It’s 2016: Is A Hotel’s Email Address Too Much To Ask For?

It amazes me how much major hotel chains sometimes miss the mark when it comes to basic customer service.

Nowadays it’s pretty common for hotels to send you pre-stay emails. It’s a great opportunity for them to try and generate additional revenue. By emailing you in advance they sometimes hope they can sell you a room upgrade, airport transfer, reservation at their restaurant, tour, massage, etc. In general I appreciate these emails.

However, I just find it so incredible that they sometimes miss the mark on the most basic things.

I’ll be staying at the Ritz-Carlton Almaty soon, as part of my trip on Air Astana.

Ritz-Carlton-Almaty

I just received a pre-stay email from the hotel, confirming everything about my reservation, and inviting me to contact them if they can arrange anything for my stay. The timing of it was perfect, because the email reminded me that I wanted to order a car transfer from the airport to the city (as I explained in a previous post, nowadays I find the money spent on an airport transfer arranged by the hotel to be well worth it). Success — the email is letting them generate additional revenue… except not.

Here’s the email I received from the hotel:

Ritz-Carlton-Almaty-1 Ritz-Carlton-Almaty-2

Anyone notice anything unusual about it? Specifically, this part:

Please contact Guest Relations at the above telephone number to let us know in advance what memorable experiences we can plan for you.

There’s no email address listed in the entire email they sent me (it’s sent from a generic Ritz-Carlton email that isn’t property specific), and they suggest the only way to arrange something is by calling guest relations.

It sort of blows my mind that in 2016 a five star, luxury, chain hotel sends out an email wanting you to spend more money with them, but makes calling the only option.

It’s one thing if this were a small independent hotel, but the fact that this is acceptable for a Ritz-Carlton amazes me.

This doesn’t just seem to be some oversight, but in looking at the hotel’s website, they have a phone number listed on the front page, but not an email address. The “Contact Us” information at the top right just gives generic Ritz-Carlton contact information, rather than property specific contact information. However, now that I look at other Ritz-Carlton hotel websites, this seems to be a consistent thing.

Hotels constantly emphasize how they’re trying to do a better job anticipating guests’ needs and go above and beyond, and somehow they fail at something this basic. Presumably they’re catering to customers around the globe, so do they want me to call them at 3AM local time on a Sunday morning to get advice on a tour, restaurant, etc., or otherwise during a peak time when I might be on hold? How is email not just better for everyone, at least as an option?

What am I missing?

Comments

  1. Interestingly, the only email ID they have publicly available is wecare@ritzcarlton.com. How ironic! Incidentally, I’ve stayed at this hotel, and they’re (were?) incredibly friendly folks. A great whisky bar and amazing views from the restaurant. You’ll find the access a little twisted, though! Don’t miss the food options at the Esentai mall’s food court right next door.

  2. I agree – hotels of this caliber should have the ability to connect with guests over email. Not every one can call a hotel in another country and sometimes accents make it difficult to understand.

    I dont think the Hyatt Zilara Cancun has an email address either. I they do, I couldnt find it on their website and I’m usually pretty good in digging out those details.

  3. Ha! Surprised you did not know but this is Standard practice for Marriott family properties. Sometimes Google can throw up an email address especially if the Hotel is active on social media.

  4. Forget using emails….This is a perfect example for how and why personalized guest messaging makes sense and can engage with the guest “in the moment”. There are companies like Glowing.io, Whistle and Zingle that offer an amazing connection platform enabling instant “on-demand” communication options using social messaging channels, like WhatsAp, FB Messenger, SMS, WeChat, etc..

  5. Just had this exact issue today with Marriott Cebu. Had to call them to arrange airport pickup.

    And looking at the phone number provided, that’s not even formatted as international dialing numbers should be, with the +.

  6. I check TripAdvisor reviews of 3 stars or less. Many times in their responses to these you will find an email address of someone on property.

  7. As a young, able, smart and worldly (?) person you should be able to handle public transit or cabs with a phone gps tracking. If you cannot, it might be time to reflect on why that is the case instead of using hotel transfers as a crutch.

  8. Totally agree! Had to go digging for a Marriott address as well. Just don’t see the point if you’re able to ask a succinct and simple question, in not providing an email address.

  9. Was able to book a transfer to RC Almaty from FRU via their concierge team. Pretty interesting ride and border crossing in the middle of the night 🙂
    So picking you up from ALA should be easy. Everything was handled via email: rc.alarz.concierge@ritzcarlton.com
    Enjoy the hotel and be sure to review the lounge at ALA en detail :0

  10. Same issue contacting a RC in Dubai. Waiting days for the response from the we care email is unacceptable, and I don’t want to call Dubai.

  11. Their FB page says they usually respond to FB messages within a few hours. Have found that to be a good alternative to email/Twitter.

  12. Umm, you LIVE with a “travel advisor”? WTF?

    Guess the standards of being a professional travel consultant are MUCH less stringent than during my 20 years industry…

  13. @ GringoLoco — This post wasn’t about my inability to find their contact information, but rather about my amazement that they don’t list it.

  14. This is one post I can get 100% behind.

    Hotels – please take note. The time of your guests is valuable and often way too busy to sit around waiting on a telephone line or playing telephone tag with you.

    This is why e-mail exists – we can shoot off a quick email any time or day, and you can answer and give us record of what we need to know (nobody expects instantaneous reply, as long as it is timely <24 hrs). We can then read the next moment we have a chance. That's the beauty of asynchronous communication – it can be dealt with when you have the opportunity to do so, not demand you throw your schedule aside for it.

