Try these strategies for happier experiences as you sample different lodging.
The service at that hotel you just stayed at was so-so. Your friend’s experience at the same property, on the other hand, was spot on.
Why the disparity? It may be more than chance.
According to Joshua Bush, a hotel-industry expert and the chief executive officer of Avenue Two Travel, while good service at a hotel, even a pricey one, isn’t a guarantee, there are a few ways to increase your odds of getting treated well.
Set realistic expectations
Keep in mind that most luxury hotels have an ingrained service culture, while budget and midtier properties often don’t.
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“It’s unreasonable to stay at a three-star property and expect the staff to run around for you, because they’re not necessarily trained in providing individualized service,” Bush said. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a stellar experience at a budget hotel — you should just be reasonable with your desires and demands before you book.
The staff at luxury hotels, however, is usually trained in anticipatory service, and the need to please their guests.
They may even have a budget to impress guests with surprise gifts like a bottle of Champagne, complimentary meals, activities or other amenities designed to make a stay at a luxury hotel live up to the luxury price tag.
Pick the right property
Good service is in the eye of the beholder, and as a result, choosing the right hotel goes a long way in your interpretation of service.
Some high-end hotels, for example, take pride in offering formal and traditional white-glove service.
Others have a more colloquial approach where the staff greets guests by their first names.
Consider what you personally prefer, and read up on what type of service the hotel provides before you decide where to stay.
Reach out before your stay
Getting in touch with your hotel’s concierge in advance can go a long way toward a stellar service experience. Let them know why you’re coming, and what you’re looking for from your experience.
“Hotels love making your stay above and beyond, so if you’re celebrating a birthday or other occasion, make sure to tell the property,” Bush said. “The more you communicate to the hotel about why you’re there, the better the stay can be.”
Speak up if something goes wrong
Mishaps happen, even at the best properties, and Bush advised informing the hotel’s duty manager right away when something goes wrong.
Book through a travel agent
They can often get their clients free amenities, such as property credit or free breakfasts. You pay a premium to use a travel agent, but in addition to the other services they provide, the added perks can be worthwhile.