a man looking at a painting

In this world of information we are presented with more choice on virtually everything. Choosing a hotel can feel like brain surgery with all the varying reviews, price points and booking sites. Whenever and wherever you settle its important to avoid buyers remorse by making sure you are getting the right treatment and amenities. Rectifying a poor stay without behaving like a child is an art form and a necessary one if you want to leave a trip feeling fulfilled and not smashing your head into the airplane seat in front of you or being dragged off in handcuffs.  

a man looking at a painting

If you want great service give great direction. Surprisingly technology does not yet exist for hotels to predict that you like north facing freezing cold rooms or that it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary. If you have a special request or are celebrating a special occasion make sure you have communicated that with the hotel in advance of your stay. Hotels are generally good at picking up on significant events and offering anything from a complimentary glass of champagne, cupcake, room upgrade or all the above just to say “thanks for spending it with us”. When getting in touch if you don’t receive a response don’t assume that you are good to go. I have had far too many experiences where I email a hotel assuming that I’ve done enough to communicate my requests only to find out that it never reached the appropriate department and thus the complaining must commence. If your request matters; email, call and follow up with the hotel until someone knows what your occasion or preferences are. If you let a hotel know of a special occasion or a specific personal request and it is not met within reason the hotel has let you down and you deserve to speak to someone to make things better.

a man and woman folding chairs on a deck

Sometimes even the best practices don’t get results. When you are having problems seek someone who can find solutions. Managers become managers by having answers and the power to resolve questions. I have had many experiences dealing with front desk personnel and their immediate superiors who although apologetic for whatever my gripe is simply can’t do anything. Speak to the manager or the “managers manager” and when you do don’t be an a**hole. Managers know that you matter and that a lousy stay or review could damage their business. Don’t demand things, don’t say everything is terrible and above all do not threaten them with a bad review. People want to help if you are willing to be helped. Bend the ear of a manager to let them know some positives and that you are happy to be there but that a few minor or major issues are keeping you from having a perfect stay. In expressing desire to have a positive stay a good manager will see that a little effort or courtesy could really rectify our opinion. On a recent stay I followed this practice and without demanding anything or berating the senior manager asked to make it up to us and did so with a bottle of champagne and cake sent to the room and a pool side massage for my wife’s birthday. Nice!  Your results will certainly vary here but if things can’t get any worse there is no harm in attempting to make them better!

a table with plates and glasses and a cake

It is important for hotels to remember that you do have a choice in where you stay. In general I find that higher end hotels are best at offering some sort of amenity for recognition of a special occasion or catering to personal needs but there are exceptions galore. As always do your research, read reviews and follow my steps on how to Pick the BEST Hotel.

On a recent stay we loved everything except the service. Everyone we encountered was very friendly but didn’t seem to know any answers to my questions or present me with any solutions to my problems. We paid for a five star hotel and we were having about a three star stay. We were celebrating Laura (my wife’s) birthday and wanted to add something special like a dinner, spa or room package and we were getting more answers than questions. 

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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