The book “Heads in Beds” by Jacob Tomsky is a great read that introduced a practice I had never heard of – tipping the front desk clerk that checks you in at a hotel.
He was a front desk clerk for many years, and his premise is that the person in that position holds a lot of power. They know the hotel, they know the rooms, and they decide which room you will be staying in. He maintains that there is always a better room, and that the person at the front desk can put you in it.
I’ve been trying it ever since I read the book about eighteen months ago. It has worked out quite well – when I got the timing right and followed his suggestions I always ended up with a better room and/or other extras.
There is more information on my personal site.