Need help? Ask the hotel general manager

Whether it is a room upgrade or dining recommendations, the hotel's general manager can help make your holiday a much better one

A hotel's general manager can make your stay at a property that much better, said Ms Bettina Landt, general manager of the White Elephant on Nantucket in Massachusetts.

But most guests do not take advantage of what they offer, she said.

Here are some tips on how to use the services offered by your hotel's general manager:


Although there is no guarantee, general managers may be able to get you a room at their properties when the inventory is showing as sold out.

It is always worth asking to speak to them for help. If they cannot help you immediately, they probably know when a room may become available and how you can snag it when it does, since they know the cycles of their inventory better than anyone.


While hotels usually assign rooms the day before guests check in, room availability often changes the day they arrive.

The check-in staff have some discretion to upgrade guests, but the general manager has more authority to do so.

If you are looking for an upgrade, ask to speak to the manager when you arrive and before you check in.

Make it clear that you want to get to know them and ask their help while you are in town, if they are available.

Be cordial and accept their answer if they do not have any upgrades available.

Another insider tip: General managers usually look over room assignments and, if you are a regular guest, your chances of an upgrade are more likely.


Guests usually turn to the concierge staff when they want ideas of local activities and sights, but the general manager can also help, Ms Landt said.

"We're ambassadors for the destination and love giving advice on what to see and do," she said.

Ms Landt often shares her favourite menu items at various restaurants at Nantucket with guests and recommends her favourite activities for children that her own children have enjoyed.

Also, general managers are well connected in their venue and can make introductions to local artists, store owners and managers at bars and restaurants whom you may not normally meet.


Many guests do not meet their hotel's general manager and may not even know who they are, but they should, said Ms Landt.

"I love when guests introduce themselves," she said. "Over the years, I've formed great relationships with many of them."

She advised seeking out the general manager a few times throughout your stay just to say hello and share feedback on the hotel as well as your trip, overall, even more so when someone is doing a great job and deserves praise.

This personal connection sometimes has benefits. General managers will often arrange for a round of free drinks at the hotel's bar for guests they know and will also take care to ensure that they get a prime table at the property's restaurant.

But do not go into it expecting to get something out of it. It is certainly enough to make a new friend when you are far from home.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 23, 2018, with the headline 'Need help? Ask the hotel general manager'. Subscribe