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Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

london
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Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

This morning I sent two emails, one to Holiday Inn in Hong Kong and one to Cosmopoltan Hotel Hong King, asking a couple of simple questions.

Within 15 mins, I had a reply from both. The Cosmopoltan's reply was a full reply from a real person, telling me all I need to know. The reply from the HI was an automated response from a centralised mailbox telling me that somebody will reply to my query within 10 working days !

Edited: 19 October 2013, 13:00
Geneva, Switzerland
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1. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

I guess you probably used the generic HI email address and not the one of the property, hence the generic auto-reply. I am emailing almost systematically to the hotel I am visiting and get normally a reply within the day.

london
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2. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

I used the email address on the 'contact us' page

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

There are three Holiday Inn's in Hong Kong.

As described above by Swiss, it depends on whether a property specific email address was used, or a generic email address. A generic email can often go to central reservations or a regional office, which is then diverted to the respective properties.

Other factors can include traffic volume, size/type of the hotel, date (public holidays), and time zone differences. But yes, typically it usually it shouldn't take much more than 24 hours.

If its urgent, call them direct.

Edited: 07 October 2013, 10:38
Houston, Texas
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4. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

I'm trying to understand the point of your post? Are you saying that you recommend staying at the Cosmopolitan because they answer an email faster than the HI? Does answering an email factor into a hotel choice? I do agree with KVE - that a better measure might be to phone the front desk manager, sales manager, or staff manager.

london
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5. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

No, I am not recommending that somebody stays at the Cosmopolitan on the basis that they answer an email quicker than the Holiday Inn does.

I find it amazing however, that any service organisation considers it to be acceptable practice to take 10 working days to answer a simple query whereas another company can answer a similar query within 15 minutes.

However, I guess we all have different criteria as to what represents good service

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

>>>I find it amazing however, that any service organisation considers it to be acceptable practice to take 10 working days to answer a simple query whereas another company can answer a similar query within 15 minutes<<<

Again, it comes down to whether you used a generic email or property specific email.

With a generic email, especially for a chain as large as IHG, an automated response like the above is quite normal. And just because it states 10 working days, it doesn't mean it actually takes that long for them to reply.

Typical guest thinking is similar to yours - 'My email is a simple enquiry, so why does it take so long?'. I've seen emails asking things like the hotel address, hotel phone number, do you provide linen, what is your X room type rate for 2020, mixed in amongst emails about urgent cancellations, amendments. 90% of the enquiries are to do with information the guests can find on the net.

Not unusual for a major city 500+ room hotel, to receive 600-1000 enquiries a day. Some are responded to immediately, others are 'queued' and left in the inbox until a suitable time is found to reply.

Why do they put 10 working day? Just a flexible time limit. It's better than writing nothing because what happens is that impatient guests will wait 24hrs and write again, and again, and again. What they don't realise is that the more they email the same query, it is actually contributing to the delay further.

So, not achieving comparing the Cosmopolitan to the Holiday Inn, different system, different operation, apples and oranges.

Again, if it's urgent, call them. If you don't want a lengthy call, call and just get a direct email to one of the management as suggested by bk.

Edited: 07 October 2013, 16:55
london
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7. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

10 days to answer a simple question about transportation from the airport to the hotel at 2:30 am ?

I head up a customer services department and if any customer of mine were to receive a reply stating that they would receive a reply within 10 days, I am pretty positive that a complaint would be received within 10 seconds. Whether the initial enquiry went to a generic email address or straight to the hotel managers desk, it makes no difference.

A 10 day turn around is in no way acceptable to me as a potential customer, is it to you ?

Edited: 07 October 2013, 18:50
Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

>>>10 days to answer a simple question about transportation from the airport to the hotel at 2:30 am?<<<

Perfect example of what I was talking about previously. A) The person accepting the email may simply be an administrator at central reservations. They may not have a clue about what transport is available at a specific hotel, B) Is that urgent? It will get redirected to the concierge at the respective hotel, C) with 6000+ posts, wouldn't it be faster posting it on the destination forum for Hong Kong?

>>>I head up a customer services department and if any customer of mine were to receive a reply stating that they would receive a reply within 10 days, I am pretty positive that a complaint would be received within 10 seconds<<<

So what's a reasonable amount of time do you consider for the largest hotel chain in the world? Perhaos you are better qualified to oversee 650,000 hotel rooms. If I received a complaint within ten seconds of the auto reply, I'd instruct the my staff to leave it until 9 days and 23hrs 59mins and 59 seconds.

>>>Whether the initial enquiry went to a generic email address or straight to the hotel managers desk, it makes no difference<<<

Really? And you know this how?

>>>A 10 day turn around is in no way acceptable to me as a potential customer, is it to you?<<<

Has it been ten days?

And if it's not acceptable, then it's simple - book somewhere else.

london
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9. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

You seem to be an apologist for this appalling service - do you work for IHG ?

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Hotel Response times to e-mail queries

Oh dear.

That sort of reply is what we normally expect from an inexperienced traveller in their first few posts.

You really are appalled by something written on an email auto reply, that may or may not eventuate?

And you really wish to doodle around figuring out options when you're at an airport at 2:30am in the morning?

In the time you've spent writing back and forth, you would have received a succinct response from the local experts in the destination forum.

As for your observations about the IHG emailing system, absolutely your prerogative. And I sincerely wish you well with your travels to Hong Kong, and we shall leave it at that.

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