Let’s face it, your next business trip or vacation will only be as great as your next hotel stay. A room with brick-wall views, bad plumbing or noisy neighbors can potentially ruin an entire travel experience. One of the questions I get asked most is, “How can I score upgraded hotel stays?” I’ve actually discovered what travel insiders have known for years: Upgrading your next hotel stay is a lot simpler than most people think. From rooms with spectacular views to complementary meals, beverages and more, here are some ideas from Marriott International®.

The Room Upgrade
There are many ways to request a room upgrade, but you’ve got to be smart and polite about it. Joining a hotel loyalty program brings all sorts of perks. You can increase your chance of an upgrade by enrolling before you make your reservations. Hotels love keeping their loyal guests happy, and since it’s not that much of an expense to them, a desk agent will be more inclined to offer that unoccupied suite to a faithful—or potentially faithful—hotel guest.

The In-Room Ambience
Celebrities like Beyoncé, Mariah and Madonna upgrade their hotel room ambience with signature essences like flowers or scented diffusers all the time. Nothing makes a hotel stay feel more like home than adding unique touches that appeal to the senses. That’s also where a preplanned hotel travel kit helps, with lavender bath salts and pillow mists. You’ll also be glad you brought along satin pillowcases and a Bluetooth speaker. For less than $20, you can fill your kit with favorite scents and even sweet treats.

The Dining Experience
Scoring an upgraded dining experience is easy to achieve and almost as important as getting the right hotel room. Start by asking the right people the right questions. If you’re looking for the best restaurant in town, ask your hotel concierge for suggestions and let them make your reservations. At Renaissance Hotels®, ask the Navigator for the spot all the locals are trying. They’ll be the ones able to tell you about the off-the-menu items and unique dining experiences. Let them know if you’re celebrating a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, first-time visit).  The restaurant may be happy to ensure that your experience is as joyous as possible—with free dessert or more.