9 Things Hotel Staff Know And Don’t Share: Insider Secrets Revealed

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When you check into a hotel, you expect a clean room, friendly staff, and an enjoyable stay. But there are some things that hotel staff know that they don’t share with guests. From the secrets of room cleaning to the art of pricing and discounts, there are many things that hotel staff keep hidden from their guests.

8 Things Hotel Staff Know And Don't Share

Key Takeaways

  • Hotel staff may not always clean the room thoroughly or wash the bedspreads and duvets between guests.
  • “Free” amenities like Wi-Fi and breakfast are often not actually free and are built into the price of the room.
  • Understanding the secrets of hotel staff can help you have a better hotel experience.

1) The Secrets of Room Cleaning

As a hotel guest, you expect your room to be clean and tidy, but have you ever wondered how hotel staff manage to keep rooms so spotless? Here are some secrets of room cleaning that hotel staff know and don’t share with guests.

The Perfect Timing

Hotel staff know that timing is everything when it comes to cleaning rooms. They want to clean your room as quickly and efficiently as possible, without disturbing your stay. That’s why they often clean rooms during the day when guests are out exploring the city or lounging by the pool.

If you want your room to be cleaned at a specific time, let the front desk know in advance. They will do their best to accommodate your request, but keep in mind that they may have a tight schedule to follow.

The Hidden Areas

Hotel staff don’t just clean the obvious areas of your room, like the bed and bathroom. They also pay close attention to the hidden areas that guests may not notice, but that can harbor germs and bacteria.

Here are some examples of the hidden areas that hotel staff clean:

  • Remote controls
  • Light switches
  • Door handles
  • Telephone
  • Coffee maker
  • Ice bucket

These areas are often overlooked by guests, but they can be a breeding ground for germs. That’s why hotel staff use disinfectant wipes and sprays to clean them thoroughly.

In addition to these hidden areas, hotel staff also pay attention to details like dusting lampshades and wiping down baseboards. They know that these small touches can make a big difference in the overall cleanliness of your room.

So next time you check into a hotel room, remember that there’s more to cleaning than meets the eye. Hotel staff are experts at keeping rooms clean and tidy, and they use their knowledge and expertise to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible.

silhouette of people with free marquee letters

2) The Truth About ‘Free’ Amenities

When you book a hotel room, you may be excited to see what free amenities are included. However, it’s important to remember that these amenities may not always be truly free. Here are a few things hotel staff know about ‘free’ amenities that they may not share with guests:


Most hotels offer free toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap. However, these products are often small and may not be replenished daily. Higher-end hotels may offer upgraded products and more luxurious amenities like bath salts, robes, and slippers for extra pampering. Keep in mind that these amenities are factored into the cost of your room, so you are essentially paying for them.

Hair-Styling Tools:

Hair dryers are a standard free hotel amenity at most U.S. hotel chains. However, some properties now offer more serious styling tools like flat irons upon request. It’s important to note that these items may not be available in every room and may require a deposit or fee.

Fitness Centers:

Many hotels offer free access to an on-site fitness center. However, some hotels may charge a fee for access to the gym, or the fitness center may only be available to guests who have booked a certain room type.

Pool Towels:

If the hotel has a pool, they will likely provide towels for guests to use. However, some hotels may charge a fee if the towels are not returned or if they are damaged.


While many hotels now offer free Wi-Fi, some may charge a fee for access to high-speed internet or for multiple devices. Additionally, some hotels may only offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby or public areas, and not in the guest rooms.


Some hotels offer a free continental breakfast, while others may charge a fee for breakfast or only offer it in certain room types. Keep in mind that the cost of breakfast is often factored into the room rate, so you are essentially paying for it.


If the hotel has on-site parking, they may offer free parking to guests. However, some hotels may charge a fee for parking, especially in urban areas where parking is at a premium.

