How the Hotel Can Make your Trip: the Definitive List of Hotel Tips and Tricks
Updated: Sep 26, 2019
As anyone who has traveled much knows, the right hotel can make or break your trip. But did you know that the way the traveler actually uses the hotel is at least as important? Knowing some secrets about how to hack the hotel can really make your convention experience a million times better.
—Book your hotel room as far in advance as possible. Convention hotels often sell out (some host hotels can sell out in a matter of hours), and the special convention rate may only be good for rooms booked a certain number of days in advance. Don’t use travel websites; book through the hotel directly and ask for the convention rate. Be sure to ask for a room well away from room parties, if you value sleep. Before you book, though, check out other nearby hotels (within walking distance) to see if any of them have nicer rooms or cheaper rates; also remember that, a lot of times, host hotels don’t allow guests to use reward points during conventions.
—If you’re flying in, ask the hotel about an airport shuttle. Hotels usually have them, and that saves you a lot of money on taxi fare—money that is much better spent at the dealer’s hall. But you often have to ask, so do this in advance when you verify your reservation.
—Call your hotel about a week in advance to verify your reservation. Mistakes happen, and nothing sucks worse than arriving at the hotel to find that your reservation had been lost—and there are no vacancies around.
—Don’t wait until check-in to request a mini-fridge or microwave (if they aren’t already included as standard amenities). Hotels only have a certain number of these available, and it’s first-come, first-served. Request these when you book the room. Understand that you may not get one and do not take it out on hotel employees if that happens.
—Remember that those maximum occupancies in hotel rooms are set by the Fire Marshall, not the hotel. It’s tempting to stuff 12 people in a single room (hello, Dragon*Con 2003!), but if you do this, you can get thrown out of the hotel at any time (with no refunds).
—Tip your housekeeper. These people work long hours doing really unpleasant (and sometimes downright gross) work, and tipping them may make them more inclined to do things like leave extra towels (which can be at a premium during a convention) or not tell management when they suspect too many people are staying at a room. Aside from that, hotel housekeeping is a brutal job, especially when large numbers of people are checking out the same day (and leaving behind piles of mess). Your room may be cleaned by different people on different days, so leaving a tip only on the last days may mean that someone who cleaned your room did not get a tip; it’s better to split the tip and leave a little every day. Housekeepers can’t take a tip if it’s not clearly meant for them; on the bed by the pillow is a good place to leave it, but leave a note if you’re unsure. $1-$2 a day is a decent tip (but leave more if your room is a total pigsty).
—If you will need extra towels, leave a note for the housekeeper when you go out for the day. That way you will get your towels when the room gets cleaned and you won’t have to call the desk later. Same goes for extra toiletries like shampoo or soap, or extra drinking glasses.
—Remember that most hotel front desks carry a number of toiletries in case you left yours at home; if luggage space is a premium, just “forget” such things as razors or toothbrushes. Be sure to check the hotel’s website before you leave to see which items the convention hotel might be able to provide.
—Research the hotel area. You might be in a part of town that is dangerous to walk in late at night, and you need to know about shuttles, etc. in such a case. It’s also helpful to find restaurants that are within walking distance (or public transit lines) but not right next to the convention; next-door restaurants are going to have incredibly long waits.
—If you left an important charger at home, most hotel TVs have USB ports on the back or side that you can use to charge USB devices.
—Use the skirt hangers in the closet (these are the ones with clips on them) to hold together curtains that are gapping and letting in light.
—Ice bucket bags are great for holding wet or dirty clothes in your luggage. Be sure to get these out as soon as you get home or your clothes will mildew and it will be super gross. (Don’t ask me how I know.)
We hope these tips help you make the most of your convention experience. If you have any more tips or tricks, let us know in the comments!