Start your hotel stay the right way

For many the experience at the front desk of a hotel often sets the tone for the rest of a holiday.

Here’s a guide to making check-in go smoothly and, who knows, maybe you will get an upgrade.

First up, be prepared. Most bookings are online these days but it pays to have a paper copy of any bookings ready to go when you check in. If something goes wrong, having a hard copy immediately provides the front desk staff with several reference points to confirm a booking.

And the second, but often most important point, is to be polite.

No matter how messed up the booking is, it is very rarely the check-in person’s fault. They don’t want to be in this situation any more than you do. Be polite, and if there is no resolution, ask to speak to a manager.

Read: What makes a hotel five star?

A subset of being polite, is don’t ask the check-in person for what they can’t provide. Weary travellers often want to check in straight away. If the room is not ready, once again, it’s not the check-in person’s fault, they can’t haul a guest out of bed for your convenience. 

Guests can let the hotel know if they are arriving early, and the hotel will accommodate your needs if it can, but if occupancy is high or cleaners are under the pump, be prepared to sit it out.

If it’s important to get into your room straight away and money is no object, book the night before as well.

And it pays to join a points club. Travellers visiting a destination or hotel chain regularly should sign up to any available loyalty program. They often come with perks that include priority check-in and automatic upgrades.

Read: How to make your hotel room healthier

Even if there is no loyalty program, a regular guest may be able to negotiate an occasional upgrade, free night or late check out.

Which brings us to … it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Check-in staff want your stay to be enjoyable, it makes their job easier.

Celebrating an event? Let the staff know, they may be able to send a bottle of wine to your room, offer an upgrade or a discount on a meal.

Read: Which hotels will be the big winners post-COVID?

Want an upgrade? On a slow day midweek, the staff may be happy to accommodate your wishes.

Need some stuff? Check-in staff can often help you out whether it’s a sewing kit, toiletries, phone chargers, or even earplugs.

The front-desk staff often provide the hotel’s first impression, but it’s also their first impression of you. Try to make it count for the best holiday possible.

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Written by Jan Fisher