Upgrading a Hotel Room

Old Aug 30th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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Upgrading a Hotel Room

I'm just curious, but how many of you book the cheaper room hoping for an upgrade, as opposed to just booking the room you want.

We travel quite a bit and just book the room we want, as we didn't want to take any chances. Though we are now assured of the room, I always feel like I may be throwing money away. That I could have been upgraded to this room for a lesser rate.

So what do you folks do? And how successful are you when you do ask for an upgrade?
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 10:16 AM
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Upgraded rooms, what does that really mean?

Does that mean that instead of the "run of the house" you want to guarantee a lake/ocean/river/mountain/city view? or does it mean that instead of a regular room you want to be on the Executive level? or if you book Executive level, than an upgrade would only be an upgrade if it was into a suite?

Hotel upgrades are a great deal different than airline upgrades. On an airline you know if you got upgraded, in a hotel it's all subjective, unless it is a definite, like a standard room to Executive level or suite upgrade. Many times you will hear the clerk tell the guest that I just upgraded you for free, but how do you know what that meant? At many places an upgrade means it may be on a higher floor but exactly the same room layout, or it could be away from the elevator or not above the nightclub, etc. So, if you take my example of a higher floor upgrade, the hotel may have assigned a room on the 5th floor originally, but moved you to the same type of room on the 6th floor which they may consider or sell at higher value, but is it really an upgrade? after all, are you really getting anything more of value, just the idea that maybe your view may be a little better.

Not true to suite upgrades as much, but being loyal to a hotl program will in many cases get you executive level. Lately many of the major chains are even pulling back on that perk as well. Obviously you still have a better chance over somebody without any status.

So, to answer your question, I will say this. Book the room that you will be happy with. If something better comes along, enjoy it, but at the very least, you will know that you will have what you wanted in the first place.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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I've never booked a room I didn't really want in the hopes of getting a free or discounted upgrade--too risky, IMO.

I've received an upgrade at least twice that I can recall, both at good hotels--the Michelangelo in NYC and Inn at the Market in Seattle. Both times I told every staff person I spoke to before we arrived that we were celebrating a special occasion--a 40th b'day and a 10th anniversary, respectively. Lastly, we weren't travelling on big holiday weekends, so the hotels weren't full; in fact, we were at the Michelangelo one month after 9/11, and boy, were they happy to see us!

I also used to receive upgrades when I travelled on business and returned to the same hotel repeatedly--loyalty is generally rewarded.

But for more run-of-the-mill travel, I haven't been upgraded very often, so like you, I won't ever count on it.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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If you want to be assured of the room you want, then just pay for it. Asking for a handout is a roll of the dice even under the best of circumstances.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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I book the hotel I want to stay in (which is why I don't use Priceline) and the room type I'm willing to pay. This is not to say I'm not happy with upgrades - we were upgraded from a Garden View to a Partial Ocean View room during our recent stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Just last week - after reading another Fodorites NYE's plans - I decided to call the hotel my husband and I were talking about for our own plans. Surprise, surprise, not only was I given a very low rate but on the spur of the moment, the reservationist upgraded us to a one bedroom suite simply because I was making plans so soon! Very nice indeed but I wouldn't pin my hotel hopes on expecting such a thing to happen. As a matter-of-fact, the from standard room to suite upgrade proves to me how random an upgrade can be. Better to book what you want and leave upgrades as a sweet little bonus.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Some afficianados may cringe at this, may even questions its legality, BUT we've seen this actually work on several occasion: a bribe indirectly for the concierge, promised as a gratuity for all services rendered during a patron's stay ... and she or he then telephones the front desk, advises registration so and so is a hot customer, perhaps someone there to discuss an interval contract, and a special room upgrade and favors, e'g., a champagne and fruit basket, free dinner at their top restaurants, complimentary robes to take home, use of the hotel limo or town car one time, etc., would be a sound investment by the hotel. If the hotel has a vacancy or upgrade available, then it works out well for everyone. And no one loses.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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The problem with counting on upgrades is that if you don't get them, you're unhappy. I always book the room I want assuming that is what I'll get. If they do further upgrades, I'm delighted. If not, I still have the room I want!
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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I book the room I want. If an upgrade is made avaialable for free, I'll take it, but I wouldn't count on it.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Additional thought: what purpose is served if some couple of modest means is stuck in a small room facing the highway, and a jr. suite (bare min. for an upgrade in our book) or better is sitting empty. What's the point of not giving the couple a break? Later in life, when they are making it, they'll remember the favor and kind deed and throw their buisness that way. So, a good return on a nothing investment. I think it ought to be hotel policy, especially that the haute chains.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:16 PM
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itraveldou,

you have some great advice???

