“Heads in Beds”, a book by Jacob Tomsky, is a highly entertaining and very interesting read about the hotel business. Tomsky spent many years as a front desk agent and has a lot of colorful stories but he also makes a great argument for tipping the front desk clerk that checks you in when you arrive.
I’ve been testing this practice ever since reading the book last year. So far it has proved worthwhile – if I got the timing of the tip right and followed Tomsky’s suggestions I pretty much always ended up with a better room and/or extras.
There is more information on my personal site.