During one of my summer Mattress Runs, the hotel booking process offered something any frequent guest loves to see – the option to request a paid upgrade. Since I had never seen this offered at this particular chain, I decided to dig a little deeper into the feature. As it turns out, there is a third party company behind the service called Nor1.
Nor1 lets hotels generate extra revenue by upselling unused rooms to existing guest reservations – the process is extremely simple and takes place during the reservation. For a fee starting under $10, hotels can “upsell” guests a larger room, suite, balcony or other upgrade. In my case, I was offered an upgrade from a standard room to an executive king room for just $9 – well within the amount I’d be willing to pay.
Since the hotel assigns upgrades themselves, you don’t know whether you actually get the upgrade until you arrive, but you also won’t be charged unless you are actually upgraded.
Sadly, as with many technologies, this service looked better online than it did in reality. Upon arrival at my Hyatt, nobody had any idea what I was talking about, and claimed they had never heard of the service. I’ll put it down to “growing pains”, and hope that Nor1 starts offering these paid upgrade options at more hotel chains (along with some training for the front desk staff).
According to their site, Nor1 currently offers upgrades with Kimpton, Country Inns and Suites, Hilton and several other hotel chains. Their technology isn’t even limited to hotels – the system is able to do upsells on rental cars, airlines and cruise lines.