc)

And about putting money out front: when I clerked, NO ONE who attempted to bribe me ever got extras. When I ran the office, any clerk who accepted money "up front" for upgrades was fired.
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Old Sep 11th, 2003, 10:47 PM
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I stayed in Waikiki for 7 nites. Checked in around 5pm. Front desk wasn't busy at all and hotel vacancy rate was at 50%. I guess I was staying for more nites and they probably felt I shouldn't get an upgrade or anything. Paid for an upgrade after I checked out the room we were at. I think they expected us to go back to them to request for an upgrade since they put us up in a room above a generator. Cups were pretty dusty, I guess no one stays in that part of the hotel for more than 10 mins. Thanks for the tip. I am part of their loyalty program, but I guess they didn't really care whether you are or not.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 02:41 AM
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I would say that Hawaii may be a different story every which way. The hotels are in a business to make money, not friends, as sad as that sounds. I'm a Gold VIP(16 stays per year) HiltonHonors member, and there are certain perks that come along with that, but many of them are not guaranteed, only promised if available. If you think about it, what exactly does that mean? It means that the hotel may or may not provide these perks, depending on what's going on. The only sure thing is that I will not get the broom closet, and if I do, well, that means they are really booked. To be fair, every time I stay at Hilton or one of the partner properties, I have been very lucky. Just recently I stayed at the Conrad Bangkok and I got an executive floor corner room(gorgeous) for the first 3 nights and then when I told them I'm moving to the Peninsula for the last 3 nights they gave me a 2 room suite that was all that and more. I'm sure my Gold status had a lot to do with it. Now remember that there is still one tier above me, HHonors Platinum(28 stays). So it's all about the time, location, and as stated before, the managers and/or front desk whim.
Hawaii, being the top destination, would not be a good gauge to measure how the system works. With my Gold status I would not expect very much, except the guaranteed perks, and hopefully not the view you got when you walked in the special room.

As far as what you read here and maybe somewhere else, don't believe half of it and maybe even most of it. The thread about bribing the front desk in Vegas makes me laugh. Not that the clerk did not take the money, but I would guess they still got the same room regardless of the $20 bribe. Obviously upgrades happen and occasionally they happen for no reason, but in most cases they happen for a reason. You are the top tier in the loyalty program, you are a regular guest at the hotel, etc...etc... not because you slip a $20 under the CC.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 03:53 AM
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Many upgrades are based on the hotels frequent stayers program and as the previous poster stated, not guaranteed. We were lucky enough that we were able to get upgraded at the 4 hotels we stayed at in Hawaii based on my Platinum status and Gold status at the hotels we stayed at, also on availability. I used to travel for work, so achieving these were no so hard. Some programs will let you use points to upgrade (I never have, but it may be a good idea).
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 07:38 AM
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I was one of the people that "bribed" a person $20 at the Venetian to get an upgrade. I prefer to call it a tip because I tip many people in Las Vegas, not anywhere else as Las Vegas is a tipping town. Further, I have also tipped $20 to park at hotel valets when parking was only availible to registered hotel guests. When someone finds another person that paid $99 firday night through priceline, did not tip $20 and received a top floor strip view I'd be pleased to hear about it.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 07:40 AM
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PS this was a first time stay at the Venetian. While I would never try this at another hotel Las Vegas works differently.

Regarding the hotel upgrades, it helps to have a travel agent with a lot of clout with Hawaii hotel stays.
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 04:06 PM
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The one thing that the front desk did do for me in Waikiki was to give me a comp ticket for 2 free drinks. I never did get the chance to use it though. By the time we came back to our hotel, the restaurant where we could use the comp ticket closed by 10PM. I don't understand why restaurants close at 10PM every night. That's pretty early, even for weekends!
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Old Sep 12th, 2003, 07:07 PM
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Some sort of "membership" helps. Sometimes calling the actual property ahead of arrival helps, sometimes it's a total surprise upon checkin. I've had all three !
Good luck.
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 12:23 PM
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I'd be interested to know which Waikiki hotel/loyalty program (also what tier level) this was. As others have mentioned occupancy rate, length of stay, tier level all factor into the upgrade equation. A few years back I stayed at the Sheraton Kaiulani and was given what I considered an unacceptable room. The next day they moved me to a much nicer room at no charge, apparently there was nothing else available that night. I think I was a gold member at the time. At the Hyatt Regency I've gotten a club floor ocean view each time as a diamond. They treat members pretty well at this property.
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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We attend a lot of meetings at upscale hotels. Almost always get upgraded. During meetings the hotels are booked or overbooked to capacity. As one front desk manager explained to me - someone is going to get upgraded because they just don't have enough low level rooms to accomodate everyone. If you happen to arrive at the right time or are nice enough to the front desk at check in, it might just be you that gets the upgrade.
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Old Sep 13th, 2003, 06:51 PM
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We stayed at the Marriott Waikiki Beach. Very nice property, and even though I am part of their loyalty program, the room we got really was unacceptable. Our room was in the older tower and was right above the huge generator. Considering we flew over 10 hours to get there and I had phoned them a week ahead that we were there on our honeymoon and would really like a nice room. The reservationist who took the call was wonderful and said she'd give us a free upgrade to the deluxe oceanfront instead of the oceanfront we reserved. Don't be fooled, oceanfront is nothing like the deluxe oceanfront. Our oceanfront room was above the generator and you can only see the beach if you stuck your head out of the balcony to the left of you. I almost cried when I saw the room. Obviously we didn't get a free upgrade and we paid for an upgrade the next day. I just didn't want to be in that cramped little room for over a week.
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