We all love getting something for free, so here are our top tips for scoring a free room upgrade on your next hotel stay:
Arrive at the right time Try to arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. Get there too early and the hotel will be more likely to hold out on granting a free upgrade, arrive too late and they may well have sold all their upgrade rooms. If reception staff look rushed off their feet, have a quick drink in the bar and come back when things have quieted down.
Give them a reason to upgrade you Hotels want to make your stay as enjoyable as possible, fact. If they know that a booking is for a special occasion, they are more likely to go the extra mile and give you something you weren’t expecting. Hotels love to see guests walking around with a smile -- what better way to achieve that than telling the birthday boy or girl that they’ve got a free upgrade? Similarly, it’s worth remembering that reception staff have to deal with awkward and unreasonable customers all the time. Don’t be one of them -- a smile and manners cost nothing, and they can go a long way when asking for something that’s a privilege and not obligatory.
Build some loyalty As with airlines, the first to get an upgrade are the people who are members of a loyalty program. If the chance presents itself, sign up. If a hotel sees lifetime value in a customer, they will treat him or her more as a VIP and make sure he or she is extra happy. You have to give a little to get something back.
Avoid peak periods Inevitably, the likelihood of getting upgraded for free during a warm summer weekend at a seafront hotel in Brighton is very slim. The time to arrive is when there are plenty of upgrade rooms available that are not going to get used anytime soon. Target weekdays whenever possible.
Show them you’re not cheap Don’t book the cheapest room. A hotel will want to take extra care of their VIPs and booking the cheapest room is not the best start. By booking the next room type (eg, a Superior Room) you might spend a little bit extra, but you have a better chance of being upgraded to the next room type (eg, a Luxury Room) which is normally worth much more and sometimes comes with its own perks.
Manchester-based deal expert Martin Cropper contributed to this post.