Travel whiz shares how to get a better hotel room for free – ‘will definitely upgrade you’

London: Giles Coren inspects 5 star hotel room

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Upgrading your hotel room doesn’t have to be expensive – or even cost a penny – on your travels. James Brockbank, founder of The Family Vacation Guide, spoke exclusively to about how hotel goers can snag a better room for free.

James started by telling “It’s not very hard to get a free upgrade at a hotel you’re staying in.

“Though, it may involve some degree of luck.”

His first tip was to keep no secrets when it comes to the reason for your stay.

“If you’re celebrating a special occasion, such as an anniversary, a birthday, a promotion or a new job – say so.”

This will give guests an advantage over others who may be angling for a free upgrade.

If it’s within a hotel’s means – and if they have better rooms available – “hotel staff will definitely upgrade you over other customers who aren’t celebrating a special occasion”.

It is a well known fact that if you don’t ask you don’t get, and this is true of hotel room upgrades, according to James.

“An underrated way of getting a free upgrade is simply taking the initiative to politely ask during the check-in stage.”

However, he added an important caveat.

“I would advise trying this during a time when there are no other guests around, to avoid putting hotel staff members in a difficult position.”

Find a quiet moment where the hotel receptionist isn’t swamped with people to talk to.

James’ third tip was that guests should be mindful of what hotels they stay at.

He explained: “Staying at a new property could increase your chances of being upgraded, sometimes without even asking.”

This is because newer hotels “tend to have lower occupancy rates at the beginning”.

“What’s more, newer hotels often use random acts of goodwill to create a positive impression, that may perhaps lead to loyalty or word-of-mouth recommendation,” he advised.

Next, it never hurts to show a little loyalty and be someone hotel staff remember.

“A very obvious way to get upgraded would be to join the hotel’s loyalty/rewards scheme if they have one in place,” the expert said.

“Hotels tend to favour returning guests for an upgrade and each stay generates more reward points, which increase with the frequency of your stays, contributing to your rise through the hotel’s loyalty programme tiers.”

James’ final tip for securing a free upgrade at a hotel is to “book directly through the hotel’s website” as opposed to one from a third-party.

“This not only ensures that the hotel keeps the whole fee (rather than losing a part of it to a booking commission), but it also means that you can phone them up or make a note in your booking about a potential free upgrade.”

James Brockbank is founder of The Family Vacation Guide.

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