1. Book direct
Start by reserving through the hotel, says Franck Arnold, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. "Speaking directly with our guest-relations team allows us to customize your stay, as our goal is to ensure we do everything possible to make it as enjoyable as possible."
2. Be flexible
"Sometimes, pushing your dates slightly can make a big difference. Rates reflect hotel demand patterns and it can often be a win-win for the hotel and guest if you have that flexibility."
3. Get specific
Provide your preferences in advance. At Ritz-Carlton, for example, you can request a high floor, a room close to or away from the elevator, extra/hyperallergenic pillows, the type of bed, the firmness of the mattress, the view, et cetera."
4. Speak up
"Be friendly, engage with our staff, tell them when you are not happy … but also when you are. It will go a long way."
Likewise, Arnold says, "if you're celebrating a special occasion, let us know. We're always happy to help."
5. Ask about amenities
Happy with your room? Arnold advises to make use of all the extras. "Many brands offer a variety of complimentary services – such as shoe shines, use of spa facilities and alternate toiletries – that guests do not take advantage of."