So you are telling me that you slip a Jackson, ok, maybe a Grant or even a Franklin to the concierge, you will get the Presidential Suite, the hotel car and a massage while being fed strawberries and grapes because you could be a hot prospect? All that while staying on a $99 per night rate?

I don't know where you live or travel, but it in the real world it just doesn't work this way.

Explain to me, how a Franklin bill in the concierge's pocket benefits the hotel?
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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<Later in life, when they are making it, they'll remember the favor and kind deed and throw their buisness that way.>

In reality, they will probably come to expect free upgrades.

A hotel "cheapens" their image if they start giving out suites for the price of aroom "facing the highway". That is part of the reason that airlines would rather fly with empty First Class seats than give the out as upgrades.

Of course, upgrades are given to business people and others that stay more often at a hotel.

I was just in Phila over the weeknend and had a Jr suite...but I reserved it in advance.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:37 PM
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So, you think no one loses, eh, itraveldo? I'd say the hotel loses quite a bit with your scheme. And, if I were that concierge, I'd be a little nervous about my job security.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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"...If the hotel has a vacancy or upgrade available, then it works out well for everyone. And no one loses".

Most definitely wrong.
The way the story was painted the hotel was out quite a bit of money trying to woo a guest who was presumed to be worth a good deal of money in future business or investment or whatever. In fact, the blatant lie which was foisted on the hotel management cost the hotel quite a bit.

I guess I'm not following the logic here at all. How does one pull such a stunt and not feel guilty about it?
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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I believe it's called fraud.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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If I were a GM, I would not upgrade if I felt I could book the better room for the full rate (ie., the hotel wasn't THAT empty). It is a business afterall.

But if I felt the hotel was empty and I probably wouldn't be able to book the room, I'd always upgrade someone to it.

The goodwill you will foster, the word of mouth, etc. will pay dividends in the future.

I remember years ago, one of the first trips we ever took, we did book the cheapest room at the Kea Lani on Maui. When we got there (without even asking) they upgraded us to a full ocean view room. I never forgot that and have always given the hotel a hearty endorsement to all who ask.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 04:08 PM
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I have never been able to figure out how hotels decide who/when to upgrade. Is the front desk clerk in a good mood? Do you make a good presentation? Remind him/her of a friend? I say, book the room you feel you would be comfortable in-- if you get an upgrade, so much the better!
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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I've read on Flyertalk and elsewhere of the "$20 trick" where someone "tips" the desk clerk to get a better room. I wouldn't do that, in part because I'm cheap and in part because it seems highly questionable ethically. Supposedly this is perfectly acceptable in Las Vegas, though.

However, I did get upgraded last month - on a Priceline bid. This was at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum in London. The hotel clerk first assigned us a room that hadn't been cleaned. When we reported this, he looked for another room, but couldn't find one with 2 twin beds. He did find an executive room with a king-size bed and a pull-out sofa bed (rather small one). My son accepted the sofa bed, which he said was fine, and I got a very nice bed. I think the rack rate was 290 pounds per night, and my bid on Priceline had been $64 + taxes and fees.
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Old Aug 30th, 2004, 07:12 PM
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WillTravel, I admire anyone who admits that they are cheap

There is something so old fashioned and tacky about offering money to a desk clerk. I have to say in all the times we have gone to Las Vegas, I have never seen it done.
We are in that Club, so we don't book directly through reservations anymore, but I still think it would be so cheesy to try to slip money to some guy..how embarrassing if he said, no thanks, you need it more than I do LOL
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