Q – I travel frequently on business, often staying at top-tier properties in major cities, particularly in western Europe, Korea, and Japan. I am an independent consultant in the chemical industry and I don’t work with a corporate travel agency – my secretary handles all of my travel and she’s really sharp. So my question is “Am I missing out on Complimentary Upgrades?” I’ve become a fan and would love to “like” you on Facebook but I have not been able to find you. I’ve turned lots of friends on tot his site and want you to know how much I appreciate the no BS approach and the obvious expertise.
A – You are definitely missing out. Keep your secretary focused on non-travel matters and leave your arrangements to a professional. Unlike most things it life – it will likely cost you nothing. Absolutely nothing. Upgrades each and every time are never automatic. No hotel can upgrade you if the category above the one you have paid for is fully booked. So this is a matter of can it be achieved “often” or most of the time. And the answer is yes.
The secret is to be part of something huge, an entity representing one of the hotels top producing alliances. You might have a black on black stone tablet credit card that has to be transferred from place to place via truck. But a more reliable way is to work with a member of one of the top four or five luxury-oriented travel consortiums representing millions, and in certain cases, billions of dollars. To be specific, seek an agency that belongs to one of the following groups: (This is not an exhaustive list)
Signature – Virtuoso – American Express – Ensemble
Each of these associations of member agencies represents top production status for virtually all of the world’s top hotels and resorts. Automatic upgrade programs and other important amenities are negotiated each year on behalf of travel agency members. So it will make sense for you to have your secretary work with an agency that is a high-powered member of one of these groups. Then, all you have to do is relax and watch the magic happen. People who book hotels online are referred to in the industry as “one-offs”. They are usually considered to be price shoppers seeking the best deal with little or no brand loyalty. They are assigned the worst rooms in inventory as a matter of course. You need to be booking with a respected agent who will make your personal reservations through contacts in hotel management rather than by booking through a faceless 800 number.
Yes, hotels make more money when you use their 800 number. Yes, booking with a mega online agency is fairly easy. Yes, the industry will do all possible to keep the information above from the consumer.
You cannot “Like Us” in the superficial, Facebook sense. We don’t participate in silly social media self-promotion. If you want to like us – just try to do it in the human sense. We like you as well.