Reader Question: How To Contact Hotel General Managers

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Million Mile Secrets reader Cathleen writes in:

I’m planning a trip and I hope to contact Hilton’s Jamaica resort about getting two rooms together and maybe an upgrade for a milestone birthday – any advice on where to find a direct email contact?  

I see a phone number on the website, but the email is elusive.  Does the general Hilton Honors staff handle those requests well?  Thanks a lot

Why Contact Hotel General Managers

Often times, it helps to contact a hotel general manager to request an upgrade for a special occasion, such as a birthday in Cathleen’s email or even a proposal.  Or just because you’d like a nicer stay.

A hotel general manager is the CEO of a hotel and is ultimately responsible for the hotel.  The hotel general manager may not handle your request personally, but will forward it to someone who can.  Your request will likely get more attention if the hotel general manager forwards it to someone on his or her staff, than if you sent it directly to that person.

London Wedding Proposal Weekend

Our London Weekend Proposal Was Nicer Because of The Room Upgrade!

 1.   Special Occasions

Hotels regularly get requests for free upgrades, especially for special occasions.  General managers want you to have a great experience at their hotel and sometimes will go out of the way to make you feel welcome.

Note that this usually works better in 4 or 5 star hotels than in cheaper hotels which may not have any special rooms.

Some time ago, I combined a work trip in London to propose to Emily.  I booked Friday and Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Churchill in London and used a Hyatt Diamond Elite suite upgrade certificate to upgrade the room.

I wrote to the hotel General Manager, and explained that I was going to propose to Emily on Saturday and could they give me a better suite than the regular Regency Suite?   They upgraded me to the Regency Executive Suite AND had a bottle of Champagne, fruits, and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us in the room, along with a note from the manager.

It was a very nice touch, and Emily and I certainly appreciated sharing the chocolate covered strawberries during our special weekend!

Champagne and Treats in the Living Room

Champagne and Treats Just By Asking!

Cathleen could email the hotel general manager and explain that they are celebrating a birthday during their stay.  While there’s no guarantee that Cathleen’s request will be granted, it doesn’t hurt to try!

2.   Medical Or Dietary Needs

You can also contact a hotel general manger if you have allergies or special dietary restrictions.

For example, I booked 1 night at the Hilton Moorea using Hilton points.  I emailed the hotel about Emily’s fish allergy and asked about an upgrade from the standard garden room to an overwater bungalow.  They gave me several choices, one of which was a Panoramic Overwater bungalow for $245 a night.

I then asked if they could lower the rate on the Panoramic Overwater bungalow to $200 for the 1 night and they agreed!

Beautiful Views From Our Panoramic Overwater Bungalow

Beautiful Views From Our Panoramic Overwater Bungalow in Moorea

How to Find a General Manager’s Email Address

1.   Google

Often times, you can find the hotel general manager’s email address by doing a simple google search.

Cathleen is planning on staying at the Hilton Jamaica (Hilton Rose Hall).  She could do a Google search for “General Manager Hilton Jamaica.”

Google Search For General Manager Of Hilton Jamaica

Google Knows Who The General Manager Of Hilton Jamaica Is!

Google brings up a few results which says that the General Manager of the Hilton Jamaica is Mr. Ron Day.

Google Search Reveals Hilton Jamaica's General Manager's Name

Google Search Says That Ron Day is the Hilton Jamaica’s General Manager 

Once you have the General Manager’s name, you just have to find out the exact email address.

You can go back to Google and search for “Bob Smith Hilton email address” where “Bob Smith” is the General Manager’s name and “Hilton” is the hotel brand name.

You could also search Google for the General Manager’s Linkedin profile.  In Cathleen’s case, I’d search for “Ron Day Hilton Linkedin

Cathleen is in luck because Ron Day lists his telephone number and email on his Linkedin page.  This is quite unusual, and tells me that Mr. Day might be a better manager than your average hotel General Manager because he wants to make it easy for you to contact him.

Or you can just call the front desk of the hotel and ask for Ron Day’s email address. You could even suggest an email address and ask it is correct.

For example, you could say:

I need to email Mr. Ron Day some information.  Is his email address still RonDay@Hilton.com?

Even if it is incorrect, the staff will usually give you the correct email address.

2.   Call the Hotel

Do not call the hotel reservation number (usually a toll free number) because you will get a call center representative, far away from the hotel, who isn’t familiar with the staff at the hotel.

You have to call the hotel directly.  You can either start off by asking for the hotel General Manager’s name.  For example, you could say:

  I need to mail the General Manager some information.  But I want to personalize it with his or her name.

