Make a reservation: Even during off season hotels may fill up for different reasons. Conventions, military stays, sport events, etc., can happen at any time of the year.
Expect the rate of the rooms to vary according to what your are requesting, but don’t be shy about negotiating for the best deal. Prices will also depend on what type of hotel you plan on staying at. While online and travel agents may seem a good choice, you would do better negotiating with the hotel itself.
Arrival time: Try your best to be early. This gives you time to get to the front desk and get checked in without feeling rushed. Don’t assume your room will be ready. Often when people arrive the housekeeping staff is still working. If the hotel is not full you may be able to have your room changed for another. Waiting for a room is usually short so if you can wait you are sure of a freshly cleaned room.
Inside your hotel room: Take a look around your room. Is everything available you expect to be there? If not call the front desk and ask for it. Ask for extra items if you need them.
Put away anything you want kept out of sight. This includes cash, change and anything of value if the hotel does not supply safekeeping. Don’t leave money around that the housekeeper may assume is a tip unless you mean it to be and don’t test the housekeeper’s honesty by leaving it out.
You have heard the bedspread horror stories where a light shows stains on the spread. If you are worried about this either take the spread off and don’t use it or ask for another one. Don’t automatically assume the housekeeper left you with a dirty spread. There are hotels where the staff has limited resources or where the management has rules about what housekeeping can do. Often it is only one person washing, drying and folding the laundry. With the amount of towels and sheets to wash there is seldom time for all but the dirtiest of spreads and blankets. This is not to say you should put it with it, just so you have an understanding of why it may happen.
Housekeeping: To get the best result from the housekeeper make it easy for him/her to clean your room. At some hotels the housekeeper is not allowed to touch your belongings. If your bed is covered with your belongings you may find the bed left unmade. Suitcases left where they have to be stepped over to do a job makes it more difficult. Use your trash cans. Often it is hard to tell what a person wants to keep from that he wants thrown away.
Putting all your towels in the tub will make it easier for the housekeeper to gather them up. You can strip the bed and put the sheets on the floor if you want to.
Remember, housekeepers are human and they make mistakes. Don’t automatically make a complaint against a housekeeper who may have forgotten to put something in your room. Doing so is unnecessary. You can ask for housekeeping to bring you the missing item(s).
Tipping the housekeeper: Do not assume the same housekeeper is cleaning your room every day. Leaving a tip daily will assure the one who cleaned your room that day will get the tip. Waiting until the end of your stay to leave a larger tip does not guarantee the last one to clean your room will divide it with the others. If you know who cleaned your room and they are available, hand it directly to them. Only leave it with the front desk as a last resort. Your housekeeper may not get the tip doing this. Even managers have been known to keep monies meant for the housekeeper. Don’t rely on their honesty.
Continental Breakfast: Usually a free amenity. Offerings vary among hotel chains. This is not room service. You have to come to the food. Breakfast rooms do not stay open all day. Find out what the hours are so you can be sure of getting your food. Don’t think you can have breakfast at 10:30 when it closes at 10:00. You may, however, have access to coffee, tea and other beverages.
Checking Out: Go through your room and check everywhere for your belongings even drawers you don’t recall using, under the bed, in the bathroom. under the tables. If you do forget an item housekeeping is required to turn it in. This doesn’t always happen so it is best to be sure you do a thorough sweep of your room. When you find something missing immediately call the hotel. They will make arrangements to ship it to you. Expect to pay the shipping cost. Waiting to claim an item you left raises your risk of not getting your property back as items are only kept for so long. Things you are likely not to get back may include money, food and anything that looks like trash.
All hotels have a check out time. If you find you need more time some hotels will extend your time under certain circumstances. If you are a preferred customer you may get the extra time to check out as a benefit. You may be required to pay for an extra day depending on how late you check out.