Complaining Via Twitter Works When Comfort Inn Won't Listen

Kristy and her husband were dissatisfied with their recent Comfort Inn stay while on vacation in southern Utah. The hotel manager resolved their cleanliness concerns, but then threatened to revoke their discount if they complained to corporate. Kristy tried to get her message across to the people in charge through the usual channels, and it seemed that nobody wanted to listen, Finally, she posted about the situation on Twitter and got the resolution she was looking for.

My husband and I stayed for 3 nights at the Comfort Inn in Hurricane, UT when we were visiting some of the National Parks in Southern Utah. The first two nights were spartan but fine (clean room, clean sheets and towels, comfy enough bed). The hot tub wasn’t working but our expectations were pretty low since we were only paying $50 per night.

When we came back to our room on the third night, we noticed that our room hadn’t been cleaned. The bed was made but the floor hadn’t been vacuumed and the bathroom was still dirty. We complained to the manager about it, and she immediately sent someone to clean the room and offered us a small discount on the room. When we said we would be calling the corporate office, she rudely said that if we did, they would take back the discount. Yeah, we were shocked too.

That night, a busload of teenagers were staying in the hotel and some of them were in the room above us. It was like sleeping under a herd of elephants. So when we couldn’t sleep due to all the noise, we called the front desk. After the third time we called, they told us that the teenagers were being kicked out due to multiple complaints. They obviously weren’t kicked out because the running around upstairs never stopped and they were all at breakfast the next morning.

After we got home, I called the Choice Hotels customer care and registered a complaint. The next day I got a generic apology letter from some guy named Peter [last name] from the hotel. He said that “comments and suggestion we receive from our guests are taken seriously” and “the issues you’ve raised have been addressed, and the appropriate action has been taken”. So I sent an email back asking what actions have been specifically taken. After that I received nothing.

In the meantime, I posted about everything on Twitter. I mentioned all the problems we had and the cheesy apology letter we got. That was on Tuesday. On Thursday I got a phone call from Choice Hotels customer care. They left a message on my voice mail mentioning that I had twittered about the cheesy apology letter and asking if I had resolved the issue with the hotel. So I called back and told them I hadn’t heard anything back from the hotel and they offered me $70 in coupons that I can use like cash at any of their hotels. After my experience, I won’t be using them at a Comfort Inn though.

Consumerist does not condone use of the phrase “sucks ass” when tweeting to power, but otherwise, Kristy did well. She first tried to resolve things at the hotel level, then through regular customer service channels. When it became clear that no one was listening to her concerns, she posted a frustrated tweet.

Choice Hotels, parent company of Comfort Inn, has its own Twitter account, and evidently also keeps watch for negative tweets.
(Photo: Wolfgang Staudt)

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