Travel Fanboy

Checking In with Vegas Hotel Confidential

In this episode of the podcast, I talk to HC. He’s a front desk clerk in Las Vegas and author of the blog Vegas Hotel Confidential. In it, he shares the goings-on behind a Vegas resort’s front desk. It’s full of great stories of goofy customers and is ripe with tips for us Vegas visitors.

HC was nice enough to answer some common questions submitted via social media. Here are a few highlights from our conversation. Answers are truncated for clarity and brevity. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for the full responses, additional questions, and a special offer from the show’s sponsor, Ellis Island. Here we go:

In your opinion, does the $20 trick work? Or, is there a better way to secure a free upgrade if it’s available? 

I do not speak for every front desk clerk in Vegas. I speak for myself and the other hotel desk clerks I’ve talked to. If we have the availability to give a free upgrade, we are very happy to accommodate that. The issue is, now we have a $20 bill in our hands and now we are feeling the pressure to get that upgrade. Only to have to make that awkward transition to “No, here is that $20 back”. 

I have attempted it myself…now I just ask for an upgrade and if I get some sort of upgrade, I tip them after that. That, to me, is the tip, not a trick or a bribe. And I know it’s semantics. But I feel it makes the transaction a lot more cleanerThere are some hotel managers that discourage the front desk from taking tips and giving those free upgrades…Everyone is free to accept tips, it’s Vegas. 

Yes. It does work, but it does not work all the time. If you’re looking for a simple upgrade, it’s very easy to do that. If you’re looking for a difficult upgrade, it depends on what kind of tier level you are.

Let’s say I book directly with the hotel and I’m looking to get a suite. Is there anything I can say or do that would make it easier on you to convince you that I am worthy of an upgrade?

Be pleasant. Have your credit card and ID out. Engage me in conversation…if your trip depends on you having a certain room. Book that room. Don’t leave it to chance. 

But if you’re like, I feel like I might want “this view” or I might want “this room”, but I’m ok if I don’t get it- be pleasant. Be nice. Be prepared in the check-in.

I have given more upgrades to people who haven’t tipped me than people who have tipped me. Just because they were nice. I appreciate a tip. I don’t expect a tip. But if I’m having a bad day and someone comes in and is genuinely nice to me and I make their day by giving them an [upgrade], then I’m happy for the rest of my shift.

What’s an easily filled request people don’t ask for?

I will get through a check-in and I will get ready to hand the person the key and they’ll say “Oh, is that near the elevator or away from the elevator. Because I really need to be away from the elevator.” Now I basically have to start all over again. 

It’s not so much a request that I can’t fill. They just don’t ask for it when they need to ask for it. Which is when they first arrive at my station. 

I take it you know which rooms are considered good and bad. Do you ever give a customer a bad room?

Yes…The people that come in and check in and are just nasty to me from the start. Yeah. I have a bunch of rooms on a list that I know are above the garbage dumps, above the air conditioners, next to the bachelor party. Yeah, you’re going there. 


These are just a couple of the questions from our conversation. If you have questions you’d like to ask HC, leave them below! We’ll be talking again in the coming months.

Travel Fanboy

Adam is the editor of and Beyond being the world's most famous travel influencer, he's passionate about reckless points and miles pursuits. Formerly of Vegas Fanboy fame.

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