==Phrack Magazine== Volume Five, Issue Forty-Six, File 24 of 28 **************************************************************************** The ABCs of better H O T E L Staying ... ... by SevenUp (firstname.lastname@example.org) This ARTICLE will give you some information on how to experience a cheaper, safer, and more comfortable stay at your next hotel visit. Always keep in mind that the staff is taught to make your stay as pleasant as possible and fulfil most of your wishes. So it is often a matter of social engineering to reach your goal. BUSINESS CENTRES Many good hotels offer business centres. Some business centres just offer "typing service" at high rates, others provide a PC you can use for free. Usually it is a 286 or older, but it should give you the opportunity to copy warez, write your latest article for Phrack or even connect your pocket modem and login to the -> Internet. CREDIT CARDS If you have your own card and don't mind paying for the room - great! Just use it when you check in - most places require you to have a credit card or won't let you use the phone or won't even let you in. You want to use someone else's card? Be careful! Don't use a stolen card when you check in, or you won't have a safe sleep, fearing that they could come and get you. You would be safer if you tell them upon check in that you misplaces your card and don't need to make long distance calls, and just want to pay with it in the end. This doesn't work always, but sometimes. You also need a faked ID upon check in with the same name as the cardholder. But overall, using a faked Credit Card in a hotel is one of the easiest ways to get busted. DIALUPS Many hotels have dialins for their reservation system. Novells are quite popular. Some hotels also use PC based UNIXes (old System V's mostly) that are often unprotected - no passwords on the root account or even giving you a shell prompt when you call the dialup. Most of them are 7e1 at slow speeds. I won't say more about reservation systems here. EATING & DANCING Many hotels have good and relatively expensive restaurants and discos. They just require you to sign the check with a room number and full name. If you know of a guest that is checked in and has secured his account with a credit card who just checked in, just use his name and room number - this is probably the biggest lack of security in a hotel. Also if you don't stay at the hotel but want to go to their disco at night, pretend to be a guest to get in free and save cover charges. They usually believe you. FUCKING You've read right, hotels are favorite places to make love. No matter if you bring your IRC date here, pick up a hooker or stay alone and watch the in-house porn movies. Since many hotels pride themselves in having as much staff as guests, the question is how to get the cute waitresses and maids into your bed. If anyone has experience making them willing without much financial and physical effort, drop me a mail and I will include it in the next list. GET ALL Some people love to take all movable parts from the room before checking out. The question is what to take and what not. The easiest things to take are soaps, shampoo, lotions and Kleenex from the bathroom, since they will be replaced every morning without problems. If you want a bathrobe (usually most expensive item), hide it in your suitcase immediately after check in and then complain that there was just one robe in your room. They will bring you a new one immediately. If you take one when you leave the hotel, they will notice and most likely charge you $100 in your credit card. If you want a bath towel, also don't wait until the end of your stay, but hide it some days earlier. If anyone should ask about it, just tell him that you left it at the pool. Taking magazines from your room is usually no problem, but stay away from removing the TV or blankets! HYATT GOLD PASSPORT If you want to check in at a Hyatt, get yourself their Gold Pass before. It is free of charge and will get you free Orange Juice, Coffee and a newspaper in the morning, and also a bigger room. INTERNET So you are at a hotel in a new city and want to get on the Internet? There are usually 2 ways: Using a computer and a modem from your hotel room and calling a dialup, or walking to a local university and logging in from there. If you bring your laptop with built-in modem, find the dialup in the Internet Dialup list in this issue of Phrack, get an account on the host and can make free local calls from your room, the first choice is probably the best one. But if you don't have your own account at a local school and want to stay legit, it is often useful to walk to a computer lab in that school and check out their computers. Many school around the world have PC's in their labs which let you do a telnet throughout the world without needing any account or password, or ID to enter the school. You can find them in Hong Kong, New York, Munich and many other major cities; but usually they are unknown to the public or are likely to be closed down (similar to the vending machines, see -> SEVENUP). JACKING OFF See -> Fucking. KEY There are plenty of different types of room keys. Some hotels still use old-fashioned standard keys, but most use programmable keys (plastic cards with "holes" or magnetic stripes, or even the pretty modern metal keys in key-shape, which allow programming of their magnetic fields. These programmable keys will always be reprogrammed if a guest checks out. On the other hand, if you go to the reception and claim that you lost your key, they will always program a spare key for you. Sometimes they ask you for your birthday, sometimes for your ID (just tell them you left it in your room). This way you could easily get into someone else's room. LIGHT Some hotels have quite fancy light systems. If the light won't shine, there is often a box in the entrance where you have to enter your key (or some paper) to activate