Once upon a time making hotel reservations was pretty easy and you knew what you were getting. You might still get a surprise upon arrival at your destination but nothing like it is today. I have seen more and more often, lately, how someone will make a reservation and arrive at their hotel to find out that they did not get the room type the wanted. They wanted a non-smoking room but were told there were none left when they arrived. They believed they had a specific bed type but were surprised to find that the request could not be honored.
Hotels now do like the airlines have done for many years and they will oversell their rooms. They may have 350 rooms but they will sell 355 or 360 because they know that there will be a percentage of no-shows or cancellations. When you are making the reservations and they say something like, "I have you confirmed for a non-smoking room with a king bed" but what they mean is they have a "request" recorded. This is a nice way to insure you stay with us but that is also how people get confused about why they did not receive what they thought was a guarantee. What you need to do, before you let them off the phone, is to ask them if your requests are "guaranteed." They should tell you yes or no and that will allow you to know if you need to continue with the reservation or move on to other places.
When someone arrives at the hotel and discover that the only rooms left are all non-smoking and they get upset and are told at that time about the "request" listed but no guarantee. Sometimes people will follow up that that particular hotel or property must than pay for their room at another hotel. I can tell you the 99% of the time, they won't because the person will tell them that it was only a request and thus doesn't require them to pay for your room elsewhere.
If you ever get to a hotel and they tell you that due to the fact they are sold out for that evening they are unable to get you a room in their hotel, go with it. If you are not in that hotel for a special event, meetings or conferences than you could have your room paid for at another hotel. It can be a nice way to save some money and have more to spend on fun items.
Also, please understand that as a rule hotels do not set rooms aside for the president or the owner of the company. We sell every room we can because that is more revenue and is why we are in business. Should the company owner or the president of the united states decide to visit your fair city and hotel, there will be plenty of notice and rooms will be set aside for them accordingly. Trust me, if I have a room just sitting empty and is not going to be used and someone wants to check in, they can have it. I once had a lady insist that I give her the room that we set aside for the president or our company CEO and no matter what I said to her she would not listen or believe me. She demanded I call the general manager of the hotel at around 11:00pm on a Saturday night.....Uhhh no lady, not a chance of that. I explained to her, nicely, that if I had a room like she needed I would be more than happy to let her have it because it would make it so much easier on both her and myself. That is where the truth lies...We don't get sick pleasure from watching you get what you don't want. If I can give it to you than I will and that is for two reasons....I am there to help you and it is much easier for us all to keep you happy.
Happy traveling everyone and remember...make sure of guarantees, be nice, have fun and don't try to carry any liquids onto your flights.