Airport Shuttle:

Many hotels offer a free airport shuttle service for guests. However, some hotels may charge a fee for this service or may only offer it at certain times of the day.


Housekeeping services are typically included in the cost of your room. However, some hotels may charge a fee for extra cleaning services or for replacing items such as towels or toiletries.

It’s important to read the fine print when booking a hotel room to understand what amenities are truly free and which ones may come with a fee. While many hotels offer a variety of amenities to make your stay more comfortable, it’s important to remember that these amenities are often factored into the cost of your room.

20 us dollar bill

3) The Art of Pricing and Discounts

As a hotel guest, you may not be aware of the complex pricing and discount strategies that hotel staff use to maximize revenue. Here are some insider tips to help you understand the art of pricing and discounts.

The Best Time to Book

If you’re looking to save money on your hotel stay, timing is everything. Hotel rates can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including demand, seasonality, and events in the area. Generally, the best time to book a hotel room is during the off-season or mid-week when demand is lower. You can also save money by booking well in advance or at the last minute, depending on the hotel’s pricing strategy.

The Hidden Charges

When booking a hotel room, it’s important to be aware of any hidden charges that may not be included in the advertised rate. These charges can include taxes, resort fees, parking fees, and other surcharges. Be sure to read the fine print before booking and ask about any additional charges that may apply. Some hotels may also offer package deals or promotions that include additional amenities or discounts.

In addition, you can also save money on your hotel stay by taking advantage of loyalty programs or booking through third-party websites that offer discounted rates. However, be sure to do your research and compare prices to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

Overall, understanding the art of pricing and discounts can help you save money on your hotel stay and make the most of your travel budget. By being aware of the best time to book and any hidden charges, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a comfortable and affordable hotel stay.

a row of yellow stars sitting on top of a blue and pink surface

4) Understanding Hotel Star Ratings

When you are planning a trip, one of the most important factors to consider is where you will be staying. Hotel star ratings are an essential tool for travelers to help them make informed decisions about where to stay. Hotel star ratings are an indication of the quality of the hotel, its amenities, and services. It is a universal system that provides a quick and easy way to compare different hotels.

How Does The Hotel Star Rating System Work?

The hotel star rating system is a way to evaluate a hotel’s overall quality. The rating system is based on a set of criteria that are used to determine the quality of a hotel. These criteria include the quality of the rooms, the level of service, the amenities, and the cleanliness of the hotel.

The rating system is typically based on a scale of one to five stars, with five stars being the highest rating. The higher the star rating, the more luxurious the hotel is expected to be. However, it is important to note that the star rating system is not standardized across all countries.

How Is A Hotel’s Star Rating Determined?

The star rating of a hotel is determined by an independent organization that evaluates the hotel based on a set of criteria. In some countries, the government is responsible for the rating system, while in others, it is done by private organizations.

The criteria used to determine a hotel’s star rating can vary depending on the country or organization. However, some common factors that are considered include the quality of the rooms, the level of service, the amenities, and the cleanliness of the hotel.

What Do The Different Star Ratings Mean?

The meaning of the different star ratings can vary depending on the country or organization. However, here is a general guide to what the different star ratings mean:

  • One star: Budget facilities that are clean and secure. Guests may be able to access fee-based services or facilities.
  • Two stars: Appealing to price-conscious travelers, services and facilities are typically limited.
  • Three stars: A broad range of amenities are available, exceeding above-average standards.
  • Four stars: A high level of service, amenities, and comfort. These hotels often have restaurants and bars on-site.
  • Five stars: The most luxurious hotels with exceptional service, amenities, and comfort. These hotels often have spas, fitness centers, and other high-end facilities on-site.