Once you have the General Manager’s name, you can call back a little later and ask for the General Manager’s email address.

It usually helps to say “What is Mr. [name of General Manager]‘s email address?” as opposed to “Can I have the email for your general manager?

How To Write a Request

It helps to be excited about your upcoming stay, but be short and to the point when asking for an upgrade or informing the hotel about allergies etc.  General Managers are busy and busy people don’t like long emails!

Include your reservation confirmation numbers, your hotel elite status, and don’t demand an upgrade or special treatment.  If you have a specific room or view which you want, mention it in your email.  Indicate that you know that the hotel may be full, but would appreciate your request being honored if the hotel isn’t full.

If you are excited about trying a famous restaurant or indulging in the spa at the hotel, it doesn’t hurt to quickly mention it.  General Managers like it when you generate revenue for their hotel (as opposed to outside their hotel!)

It is easy to say “no” to jerks or pompous twits or to ignore them!  It is harder to say no to a honeymooning couple or a guest celebrating a special occasion who is eagerly looking forward to visiting your hotel.

Cathleen could write:

“Dear Mr. Day,

My friends are I are very excited about our stay at your wonderful hotel!

We  have reserved two rooms at the Hilton Rose Hall Jamaica on [date of stay].  [Name of  birthday person] is celebrating his/her [put the specific number, ie. 40, 50, 60] birthday.  Is it possible for our rooms to be near each other and is an upgrade possible?  I know that this may not be possible if your hotel is full, but would greatly appreciate it if possible.

Thank you,

Cathleen

Manage Your Expecations

If Cathleen is using points for her rooms, she shouldn’t expect to get upgraded.

Sure, it may happen (especially if you have elite status with the hotel), and it doesn’t hurt to ask.  But I wouldn’t count on it.  You may even have to pay a certain amount in cash to upgrade your room booked on points.

For example, I booked 1 night at the InterContinental Thalasso in Bora Bora using Priority Club points and the other 2 nights using our free nights from the Priority Club credit cards.  I emailed the hotel to ask about an upgrade to an overwater bungalowThey offered me several choices from $154 to $564 plus taxes a night.

I paid $154 per night ($175 with tax) to upgrade to the Emerald overwater villa.  Here’s the video and picture review of our bungalow. 

Bottom Line

If you’re celebrating a special occasion and want to make it extra special you can email the general manager of the hotel and ask nicely about an upgrade.

You can use Google to find the name of a hotel’s general manager or call the hotel directly.  But I wouldn’t expect a free upgrade on an award stay.  It is always nice if it happens, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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26 Responses to Reader Question: How To Contact Hotel General Managers

  1. I still contend that if you have readers that ask these questions they’re not the type who should even be playing the points and miles games. It’s not that difficult to figure this out. It doesn’t take a genius to consider calling a hotel to discover contact information. Anyone who actually needs to be instructed how to perform a Google search is clearly not an outside-the-box thinker and is probably the type to call an airline or hotel about a mistake fare/rate.

  2. I actually needed to contact the GM of a 5 star property in Moscow due to their concierge service being ineffective at follow-up and giving incorrect information about theater tickets at the Bolshoi. We had prepaid for a big suite, and had informed the hotel on booking that we would be on our honeymoon. After trying to find the GM’s email address via Google, Facebook, and the hotel site, I finally called the hotel chain’s premier line and explained the situation to the premier agent…who agreed and promptly transferred me to a premier customer service agent. That agent took all of my relevant information and proceeded to confirm I would hear from the GM. Less than a day later, the GM had emailed me with apologies and a request to speak on the phone at a convenient time for me. More details to come…

  3. I would like to personally discourage readers from doing this. I am a fellow budget traveler, gainfully employed in the hotel industry and always encourage everyone to travel big with small money but this has got to stop. Please continue to focus more on optimizing value. Hotels are now bombarded with calls telling them they are “celebrating” something special….again and again. Many of the same guests calling before every single stay. So many are fake its hard to ever to determine if there are genuine ones. Most full service hotels like the one I work at have a very slim ratio of rooms they can actually upgrade to. These rooms should go to the highest rewards member in the hotels loyalty program. Just be happy with good service and a clean standard room. So many travel hackers from these blogs email, whine, email, whine and will act like their trip is ruined if they do not receive an upgrade. In the end, this is hurting both you and the hotels.

  4. A travel pro

    I 100% agree with Arizona Guy and Tico. There seem to be way too many people now who are trying to game the system. I can see your suggestions being abused BIG TIME by many people. People having special birthdays every stay at every hotel. Yeah, right.

