Staying in a hotel can be very hit-or-miss. If you’re on vacation, usually it is a lovely experience because you’ve planned ahead and are willing to pay a little extra. If you’re just passing through, taking a car trip or stuck at an airport, however, things can get a little less pleasant. And there’s nothing like being stuck in the worst room the hotel has to offer—kiss any peace and quiet goodbye. Here’s how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Become a rewards member
Hilton Hotel rewards members can actually pick their room when they check in online, using the hotel’s digital floorpan. This is definitely the best option when it comes to rewards programs, but plenty of other hotels give rewards members priority when it comes to rooms with a view and upgrades.
Joining a hotel rewards program costs you nothing, and can come with big perks, so if you travel often (or even if you don’t!) it can be worth joining. Becoming part of the program shows the hotel you could be a repeat customer, so they’ll work harder to ensure your stay is pleasant.
“Even though you will have no points, stay credit, or elite status, just joining the program indicates that you are a potential repeat customer, and the front desk staff will be less likely to assign you an inferior room,” an anonymous hotel front desk supervisor told travel blog The Points Guy.
After a long day of travel, it might be worth it to use a combination of cash and points to get a quieter, more luxe room—one that’s far, far away from the ice machine.
Reconsider using a discount booking site
Sure, you might save a bundle if you book through a site like Expedia, but your reservation will come in second to anyone who has booked directly through the hotel. Jacob Tomsky, author of “Heads in Beds,” a memoir about his years in the hospitality industry, recommends calling the hotel ahead of your reservation.
“Ask to speak to a front desk agent, introduce yourself, and say, ‘I’ll be arriving in a couple of days and want to know what you have booked for me,'” he told Forbes.
It’s not a guarantee that using a third-party booking site will get you a bad room, though—that anonymous front-desk clerk says it’s pretty much a toss-up “between bookings taken by third-party reservations systems like Expedia, or it could just be assigned at random using the hotel’s auto-assign program each morning.”
Keep your distance
When you call and make your reservation, be clear (and kind and polite!) to the concierge that you would like a room away from elevators, ice makers, wedding guests and any other potentially noisy factors that come with a hotel. Also, skip the adjoining rooms.
“Non-adjoining rooms can also be quieter, as there’s less soundproofing between the doors that connect adjacent rooms,” the front desk source tells The Points Guy.
Once you have settled on a room that works for you, ask the front desk to place a “do not move” note in your reservation. That way, they can’t shuffle you around—only a manager can move you from your room.
And ultimately, remember the golden rule. You’re much more likely to get a nice hotel room when you’re kind and pleasant to the staff than if you march in making demands.
“Sometimes, the choice [of room] is made based on the price you paid,” Tomsky told Forbes. “But sometimes, you may get those rooms if you’re rude. We’ll save the better rooms for the kind travelers, the ones that treat people nicely, like human beings. So getting in good with the front desk is critical.”