Sylvia Pennington
Business Journalist

Sylvia Pennington writes regularly on business and technology for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

5 Ways To Score A Hotel Discount Or Upgrade

Sylvia Pennington
Business Journalist

Sylvia Pennington writes regularly on business and technology for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Does business regularly take you away for the night? Join the club. Australians collectively clocked 49.4 million nights of overnight business travel in the 2014 financial year and spent a cool $12.3 billion in the process, according to Tourism Research Australia.

Hotel sign overlooking Melbourne skyline

1. A Smile Goes A Long Way

Believe it or not, getting up to the desk with a smile and a chirpy greeting can be the difference when it comes to a discretionary upgrade from a harried check-in clerk that checks in dozens of guests a day, says Gary Stickland, general manager of Alto on Bourke in Melbourne.

“Be friendly and professional – after all, you are dealing with another person who will respond to you and if there is a choice to upgrade Guest A or B, the ‘nice’ person is likely to be chosen,” Stickland says.

“[It’s] human nature really.”

2. Go Direct

Looking for a couple of nights in a capital city and determined to save a few dollars on accomodation?

You can spend hours scouring accommodation sites, comparing deep cut discounts, but picking up the phone and contacting a hotel directly can yield superior results, especially if you’re planning to stay several nights.

“As they don’t need to pay various web sites or travel agents a commission or booking fee they may be able to offer a better rate,” Stickland says.

“And because you’re dealing with a person at the hotel, they may be able to offer an upgrade – a computer will not do this.

“On some occasions, if the hotel is almost fully booked for standard rooms on one night of a multi-night stay, they may upgrade the booking to ensure the adjoining nights are booked.”

3. Loyalty Schemes

Been racking up frequent flyer benefits on your travels? Check your membership status, Yelp regional manager and road warrior Tresna Lee advises. Some airlines offer complimentary membership to their hotel partners’ loyalty schemes, which can allow you to exchange points for free accommodation or a room upgrade, helping you save.

4. Come Again

Shopping around pays off – but so can returning to a place which took great care of you last time you were in town. Expect a keen rate, warmer welcome and possible perks, such as free breakfast, late check-out and gym passes, if you become a regular customer of the same boutique hotel or chain, Lee says.

5. Tell Other Business Folk

If you’re not happy, tell us. If you’re happy, tell others, so the old marketing saw goes. Cement your relationship – and the regulars’ accommodation discount – with a favoured hotel by referring associates who share your discerning taste. Or consider giving worthy establishments the thumbs-up via social media shout-out or a complimentary review on their Facebook page.

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