Forget "shoebox with alley glimpses". Employ our tried and tested methods, and you'll always get the best room at the inn.
1. Call up and book direct
A good way to find the best room – not one that’s overlooking fire stairs, a main road or next to the elevators – is not by booking online, but checking for the best prices online, calling the hotel, chatting about your specific needs and asking them to match the price. This is also the best way to get an upgrade to a better category, as hotels always like direct bookings over those from online travel agents.
Tip: sometimes the bigger room might not be in an ideal part of the hotel, figure out if you'd prefer a great view over more space, and be specific about your request.
2. Travel in the off season
In the world’s biggest cities, particularly London and New York, hotel rates can vary dramatically from season to season. In winter in New York, you can get a five-star room for $220 that is selling for $750 during the height of summer. So if you are willing to travel in off-peak periods you can have a luxury holiday for the price of a budget stay. Further discounts will come when you book longer stays – you’ll find a lot of pay-four, stay-five night packages on offer.
3. Join the hotel chain’s rewards program
Like with airlines, hotel groups want you to sign up to their membership programs like never before. That means lots of incentives and perks, even for first-time stayers. Points can rack up quite fast on stays as everything you pay for in the hotel – including meals, laundry and parking – will earn you points that you can use on your next stay. Maximise your stays and get free holidays. Oh and loyalty program members tend to get room category upgrades on almost every stay.
4. Pay to upgrade to a club room
Many branded hotels offer ‘Club’ rooms, which are on dedicated floors of hotels and offer perks for travellers including free Wi-Fi, early or late check-out and access to the club lounge – which features a daily continental breakfast, somewhere to relax during the day and complimentary drinks and snacks in the early evening. The cost to upgrade is not much more than the room rate. Great examples include Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Canada, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, Hilton Melbourne South Wharf and Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.
Feeling inspired? Try our tips by booking yourself a staycation in Melbourne.