UPDATE: Reader Comment: Suspect Email From Conrad Miami (Came From Gmail Address)

3 Comments

Yesterday we wrote (access here) about a readers case where Conrad hotel in Miami had sent after stay email from Google’s email address having made it look like it had come from the system that Hilton uses. After we published the piece, we received a statement from the Hilton spokesperson.

Conrad Miami

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You can access Conrad Miami’s website here.

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And here’s the statement that we received from the Hilton spokesperson:

Our hotels are always looking for ways to engage with guests and ensure they deliver the best experience possible before, during and after every stay.

We followed up with the hotel and confirmed that they have decided not to continue with this particular practice and will be looking for other way to engage with guests to gather feedback.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED:

Here’s the email from the reader:

Long time reader of your blog. I just want to share with you an email I got after a stay at Conrad Miami (see below). This came from a Gmail account claiming to be the GM of the hotel, and in typical hotel rating manipulation wants me to contact him/her directly if I had any grievances, and only if I have positive things should I respond to the survey Hilton normally sends out.

While it’s common these days to do things like this to keep negative comments away from corporate, I found this use of Gmail especially suspect and inappropriate. It also means that my contact info is now stored on this Gmail account which I don’t know who owns.

I have ignored this email and responded directly to the Hilton survey (I happened to have had a less than stellar stay). I made note to raise this issue with the Gmail account

“I find this highly suspicious and unsettling whether this email is genuinely from the GM or not. If it isn’t, this indicates that your system is hacked and someone knows I stayed at your hotel. If it is genuinely from the GM, then it is a way to manipulate the hotel’s reviews in a very unprofessional way. You are asking a hotel guest to respond blindly to a Gmail account when personal information could have been included in such responses. I find this highly inappropriate. In addition this means my email is now in a Gmail account which may be owned by the GM personally, and I question if this is a breach of the privacy policy that Hilton maintains. I would very much appreciate if someone could get back to me whether this use of Gmail to solicit consumer thoughts is authorised by Hilton.”

Do you know if this is common or even accepted practice?

Here’s the email that the reader received:

Conrad Miami Email

We are reaching out to share our appreciation for you staying with us at Conrad Miami and thank you for being a Hilton Honors member. It was our pleasure to be your host and I truly hope that you had a memorable stay with us!

We hope that you had an inspiring experience and that you are eager to share your stories of your positive memories here. I am proud of our team and trust our dedication to excellence and appreciation for your stay was communicated to you during your visit!

We greatly hope to have earned your confidence and the recommendation to your friends and family. On that note, you may be invited to take our short survey regarding your experience and our goal is to exceed your expectations! If we exceeded your expectations during your stay, we would be grateful if you would complete the survey. Our goal is a 10 on all questions on the survey! If for any reason you feel you are unable to positively recommend us, I would appreciate receiving your feedback directly so that I can personally address any lingering concerns you may feel.

If any of our staff members stood out for making your stay memorable, please mention them in the survey and we will recognize their efforts.

From all of us at Conrad Miami, thank you for staying with us. We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future!

This email is a brilliant example how properties try to game the after stay surveys that the corporate sends that measure the property performance.

It explicitly states that if you cannot give us 10 reply the email instead of completing the survey. If the property was really concerned about fixing the possible issues, they could gather these from the survey results by themselves.

Note that I have requested comments from both Hilton and Sean Flanigan who is the General Manager of Conrad Miami. They didn’t arrive by the by the publication time.

Conclusion

Sometimes emails such as this from a reader helps to get things fixed! I forwarded it to the hotel’s GM and to our contact at Hilton corporate for a comment.

I wish that hotels wouldn’t try to game these after stay surveys that all chains send. If they really want to fix things, it is super easy to identify the problem areas from these survey results and contact guests for more detailed information when needed.

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