Understanding hotel star ratings can help you make informed decisions when choosing a hotel for your next trip. Keep in mind that the rating system is not standardized across all countries, so it is important to research the specific rating system for the country you will be visiting.

brown wooden crate with black and gray stones

5) The Mystery of Lost and Found

As a hotel guest, you may have experienced the sinking feeling of realizing you’ve lost something valuable during your stay. Whether it’s a phone charger, a piece of jewelry, or even a passport, losing a personal item can be stressful and frustrating. But have you ever wondered what happens to lost and found items in hotels? Here are some insights that hotel staff may not share with you:

Lost and found items are often unclaimed.
According to ResNexus, a hotel management software provider, only about 20% of lost and found items are claimed by their owners. That means the majority of items end up being donated, discarded, or sold at auction.

Hotels have different policies for handling lost and found items.
Some hotels may keep lost and found items for a certain period of time, while others may dispose of them more quickly. Additionally, hotels may have different procedures for categorizing and storing lost items. For example, eZee Absolute explains that the housekeeping department is typically responsible for handling lost and found items and categorizing them by type (e.g. electronics, clothing, jewelry).

Lost and found items may be subject to legal requirements.
Depending on the nature of the lost item, hotels may be required to follow certain legal procedures. For example, Flexkeeping notes that hotels may need to report lost passports or other important documents to authorities. In addition, hotels may need to comply with local laws regarding the disposal of certain items (e.g. hazardous materials).

Hotels may not be liable for lost items.
While hotels have a responsibility to take reasonable care of guests’ belongings, they may not be held liable for lost or stolen items. According to LinkedIn, hotels may include a disclaimer in their policies stating that they are not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Overall, the mystery of lost and found in hotels may remain just that – a mystery. However, by understanding some of the policies and procedures surrounding lost items, you can take steps to minimize the risk of losing something valuable during your stay.

person using laptop

6) The Reality Behind Online Reviews

As a hotel guest, you may rely heavily on online reviews to make your booking decisions. However, it’s important to recognize that not all reviews are created equal. Here are some things that hotel staff know about online reviews that they may not share with guests:

  • Fake reviews are common. Unfortunately, some businesses pay for fake positive reviews or post negative reviews about their competitors. According to a study by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 55% of travelers suspect that online reviews are fake or fraudulent.
  • Some reviews are biased. Reviewers may have different expectations, preferences, and experiences that affect their ratings. For example, a guest who values luxury amenities may give a low rating to a budget hotel that meets basic needs. Similarly, a guest who had a bad experience with one staff member may generalize that to the entire hotel.
  • Review sites may have conflicts of interest. Review sites may receive commissions or advertising revenue from hotels, which may influence their rankings or recommendations. Additionally, review sites may not verify the authenticity or accuracy of reviews, which may lead to misleading or false information.
  • Guests may not follow review guidelines. Review sites may have guidelines or policies for reviews, such as requiring guests to stay at the hotel or prohibiting biased or defamatory content. However, guests may not always follow these guidelines or may intentionally violate them.
  • Hotels may respond to reviews privately. While hotels may publicly respond to reviews to address concerns or thank guests, they may also contact guests privately to resolve issues or offer incentives. This may not be visible to other guests or affect the overall rating of the hotel.

Overall, online reviews can be a helpful tool for researching hotels, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s important to read a variety of reviews, consider the source and context, and use your own judgment to make informed decisions.


7) The Unspoken Rules of Hotel Etiquette

When you check into a hotel, there are certain unspoken rules of etiquette that you should follow to ensure a pleasant stay for both you and the hotel staff. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Be respectful of the hotel staff

Remember that the hotel staff is there to help you and make your stay as comfortable as possible. Be polite and respectful when interacting with them, and avoid making unreasonable demands or being rude.

2. Don’t be too noisy

While hotels are designed to accommodate a large number of guests, it’s important to be mindful of your noise level. Avoid slamming doors, playing loud music, or having conversations in the hallway that may disturb other guests.

3. Keep your room clean

It’s important to keep your room tidy during your stay. This includes making your bed, throwing away trash, and keeping your belongings organized. If you need extra towels or toiletries, simply ask the hotel staff.

