Today I’d like to take the opportunity to remind our readers that it’s often possible to negotiate a few extra perks when booking hotels & resorts these days as properties often suffer from lack of business.
In times where occupancy rates are often in the low two- or even single digits hotels are usually more than happy to provide extras such as multi category upgrades, spa treatments or meals when you give them a decent reservation in return.
Generally speaking the worse the economic situation is in a certain area, especially one where the tourism sector is particularly hard hit the more desperate hotels are for business.
This doesn’t mean you should squeeze them for the very last drop but you can approach properties management with a reasonable request and see if they accept. The worst they can say is no.
I’ve stayed at multiple hotels and resorts over the last months while remaining here in Thailand for the time being and have often taken advantage of certain offers available at the travel shows in local shopping malls.
When purchasing stay packages there from the sales representative directly I make sure to always ask for extras beyond the actual package, in exchange I’m prepared to pay right there and guarantee them the revenue. If the package already includes meals I ask for a suite / villa upgrade. If it’s already a higher room category I ask for a lunch, dinner or spa treatment to be included.
Transfers are possible too although in most cases they have very little value considering how cheap transportation is in Thailand.
Your negotiating position can be improved if you already have status with the company where you’re going to book.
Here are some examples of my deals from this year:
- A triple upgrade at the Peninsula Bangkok, package already included meals (breakfast/dinner)
- A villa upgrade and spa treatment at a very luxurious Marriott property in Koh Samui
- Round trip transfer, lunch, spa treatment and an triple upgrade at the Cape Fahn SLH hotel that I booked with Hyatt Points
The last one at the Cape Fahn was especially interesting. The revenue rates on Hyatt.com for the Small Luxury Hotels of the World are insane and while I don’t know for sure how much Hyatt reimburses these properties per night I’m sure it’s pretty substantial as well. In turn, you can book this hotel for an amazing 20,000 Hyatt points per night.
I have seen packages of this hotel sold at the local travel shows for ~ 7,000 Baht per night including transfers, spa treatments and dining credits. I did however want to secure some more Hyatt nights so I thought why not book with points and contact the hotel to see if they’re willing to provide any extra perks.
I did just that and after a few communication issues (nobody was answering emails including the GM email that is quoted on the hotels website) the duty manager responded he would be able to provide transfers from the airport or my nearby hotel (Ritz Carlton, just 2km away), an Ocean View Villa upgrade which is three categories above the Tropical Pool Villa of the original reservation as well as a one hour spa treatment and a complimentary lunch. This was incentive enough for me to invest 40,000 points for this excellent hotel.
I’m sure the reimbursement rate from Hyatt must be high enough to make it worth their while to offer this. The cash rate offered on Hyatt.com was more than $1100 per night and while this certainly nowhere near what Hyatt pays them for an award stay it’s definitely more than the $180 for which the rooms are currently selling locally.
If hotels have a revenue incentive to offer a guest additional perks beyond the reservation and tier level guarantees then they might very well do it when being approached in a polite way. In my case I simply stated I’m aware of the cheap offers but I really need my Hyatt credits this year and that Hyatt probably pays them well and they could check with their revenue manager to verify what they could offer me in terms of extra perks.
So far I’ve almost always been successful negotiating something extra. Only one time wouldn’t the property or the sales rep not offer anything extra so I said thank you and booked elsewhere. It’s definitely a buyers market right now in some areas of the world (not all).