    Don't force just one communications channel on us, just because it's convenient for the hotel and not the guest.

    In this day and age – email is a must.

    Plus I hate dealing with hotels over the phone – always a pain.

  15. I agree with Ben. Grown up hotel chains! The future is now. Written communication is far more powerful than a phone talk. What are they scared of?

  16. Absolutely frustrating practice and totally unacceptable. I don’t want to communicate with the hotel on the phone for a number of reasons:

    (1) communications can be difficult sometimes with different accents and cultures, especially if you are giving specific detail (arrival flight no., for example).

    (2) There is no written record and you cannot be sure if the person has confirmed a certain request (say, airport pickup) or just wrote it down for later.

    (3) It’s an expensive way to communicate and not efficient use of ny time.

  17. Lack of email is a major pet peeve of mine. Hugely irritating to search and search to find an email…and then often you don’t get a response when you do. It’s infuriating.

  18. It’s SOP for just about every large company to not give an opportunity to leave a written trail. The less in writing the better. If they have a chat function on the website (eg AMEX) use that and tell them you’ll be doing screen prints for future reference.

  19. Good lord pick up the telephone and be done with it! Or take a cab or something else. Or maybe don’t leave home anymore without your mother to help you. For someone who travels all the time your intolerance for anything not going exactly as you imagine it should is mind boggling.

  20. @Kieran,

    OMG no doubt. I wish American Express would get a freaking clue and turn their secure messaging back on. They don’t seem to realize that I might have 2 minutes to shoot off an email and check back for an answer, but calling customer service while in a a crowded airport, airplane, taxi or train station just isn’t going to cut it.

  21. I’ve found a lot of restaurants text me now to confirm reservations a day or two in advance rather than calling. This is a nice feature.
    I stayed at a Fairmont recently and you could just text them whenever you needed something before or during your stay. It was great.

  22. I 100% agree. Even small hotels and b&b’s should have email!
    For chain or bigger hotels, it’s also useful in other countries because the person who picks up the phone may not be fluent in English, or something may be lost in translation.

  23. This happened to me last week, for my stay at Ritz Santiago. I wanted to arrange a hotel car from airport but did not want to dial internationally on my US cell phone (only option prior to my overnight flight). Ritz customer service would not patch me through. Dedicated ritz member line (I am a member) is “closed” on the weekend. Thank goodness for Amex Platinum, who were more than happy to not only get me in touch, but made the reservations for me as well. All in all, wonderful service but for Ritz’s lack of pre-trip communication options.

  24. One of THE most annoying things about hotels!!

    I’ve found with SPG and Hyatt, I can DM their Twitter teams and they’ll DM back with the hotel’s email address (or sometimes the GM or RM’s direct address if I request that) in a few minutes. That at least takes a little sting out of it, but it’s really inexcusable.

  25. Why are you even surprised? It is pretty common in Marriott group. You kinda have to go to trip advisor and look for an email. What you are supposed to do is to email RC or MR directly and they will forward your email. What’s the harm of that?

  26. My top three complaints about hotels –

    1. No apparent guest relations email address but usually an (easy to find) phone number.
    2. Lack of easily accessible luggage space.
    3. Bathrooms that focus on style rather than function.

    I am a Hilton Diamond member and I have gathered the email address for numerous Front Office and Guest Relations managers who I email rather than call. I am unlikely to reach them at 3 am but I have found email to be very productive. I usually try to meet these folks and get their Business Card – otherwise finding an email address can be a chore.

    So I agree having an email address as well as a phone number would be a good thing.

  27. Get a better TA as Ford is apparently not able to get the easy things done. Oh, wait. I forgot Ford is a TA in name only and you managed to scam yet another Virtuoso agency, as you did with Brownell Travel years ago. My TA would have gotten my request taken care of. Maybe you should switch.

  28. Sam, you are a stitch! I’m with you on this one!
    Never fails to amaze me hat people find earth shattering.
    Arm sore! Dialing finger broken? There are remedies for that!
    News flash people! Many a customer service group has discovered the hard way that what people ask for is not necessarily what they want or perhaps need in the end! They can be caught between a rock and a hard place. Often a phone conversation can be more helpful in the end!
    Learn to think outside the box people! Where there is a will, there is a way! If all else fails, ask your mother to do it! Bet she can figure out a way! She was born before email!

  29. These idiots who blithely suggest calling have their heads where the sun don’t shine. All hotels should prominently post their guest services/front desk email/Twitter contact info.

  30. All this whining about how not being able to contact a hotel via email makes them “behind the times” yet nobody has mentioned other “ancient” practices like slipping a paper copy of the bill under the door. UGH! I expect this from “cheap” hotels, but not from the more reputable chains like Fairmont.

    I bought a stay for some friends that were accompanying us to the Empress and I specifically asked that the rate not be printed on the registration card and that the bill NOT be shoved unter the door. And, guess what? That’s EXACTLY what they did. In this day and age? You can’t email me, even though I’m a President’s Club member?

  31. @Lucky – almost all the hotels in the Marriott portfolio do not feature any emails on their web sites.
    I’ve written to Marriott customer support dozens of times about it.
    Nada.

  32. Every time I receive a “anticipation email” from ritz , I just reply to it with my request and someone from the hotel emails me back. Have you tried to reply to them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *