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The hotel mistakes you didn't realise you were making.

There are some things only insiders can know – and a group of anonymous hotel workers from around the world have banded together on site Reddit to share them.

You should never book through third-party hotel booking services.

Hotel employees insist the walk-in rate is almost always cheaper, particularly if you arrive later in the day. Unless a third-party site is offering a particular discount, you’re better off booking directly through the hotel. If you need more encouragement than saving money, hotel staff have also noticed that the guests’ special requests (non-smoking!) often aren’t passed on to hotels when provided through third parties.

You can avoid cancellation fees quite easily. 

Anyone who’s considered cancelling a hotel booking at the last minute has probably been discouraged by the prospect of a whopping cancellation fee. Turns out, there’s a sneaky way around that. If you need to cancel and don’t want to lose your deposit, simply ask to move your booking to four or five days later. Wait a day or so, then ring back and cancel the new reservation. You’ll avoid the last-minute cancellation fee completely.

Upgrades 

Of course, it never hurts to be friendly - but it certainly doesn't hurt when you're checking in to a hotel room. Staff say that engaging with the front desk, joking around and telling them how much you love the hotel are great ways to pave the way for an upgrade. If you ask politely if any upgrades are available, chances are the staff will do their best to accommodate you. Don't ask when there's a long line of people waiting to check in behind you, though - the last thing staff want is a line of guests all asking for upgrades.

It's not just the staff behind the concierge desk who can get you freebies, either. As one doorman working in an upmarket hotel revealed: “I can give you free water bottles, tampons, valet parking, tours, shuttle rides, reservations, dry cleaning, hell even an upgrade to a better room if you just ASK ME. But no one ever does because they think I’m just a doorman.”

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Towels and linen

Brace yourself: if you've recently stayed in a hotel, this is probably something you don't want to hear. While hotel towels and sheets are regularly washed, they're only "retired" from active service when they get a hole in them, a stain so bad it can't be removed with multiple bleaching, or the hotel runs so low on towels they're forced to order in bulk from the franchise. Terrifyingly, staff can also confirm that bed bugs are "more common than you think", and that it's best to use a towel or sheet when you sit on the chair or couch, because "a LOT of people sit on them naked."

And the cover or blanket on the hotel bed? Never washed. Not ever.

Celebrities 

Turns out hotels are very, very good at disguising when a celebrity is staying.

“As a guest, unless you happen to glimpse the celebrity, you'll never know they're there,” one hotel worker told Reddit.

“I was at a hotel that hosted a popular baseball team - yes, the entire team! - and not a soul was the wiser.”

They know when you're having an affair. 

“Yes, we know who you are," one Reddit user said. But they're prepared to play it cool. "No, we don't really care!”

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