When is a Hotel Room Upgrade Actually an Upgrade?

When is a hotel room upgrade actually an upgrade? If this question is asked of the personnel at the hotel, the answer is most likely going to be quite a bit different than if it is asked of a hotel guest. In the hotel’s point of view, any time that the hotel receptionist informs a hotel guest that he has been given a hotel room upgrade, the upgrade exists.

What is a Hotel Room Upgrade?

Hotel room upgrades occur when the hotel cannot provide the type of room that the hotel guest requested. In all cases, one or more of the features of the hotel room is different than the ones that the guest specified during his registration. This change might affect the number of beds, the location of the room, or the amenities that come with the room assignment.

What is the Cost Associated with a Hotel Room Upgrade?

In most cases, the upgraded room is probably going to carry a higher daily rate, which the guest will not need to pay. The added cost of the room is forgiven or excluded from the fees that are typically charged for such a room. After all, the guest did not request the upgrade if it is arbitrarily offered by the hotel receptionist. Therefore, the hotel guest pays the same price as he would have for the original room.

In many cases, the upgraded room assignment carries with it a tiny increase in the actual cost of the room. In other cases, specifically, those that merit the description of a “room upgrade,” the upgraded room assignment carries with it a substantial increase in the fee that is usually assigned to the room. Either way, this change in pricing is not going to affect the customer since he did not request the change.

When is a Hotel Room Upgrade an Upgrade?

Just because the hotel guest has received the news that his room has been upgraded, it does not necessarily mean that the hotel guest will view it that way. Consider two separate scenarios regarding upgraded hotel rooms that will clarify this position.

Hotel Room Upgrade: First Example

In the first example, a husband and wife arrive at their hotel destination. They are informed that they have received a room upgrade from their original room assignment. Instead of a room with a queen bed, they have now been given a room with two full beds.

If the couple has been arguing with each other on the way to the hotel, then they are likely to see this upgrade as a positive change. Each of them can sleep in a bed alone and not worry about being mad at the other person. This couple probably agrees with the hotel management that they have indeed received a room upgrade. The same would be true if the couple enjoys merely sleeping in separate beds.

On the other hand, if the husband and wife are happily married and used to sleeping in a queen size bed together or perhaps even a king size bed, then, they are not likely to view this change in their room assignment as a positive one. After all, more likely than not, they are going to share one bed, leaving the other one empty.

This one standard-size bed is going to be considerably smaller than the bed they are used to sleeping in at home. Both the husband and his wife, despite their love for each other, are going to have a bad night’s sleep since they will feel cramped in a standard-size bed. In this scenario, neither the husband nor the wife is likely to view this change as a room upgrade.

Hotel Room Upgrade: Second Example

In the second example, a woman and her son arrive at their out-of-state hotel destination. They arrive at the front desk well past their expected hour of arrival. Their flight has been delayed three times until they are now three hours late. It is 11:00 pm and they are in an unfamiliar city with no car. The hotel receptionist explains that due to their late arrival, their original room assignment has been given away. Through the hotel management system, instead of receiving a room with two standard, full-size beds, they are going to receive an upgrade. Their upgraded room will have a queen-size bed.

Unfortunately, in the first scenario of this example, the son is 18 and at the age where he is extremely self-conscious. Neither he nor his mother wants to share a bed, and both believe that they have received a downgrade in their room assignment rather than an upgrade.

In the second scenario of this example, the son is six years old. He is feeling a bit nervous since this is his first time away from home. He is at an age where he feels funny asking his mother if he can sleep in her bed because he is frightened. The mother loves her son and misses those tender moments when he needed her protection as well as her love. She and her son are both thrilled that they will have a chance to share a queen size bed rather than sleep separately in two standard size beds. In this situation, the room assignment change is viewed as a definite upgrade.

Hotel Room Upgrades

As you can see by these examples, whether or not a room upgrade is an upgrade depends on the individuals involved in the change. As the customer, you have the right to express your dissatisfaction with any room assignment change that has taken place without your permission. In many situations, there will be little the hotel can do to place you in a room that meets the specifications of your registration. However, a discount in the price that you are charged, a free breakfast, or a free stay at the hotel in the future are all possible upgrades that you might expect after complaining to the proper personnel.

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Thank you for stopping by Sarnacki Design. This is a blog about Hotel design and Management for Hoteliers around the World. We take pride in our work as we work with creative and imaginative property owners looking to take their establishment to the next level. In our blog, you will find design tips as well as Hotel management articles to help hoteliers boost occupancy and maximize revenue. We hope you enjoy the Sarnacki Design blog!