Business travellers know that adjusting thermostats in hotel rooms can often be an exercise in frustration, but experts have revealed a secret way to get the room temperature to your liking.

The Wall Street Journal reported on an investigation showing that in-room temperature controls are often “rigged” — using the thermostat touchscreen to adjust the temperature up or down accomplishes nothing in rooms equipped with new motion-detecting climate-control systems, which are rapidly replacing mechanical thermostats.

These next-generation systems are energy-efficient and save hoteliers money. For example, the New York Hilton keeps temperatures set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) when rooms are unoccupied, and the system adjusts the temperature to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) only when guests enter the room.

Various sites online offer tips on how to manually override thermostat controls, including View from the Wing, which recommends trying these steps if you want your room hotter or colder than the hotel prefers:

  • Holding down the “display” button
  • While holding that button, press “off”
  • Release off, continue to hold down display, and Press the “up” arrow button
  • Release all buttons

However, even this trick may not work for every hotel thermostat, and some hotels have also caught onto this “hack” by travellers and have re-engineered their climate-control system to prevent temperatures from being adjusted manually at all.