This has come up in other recent posts, so I'll add my two cents. In my experience, my life has been made SO much easier by responding to Virtual Concierge requests made when you receive a hotel reminder usually about 5 days before your stay. I don't know how frequent they are for US stays (since I didn't get one before my recent Boston stay), but I always get them before European or Middle Eastern stays. What I do is ask nicely for early check-in, adding that I'm arriving very early from a VERY LONG US flight (no lie), emphasizing (again always nicely) any special requests, and most of all, what has worked for me is either learn or copy and paste how to say hello and thank you for the country you're visiting. There are all kinds of online English-Whatever dictionaries to find it. It really does make a difference and separates you out from the rest.