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There is no quick answer to the question: "How do I find the best hotel room?" This is because there are no two exactly identical hotel rooms. They challenge SeatGuru-ization easily, which means that it is not possible to create a reliable online list of room sizes and services.

But you can become your SeatGuru for hotels. And with the autumn travel season just ahead, that answer could help you sleep better at night.

"Choosing the best hotel and room can be a daunting task," says Michael Heflin, senior vice president of the Travel Leaders Group. "But it does not have to be this way".

The trick is to start with the right hotel and then apply some simple strategies to select the right room, or renegotiate your room assignment when your accommodations do not meet your standards.

Plan ahead for the best hotel room

Heflin says that thinking ahead of time and being strategic about your accommodation will help you secure the best room. Indeed, this is a common thread among the experts I have consulted. Wait until you get to the reception desk and you could get a room you do not like. Oh, and that rumor about booking through one of those discounted sites and ending up in the broom closet next to the elevator? True, sometimes.

"Discount websites are loaded with the worst hotel rooms," says Laura Freeman, travel consultant for The Trip Trotter, a New York travel agency affiliated with Tzell Travel Group. "That's why I'm so cheap."

After careful research and advice with a trusted travel consultant, choose a hotel that suits you.

"Call the hotel before you arrive and ask to speak at the front desk," says Cheri Young, an associate professor at the University of Denver hospitality management school. "Receptionists are the ones who choose a room for you when you check in, choosing from the available inventory.If you call in advance, you can talk to a receptionist and inquire about the best rooms, like the rooms on a higher floor, away from elevators and ice machines. "

You can ask the receptionist to register in a certain room, which means the clerk will attach your name to a particular room for your arrival in the hotel property management system.

How do you know if it's the right room?

That's why it's so difficult – impossible, really – to create a universal SeatGuru for hotels. Every guest is different. Every room is different A hotel room is not an air space.

"Just as there are no two identical hotel rooms, there are no two identical guests," says Brendan Bauman, director of reservations at Bedderman Lodging, a company that operates several urban hotels in the Chicago area. "While a guest could enjoy the panoramic view of a hotel room, another guest will be pushed to the wall by the noise of the incessant street of the room."

You can not even trust arbitrary categories that might appear on booking sites, such as "near an elevator" or "near the outside train". These could have little or no influence on your comfort, says Bauman.

"Most of the newer hotels have invested in acoustic neutralization features that almost completely eliminate outside noise, so a guest's refusal to be in a room near an elevator could prevent them from enjoying a room with extra floor footage or an enviable view while the noise from the elevator is not detectable, "he says.

So, how do you know if it's the right room for you? Read the description carefully, consult a trusted travel consultant (I know, I'm starting to repeat myself, but this is very important) and then call the hotel to ask specific questions like "Can you hear the elevator from that room? "or" When does the club close under my room? "

And, at the risk of repeating myself again – ask, ask, ask.

"When I book a room, I usually make a note under special requests to ask for something – my favorite, pet room," says Simon Tam, founder and bassist of a rock band based in Portland, Oregon, and a frequent guest dell & # 39; hotel. He says that the more details you provide to the hotel, the less likely you are to be disappointed.

"Offer so many excuses to offer you the best possible service," he adds.

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What happens if they do not give you the best room?

So let's say you end up in the worst room of a hotel. C & # 39; is it a way to solve it? It's a fact, yes.

"If you arrive in your room and find that it is not ideal, first of all, do not touch anything," says frequent guest of the hotel Kenny Colvin, who runs Giant Squid Creative, a branding agency, design and consulting in the hospitality sector. "Do not unpack, do not go to the bathroom, nothing, otherwise you will make that room unsaleable that night."

Go to the front desk and ask if they have anything else available. Ask gently and smile. The worst that can happen is that they say "no".

"Remember, these people are human beings and probably have to deal with a lot of angry people," Colvin says. "If you are the bright spot of their day, they can do everything to help you."

Another way to convince the receptionist to change room: take down the loyalty card.

"Loyalty is very long," says Arik Kislin, co-owner of the Gansevoort Hotel in New York. "While we appreciate all customers, we keep track of those who frequently stay with us, who often have priority in receiving such specific accommodations."

So if you want a better room, it's simple. Plan ahead and talk to a travel consultant, make an inventory of the needs of your room and then negotiate – well. Do it and you'll have the chance to avoid the worst room in the house.

Suggestions for getting an even better room

• Note the age of the hotel: Older is the hotel, "less comfortable and older will be the bed" was the experience of Daniella Flores, personal finance blogger for the site Iliketodabble.com. He recommends looking for new and more luxurious properties such as the new Hilton chains and Westin hotel chains.

• Do not forget security: Comfort is not everything, says Scott Hume, vice president of travel risk operations and Global Rescue crisis management company. "Keep security in mind," he warns. The safest rooms are located on the side of the hotel farthest from the main entrance, located above ground level but not on the top floor (nothing higher than the sixth floor), without a balcony and not overlooked by another room.

• Use a rebooking site: Sites like Tingo.com or DreamCheaper.com can help you get an upgrade, says Sam Olmsted, a consultant for La Galerie Hotel, a boutique hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans. "They look at the reservations you've already made: if a nicer room opens at that price, you're automatically switched and updated," he adds.

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Christopher Elliott is a consumer lawyer. Contact him at chris@elliott.org or visit elliott.org.

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