Hi all! It has been awhile since I have posted in here but have an unusual and unfortunate question and seek advice. I've been traveling a lot, as usual, and my travels last night took me to the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Bedford PA as I was coming back from a trip to Washington DC.
The check-in was ok, the host friendly, keys handed over quickly. I arrived at my room and discovered fast food containers in the room, as well as a ton of dead bugs over by the window. Called the front desk and asked to please be moved to a different, clean, room since I was unsure if someone was using this room or if it was just not cleaned. No problem she said, come to the front desk and get new keys, so I did.
Arrived at the second room and it was initially ok. However, trying to sleep, I discovered that the "bed" was basically a large brick with a pillow top (ie, not comfortable), the fridge kept clicking all night, and the heater made sounds when it came on and off. Tossed and turned all night.
Then at 8:15 AM there is a knocking at the door and housekeeping loudly chatting in the hall... on the one day I did not have to get up early... 8:15 AM housekeeping? Really? My room didn't even have a do not disturb sign. She came back at 10:15 and used her keycard to try and get on but I had the door guard engaged and she could not get in as I sat there in my underwear doing work on my laptop.
So, I go to check-out at 11:45 AM, slide my keycard across the counter to the associate/manager, Brandy Wright, and she immediately gets snarky and asks why I am throwing my keycard at her. I say I am not doing that, and I don't appreciate the accusation and her attitude. I also state the other problems experienced. She does nothing about it except give more attitude. So I take a picture so as to remember her name and department (Operations Manager) and she goes jihad! She starts telling me that she is calling the State Police on me if I don't delete her picture and I don't have permission and blah blah blah. She comes around the counter to within two feet of me and I don't know what she is going to do as the general manager, Tom Lear, gets off of his telephone and states "we have all of your personal information on our computer and we are not afraid to use it". So, under this dual threat and the fact that this woman has come around the counter and is standing right next to me literally breathing on me, I delete the photo. And as I am walking out the door, the GM tells me that he is going to personally "open a case with Marriott" against me. WTH?!?
My blood pressure, according to my portable wrist unit as I waited in the car calming down, was 215/120. My entire body was shaking. I have never had any experience even similar to this before in my life. Especially as a Platinum member.
However, after looking at their TripAdvisor reviews, I see that this Brandy Wright has been rude to multiple other guests in the past year, and if you read the "management responses" by the manager, Tom Lear, you can read how he tries to blame the guests when they report problems on TripAdvisor. That kind of says a lot about the (lack of) service mentality at this location.
So, anyway, my question... what do you recommend that I do about this? The GM was one of the people who threatened me with arrest by the PA State Police (groundless accusation after doing research into photo laws this evening as it turns out), so i obviously won't get jack from this guy. I am shaking again just remembering the experience!
Thanks for all who answer!
I'm really sorry and also a bit surprised to learn about this awful experience of yours in the hotel and with its managers. Personally, I've kept avoiding the Marriott's low cost hotel chains, such as this one, thinking about the lower quality of service they provide on a general basis and comparing it to the standard hotel chain of Marriott.
I think you need to separate this case into two parallel issues:
1. Your room's condition & the housekeeping service quality.
2. The approach you took when attending the front desk upon checking out.
So now lets try to analyse a bit the above two:
1. No doubt that the first room's condition was inappropriate and that the mistake the front desk made was unfortunate - every room needs to be cleared & approved by the hotel before assigning it to a new guest. Also after switching rooms you still had troubles - both with the room itself and the house keeping.
I'm still missing some info here, like why didn't you have the 'Do not disturb' sign or more like: why didn't you take care of acquiring it before going to bed? Having such a sign on the door always prevents housekeeping from disturbing you. Also, did you complain about the second room's condition or asked to be moved to another one?
2. No doubt something very wrong happened during your interaction with the guys at the front desk when you checked out. I can fully understand your big frustration from the bad experience you had, but in order to sort things out in a pleasant & efficient way we always need to be a bit more smart than just right.
In this case there's also some info missing on what really happened that led to such an explosion with the GM and his assistant, but it really doesn't matter... I'm sure you can realize yourself that you might have done something wrong here (in relation to the decision you took of how to behave when stepping towards the front desk) and maybe you could have done it in a better way which could have changed things for you.
