5 Hotel Secrets (From The Front Desk) That’ll Save You BIG

Updated January 10, 2024 by Kyle James

I love tips and advice on saving money that comes straight from the horse’s mouth. Whether it be from an employee of a company, or someone with intimate knowledge of the inner-workings, you can often score some very useful info that will save you money. So when I discovered an article published on MentalFloss.com written by Jacob Tomsky, a current front desk hotel employee, with over 10 years experience, my interest was piqued. He didn’t disappoint as he spilled the beans on some cool insider hotel knowledge that will save you money and get you free upgrades. Here are a few of my favorites…

5 Hotel Secrets (From The Front Desk) That'll Save You BIG

 1. The Best Way to Get a Free Room-Upgrade

Think about the 7th president of the U.S., Andrew Jackson, who adorns the $20 bill.

Apparently slipping the front desk employee a twenty will almost always works when asking for a room-upgrade. Despite what you’ve been told, there is always a better room available.

Along with free room upgrades, you stand a great chance of scoring things like “late checkout, free movies, free minibar, room service amenities, and more.”

Front desk employees are authorized to upgrade for special occasions, and a twenty-spot fits the bill according to Jacob.

See Also: Google Flights: 8 Insider Tips and Tricks To Score Cheap Airfare

2. Know How to Complain to Get Stuff

Not happy with something in your room or the hotel in general?

Don’t shoot the front desk employee as they typically had nothing to do with it.

From the article, instead ask questions like “Should I speak to a manager about this?” or “Should I speak to housekeeping about this?”.

By taking this approach, the front desk employee will typically handle the problem for you.

Also, ask for their name to create accountability and to guarantee they actually do something about the problem.

3. Indulge in the Minibar…But Never Pay

Apparently, charges stemming from the hotel minibar are horribly inaccurate.

Things like double-stocking, and delays in re-stocking, cause most front desk employees to simply remove them from your bill if you claim you never indulged in the overpriced Snickers or Coke.

4. Beware “Getting Walked” by the Hotel

The term “walking a guest” was a new one to me and simply means the hotel is over-booked and needs to send you to another hotel on their dime.

A major pain in the butt for most travelers.

You’re more likely to get walked if you book for a single night, use a discount travel site like Expedia to book, or are being a total JERK (you’ve been warned!).

5. Discount Travel Sites are a Bad Deal For Travelers

Sure, you might get a good nightly rate using a site like Expedia, Hotwire, Hotels.com, or Orbitz, but the hotel earns the least on these bookings and is gonna stick you in the worst rooms.

Hotels assume you booked for the rate, not out of a sense of loyalty, and are less likely to bend over backwards to make you happy.

I’ve written about this phenomena before and how you can often get a better deal by dealing directly with hotels and airlines.

These secrets are just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the article below to see the rest of the goodness.

Example: Lemon Pledge in hotel room drinking glasses, ewww. Thanks Jacob for the insider tips.

By Kyle James


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Shannon Baas

Yeah, no. I have worked for hotels and you’re not guaranteed a better room or other amenities by handing over money. Late checkout is usually not a huge deal as long as it’s not check in time for arriving guests. Others, not so much.