I've worked at a hotel for 7 years. Here are 9 things I wish guests would stop doing.

·7 min read
justin offering a stack of towels in the hotel laundry room
I see the same problems pop up every day. Justin Aldrich
  • I've worked at a hotel for 7 years, and there are plenty of things I wish guests would stop doing.

  • There's no way for you to cover up smoking in your room, so don't be surprised when you get a fine.

  • Assuming you can have an early check-in or late checkout without asking won't usually end well.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

As a big-time traveler who's worked for Marriott for seven years, I've learned my way around a hotel property or two.

Whether you're visiting for business, personal time, or vacation, there are a few things you should avoid doing if you want to get on the good side of the hotel staff. Some of these tips may even get you a few freebies along the way.

Read on for the biggest things I wish people would stop doing when they stay at hotels.

Don't act surprised when we don't have the same amenities and menus as the property you stayed at in another city

Although select brands within a hotel family, like Marriott or Hilton, try their best to maintain consistency across the world, they can't.

Although my Tennessee location would love to serve you the fresh seafood you found during your stay in Florida, it's far too costly for us to make a profit that way.

Looking at things like menus and amenities before you book can help ensure we have on-site options that meet your expectations.

Incidental holds are a universal practice - don't debate us on this

Without fail, we get guests every day who will go to war to stop their credit card from being held for an extra $25 incidental hold, which the hotel needs on file to cover things like charging room service to your tab or paying for any damages you may leave behind.

The most common claim I get is, "No other hotel has ever held more money. This is crap!"

Truthfully, they most likely authorized your card for a little bit extra and didn't explain it to you, but there's no need to get red in the face. If you don't leave damages, order a pay-per-view movie, or charge things to your room, the money will be released back to your card in three to five days, I promise.

The rate you booked online is the same rate on my screen, and believe it or not, it's the same one you'll be paying

justin standing behind the check in desk at the hotel
I could get in trouble if I reduced a guest's rate. Justin Aldrich

If you booked directly through the brand website you're already at the best rate we can offer. Showing us the Expedia rate at the check-in desk is more frustrating than you could imagine.

I understand it may be cheaper but, as an employee, I have no way of knowing when the screenshot is from nor am I able to match it. If I dropped the rate any lower, I'd be risking a one-on-one meeting with my manager the next morning.

If you're really looking for a last-minute deal, my hotel allows guests to pair their AAA, AARP, or hotel rewards number to your reservation, which can save them between $10 and $30 a night depending on the Marriott location. In this case, I will gladly verify your membership and reduce your rate.

There is no reason to announce your elite status - I have it right in front of me

We adore our regulars and look to treat our most loyal guests with the highest level of service. As a matter of fact, it's what we're trained to do.

That being said, we already knew you were coming and applied any freebies and upgrades to your reservation that we could. I appreciate the confidence of entry-level members who ask for upgrades, but parading your status around isn't going to get you anything extra.

What you can do is find a hotel brand you love and stay there every time you travel. Your points-earning rate grows the more you stay, so eventually, your rooms will start paying for themselves in points.

Yes, the gas station sells the same snacks we have for cheaper, no, you don't need to tell us

Once you're in the hotel, everything is about luxury and convenience. Unfortunately, that reflects in the prices for any snacks or miscellaneous items we have as well.

We know the prices are high. I agree that $40 for two sodas, a Lunchable, and a kid-size box of candy is ridiculous, so you don't have to tell us.

Think about it like this - the gas money we saved you from going to the store is factored into our prices.

If you choose to smoke in the rooms we will find you and we will charge you

I've seen every trick in the book that people think covers up cigarette smoke, and every person has been hit with a $250 to $500 fine. The towel under the door, candle, and bathroom vent don't do what you think they do.

Every room gets inspected before a new guest arrives, so the lingering smell and ash on the carpet could only have come from the previous guests. Don't let that be you.

Just smoke outside so you can put that money toward another trip.

Plan ahead if you want to arrive early - simply popping in is a recipe for failure

When arriving at a hotel, you have to keep in mind that it might have been sold out the night before - meaning there is quite literally nowhere to put you if you show up early.

Additionally, we accommodate our rewards members who planned ahead for an early arrival first, so showing up unannounced seven hours before your check-in time isn't going to end well for you.

Give us a call the day before or the morning of your arrival and ask if there's a chance you can have an early check-in time. This gives us the opportunity to hold a room for you or prioritize the cleaning of your room type.

One property I worked at was always slow to turn suites and spa rooms because the housekeepers hated cleaning them. But if we got a call about an early check-in we could have the room done by 10 a.m. Otherwise, it was slim pickings until 3 p.m. at best.

Don't complain about 'missing' room features when the information was available online

Hotel Bellevue bed and room
What you see online is what you're going to get in the hotel room. Jacob Sarkisian

Without fail, every single week, hotels across the US get ripped in reviews because the guests didn't like the room style or claim "they were unaware of missing features." But all of the details are listed online.

If you need a microwave or a dresser with drawers in your room, please take a look at the listing before you book. Once you book, arrive, and unpack there is nothing we can do to make it better.

It's laughable when people book minimalist hotels like Aloft, Moxy, and Element then complain to the front desk that there aren't couches in their rooms.

Taking an extra 10 minutes to scroll through room and lobby photos before booking will truly make your next stay more enjoyable.

The best way to get a late checkout is by asking for permission, not forgiveness

As long as we're not busy the next day, we can generally grant the majority of late-checkout requests. Most hotels have moved their standard departure times from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. to better accommodate guests anyway.

Rooms aren't preassigned to the next guest, so asking for a 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. checkout is pretty doable. The housekeeping team already has plenty of work on their plate, so skipping your room to come back later is only a big deal if you leave it trashed (you shouldn't).

On the other hand, staying later than expected without communicating is a huge inconvenience that can result in you being locked out of the room and put you at risk for additional charges.

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