As we're all humans I've always believed in the fact the human relations is one of the most important keys when complaining about something, and that's exactly why I've written a dedicated post about how to do it right and how to play it the smart way - you're welcome to read all about it: click here.
Your current situation as for today:
This is a problem... They got too angry with you and it doesn't look like you can personally do something yourself but to ask for a 3rd party's assistance.
I'd recommend you to try and use one of the moderators here. maybe carat can be useful to you in trying to solve this case? She's a very nice moderator and a person
Thank you for taking the time to reply. As I stated in my post, there was no Do Not Disturb sign in the room. By the time I found out the bed comfort level, it was already midnight and I had already unpacked so i wasn't going back out again.
Also, if you can tell me what "info is missing", I would be glad to provide to help try and get this resolved. And also, what exactly are you accusing me of realizing that I "might have done something wrong"? I did not think it was wrong at all to voice my concerns at checkout, as countless thousands of others do every day.
I will await to see if carat has something to assist with.
There is no problem with voicing your opinion at check out. I think the issue began with the taking of the photograph. People get very uncomfortable around cameras. Did you take a picture of the employee, or like a business card or something?
If you took a picture of the employee, in the future I would recommend asking for a business card or writing their name down on the hotel bill or something.
I'm not accusing you at all. This forum exists to help and support eachother.
There's no doubt that both sides in this story have acted in a wrong way. As an experienced Marriott member I'm advising you according to my personal view on this, hoping you'll be able to understand where you could have done things in a better way, so next time it happens to you - you will actually be able to get something out of it.
Anyway, however you'd like to take my advice is entirely up to you.
Very well written fistuk. I also believe the approach to the Front Desk was somewhat important on how the entire conversation with Brandy got started. Most people would not appreciate (I know I wouldn't) that type of approach on initial contact, yet her response and the GM's were completely inappropriate.
drchucklesboomboom, I've stayed at many FFIs and never had any really horrible experience. It's not like a FS Marriott but the staff is usually efficient and nice. Once I was given a room where the bed was dirty and the manager came to my room and moved me to a new room.
drchucklesboomboom It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong and your discoveries on Trio Advisor seem to support your description of the situation.
I do hope that Marriott does right by you and also takes proper action against the management and ownership of this hotel.
A property like this one can give Marriott a huge black eye.
Thanks for the note phctourist. I have stayed at a couple other FFI locations over the years and have never had a really poor experience until this one. They aren't full service but they are usually clean and provide the 2 basic things needed on a long driving road trip... a bed and a shower. Sometimes, that's really all you need when you want to crash for the night after a long drive. Thanks!
drchucklesboomboom, you need to let Marriott Corporate and/or the Franchise Owner know about this inexcusable and deplorable behavior on the part of these property Associates. There was absolutely no excuse for their behavior and it certainly blemishes the Marriott brand. Possibly one of the Marriott Associates on this board will view your comments and serve it up to the Corporate folks, but I would definitely let them know. I stay at many FI&S and have received superior customer service, but based on your comments will never stay at the Bedford, PA, property and advise my friends not to. Absolutely a disgrace to treat a guest in this fashion.
My big mouth would have gotten me in jail if I experienced what you went through.
There are so many issues attached to this incident. Firstly and most importantly how could Marriott allow such conditions to exist. Especially when it appears from other reviews to be chronic! Besides the attitude problem of the staff (obvious local management not Marriott) what you described is a health issue that should have been reported to local authorities.
We also have here (our forum) community managers that have no authority to correct and/or get reparations to drchucklesboomboom.
I have a question for drchuck: if there was a review on this site that described the problems at this property would you have consulted the review prior to booking?
I believe we should get at least one or two dozen of us to write the hotel and the local health authorities (copying the hotel) to let them know that our member's experience is being posted on the elite site to insure that as many frequent travelers as possible avoid the property.
If a new member starts to post in our fourm there is a reaction, almost immediately from a community manager or Marriott insider. There is a welcome note and an invitation to view a "get started" page.
