The check-in process at hotels is often seen as a slightly cumbersome formality one has to get through each time you walk through the doors of a hotel. But the fact of the matter is, the time spent at the reception while the staff checks your documents, allots you a room and collects your details could be put to much better use.

It is often the case that hotels and resorts have offers and deals that aren’t widely advertised. Also, you may get to miss a long line or two at the tourist attractions in town.

So, here’s our checklist for when you check into hotels, especially luxury properties, as they tend to have these facilities and deals in place more often.

1) The Coveted Upgrade

While asking need not always need to convert to receiving, sometimes a polite request – especially in the off season – can result in a pleasant surprise and voila! You’re in that suite you’ve been eyeing all season.

 2) Check for Extra Charges

Hidden charges such as resort cleaning fees/ resort fees sneak up on unsuspecting guests during checkout. You could request to have them dropped and maybe just get lucky! Sometimes these are charges that just can’t be waived though, as they pay for services like maintenance of the fitness centre, Wi-fi and newspapers. Even if they can’t be dropped, at the very least, you won’t have any surprises sprung on you at checkout.

3) Check Out the Checkout Details!

Check-out times, cab availability, time of pickup for airport drop – all these could be rigid or flexible, depending on the property and the services they offer. Knowing early what services the hotel does or does not offer helps you plan your last day well.

You may expect to be exhausted from all the trekking and want to catch some z’s before heading off to the hotel or do some last minute shopping in the city rather than be stuck at the airport lounge. Whatever your needs, having a glance at the checkout details can only work to your advantage.

4) Friendly Neighbors – or Not.

 If you went looking for a peaceful getaway from all things hectic, you’re likely to find yourself sleepless and grumpy when stuck in the middle of a floor occupied by a wedding party or a bunch of college-goers. Check at the desk and steer clear!

Also, if you’re going to be the loud one, make it a matter of etiquette to inform the front desk about the same so they may allocate rooms to you accordingly.

5) Exclusive Amenities 

Booked your stay through an agent who works often and in close association with the hotel? You might be eligible for anything from a discounted room rate,  an upgrade or exclusive experiences !  Also check for on-property credit, which is  often available,  although the fine print can sometimes be frustrating.

6) Freebies Up for Grabs! Complimentary is the Magic Word.

 This is going to be a long list. Hotel provide countless complimentary articles for leisure, entertainment, personal care and more.

The right phone chargers for the region to pillow menus are on the concierge’s list of services today thanks to growing competition in the travel sector. Hotels such as Hyatt often have curling irons in hand for the ladies and car rentals for the men, sometimes even Kindles for the readers – all this free of cost!

Yoga mats, sewing kits, resealable plastic bags, activities for children, GoPro rentals, extension cords, nail paint remover, workout gear,board games, and special experiences such as language courses are other offerings seen.

 7) Sparsely Marketed Offerings

 Several hotels have experiences waiting for you right under their belt that they don’t speak much about it. One might have to draw it out of them at check-in but it’ll usually be well-worth the effort. Tie-ups with local companies and staff members who double as companion runners are just a couple of examples.

8) Affiliations with Local Bodies

This bit can be summarized thus: miss a long wait here, and an expensive ticket there! Affiliations with museums and other cultural centres abound and will be offered to you – if only you ask.

9) Practical Affairs:Traffic

 With city tourism growing steadily, the traffic problem is becoming one close to home (pun not intended) for many travellers. Find out when the traffic is at its heaviest and which mode of travel will take you where you want to go in the fastest/cheapest manner possible.

 10) The Practice of Putting a Hold on Your Credit Card

 Be aware of how much hold the hotel is putting on your credit card and when it will be released. This has a profound impact on whether or not you end up in embarrassing situations while out dining or entertaining!

So there’s your list! Go ahead, don’t be shy, and ask away!