When TripAdvisor published its list of the ten hotels in the world with the best service, and I noticed that most of them are reasonably priced, I wrote How to Get Five-Star Service Without Paying Five-Star Prices and asked my friends on Facebook (frequent travelers, of course) this question: How do you get better service at hotels? When a problem crops up, how do you get it fixed, pronto? I thought I’d share their strategies, as well as my own:
* “Tip the bellboy who delivers your bags to your room generously, and the rest of the hotel staff will hear about it in no time at all. That first tip with a big smile is the key.” — Joe Yudin, CEO, Touring Israel
* “Make sure you speak to a person who can resolve the issue, and that varies from property to property.” — Sandy Ferguson, Managing Director, Asia Desk
* “Call the front desk, or the executive concierge (if you are on an executive floor), and explain the problem in a calm, respectful way. If that does not generate prompt attention, ask to speak with the hotel duty manager.” — Toby Saltzman, travelterrific
* “First rule: You get more bees with sugar than with vinegar. Keep your cool. Second rule: Be prepared to state what will make you happy. Know what you want in any negotiation.” — Charles Wolfe, Hurley Travel Experts
And here are my own tried-and-true tips:
* Book through a travel agent or destination specialist who has a close relationship with the hotel and sends it a lot of business. A travel agent who is tight with the hotel’s general manager and sits on the hotel company’s travel agent advisory board, for example, gets priority treatment (and extra perks) for his/her guests. Should a problem arise, the hotel’s manager will likely rush to rectify it (for fear that the hotel could lose the travel firm’s business); if the problem doesn’t get rectified, the travel agent can intervene on your behalf. (If you’re in need of the right travel specialist for a trip you have in mind and you’d like a recommendation, you may ask me here.
* Get a name to email. Look up the hotel on TripAdvisor, note the name of the manager or other employee who is replying to the negative reviews, grab his or her email address off TripAdvisor or from the front desk, and send him or her an email. Say that you’re at the hotel and are apprising him of your complaint so that he has a chance to rectify it before you get home and write your review.
* Take to Twitter. Tweeting directly to the hotel—like this—can be the fastest way to get a problem solved, as hotels want to nip consumer complaints in the bud before bad publicity goes viral. Particularly helpful are @HyattConcierge, @Marriott, @SheratonHotels, @WaldorfAstoria, and @WHotels.
* Post photos to Instagram. Some hotels—Four Seasons properties, for instance—monitor geo-tagged Instagram posts. If they note a guest is unhappy, they’ll take action to resolve the problem.
What are your strategies for getting better hotel service? Please share them below.