  5. It gets easier—most managers now respond to nearly every negative review of their hotel on tripadvisor.com. They also leave their email addresses asking the reviewer to let them know if they can do anything to make their stay better.

    I simply contact those email addresses and often get free breakfast and other upgrades thrown in simply by asking. Nothing wrong with this as still 95% of the people staying at hotels have no clue even what points/rewards are.

  6. While I would never condone conjuring up a phony story just to get an extra perk, I have successfully requested upgraded rooms in advance of resort stays, regardless of whether or not it was a special occasion. As they say – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

  7. I’ll pass this on to my grandmother. Is this level of detail really necessary?

    Stuff like this makes me that much closet to dropping your blog. It’s on it’s last legs for me…. But my grandma, that’s another story.

  8. MMS actually had good a pretty good reason for the upgrade request and offered a fairly balanced way of requesting a way to get an upgrade.

    If you’re booking through priceline and ask for a top level suite for a recurrent birthday…that’s over the top. Use your judgment. There will always be someone determined to take an obnoxious advantage of a service oriented system.

    The situation given already utilized upgrade instruments, and he’s putting in a request for a little more.

    We did the same thing for my father’s 80th birthday celebration. We reserved four rooms for 8 days at Westin Maui and put in a suite upgrade request with our Platinum suite option. I emailed the hotel, reviewed the situation and gave our reservations.

    To our surprise, the manager upgraded us to the Presidential suite, cake for his 80th at arrival. Wow. They LOVED it. Completely unforgettable experience for them.

  9. @DRL – I write the blog for folks new to miles and points, so perhaps best that you go elsewhere if you don’t find it useful!

  10. Is asking for upgrades out of the question when booking with the budget websites like Priceline and Hotwire instead of booking through the hotel directly? I always seem to get nasty treatment when the hotel finds out I booked with Hotwire – like I’m a 2nd class guest or something.

  11. Daraius, your response to DRL was surprising and unlike you. I would have suggested that you just ignore his comment. Do it for grandma —-

  12. Yikes, who knew such a simple topic would upset so many readers?!

    Some of us only get to travel for actual special occasions, so it’s nice to get the best experience possible – which you can make a little better if you ask. Even if you just get the room farthest from the elevators ’cause the dinging drives you crazy, that’s still an “upgrade” in my book.

    For what it’s worth, the last time I traveled on points to the Waldorf=Astoria in NYC, I mentioned in our reservation that it was our wedding anniversary and they upgraded us when we arrived and gave us drink coupons for the hotel bars. I’d never expect that again, but it made that trip a little more fun.

  13. Daraius…thanks so much for the detailed info…our family of six has traveled so many places we would not have been able to, if it were not for your specifics. And I thought your reply to DRL was appropriate, too.

  14. @Tommy Z – It doesn’t hurt to ask, but I wouldn’t expect much if you booked the lowest rate outside of the hotel website.

    @Cathleenn @Mary – Ignore the folks complaining – they don’t represent most of the readers, but just a vocal minority who haven’t come to terms with the internet as yet!

  15. Daraius, have you ever thought of writing a post ranking proposal destinations? Obviously, this would be solely based on opinions but still, I think it’d be interesting. I only ask because I am in the process of planning a proposal vacation myself.

  16. @The Prince of Points – Congratulations. I could write a post on it, but not sure when I could get to it!

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  18. To DRL and the like,
    Please make yourself at home at whatever blog you chose. I don’t see the point of complaining on a blog where someone is nicely spoon feeding you information.

  19. I like to call this “the slow $20 trick” :)

  20. I know there’s no right answer, but how far in advance of your stay do you usually write the manager?

  21. @Michael – I try to do it 2 to 3 months in advance. If you do it just a few days before, the hotel could have already allocated rooms and if you do it 11 months out, they might forget.

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  24. Gosh, I’m late to this party. Daraius, thanks for the great tips.

    DRL is a condescending snob, so transparent it’s pathetic. I feel sorry for his “Grandma.” Your response to him was appropriate and measured.

  25. Hi Dariaus! I’ve been following your blog for months now and I’m very thankful for all the useful tips you share with your readers. I make it a point to check your page on a daily basis.

    Regarding upgrades, would you consider it in bad taste to request for one if booking was from mile redemption?

    Any experiences on such? Thanks for being a great resource for newbies like me!

  26. @Adrienne – Thanks for reading! Hotels do make money from award bookings and a special occasion is a special occasion. So I’d let the hotel know!

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