This serious incident was posted last night. Where are the comments and promises to communicate this incident from the managers and insiders??
Thanks for some great suggestions. We actually used to have a section on MRI for property reviews!!! They took it down within the past year for certain reasons and I miss it because I did, as you suggested, use it for property research before travel. I definitely take the advice and reviews of MRI members more seriously than your average joe traveler on Facebook or TripAdvisor because of our level of dedication to the brand and the sharing that goes on here on the boards. If a Courtyard at the same airport had a better review than a Marriott, or a FFI better than a Renaissance, or whatever... then that would influence the stay decision.
With my new taskings at work in the SEO and Social Media arenas, I have learned a lot about TripAdvisor and reading the reviews of the two managers at this property (swearing at ministers, bait and switching rates, being rude to guests), and more importantly some of the management responses that are aggressive as opposed to helpful... that gives insight into how they think there.
My big mouth is lucky that my brain had not got enough sleep, and if I did not have to be elsewhere, I may have stayed to argue but instead I let them have the last word ("we have all your personal information on our computer and are not afraid to use it") as I walked away.
Sounds like a very unpleasant experience, drchucklesboomboom. I'd like to extend my apologies to you for this negative experience. I have gone ahead and reached out to my team in regards to this and will keep you in the loop. Please feel free to send me a private message with any additional details or questions.
Thanks for picking up on this carat, since no one should be treated the way drchucklesboomboom was. I realize, speaking for myself here, that I can be somewhat obnoxious at times, especially to the front desk staff. But I have never been threatened by any Marriott Associate. Fortunately these times have been few and far between and the Associates handled me with respect.
Here's, especially, what bothers me about this situation. The General Manager, as quoted by the guest, states: "we have all your personal information on our computer and are not afraid to use it." Really? Even our Credit Card #? IMO, the GM's comment constitutes a blatant violation of a guest's privacy and warrants further investigation of this Manager and the entire Franchise Operation. Hopefully you will let us all know what happens here. Thanks, again.
You hit the nail on the head there bpelican! I did not want to put words into anyone's mouths or make unfounded accusations of what this manager may or may not do with my information, but since you brought it up... that was debateably the most worrisome aspect of the whole encounter after I got home and read up about this management team on TripAdvisor and other forums. I have already contacted my credit card company to check for any fraudulent charges and alerted them of the possibility. I have also started a credit monitoring service to warn me of any personal information breaches or identity theft concerns.
The fact that I feel threatened enough by this management team to have to pay money to protect myself... I am frankly shocked that Marriott allows this sort of behavior from their supposed "managers". All of it is on video unless they have erased it.
And an aside on credit card policy, since I am in a business that must abide by their regulations... if this location follows the Visa/MC regulations as set forth to merchants (ie. PCI Compliance), they are not allowed to store credit card information in such a way that unauthorized associates can access full CC details. [PCI DSS requirement 3.3 states “Mask PAN when displayed (the first six and last four digits are the maximum number of digits to be displayed).”]. However, there is a caveat in place which the management could technically override [Note: This requirement does not apply to employees and other parties with a specific need to see the full PAN]. But who is to say that they do abide? I know some hotels (usually smaller, non-chain) that still have systems that show full credit card info including CCV.
Just to comment on one piece, taking the photo. That is an act of aggression. Completely legal, for the most part, as there was no expectation of privacy. But people will resent it. Particularly if it's done in an environment of "I'm going to use this photo to get you" (even if that's not what you said, it's clearly what you meant).
Most airline, for example, have a policy where if you take a photo of the crew you can be booted off the plane.
Personal feeling (purely a guess) is that you were so frustrated with the dirty room then the noisy room then the staff bothering you that maybe, just maybe, you didn't "gently lay your key down on the counter with love and compassion". They responded, over-responded, you took a photo, and it's a race to the bottom.
Take your complaint to Marriott.
By the way, you should hope that you have physical evidence to prove your claim. You made an insulting comment about the professional standards of a specific person BY NAME in your post. She has a case for libel.
Interesting points. Thank you for sharing.
Yes, I used their names because they were the managers who made the threats and we're abusive and bullying g. You can also find their names on Trip Advisor in many other posts. It is public information.
