The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Holiday Inn Express — car broken into in parking lot, no help from management/corporate
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
while posing for bridesmaid pictures inside the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in Florida City, $3, 000 of property was stolen from my car. My car was parked less than 300 feet from the hotel entrance and it was 4 p.m. in the afternoon.
The stolen property, while possibly unimportant to you, was quite important to me and the other two bridesmaids (victims). And it was in my car for just 10 minutes, signaling that my car was not picked randomly. Rather, the burglars watched us load my car and waited until we entered the lobby to rummage through, making what was ours theirs.
We are 24-year-olds. Two of us are just beginning our careers. The other is months away from a grad school degree.
This is what was ours:
* $2, 000 digital camera (used for at-home business)
* $600 iPhone
* Several credit cards
* One purse (packed with the usual wallet, cell phone, makeup, etc.)
* Luggage bag full of clothing
The Initial Response
We noticed the theft minutes before the ceremony, giving us enough time to cancel cards and suspend cell phone services. And barely enough time to switch our thoughts from our losses to our soon-to-be-wed childhood friend’s gains.
After smiling for standard, post-ceremony photo opps, we rushed back to our hotel.
We called the police and while we waited, we told the front clerk about our “inconvenience.”
She told us she could do nothing and that the General Manager would not be in until the following morning. He does not come in on weekends. He would not even speak to us on the phone.
And so, after relaying the bad news, the front desk clerk retreated to the back, leaving both the quiet front desk and the angry customers unattended.
We filed our police report, holding back emotions about the hotel’s reponse thus far as the police officer nonchalantly took our names, item descriptions and contact information.
“Would you like my credit card number so you can track where they are?” I asked.
“No, you can call and cancel those, ” the officer responded.
She would call us if they found anything.
They wouldn’t of course.
We asked the officer if the surveillance tapes would help them find the burglars.
Sure they would, but we’d have to get them from the hotel.
“Can you override the hotel, since the general manager won’t come open the safe?” We begged.
She could not. And so, with that, I decided to give the hotel one more shot to do things right.
I asked the front desk clerk if she could offer me a free night’s stay so that I would not have to drive home at night (through the area where people rob cars in daylight) without a cell phone or a credit card.
No, she could not.
The Corporate Response
Unconfident that anything would be resolved on the local level; I found a contact form online for Holiday Inn Express’ Customer Service. I recapped the day’s events and pressed send.
The next evening, I received a standard response, thanking me for my concerns and notifying me that the General Manager would receive my email and would contact me shortly.
The General Manger’s Response
Two days after the incident and with no phone call from the General Manager, I called during my lunch break.
I received a demeaning and insensitive response, furthering my disgust with my stay and further degrading my opinion of Holiday Inn’s appreciation for its visitors’ safety and concerns.
I told him that $3, 000 worth of belongings were stolen from my car outside of his lobby in daylight this weekend, to which he responded,
“I am sorry about that, but there’s really nothing I can do.”
I told him that someone could have helped us get the surveillance tapes for the police. Instead of responding, “Yes, I’m sorry no one could do that this weekend, would you like me to do that for you now?”
He responded, “Those tapes don’t show the area where your car was, so they wouldn’t do any good anyway.”
I told him, they may not have showed my car but they could have shown people in the area carrying a bright pink luggage bag and two purses.
He told me that the people never came in the building. This analysis was not made after watching the tapes, rather, it was a judgment made about a situation that he could not be bothered to deal with this weekend.
I told him I was disgusted that no one would even allow me to have a free night’s stay. He responded that that is not the Holiday Inn’s policy.
Just as an f.y.i., my policy on being a hotel visitor is not to have $3, 000 worth of property stolen from my car. Just in case that needs to be clarified.
I told him I would find someone else to speak with since it was obvious he was not willing to help me resolve the issue and that at this point, I will never stay at a Holiday Inn Express again.
He replied, “Go ahead, call corporate. Tell them you spoke with me. What do you want me to do? Find the person who stole your stuff? Would that make you happy?”
Why I Will Not Stay at a Holiday Inn Express Again
I don’t care about the iPhone anymore.
And to be honest, I don’t really want a free room anymore either. Unless they’d like to provide me with a bodyguard to watch my car while I sleep.
What I care about is being treated like a human. And not being mocked by the General Manager of one of their midgrade hotels. Not being told, in a condescending tone to feel free to contact corporate, delivering the message, “They will care less about your problems than I do.” Not having insult added to monetary injury.
That’s what I care about.
Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are the in-betweens in the hotel world.
They aren’t the Bellagio and they aren’t the Motel 8. But just because they offer average rooms for average prices, does not mean they have to treat their customers as such.
The hotel industry has one of the toughest jobs, I give them that. They are tasked with mimicking the safety and comfort people feel at home.
They provide countless toothbrushes and razors to forgetful visitors to radiate this sentiment.
They provide extra towels.
They serve mediocre breakfasts.
No problem, they are there to serve you.
But when your car is broken into, you are told that it is a courtesy to park in their lots. They are not responsible.
You should have seen the signs warning you to bring all of your belongings inside. The signs that are posted at all entrances other than the front entrance. These signs are your protection. Because doors and an unmanned reception desk will stop burglars who are watching you transfer the things they want from your car to your room.
All of a sudden, that free toothbrush isn’t so great.
Those extra towels have lost their luster.
And that breakfast, well you’d rather stop by McDonald’s anyway.
What matters most, is not the “things.”
It’s the treatment.
It’s being treated like a human. With understanding and maybe even a little compassion.
And maybe it takes a few more dollars to get that.
Maybe instead of the midgrade, you have to fill up with the premium.
I’m not entirely certain on that point. But what I am certain about, is that my friends and I deserve apologies for the treatment we received.
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