Writing An Effective Hotel Complaint

A lot of dissatisfied travelers post anonymous complaints on TripAdvisor and similar online services, and this is a good way to “get back at” a bad hotel and damage its reputation, but it will do nothing to get you any sort of resolution. If you want your money back, want some other kind of compensation or want a personal apology, you need to contact the hotel directly — and also contact the brand too.

In many cases, you’ll need to complain by phone because email addresses aren’t published, but you can complain most effectively by email if this option is available to you. Look for email addresses on the hotel’s own independent site, not necessarily on the brand’s page about the hotel. Most hotels maintain a separate site of their own that isn’t the one provided by the company whose brand name they use.

Once you find an email address for the manager or owner, send an email with the following information:

  • who you are and when you stayed at the hotel
  • what specific incidents happened that caused you to complain
  • what kind of resolution you want
  • how you can be reached
  • a strong conclusion indicating your sincere dismay and desire for a resolution.

It’s essential to seem reasonable and genuinely concerned that you were mistreated. If you seem irrational, you won’t get a good outcome. You also won’t get results if you try to mention too many things that went wrong.

And you’ll never get a positive result if you embellish the story or add untrue facts. If you examine TripAdvisor hotel reviews, many people seem to think their stories of problems aren’t severe or harsh enough, so they add a line like “there were bugs too” or “the manager was really rude” to the end of their reviews to enhance them.

If you have genuine and specific complaints, tell the hotel directly what you want them to do about it. Don’t go through third parties like TripAdvisor. Ask for a refund by phone or email or insist that you want your next stay free.

While the most effective complaining may be done in person while you’re still there, you can get results by email and even by phone. While you can get revenge if you post a negative comment online and also warn other travelers, that does nothing to get you a positive resolution.

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