Everything is on camera, so I have no idea where this libel claim came from. Libel is "a published false statement that is damaging". Everything I stated is fact, backed up on camera. I said she came around the counter to stand within 2 feet of me... maybe it was a foot and a half, maybe two and a half... that is not libel, it is opinion.
Anyway, I'm sure everyone remembers the Marriott case down in Houston where a guest was threatened by a different Marriott hotel GM? Family: Houston hotel threatened lawsuit because of negative online review | abc13.com
Are we going to continue discussing, commenting and suggesting on drchucklesboomboom experience or are we going to act!
As for me I am writing a letter to the property about our member's treatment. If anything it will put them on notice that their property is not considered "friendly territory" to Marriott's elite.
Am I going to be the only one or will any of you act as well?
Im not saying the OPs recounting of what happened is incorrect, or anything like that, but there is three sides to every story. Without any personal experience at this specific property, I can neither speak for the "norm" in their management and customer service policies, nor can I morally bring myself to potentially ruin someone's career without direct, firsthand knowledge of what happened.
WOW! Once again (and not my intention) I've created a controversy!
I interpret some of the comments on my suggestion as:
1. drchucklesboomboom misunderstood the course of events.. (a little insulting to our fellow member)
2. It is possible that the staff at the property was trying to be helpful in solving the problem by suggesting drchuckles "rest" in the corner on a couch rather than call for him to be "arrested" .
3. We should hear (maybe as a "jury") everyone's description of the events before assigning blame and/or incompetence
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Now, as to my action (which has not been received well by some.) - 1. There has been no attempt by the property to resolve issues or make reparations. 2. At worst my letter, would stress that their "side" should be explained as they have been accused of behavior and treatment of an elite member which is unacceptable. 3. It would demonstrate to our fellow member that support from the community is available as there is little help from Marriott.
Advice, suggestions, opinions are easy to post here. My suggestion on a more direct approach elicited comments that directly put forth the possibility that this was all a misunderstanding and your resident trouble maker (c'est moi) will possibly ruin someone's career (as a front desk receptionist ).
I can't speak for our member who posted his experience and probably was hoping for community support . I can state that it is my opinion that some of the comments were insulting to our fellow member and apologies would be in order.
Feel free to criticize me for my actions. It's no secret that those of you not pleased by my methods will not cause me to cease and desist.
In closing I ask the question "if you doubted the description of events (which is clear) wouldn't remaining have been the diplomatic thing to do"?!!!
I will end with this question: If there were doubts in your mind as to the course events, wouldn't it have been more prudent to refrain from suggestions on how to get help? In the least you wouldn't have posted what amounted to an insult to a member.
It's not so much about doubting the poster. I'm sure he posted what he remembers seeing. But as jsucool76 pointed out, there is more than once side to the story. We haven't heard the other side. And experience tells me that if we did hear the other side, the actual facts of the story would lie somewhere in between the two tales. Everyone views the world through their own eyes and everyone remembers the things that were important to them. I'm happy to suggest to another member ways to get his concerns dealt with. But I'm not going to insert myself into the issue. Can't see how it would help.
"Dear Marriott. I am writing to you about a problem a poster brought up on MRI. I wasn't there. I didn't see it. I have no facts to add. Now fix it!!!"
Apparently you do doubt, because you accused me of libel. But that is beside the point. Each to their own. I did not initially post to cause controversy or "to destroy someone's career" as someone else accused me of. I wanted honest advice on how to deal with an extremely unusual and horrible experience, and appreciate each reply, whether I like it or not.
