Not all hotel upgrades are created equal. Some people only want the luxury suite, while others just want a bigger bed, a better view, wireless Internet access or the farthest room from the cacophonous ice machine [source: Mueller Shulte]. Simple as it may sound, the best tip for getting exactly the kind of upgrade you want is to ask for it. If you're friendly, polite and personable, the desk clerk might just play ball.
Of course, there are several things you can do to increase your upgrade odds. For one thing, if you're swinging for the suite, don't book the cheapest room in the hotel [source: Mueller Shulte]. The staff is much more likely to bump you up from a second-tier room to a top-level suite than to pull off a miracle upgrade from the $53 Web-only special.
Which brings us to another tip: Don't book your reservations online. A phone reservation gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection with the hotel staff [source: Klein]. This presents an excellent opportunity to mention any special circumstances that could lead to a courtesy upgrade: first time in the city, anniversary, birthday or romantic vacation. If staff members can match a human being with the name on the reservation, they'll be more likely to help.
Continue to make personal connections during your stay at the hotel, particularly with the general manager. Ask to see the manager and mention a few things you really like about the hotel. Give the person your business card and tell him or her that you hope to stay at the hotel again. Next time you plan to stay at the hotel, call the general manager directly to make your reservation, and you might end up getting VIP treatment [source: Mueller Shulte].
If you want guaranteed VIP status, you must first prove your loyalty. Sign up for the frequent stay card. Get everyone at your company to patronize the same chain of hotels. Mention your company's policy when you're making your reservations and when you check in. Hotels love frequent business travelers (and their expense accounts), so they'll be much more willing to fulfill any special requests.
If all else fails, try these proven strategies:
Now let's look at some tips for nailing that elusive first-class upgrade.