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Old Jul 11, 09, 8:36 am   #1
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Complaint Letters to CEO

What is your experience when writing a complaint letter to the CEO of hotel chains?

Hilton:
I wrote to them once, after a problem at the Hilton Cavalieri Rome (now Waldorf Astoria). Not only did I get an apology, but I also received a credit of 100.000 HHonors points. Very good customer service.

Orient-Express:
Although then CEO Mr. Sherwood encouraged letters to him personally, in his brochure, I never received an answer after a lousy stay at the Reid's Palace Madeira.

Sofitel:
I wrote to CEO Gilles Pelisson twice and never received an answer. Sofitel seems particularly arrogant and disorganized to me.
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Old Jul 11, 09, 8:48 am   #2
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You must have quite horrible stays all the time which customer service can't sort out otherwise why would you write to the CEO of the company? I never had any issue which was so severe that normal customer service or the GM of the Hotel weren't able to solve it.
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Old Jul 11, 09, 9:04 am   #3
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Originally Posted by DownUnderFlyer View Post
You must have quite horrible stays all the time which customer service can't sort out otherwise why would you write to the CEO of the company? I never had any issue which was so severe that normal customer service or the GM of the Hotel weren't able to solve it.
First of all, I don't think that three complaints at HQ level in twenty years of travelling are too much. But in those three cases, I found the local GM's response not satisfying and therefore wanted to make HQ aware of it.

Second, I don't expect the group CEO to read/write my letters personally, however the response shows how organized the group is and how much they emphasize customer satisfaction. (O-E CEO Sherwood explicitly asked for letters to him personally, however no one responded.)

Third, I am used to talking at CEO/owner level.

(P.S.: In one case, I was so POSITIVELY impressed by a hotel group's response (Hilton) that I wrote a positive letter to the editors of a German travel magazine and it got printed. In addition, I praise (and tip) staff personally for good service all the time. So I am definitely not the constant complaint kind of guy, which you may want to portrait me ;- .)
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Old Jul 11, 09, 5:00 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrophyCollector View Post
Sofitel:
I wrote to CEO Gilles Pelisson twice and never received an answer. Sofitel seems particularly arrogant and disorganized to me.
I have sent an email to Marketing Senior VP for some credit card issues in a Sofitel which took a long time to be solved (the hotel was saying that it was impossible for them to credit back my Amex)

I have received a phone call for apology from the customer service 2 days after, and a letter with a EUR 250 Sofitel award coupon (and of course the refund of the amount credited by mistake).

I have sent a letter to CEO of Radisson hotels (Rezidor group) after some major issues at Radisson Rome> I received a very quick and really nice email back by the CEO 4 hours after. I was really impressed.
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Old Jul 11, 09, 5:15 pm   #5
 
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Hilton Customer Service is exceptional. They do care about their customers experiences, which is why I tend to stay at a lot of Hilton family properties.

Ritz Carlton, since they were purchased by Marriott has non-existant customer service, and has sub-par service at some of their properties. Ritz Carlton Guest Relations are about on the same level as say Ramada Inn. I sent a fax to their guest relations about a terrible experience at one of their D.C. properties and never received a response.
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Old Jul 11, 09, 5:47 pm   #6
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ouch. what happened at which DC property?
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Old Jul 11, 09, 9:19 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by ctuttle View Post
Hilton Customer Service is exceptional. They do care about their customers experiences, which is why I tend to stay at a lot of Hilton family properties.

Ritz Carlton, since they were purchased by Marriott has non-existant customer service, and has sub-par service at some of their properties. Ritz Carlton Guest Relations are about on the same level as say Ramada Inn. I sent a fax to their guest relations about a terrible experience at one of their D.C. properties and never received a response.
Write to Simon Cooper, the CEO. Simon.cooper@ritzcarlton.com

I would be surprised if you don't get a response.
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Old Jul 13, 09, 3:22 am   #8
 
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This is an interesting one, because despite having my own company and wanting feedback from my clients whenever there is a problem, in most cases when it comes to hotels I most usually just go vote with my feet and go elsewhere rather than bothering with a letter to the CEO.

This is not to say I don't complain when I am not happy about an experience in a hotel. I have had very poor experiences in the last six months at both the Four Seasons in Sydney and the Oberoi in Delhi. It is a question of priorities, but I would rather spend my time on other things apart from writing to the CEOs of Four Seasons and Oberoi. Often (but not always) the duty managers or the Front House Managers are helpful in resolving any issues.

The exception to this would be a travel provider you HAVE to use. This might apply in a city where there is no other reasonable alternative (eg Canberra in Australia or Agra in India). But if you have a bad experience at a luxury hotel where there are reasonable alternatives, due to time constraints I tend to vote with my feet and spend my money at their competitors.

