A hotel’s general manager can make your stay at a property that much better, said Bettina Landt, general manager of the White Elephant on Nantucket in Massachusetts. Landt also said that most guests don’t take advantage of what they offer.
Following are tips on how to use your hotel’s general manager:
The hotel is sold out
Although there’s no guarantee, general managers may be able to get you a room at their properties when the inventory is showing as sold out.
It’s always worth asking to speak to them for help. If they can’t help you right now, 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.
You’d love an upgrade
While hotels usually assign rooms the day before guests check in, room availability often changes the day they arrive. The check-in staff has some discretion to upgrade guests, but the general manager yields more authority to do so.
If you’re 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’re in town, if they’re available. Be cordial and accept their answer if they don’t have any upgrades available. Another insider tip: General managers usually look over room assignments, and if you’re a regular guest, your chances of an upgrade are more likely.
What to do around town
Guests usually turn to the concierge staff when they want ideas of local activities, sights and restaurants, but the general manager can also help, Landt said. “We’re ambassadors for the destination and love giving advice on what to see and do,” she said.
Landt often shares her favorite menu items at various restaurants on Nantucket with guests, and recommends her favorite activities for children that her own children have enjoyed. Also, general managers are well connected in their destination and can make introductions to local artists, store owners and managers at bars and restaurants whom you may not normally meet.
You want someone in your corner
Many guests don’t meet their hotel’s general manager and may not even know who they are, but they should, Landt said. “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 don’t go into it expecting to get something out of it. It’s certainly enough to make a new friend when you’re far from home.