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Make The Most Out Of A Bad Hotel Situation With These Foolproof Bargaining Techniques

Online ratings are practically the lifeblood of the hotel industry, with over 70 percent of travelers saying that it’s one of the biggest things that influence where they choose to stay, according to RMS North America. Hotels have risen and fallen based on the ratings people put up on the internet. That’s why a drop of even a fraction of a star can lead to serious consequences for a hotel, be it for any reason, such as itchy bedding or even lack of social inclusivity.

Bad reviews have proven to be a good thing for hotels in the past – after all, you can’t really improve without feedback. Most hotels that have experienced a slew of bad reviews straighten themselves out eventually. But if you’re one of those unlucky few who have booked with a new hotel, a hotel on the decline, or one that’s been experiencing lapses in performance lately, you can skip the review process and improve your situation right then and there by knowing how to bargain for better accommodations.  

Related Read: Asking for Refunds From Hotels: Can You Get Your Money Back?

Assess the Validity of Your Complaints

Before setting out to bring your complaints to management, it pays to take stock of which complaints are worth bringing up. Some may be too minor or nitpicky and end up fouling negotiations, while some may be a good addition to your bargaining chips. Building your case well is the first step to making the most of this bad situation. 

For example, if you want a room swap, bringing attention to a significant housekeeping error would be a better reason than saying you don’t like the decor. Things like room size is something that you should have cleared up beforehand, so while it’s true that it’s on the hotel to provide that information upfront, complaining about having too little space when you only paid for a standard room isn’t going to get you very far. Things that are out of the hotel’s hands, such as natural occurrences or utilities being shut off in the hotel’s city block for repairs, are also not very reliable for bargaining. Some hotels may give you a complimentary breakfast or other perk to appease you, but don’t expect much mileage out of something like that. 

Collect Your Own Evidence

To substantiate your complaints, it’s best to collect your own evidence. There’s no telling whether the hotel will be all that enthusiastic to see to your concern – or be fair, for that matter. If you were given hotel accommodations as part of a tour you booked with a travel agency, be sure to present the evidence to them as well. 

Showing management that you’ve gathered your own documentation implies that if need be, you can use it to support a bad online review, and online reviews are perhaps the single most impactful thing to a hotel’s revenue in this day and age. Every time they say or do anything to address your concerns, record their response to see if there’s a discrepancy. If it looks like it’s been a while since they’ve hired a hotel cleaning service, take a photo or some videos that show the extent of the issue. All of that is going to count towards building your case to get better service and make it so that your stay isn’t a complete disaster.  

Be Smart About Asking for Compensation

Once you’ve built a strong case for yourself, the last thing to determine is what is within your leverage to ask for. As long as you don’t push too hard, you’ll be able to improve your situation and make your stay much more bearable. Focus on things that will alleviate the problem, such as asking for a better room if yours is unclean or uncomfortable, or asking for a discount on the parking fee if the food is unsatisfactory, so you can try your luck dining elsewhere. Failing that, you can at least get a refund and perhaps seek better accommodations.  

Discounts and upgrades are all great, but if you’ve been moved one or more times to a different room and things are still unsatisfactory, it may be best to simply try to get your money back. This is why it’s best to work fast as soon as you notice something’s wrong. You’ll be much more likely to get a refund if you haven’t stayed that long. If your hotel or tour operator won’t budge on the matter, however, you can at least make sure that the hotel comps as much of your accommodations as possible.  

As long as you explain yourself politely, hotels are obligated to do their best to make things up to you. Any documentation you take of poor service will serve as insurance on that front.

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