This is the opposite to what I want my clients to do. When my clients have issues with staff or with service delivery, I want them to ring me. But then any management worth their salt will be looking for booking trends and identifying issues which may be contributing to those trends.
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Old Jul 13, 09, 7:08 am   #9
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I am not sure how your third point, "I am used to talking at CEO/owner level." is relevant to if the CEO responds to you or not. Shouldn't the CEO respond to you regardless of whether or not you have experience communicating with CEO's? I deal with CEO's a lot too, but I don't find that to be a relevant metric. If my sister-in-law who is a stay at home mother of three complains I would expect and hope that the CEO would respond to her as well as to me.
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Old Jul 13, 09, 7:37 am   #10
 
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There are times when the army of secretaries, assistants and gophers intercept the correspondence addressed to corporate officers and pass their own judgment on on whether or not something deserves attention let alone a response. This came to light only after I had to retain an attorney to receive compensation for articles purchased after an airline lost my luggage. It was inferred that someone had arbitrarily applied a value in determining which epistles received replies.
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Old Jun 19, 11, 11:04 pm   #11
 
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Sofitel

I just had a lousy stay at Sofitel Fiji and would like to give some feed back to the Manager and to the head of the Asia - Pacific Region but I can't find any contact info and can't seem to get past reservations - does anyone have any ideas? Thanks
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Old Jun 20, 11, 12:22 am   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
Write to Simon Cooper, the CEO. Simon.cooper@ritzcarlton.com

I would be surprised if you don't get a response.
He is no longer in charge CEO role at Ritz Carlton, but normally they will forward the letter back to GM.
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Old Jun 20, 11, 4:17 pm   #13
 
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I have complained to CEO/President level twice due to circumstances where NO response was forthcoming from the properties in question.

The first was to CEO of LHW because after a disastrous stay at a member hotel noone who return phone calls, faxes or e-mails. After 2 months of trying, always being polite and not badgering them constantly, I decided to see if contacting LHW could induce the hotel in question to respond. A fax to LHW yielded a response from the hotel.

The other time was after a series of disappointing stays at a top rated luxury chain I wrote to the President to inform them of some concerns especially having so many poor stays in a row. A couple hotels had responded to my original comments but some did not. This e-mail got the ball rolling in establishing a dialogue with the hotels in question.

Any other issues with stays have been dealt with the appropriate person during or shortly after the stay -- most often there is no need to escalate to corporate in my experience.
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Old Jun 20, 11, 8:59 pm   #14
 
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I've written to CEOs twice.

Once was to Frits at Starwood over trouble at the Bahia PR property that was grossly unacceptable and unresolved at the property. This letter was 8 pages and had play-by-play detail of how things started bad, and deteriorated from there. I kept copious notes on my Blackberry as it all unfolded. The hotel wasn't going to resolve the matter, so I wrote to White Plains (copying the hotel). Within a week of sending my letter, I got a refund of substantially all of the points that I used for the stay AND a gift certificate for a new four night stay at the property. (I'd like to use it, my wife is still pretty dubious on going back.)

An important thing to highlight is to lay things out in a factual manner with as little emotion as possible. I sent the letter to head office via ceritified mail, on a hunch it would be more likely to reach Frits's hands. I don't know if it did or not, but I clearly got a good outcome. (Of course, I would have much rather just had a great holiday and not had to deal with this. I have more than enough points, and a couple of dollars in the bank, allowing me fortunately to not be about getting a free holiday at the expense of a crappy one.)

I also wrote to Arpey at AMR regarding what I would consider to be the best flight attendant I've ever had on a domestic carrier in 15+ years as an elite level flyer. The fellow's name was Gin, and he was in first on the 3-class transcon one night last year. The cabin was full - 10 people - and he just nailed it with everyone. Some wanted to be left alone, others to chat - me somewhere in between. He read each of us immediately - kept our drinks full - and interacted with those that wanted it. A number of pax in the cabin commented how good he was. I thanked him on the way out. Figured this one was worth the "best FA ever" letter, with lots of specifics (none known to me to be out of policy for an FA)..never heard back. I hope he got a copy at least.
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Old Jun 20, 11, 10:59 pm   #15
 
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Email address for Sofitel - Ceo

I tried again today to get past reception level and the best I did was 2 out of office replies and Reception Manager - I would really like to address my concerns at a higher level - even a customer service manager for the region would be fine - anyone got any ideas how to track the email address for Softel / Accor management.

Would like to give them a chance to respond before I put negative feedback on Trip Advisor.

Last edited by Stylistnz; Jun 20, 11 at 11:02 pm. Reason: Misread
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