4. Don’t smoke in non-smoking areas

Smoking is prohibited in most hotel rooms and public areas. If you need to smoke, be sure to do so in designated smoking areas outside the hotel.

5. Follow the hotel’s policies

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the hotel’s policies regarding check-in and check-out times, parking, and other amenities. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the hotel staff.

6. Be mindful of your belongings

Keep your valuables and personal belongings secure during your stay. Use the in-room safe or ask the hotel staff to store your items in a secure location.

7. Tip appropriately

If you receive exceptional service from the hotel staff, consider leaving a tip. The amount will depend on the level of service and your budget, but a general guideline is to leave $1-$2 per night for housekeeping and $5-$10 per night for other staff members.

8. Don’t take hotel items

While it may be tempting to take home the hotel’s plush towels or luxurious bathrobes, it’s important to remember that these items are for hotel use only. Taking them home is considered theft and may result in additional charges.

9. Be considerate of other guests

Finally, be considerate of other guests during your stay. This includes being mindful of noise levels, respecting their privacy, and avoiding behaviors that may be disruptive or offensive. By following these simple rules of etiquette, you can ensure a pleasant stay for yourself and those around you.

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8) The Insider Tips for a Better Stay

Staying at a hotel can be a luxurious and relaxing experience, but it can also be stressful if you don’t know what to expect. Luckily, hotel staff members have plenty of insider tips to help you make the most of your stay.

Here are some of the best tips from hotel employees to ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay:

1. Be Polite and Respectful

The golden rule of staying at a hotel is to treat the staff with respect and kindness. Being polite and friendly can go a long way in making your stay more pleasant. Remember, hotel staff members are there to help you, and treating them with respect will make their job easier and your stay more enjoyable.

2. Tip Generously

Tipping is an important part of the hotel industry, and it’s a great way to show your appreciation for excellent service. Tip generously for housekeeping, bellhops, and other staff members who go above and beyond to make your stay more comfortable.

3. Use the Do Not Disturb Sign

If you don’t want to be disturbed, use the Do Not Disturb sign on your door. This will let housekeeping know not to enter your room, and it will also prevent any unwanted interruptions during your stay.

4. Take Advantage of Hotel Amenities

Hotels offer a variety of amenities to make your stay more comfortable, such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and fitness centers. Take advantage of these amenities to get the most out of your stay.

5. Check for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can be a nightmare for hotel guests, so it’s important to check for them before settling in. Look for signs of bed bugs, such as blood stains on the sheets or small black dots on the mattress. If you suspect bed bugs, notify the hotel staff immediately.

6. Keep Your Valuables Safe

Hotels provide safes in the room for a reason. Use them to keep your valuables safe and secure during your stay. Don’t leave your valuables out in the open, and always lock your room when you leave.

7. Be Mindful of Noise

Be mindful of noise levels during your stay. Keep the volume of your TV and music down, and avoid slamming doors or talking loudly in the hallway. Remember, other guests are also trying to relax and enjoy their stay.

8. Follow Hotel Policies

Hotels have policies in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all guests. Be sure to follow these policies, such as no smoking in the room or no pets allowed, to avoid any issues during your stay.

9. Ask for Help When Needed

If you have any questions or concerns during your stay, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Hotel staff members are there to assist you and make your stay as comfortable as possible.

man writing on paper

9) Registering a Complaint

When it comes to your hotel stay, you might think that silence is the best policy, but there’s a hidden truth that hotels often keep to themselves – they actually appreciate complaints. Yes, you read that correctly! While it might sound counterintuitive, here’s why hotels value guest complaints and why you should never hesitate to voice your concerns:

1. Timely Resolution: Hotels want your stay to be as comfortable as possible. If there’s an issue bothering you, whether it’s noisy neighbors or a missing item like bath towels, complaining allows them to address the problem promptly. Hotel staff members are well-trained to handle such situations efficiently.

2. Preventing Accumulated Discontent: Imagine you encounter a series of small annoyances during your stay, but you decide to keep quiet and save them up. By the time you reach the end of your stay, these grievances can accumulate, leading to disappointment. Hotels prefer to address issues as they arise to prevent guests from reaching a point where they demand substantial compensation or discounts.

3. Opportunity for Improvement: Hotels genuinely value guest feedback because it offers them an opportunity to improve their services. If a particular issue arises frequently, it signals a potential problem area that management can work on to enhance the overall guest experience.

4. Personalized Service: When you voice your concerns, hotels can provide personalized solutions. Whether it’s moving you to a quieter room, replenishing your amenities, or addressing any other issue, hotels aim to tailor their responses to meet your specific needs.

5. Guest Satisfaction: Ultimately, hotels are in the business of ensuring guest satisfaction. They want you to have a memorable and comfortable stay. By voicing your concerns, you give them a chance to make amends and ensure your satisfaction.

So, the next time you encounter an issue during your hotel stay, don’t hesitate to complain. Hotels appreciate your feedback and are eager to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Remember, your comfort and satisfaction are their top priorities, and by communicating your concerns, you’re helping them achieve that goal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common dos and don’ts for hotel guests?

As a hotel guest, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind to make your stay more enjoyable. Some common dos include treating hotel staff with respect and courtesy, keeping noise levels down, and following the hotel’s rules and regulations. Some common don’ts include smoking in non-smoking rooms, bringing pets without permission, and damaging hotel property.

What are some things hotel staff are trained to look for in guest behavior?

Hotel staff are trained to look for certain behaviors that may indicate a potential problem or safety issue. These behaviors may include guests who are overly intoxicated, who are acting suspiciously, or who are engaging in illegal activities. Hotel staff are also trained to look for signs of distress or discomfort in guests and to offer assistance when needed.

How do hotels ensure the safety and security of their guests?

Hotels take safety and security very seriously, and they have a number of measures in place to ensure the safety of their guests. These measures may include security cameras, security personnel, and key card access to guest rooms. Hotels may also have emergency plans in place in case of a natural disaster or other emergency situation.

What is the protocol for handling lost and found items in hotels?

If you lose an item while staying at a hotel, you should contact the hotel’s front desk as soon as possible. The hotel staff will then search for the lost item and try to return it to you. If the item is not found, the hotel may keep it in their lost and found department for a certain period of time before disposing of it.

How do hotels handle guest complaints and requests?

Hotels have a variety of ways to handle guest complaints and requests. The first step is usually to contact the hotel’s front desk or guest services department. If the issue cannot be resolved at that level, the guest may be escalated to a manager or supervisor. Hotels may also have a formal complaint process that guests can follow.

What are some common misconceptions about hotel staff and their roles?

There are many misconceptions about hotel staff and their roles. Some people may assume that hotel staff are low-paid and poorly trained, or that they are responsible for everything that goes wrong during a guest’s stay. In reality, hotel staff are often highly trained professionals who take pride in their work and are dedicated to ensuring that guests have a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

1)      Is Today’s Rate Better than the Reservation Rate?
Hotel rates fluctuate and a room reserved weeks or months in advance has a rate predicted for the day of arrival. Always ask on check-in if the day rate is better than the reserved rate. The hotel should give the guest the better of the two.

2)      Is This the Right Room?
Being on the ground floor of a hotel can be a great convenience if one is driving. However, they are often the most expensive rooms. Isn’t riding up an elevator worth $10 a day in the pocket?

3)      Free Late Checkout?
Hotels usually have a checkout time somewhere around 10-11AM in order to accommodate the housekeeping staff. If a departing flight time is not until late afternoon or evening, ask if a late checkout fee can be waived. At the very least, the hotel should be able to store luggage until the guest needs it.

