Friday, May 16, 2008

Why Everyone Gets Upgraded And You Don’t by Daniel Ward Craig (former hotel executive, now author)

We’ve all been in line and watched someone pushy and boisterous try to demand an upgrade. I think I know some people on the “flagged” list. My thanks to blogger friend Bill Geist for bringing Daniel Ward Craig’s hilarious but oh so true blog to my attention.

Why you don’t get upgraded:

1. You’re obnoxious. Did you demand an upgrade rather than ask nicely? Did you drop the owner’s name—and mispronounce it? Were you wearing sunglasses?

2. You slipped the bellman a $20. An article I came across makes this ludicrous suggestion. First of all, you tipped the wrong person. Bellmen have no control over hotel inventory. But don’t tip the front desk either. That’s not tipping, it’s bribery. You’re asking the employee to do something that could get her in trouble.

3. You’re obsequious. Another article recommends informing the desk agent you’ll write a note to management about how helpful he was if he upgrades you. This is as unsavory as slipping him a $20 and will likely produce the same result. If you’re happy with his service, write the letter, but don’t use it as a bribing tool.

4. You’re staying too long. One- and two-nighters have a better chance of getting upgraded because they tie the suite up for less time. If you’re staying longer, being willing to take a suite for a night or two and then switching back might help your chances.

5. You’re cheap. Many hotels give upsell incentives to front desk staff, so don’t be surprised if you inquire about a better room and get a sales pitch. The differential can cost far less than through reservations. It’s not an upgrade, but it’s still a great deal. If you can’t afford it, politely decline. You might get bumped up anyway.

6. You called the general manager. Several “travel gurus” recommend this tactic. As a former GM I assure you it’s no way to ingratiate yourself. GMs love hearing from guests, but not if they’re angling for a free upgrade.

7. Your profile is flagged “do not upgrade”. Guest profiles record more than your favourite colour of M&Ms, they also record bad behavior, like when you wigged out when you didn’t get an upgrade on your last stay. If you’re abusive, rest assured your profile will be permanently red-flagged.

8. You arrived with a trunk-load of booze and a four-piece band. Hotels covet their suites and will not upgrade if they think you won’t respect the space. In the past I’ve upgraded people and they’ve held a raucous party in the suite. Not cool.

If you are lucky enough to get upgraded, don’t forget to acknowledge the people who made it happen. If you do all the right things and still never get upgraded, don’t get all paranoid, sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw. And remember, the only surefire way of getting that suite or heart-shaped vibrating bed is to cough up.

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