Most of you probably spend the better part of your lives travelling – either for leisure or business and therefore most of your time is spent in hotels – away from home. But despite these hotels becoming your second home, you still know very little about what happens in your backyard – so to speak.

That is because most of what happens in your backyard is a hotel’s best kept secret – the unspoken and unwritten culture of the stewards of hospitality that is not on their policy brief. Once you finish reading this article, you will know of 7!

The Manager Holds all the Goodies

The hotel manager has been given full authority to negotiate favourable room rates. He or she is in a better position to cut you a good deal. Most of the time, we talk to the reservations desk about such matters when we should be talking to the Manager on duty, the General Manager, or the Director of Sales.

Rooms are more Expensive in the Morning

The best time of the day to make a reservation by phone is right after 6:00 PM. This is when hotels wipe out all the no-show reservations that were unsecured by a credit card. They then offer these rooms at bargain rates.

Rooms are Available even when there are no Vacancies

In any large hotel, a few rooms usually are listed as ‘out of order’ at any given time. The problems might be something as simple as a stain on the carpet or a chair that has been sent out for repairs. If you are desperate for a last-minute room in a hotel that claims to have none available, tell the manager you are willing to take an out-of-order room that has only a minor problem.

It Pays to Tip the Housekeeper every day

Exchange a few pleasant words with the housekeeper if you see him/her – and leave a tip at least each day as you see reasonable. You will get better service. Housekeepers are the most overworked, underpaid, underappreciated people in the hotel industry, so any gesture will be appreciated.

Knowing the housekeeper also reduces the chances that your room will be burglarised. Dishonest housekeepers are less likely to target guests they have met and if a thief enters your room while it is being cleaned and pretends to be you – a common ruse – the housekeeper will be able to spot the impostor.

Your Bags are not Safe with the Bellhop

Even in elite hotels, luggage can be stolen right off the luggage carts in the lobby. Though these bags theoretically are in possession of the bellhop, the hotel assumes no legal responsibility for the loss. If your bag is going to sit for more than a few minutes, ask that it be placed in a secure room. Keep valuable items in the hotel safe.

High-end luggage might impress fellow travellers, but it also impresses thieves. The cheaper or uglier your luggage looks, the greater the odds that a thief will target someone else.

Hotel Rooms are Infested with Germs

Certain items in hotel rooms never get cleaned. The biggest trouble spots include the TV remote control and telephone. Travel with a package of antibacterial wipes and clean these items when you arrive.

Also, while reputable hotels provide fresh lines, bedspreads might be cleaned only once every few months. Remove them from the beds when you check in. Ask for clean blankets as soon as you arrive.

The Lost and Found is a Great Resource for Gadget Users

If you use gadgets like cell phones, odds are that someday you will forget to bring your charging cord or lose it in transit. If you are staying at a hotel, there is no need to buy a replacement. Charging cords are the No. 1 item left behind in hotel rooms. Most hotels are willing to lend these from their lost and found – but guests rarely ask.

So now that you know some of these unwritten and unspoken hotel cultures, take advantage of them and do tell us how your experience was.