Hotel secrets you’ll be shocked to find out

Hotels are the de facto choice of accommodations for people who travel, not because they are necessarily the best option but because they are the most ubiquitous place to stay in any place.

Hotels are big business and enjoy a huge clientele and the four walls are filled with many stories that can be amusing, sad, funny, inspiring or even shocking.  Speaking of shocking, hotel management and how the business is operated contribute a lot to these shocking stories. You may be surprised to hear of the many secrets that hotels try to keep from its guests:

Guests can get “walked”

There is a common hotel management term called “walking a guest”, and this is something that all managers dread. This problem is a result of overbooking, which is a very common hotel practice. The usual no-show rate in a hotel is 10 percent every day, so to avoid having empty rooms hotels will often overbook rooms – to 110 percent of capacity usually. The hope is that with cancellations all rooms will still be filled. The problem of overbooking happens when all guests do confirm, so you now have an excess of guests and no room to give them. This is called “walking the guest” – where the hotel now pays the bumped off guest the amount of an entire night’s room plus tax and a phone call so that they can book at another hotel.

Guests who get “walked” are usually those who book through budget sites, will only stay in the area once and will never go back, only booked for a night, and, of course, those who are extremely rude.

Walking the guest is one of the reasons why more people are preferring to stay in luxury serviced apartments because this is not likely to happen.

Booking on a discount site downgrades your experience

I mentioned above that those who book through discount sites are more likely to be bumped off by a hotel if it gets overbooked.  It’s not the only unfair treatment guests who book through discount sites get. Hotel insiders revealed that guest who got reservations from discount sites are also given “discount” service. For example, they are given the worst rooms in the hotel. The reason is that the hotel earns very little from these guests. They’d much rather give the best rooms to people who paid the full price, and thus chose the hotel because they want to stay there, not because it is cheap or they got it for a discount.

Wheeled suitcases changed the game

Before the invention of the wheeled suitcase, bellmen were considered a need and a necessity by hotel guests. After it became popular and more travelers started to use them, bellmen’s very existence changed from being a part of the hotel environment to hustlers who need to fight with each other to survive. It’s interesting how an innocuous innovation would change the whole definition of a job.

The surest way to an upgrade

Despite what the front desk agent will tell you, not all rooms are created equal. There are more spacious corner rooms, rooms with a better view, rooms with a bigger TV, or rooms that have a larger restroom. If you want an upgrade, many experienced travelers will advise you to do the one thing that gets the best results – bribe the person at the front desk. There’s nothing illegal or immoral about this move. You want more comfort then you should do something about it that is within your power. Even if you don’t get a room upgrade, you’ll most likely get other perks for what you did. Late checkout, free minibar, additional room amenities are just some of the additional benefits you get for taking  care of the person at the front desk.

  • Derek Gallimore is a travel professional who provides luxury serviced apartments to travelers through his website Boutique London Lets.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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