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Old Dec 18, 08, 9:20 am   #1
 
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Tipping the Front Desk Clerk for Upgrades

There is a thread about this in the Vegas forum and the consensus is that it sometimes works with $20 and often works with $50 slipped to the front desk clerk.

Of course, vegas is a whole different animal compared to other destinations. What do you all think about tipping people at luxury hotels to get upgrades? Please do not count Virtuoso and FHR upgrades.

Any personal experience stories would be great.

As for myself, I have never attempted the "bribe", but I ALWAYS ask politely and with a smile on my face. My success rate is a little <50%.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 9:24 am   #2
 
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I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't even bother with the "bribe". I just ask very politely "is there a better room available?" 9 times out of 10 this works. I've been upgraded to oceanfront rooms, Club level rooms, and corner suites. Obviously the success depends on the hotel, the season, what other events (i.e., conferences) they are hosting. But I find the direct approach works fine. I will say that, when I've discovered that the upgrade was to a particularly great room, I have gone back to the clerk and tipped anywhere from $25 to $50.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 6:48 pm   #3
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I would have to agree here, that may work in Vegas but at a 5* resort or city hotel it is best just to ask nicely, the worst they can say is no or there will be a charge of _____.

It all depends on the season or the occupancy rate. If the stay is 1 or 2 nights during an off peak time than they should be able to upgrade you.
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Old Dec 18, 08, 10:55 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by dchristiva View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't even bother with the "bribe". I just ask very politely "is there a better room available?" 9 times out of 10 this works. I've been upgraded to oceanfront rooms, Club level rooms, and corner suites. Obviously the success depends on the hotel, the season, what other events (i.e., conferences) they are hosting. But I find the direct approach works fine. I will say that, when I've discovered that the upgrade was to a particularly great room, I have gone back to the clerk and tipped anywhere from $25 to $50.
My strategy also. If I am someplace new I tell the desk it is my first trip, or whatever else may be relevant, and ask nicely. I will then go back and give a discreet tip to the staffer with my thanks.
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Old Dec 19, 08, 7:58 am   #5
 
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I have never tipped for an upgrade, as it feels a little off to me. I will mention them by name nicely in the comment card refering to the check in experience but not the upgrade (in case they might get in trouble).
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Old Dec 19, 08, 8:25 am   #6
 
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Having worked the front desk of many hotels throughout the years I can tell you that front desk clerks don't make a lot of money, they hold the key to your room in their hand and can make your stay wonderful or terrible with the stroke of their fingers on the keyboard.

Why not tip the front desk clerk? No one does; I watched bellmen counting wedges of cash while I got nothing. I would give people an upgrade to a suite and the dude who carried up their luggage would get a big fat tip as thanks! What about ME??

Here are some tips: be very nice to the clerk, ask them how they are while smiling, establishing eye contact and actually looking like you do care about how they are. Do not walk up and say "Reservation Smith" while throwing down your Amex. Engage them in conversation (if they seem up for it - most front desk clerks are actually very friendly and want to give good customer service). Tell them you appreciate a nice view, a little bit more room - most people don't say anything more than "non smoking." If you show you care about your room they will most likely try to accomodate you. Thank them genuinely when you leave the desk.

If you love your room stop by the desk again later, thank them personally for their efforts and give them a few bucks. Why not? They have worked to make sure you have a better stay.
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Old Dec 19, 08, 9:49 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by ElkeNorEast View Post

Why not tip the front desk clerk?

If you love your room stop by the desk again later, thank them personally for their efforts and give them a few bucks. Why not? They have worked to make sure you have a better stay.
So are you saying pass along a $50 spot under my credit card, or get the room first, then come back down and tip em?
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Old Dec 19, 08, 10:46 am   #8
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Originally Posted by trojanman View Post
So are you saying pass along a $50 spot under my credit card, or get the room first, then come back down and tip em?
I think he is saying ask for the upgrade nicely while engaged in a conversation, once you get to your room go back to the desk and discreatly tip the clerk.
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Old Dec 19, 08, 11:51 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by ElkeNorEast View Post
Having worked the front desk of many hotels throughout the years I can tell you that front desk clerks don't make a lot of money, they hold the key to your room in their hand and can make your stay wonderful or terrible with the stroke of their fingers on the keyboard.

Why not tip the front desk clerk? No one does; I watched bellmen counting wedges of cash while I got nothing. I would give people an upgrade to a suite and the dude who carried up their luggage would get a big fat tip as thanks! What about ME??

Here are some tips: be very nice to the clerk, ask them how they are while smiling, establishing eye contact and actually looking like you do care about how they are. Do not walk up and say "Reservation Smith" while throwing down your Amex. Engage them in conversation (if they seem up for it - most front desk clerks are actually very friendly and want to give good customer service). Tell them you appreciate a nice view, a little bit more room - most people don't say anything more than "non smoking." If you show you care about your room they will most likely try to accomodate you. Thank them genuinely when you leave the desk.

If you love your room stop by the desk again later, thank them personally for their efforts and give them a few bucks. Why not? They have worked to make sure you have a better stay.

