Best-Kept Secrets Hotels Don’t Want You To Know

hotel secrets

You’ve all probably spent some time in a hotel at one point or another… From the seedy to the glittering ones – there are some little industry secrets, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to tell you about them… So, we’ve looked into it and have put together these 10 Hotel Secrets that they don’t want you to know!

NUMBER 10 – Chemical laden Glasswear

My favorite way to start the day is with a cup of coffee… anytime is good for coffee really, so it’s a wonderful perk when hotel rooms have a coffee maker and some mugs or glasses just waiting to be used. However, all is not perfect with the arrangement because although cleaners generally leave those rooms as spick span and sparkling as possible; the crystal-like shine to those glasses and mugs aren’t all what they seem.

© PX Fuel

What’s horrifying is that in most places the shine is often due to the quick use of pledge to tidy them up! So if you’re in a room with actual glassware – this includes the coffee pot – make sure to give them a quick washout and scrub, or you might notice a hint of lemon with your beverage.

This isn’t as common across the board anymore as many chains have pre-wrapped plastic cups instead, but keep this as a reminder all the same!

NUMBER 9 – Dealing with death

Death is inevitable. It’s just a fact of life, especially in the hotel industry. With such a high turnover rate on rooms, someone is bound to pass for one reason or another. What’s odd though is that you rarely see or hear about these events occurring at hotels.

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That’s because most hotels have a lot of local connections – from the Police to Fire crews and the Media. This ensures or at least helps to ensure; that you don’t hear bad reviews or press coming from those hotels that made sure to strengthen those connections. So, how do they pull it off when you’re already in the place? The bodies are removed through service or employee only elevators and quietly taken out the back way to waiting ambulances to be transported to their next stop.

© Wikimedia Commons/Frank Vincentz

While that may just sound like day to day business, and even somewhat respectful for the surviving families; what you may not want to know however is; if they’re able, hotel staff will have that room turned around and ready for your check-in often as little as 24 hours later!

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Don’t let this gaunt you though, they’ll give it a thorough clean though, so at least you’ll be able to rest in peace.

Number 8 – Direct Discounts

The Internet is awash with discount sites that pitch you the best prices in the best places. Sadly this isn’t always as honest as it could be. There are several reasons for this. Since hotels want to fill up as many rooms as possible on a given day, they do offer up these savings through sites like that, but they are also paying those sites a commission; on rooms that are already discounted… increasing the chances that you won’t be getting the best rooms they have.

A better way to book your hotel is quite simply to call them directly and place your reservations. All you need to do to get that rate the discount site was offering is to bring up the fact you found ‘a better price’ here or there, and ask if they can match or better it.

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They’re more likely to match the offer, simply because now they don’t have to pay the commission to the website partner, leaving more money in their pockets; and another customer satisfied! But wait; there’s more!

Number 7 – Don’t be so hasty

While you may want to book your room as earlier as possible before everyone else gets there first; you might be hurting your wallet more than you need to!

As I said in the previous example – hotels want to book as many rooms as possible to maximize their profits. To add to this, most hotels try and book to about 110% capacity; knowing full well that there will be cancellations and missed bookings as everyone typically calls in early to get the best rooms, hoping for the best prices!

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However if you wait until late afternoon, to early evening, say around 5 to 6 o’clock, and book then; you’re more likely to get a better rate for your room; as now as the day has gone on, there have been cancellations and re-bookings, or transfers etc., and the hotel still wants to ensure its as booked as possible.. Now you’re in the right space to wheel and deal!

Number 6 – Search High and Low

As you’ve probably experienced, getting ready for checkout time, and leaving the hotel can often be more hectic than arriving! Other people have the same rushes and issues too; and due to that they often leave behind some very interesting things in their rooms.

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Since housekeeping has a rather large number of rooms to clean and a finite amount of time to clean then; they often miss these left behind articles. That’s why it’s a good idea to give your new room a thorough look through once you arrive.

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Look under the mattress, check behind night tables and desks, under chairs and in cushions…. just generally make sure to clean up after yourself; you might luck out and find a valuable treasure or two… it’s really hard to say what you’ll find; but the possibilities are as varied as the clientele!

Number 5 – Tip the gatekeeper!

