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.
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!
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!
How to Find a General Manager’s Email Address
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 brings up a few results which says that the General Manager of the Hilton Jamaica is Mr. Ron Day.
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.
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 bungalow. They 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.
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.