the main power. This should help saving energy while you are gone, but sometimes even the air condition will turn off, so you have to fool the box with a paper or spare key. Some systems will turn on certain lights just when you insert the key into the door and open it. This is quite unfortunate if your roommate sleeps while you go cruising and clubbing at night. When you return, the light will shine bright and wake him up. The only thing that helps is unscrewing the light bulbs. MOVIES & TV I bet many of you will first turn on the TV after entering the room. Some people just stay at hotels that offer HBO in their rooms. Before playing with the remote, read the papers above the TV carefully, because some channels might show in-house movies that are being charged automatically without any warning. Typical rates are US $6-9 per movie. Of course you don't want to pay that much, nor do I. Here are the 3 big S' of movie watching: Spectravision, Sex movies and Social Engineering. Spectravision is one of the most popular systems. It usually allows you to watch 5 minutes (sometimes 2) of each movie per day free, enough for some people to come. There are usually a bunch of BNC cables from the wall to your Spectravision box and to your TV. One of the cables delivers the program, the other assures billing. Use your fantasy and try replacing the "billing cable" in the wall! Generally it can also be useful to use a standard cable decoder (cablebox) to decode the pay channels. Just bring one along and if you are lucky, you can watch the movies easily. If all your technical expertise fails, there is still one way of watching movies for free: Social Engineering. Just watch the movies of your choice and then complain to the reception that you had trouble with the TV, that the Spectravision box or remote control broke, or that you caught the maid watching movies in your room. If you cry a lot, they will usually be nice and remove the movies from your bill. PHONE CALLS Be careful before making any phone calls from your room. Many hotels charge you up to $3 for 800 numbers and log all your touch tones (and calling codez!). You can't be sure who will view the logs and abuse your calling card. Also there are often high surcharges for long distance calls, up to 40% on top of AT&T's operator connected charges. There are also hotels that charge a minimum charge per call (up to $5), even if you just talked for 10 seconds long distance. On the other side, some hotels offer free local and 800 calls. Just make sure and read all papers in the room and contact the reception. I also had operators telling me lower rates than the ones that showed up on my bill, so be careful. RACK RATE This is the highest possible rate for a room, and the rate that is officially displayed at the reception. You should never pay that rate. If you say you are with a company they will give you a discount of at least 10% (corporate rate). Some hotels even give qualified people and companies discounts of 25% - 50% on the rack rate. When you wonder if you pay too much for your room or think you got a great rate, send me a mail, because I try to keep a database about cheapest prices for selected hotels. SEVENUP, Coke, Pepsi & Rootbeer: You are staying at a five-star hotel. You are thirsty. Your room has a minibar, but the cheapest soda is $4.95. The next supermarket or gas station is 20 miles away. But you need a Coke. What to do now? TRY finding the gangways where the employers work, live and eat! About every bigger hotel has a kitchen for employees. They also have a vending machine hidden somewhere, with sodas for just 60 cents. When strolling through the restricted area, just walk straight, slowly and self confident. If someone asks you what you are doing, tell them: a) you are an undercover agent for the IRS and they should get lost. b) you are looking for the vending machine. (telling the truth openly with a broad smile can be more successful than you think!) c) you are a new employee and ask her to show you around Also notice the signs and posters in most restricted areas, telling the personnel to be "enthusiastic, punctual, generous to the guest..." Quote these phrases when an employer behaves nasty towards you. UPGRADES After first going into your room and checking it out, go back to the reception and complain that the bed is too small, the street noise is too loud, the view is too poor, etc. Quite often they will give you a nicer and bigger room on their executive floor! See also -> Hyatt Gold Passport. VOICE MAIL Many good hotels offer voice mail to their guests. The most popular system is Meridian Mail. Some hotels have an own dialup for the voicemail, but mostly the hotel just lets you access it through the main PBX operator. If you are unlucky you have to wait 5 rings at a number before the Voice Mail answers. Most guests don't use Voice Mail. The few that do also keep the default password, which is often the room number or the birthday of the guest. One way to get the birthday is call up front desk, tell them you are with "Mommy's Birthday Cakes Delivery" and have a cake for John Smith. Ask them to check birthday's of all John Smith's etc. Of course there are more ways, just use your social engineering fantasy! WHERE TO GO? It is pretty hard to recommend chains in general. But I had quite good experience with Hilton, Hyatt (try getting a room on the Regency floor), Holiday Inn (sometimes really cheap prices and good standard), Shangri-La (best hotels in Asia) and Marriott (usually nice service). I had less good experience with Sheraton (less discounts), Peninsula, Regent & Four Seasons (all a bit overpriced and not so modern). But there are always exceptions, so tell me about your experience! I hope some of these tips might be useful for you. Stay tuned and wait for a new issue of travel tips, next time about Airlines! (c)opyright 1994 by the author. Publication outside of Phrack forbidden.