All rooms are the same… It is probably the BIGGEST LIE in the Industry! Some have bigger bathrooms some have bigger TV’s, or larger room space. Only one person knows that though. That’s the Front Desk Clerk. When you’re checking in; no matter how long your flight was, no matter how rough a day you’ve had; make sure you treat this person with all the pleasure you can muster! A nice 20 never hurts things either.

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Your front desk clerk can make sure you get the bigger room if it’s available; they can help you get the best channels (for free maybe!); maybe even comp you a nice bottle of something tasty for the evening.

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The key here is to remember that this person is working their day to day just like you; and something as easy as a warm smile and some respect, along with a few extra bucks for a job well done can end up being reciprocated back to you. Sure they’re usually only allowed to do these things for ‘special occasions, or circumstances’ but for some of these people, a ‘polite interaction and a crisp 20’ is a special occasion!

Number 4 – A Golden Key

Have you ever noticed a hotel concierge with golden keys on their lapels?


This isn’t some quaint adornment; it actually represents something quite unique. This is the person you need to see for literally anything you need or want, so long as it’s legal. They’re members of an Order of Concierge’s that span the globe. Their mission (and they chose to accept it); is to be the most knowledgeable person in the hotel; they’ll know how to get you into that sold-out concert, they’ll know where to get the best deals on that curiosity you’re interested in finding.

These Golden Keys make it their business to know the ins and outs of virtually anything you could possibly want to do during your stay, and provided you give them an appropriate amount of time, and are willing to spend the money they will make sure you have everything you need.

You don’t have to search them out all that hard either; a cursory email or call made to the concierge desk at your hotel should be all you need; and if a golden key member happens to work there, you can bet you’ll hear from them promptly!

Number 3 – Not so safe and sound

Gone are the days of metal keys! People can cut new ones or just make off with them, meaning locks need to be replaced. So, we’ve moved on to key cards! What a great and novel idea; less costly, easily replaceable and with technology we can secure rooms easier by giving keys a time limit!

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It sounds great and looks great on paper, but contrary to belief these keys don’t make things as secure as you’d think! Since these keys are set up through desk terminals during check-in – they are quite simply susceptible to human error. A wrong keystroke here or there and your card might not open your door. Or perhaps it was the vengeful employee (you weren’t rude, were you?) and they could easily have made one card open the door… and another card reset it – meaning your original card won’t work again, nor will the second.

Barring employee vengeance the other mishap could be a ‘master card’ situation. A mistake during check-in could give you a master card that will open EVERY door in the hotel. These are mainly used by staff members for obvious reasons, and shouldn’t come into the hands of customers – but it could happen. In fact, one viral video from last year shows a motel in New Mexico just handing out master keys to all paying customers (0:33)!

Number 2 – Let’s Go for a Joyride

Valet parking is available at many hotels, and you may want to take advantage of it yourself! Why not; you are treating yourself… right?

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However, You may want to really read into that valet parking contract before you sign it. Many of those contracts don’t leave the hotel liable to any damages to your vehicle – and as such you’ll have to handle it yourself, leaving the hotel free to continue business as usual… perhaps with one less valet for a week or so.

Number 1 – Kick back relax and have a snack

Minibars… love them or hate them; there they are. Little pre-packaged snacks and beverages for your consumption… at ridiculous prices sure; but sometimes you just want to have a quick snack.

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However, before indulging, note these few things first…

Don’t try and replace anything you’ve used by sneaking your own into the fridge – they usually always find out, and charge you anyway. Also, remember to check the seals on any drinks you might decide to open and let the staff know immediately. Often times, a previous guest opens one, drinks it and refills it with water… and occasionally urine… presumably if its apple juice. This can be missed by a quick clean and bar check by staff, and you surely don’t want to pay for any of that!

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However, there may be a way out if you decide to gorge yourself on anything in the minibar. Do you know what the most often voided and challenged charges are in hotels? That’s right – the minibar. It’s really not worth their time to hassle you over a minibar bill. Just remember Number 5 – be polite, disagree with the charges there, and chances are the clerk will just whip them away… after all, they’ve got dozens more checkouts to go through, and dozens more minibar disagreements too. So happy snacking!

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Hopefully, some of these secrets will make your Hotel stay more pleasurable for you, and save you some money too! If you know someone taking a trip soon, share this to them. Thanks for reading.

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