I happen to agree with your last statement. You did not see what happened so why should you take any action. I can completely relate to that. Let me share a story... When I was much younger, and in middle school, I lived on a street on the border between two cities so the kids in the houses behind our back yard went to one school and me to another. Well, one day I came home from school and went out to play and Scotty's face and arms looked all funny and bruised and I asked him what happened. He said he had been beaten up at school by a group of white kids at lunch. I remember asking why nobody got a teacher or something and he said there was a white teacher watching and she did nothing. I told my parents and they were pretty pizzed off and they talked to some other parents on our soccer team and it started to make quite a stink, even made the newspaper. I had to go to a school board meeting with them, for the other school, and I remember all the white kids who beat him up saying that they didn't do anything wrong, and most all the parents on our soccer team (Scotty was on our team), who were not there when it happened, and whose kids didn't actually see anything (because we were in a different school), standing up for the kid who had gotten beaten up and saying it was wrong that a teacher was there taking no action. The teacher who just watched ended up getting reprimanded. I don't know if that changed her thinking or actions after that point, since I didn't go to school there, but if the parents "Who heard about a problem by a neighbor" "Who were not there" "Who did not see that" "Who had no facts to add" never demanded that the problem be fixed... who's to say how long that teacher would have let those white bullies beat up on black kids at that school? FYI... Scotty never got beat up at school after that. Just a little story to share.
I received three private messages wanting to know why (an amazing non action for me) I didn't comment on john_thai's posting. I answered them that it didn't deserve a response.
Speaking only for myself, I have always considered this a "community" - a community where members support each other and do their best to make our lives easier on the road - the fact that it has also evolved into a social site makes the community even more workable to achieve the cohesiveness that is necessary to attain our goals..
I hope this opinion is shared by the majority of members but I know there are those that don't agree.
John has every right to offer his opinion - I also have the right to say I feel that his opinion on this incident is divisive to the community.
Actually, you did. I will not mince words and just use the ones that YOU used... "You made an insulting comment about the professional standards of a specific person BY NAME in your post. She has a case for libel." THAT is an accusation. Nowhere in that quoted text did you make any supposition about proving. You stated, very clearly might I add, that I was suspect of libel. "She has a case for libel." is what you wrote, in case you forgot. As I said, I don't really mind that there are people who disagree with me, or who approve of the hotel threatening guests, or as in my story approve of racial injustice just because they don't happen to see it themselves with their own eyeballs. That is just fine. There are many of you type of people in the country and around the world and it is what it is.
And this is why I made the caution to you. Because the sentence that IMMEDIATELY preceding the one you quoted said "you should hope that you have physical evidence to prove your claim". (You say that nowhere did I make any supposition about proving. Obviously I did in the sentence immediately preceding what you quoted.)
And I didn't say you committed libel. I said she has a case for libel. She does, under the law. She doesn't even have to prove a loss. All she has to prove is that you said something negative about her professionalism (which you did) and then the burden falls on you to prove it's true. Emphasis on "prove". If you hadn't posted her name I would have never brought this up. You're putting yourself at risk.
In a couple of other posts I said "Good that you have it on camera. That's why I said I hoped you could prove your claim. You have proof, you're covered".
I also said "I know [you] posted what you remembered seeing."
All I tried to do was to advise you to use caution in the words you say because you can accidentally put yourself in a precarious position. That's not accusing you nor insulting you. It is simply advising you to be more careful in the future.
I suggest that both in the original post and in some of the follow up you have allowed your anger to color your judgment a bit. Don't do that. Doesn't help.
As far as suggestions about contacting Marriott to support you, the way you completely took my words out of context, ignored the specific words that I used and got somewhat upset about it leads me to believe that maybe you misread the situation at the hotel.
Just to make sure I'm not completely wrong, I went to Trip Advisor to see the reviews you are talking about. There are not "multiple reviews" (as you commented) naming Ms. Wright as rude. There is 1. Exactly 1 where I see her name and I looked at all 15 negative reviews. It was a person upset about being charged a fee for not cancelling in time. I found no responses by the Manager, Tom, blaming the guests for the problems. Each response included an apology for the problem. No exceptions. A couple included an explanation (guest was angry because housekeeping knocked on his door. He didn't have the "leave me alone" sign on the door but it was latched; Tom explained that housekeeping is trained to knock a couple of times before they enter).
293 reviews on the site. 151 rated it Excellent. 108 rate it Good.19 Average. 9 Poor. 6 Terrible. 4+ star overall rating.
That doesn't mean you didn't have problems during your stay. Obviously you did. But you seemed to have embellished more than just a little bit.
misterchk: That's why I won't send e-mails to Marriott supporting someone. We didn't get the full story.
Yeah, I know. I'm not supportive.