Thank you for sharing. I definetly agree that many clerks are underappreciated.
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Old Dec 20, 08, 1:53 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by trojanman View Post
There is a thread about this in the Vegas forum and the consensus is that it sometimes works with $20 and often works with $50 slipped to the front desk clerk.
Boy is that tacky... In Vegas they'd just happily pocket it. Anywhere else at a smart hotel they'd laugh at you and think of you as a fool.
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Old Dec 20, 08, 2:45 pm   #11
 
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I think "tipping" to get an upgrade is very tacky! And yes,they can laugh at you at 5-star hotel (considering they sell rooms for over $850 and you show up with an extra $20).

Be nice to the front desk agent and actualy tip (not bribe) if you are happy with your room!
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Old Dec 20, 08, 4:09 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by bsb21 View Post
I think "tipping" to get an upgrade is very tacky! And yes,they can laugh at you at 5-star hotel (considering they sell rooms for over $850 and you show up with an extra $20).

Be nice to the front desk agent and actualy tip (not bribe) if you are happy with your room!
Depending on the type of hotel the way the person acts would be different. At a 5* hotel I would simply just ask nicely if i knew the hotel was empty or if it was off peak season.
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Old Dec 20, 08, 11:54 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by ElkeNorEast View Post
Having worked the front desk of many hotels throughout the years I can tell you that front desk clerks don't make a lot of money, they hold the key to your room in their hand and can make your stay wonderful or terrible with the stroke of their fingers on the keyboard.

Why not tip the front desk clerk? No one does; I watched bellmen counting wedges of cash while I got nothing. I would give people an upgrade to a suite and the dude who carried up their luggage would get a big fat tip as thanks! What about ME??

Here are some tips: be very nice to the clerk, ask them how they are while smiling, establishing eye contact and actually looking like you do care about how they are. Do not walk up and say "Reservation Smith" while throwing down your Amex. Engage them in conversation (if they seem up for it - most front desk clerks are actually very friendly and want to give good customer service). Tell them you appreciate a nice view, a little bit more room - most people don't say anything more than "non smoking." If you show you care about your room they will most likely try to accomodate you. Thank them genuinely when you leave the desk.

If you love your room stop by the desk again later, thank them personally for their efforts and give them a few bucks. Why not? They have worked to make sure you have a better stay.
The good desk clerks are rarely appreciated. I've seen many demanding guests at both hotels and airports. I'm convinced that I've gotten better rooms and sometimes upgrades by just being nice to the desk clerk. It's often as simple as asking how their day was, realizing that they are people too. How tired must they be if they've been standing on their feet working all day for 8 hours or more, dealing with many demanding guests?

I don't know if I'm comfortable giving money to a desk clerk, although ElkeNorEast raises a good point. If it's OK to tip just about everyone else (maid, bellhop, waiter/waitress), why not the rest of the staff?

ElkeNorEast, could you explain what hotel policies are for desk clerk staff if they receive compensation or gifts from guests? This would seem like a real gray area.
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Old Dec 21, 08, 4:53 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Benny8444 View Post
I think he is saying ask for the upgrade nicely while engaged in a conversation, once you get to your room go back to the desk and discreatly tip the clerk.

Since I don't know the policy at the hotels, but do want to thank the clerks for good service, I go to the room and put a tip in one of the stationery envelopes and give it discreetly to the desk staff.

I agree with many of the previous posts. A tip is merely a reward for good service. I don't know how it evolved that the mostly male bell staff - whose JOB after all is to get your luggage to your room - are always tipped while the mostly female housekeeping staff who do a hard and grungy job are often ignored. So I tip the bell staff adequately but not lavishly, leave a tip for the housekeeping staff (especially on the weekends and at check out) and tip the desk clerk if I ask for a nicer room and they are accomodating. Seems only fair.
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Old Dec 22, 08, 12:50 am   #15
 
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Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Since I don't know the policy at the hotels, but do want to thank the clerks for good service, I go to the room and put a tip in one of the stationery envelopes and give it discreetly to the desk staff.

I agree with many of the previous posts. A tip is merely a reward for good service. I don't know how it evolved that the mostly male bell staff - whose JOB after all is to get your luggage to your room - are always tipped while the mostly female housekeeping staff who do a hard and grungy job are often ignored. So I tip the bell staff adequately but not lavishly, leave a tip for the housekeeping staff (especially on the weekends and at check out) and tip the desk clerk if I ask for a nicer room and they are accomodating. Seems only fair.
I never ignore the housekeeping staff. There was a documentary a few years ago about how difficult it was to work in housekeeping. I think it was on ABC. I'm much more likely to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff than give one to the bellman. I find it funny in some hotels how the bell staff insists on taking your 10 lb suitcase even when it's clear that you don't need help. It's an obvious attempt to make an easy tip.

BTW, an easy way to get great service from housekeeping is to leave the tip every day, instead of at the end of your trip. It doesn't always work out -- some staff get lazy when they think they'll get an automatic tip. However, I've gotten some great service that way from the ones who really appreciate it.
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