4)      Can Guests Get Bacon With That?
If a hotel offers both a price included continental breakfast, as well as a hot breakfast with an additional cost, ask if the hot breakfast can be included. Given that a set amount of hot food has to be laid out by the hotel in the morning anyway, on slow days the hotel will often rather have a happier guest than a waste of food.

5)      Registering a Complaint?
Perhaps the greatest secret hotels keep to themselves is that they appreciate complaints! Are the neighboring guests noisy? Did housekeeping forget bath towels? Complain! The front desk staff would much rather fix a situation right away, as opposed to a guest saving them up until the end and demanding a discount.

6)      What Groups Get Discounts?
Hotels often offer discounts for members of AAA, or other organizations. Ask. Be sure to have a membership card available as proof.

7)      Are There Frequent Guest Bonuses?
Particular with chain hotels, loyalty programs can quickly lead to free stays within the chain. Ask about them.

8)      Is There a Weekend Rate?
Contrary to travelers’ instincts, weekends are often the slowest time for a hotel in terms of occupancy. Business travel is much more the core business for hotels in major cities. If one’s stay will overlap any of the weekend days, ask if the weekend rate can apply to the entire stay. There may be a pleasant surprise in store.

And after all, aren’t pleasant surprises better than unpleasant ones?
Have a great stay!


9 thoughts on “9 Things Hotel Staff Know And Don’t Share: Insider Secrets Revealed

  1. Being a Hotel maid in my teens, I learned from some maids that didn’t always have the guests best interest at heart. One important thing to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ask is if it is a two bed room, is if the sheets have been changed on both beds when two people were in the room. The gals I knew would straighten the bed that didn’t appear to have slept in and not pull the sheets or pillowcases. I always ask, as well as if the bedspreads and blankets are washed daily. It’s helpful to carry a small black light in your luggage pocket to check bedding for biological stains. If there aren’t any you know that the bed is clean. I would also make sure before you unload the car or money changes hands that you ask if you can inspect the room.
    On one occasion on inspection we discovered black grimy dirt on the bedspread and pillowcase, biological stains on both bedspreads, public hair on the wall outside the bathroom and in the sink and chewing tabacco spit on the floor behind the commode and along the wall. When we complained to the manager, the excuse was they had construction workers staying there and one of them must have gone back to the room after it was made up. Needless to say we went somehere else. Always check!

  2. When I enter a hotel room, I inspect it … I also walk around with disinfectant wipes and wipe down all the surfaces … the door knobs, the taps in the bathrooms, the toilet …. and in the main room, the t.v. remote control, lap switches and night stand.

    If I have a complaint with something in the room, I go to the front desk immediately and address it. I have been moved to other rooms when rooms were not satisfactory for some reason or another – such as odors or stains.

    ALWAYS check the shower curtain – if it is moldy – ask them to replace it.

    Happy travels!

  3. While this may work in chain hotels, none of these are true for resorts, except#5, we want to hear your complaint before you leave so we can fix it, rather then 3 weeks after you’ve left. (We won’t discount your stay if you complain weeks later).

    Also, PLEASE REMEMBER the individuals that are working may not always be in the position to make decisions without talking to management first. Do not yell at them, when they say that they will need to check with management about your request, chances are you will not get as well compensated if you yell at employees, versus keeping your cool and calmly starting your complaint.

  4. I worked at a hotel for over seven years. The hotel was privately owned. A little different from a franchise I assume. Here is my experience.Downstairs rooms are no different in price then upstairs room. It mattered how many beds are in the room and what size . As far as late check-out the only time you would need a late check-out as if it there was a emergency. Other than that better time management on the guess part. Nobody appreciates complaints. It’s all in the tone and approach that makes the difference.But you definitely need to let them know ahead of time. Before you move your stuff in the room and spend the night. And as far as price rates. higher in the summer lower in the winter.Holiday weekends are higher it’s an automatic given. Our hotel did not have complimentary breakfast but I definitely see it as a plus for any hotel.

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