Unless you have friends or family who live nearby, chances are you stay in a hotel or a motel whenever you travel away from home. Millions of people pass through these establishments every year, and each one does what it can to accommodate guests’ needs.
That said, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes the guests don’t know about—nor do hotel employees want them to know. Here are 20 hotel secrets the employees try to keep under wraps!
1. If you ever see the “No Vacancy” sign lit up, don’t fret! Most people don’t realize this, but hotels will sometimes light the sign when they only have a few rooms left. Always make sure to call the front desk before you drive by.
2. If you ever think you can get away with ordering some “adult” entertainment and claim it was an accident, don’t bother trying. Not only can hotels see what you’ve ordered, but most of them can also see exactly how long you watched.
3. As a guest, you obviously want to get the best room you can for the lowest price. In order to ensure that happens, you should book early on in the month—and always on a Sunday. Of course, hotels won’t tell you that.
4. As much as you’d like to think all hotels clean their sheets regularly, that simply isn’t the case. The luxurious ones do, sure, but some of the cheaper places may clean them as infrequently as once every 90 days!
5. While you might worry the most about how clean the hotel’s bedding is, there are plenty of other surfaces in the room that should make you wonder. Light switches are absolutely one of the dirtiest places in a hotel. Even if they look clean, give them a quick wipe, just in case!
6. Before using the hotel remote control to turn on the television, always clean it first. Remotes are not one of the items typically disinfected by cleaning staff, and they can be one of the least sanitary items in the room!
7. Although there are plenty of websites that claim to get you the best rates when booking a room, often times, the best rates can actually be found through the hotel’s own website. Don’t forget to check there!
8. Let’s face it: no matter what line of business you’re in, you’ll always appreciate a tip, and a hotel’s housekeeping staff is no different. Leaving a tip usually ensures the staff will go out of their way for any accommodations you might need.
9. When calling a hotel to see if they have any vacancies, don’t use the standard 800 number that they give out. That number leads to a central booking office that could be miles away. Instead, call the hotel directly at its local number.
10. Many hotels around the world train their staff to spot unusual activity. They always need to be on high alert in case illegal activity is occurring in one of their rooms. So if you suspect the housekeeping staff is chatting about you… you might be right! Most likely, they’re just trying to keep you and the other guests safe.
11. If you’re looking for tips on where to eat or what to do in the area, you might immediately turn to the concierge for assistance. Don’t forget to ask the front-desk clerk, too! They usually know the surrounding area just as well, but most guests never bother to ask them.
12. After a long day out in the sun, your first inclination might be to grab one of the water glasses provided by the hotel and pour yourself a refreshing drink. However, before you indulge, rinse out the glass first. It’s very possible it hasn’t been washed in a long time.
13. Even if you have a room already booked, you can lose it to someone who has a higher status than you with the hotel. Whether that person is famous, a frequent client, or they simply have an “in” with the staff, you could very well find yourself getting bumped. Always have a plan B!
14. At more luxurious hotels, the staff will frequently Google their clients to get a better idea of who they are and what they like or dislike; that way, they can offer them a room based off the information they find. Of course, they’ll never let the guests know about their searches!
15. The reason all of the toiletries in your hotel bathroom are branded with the company’s logo is because they actually want you to take them home and spread the word about your (hopefully) great stay. You might think it’s stealing, but go ahead and take it!
16. Ever wondered what kind of salary a housekeeper makes? Many hotels around the world actually pay their housekeepers by the number of rooms they clean, as opposed to paying them by the hour. In those cases, more rooms equal higher pay.
17. It may seem unfair, but many hotels will offer free rooms to celebrities and influencers with the hopes they will give them a shoutout on social media. (Often times, the celebrities do!) This helps to increase foot traffic and gain more loyal customers.
18. If you absolutely want to ensure no one will enter your room unexpectedly, keep that “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging on your door handle. By law, as long as that sign is there, housekeepers cannot enter your room.
19. At higher-end hotels, there are actually a lot of unadvertised perks. The hotels don’t want the guests to completely take advantage of them, but if you take the initiative and inquire, you’ll certainly reap the rewards!
20. It might seem somewhat morbid, but a hotel’s popularity usually skyrockets if someone famous dies during their stay. The Beverly Hilton actually had to retire the room Whitney Houston passed away in due to outrageous demand.
Now, the next time you find yourself checking into a hotel, you’ll have insider knowledge of their secrets!
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