Good afternoon, everyone. On October 20th I wrote an open letter to the InterContinental Hotels Group regarding a less-than-positive experience I had at a Holiday Inn in Soho, NYC. In the open letter I detailed at length (probably too much length, honestly) how I discovered my computer had been stolen out of my hotel room due to a faulty lock, how I was treated by the hotel’s GM, and why I deserved to be compensated for my now long-gone computer. I emailed IHG the letter and I posted it to Facebook and Twitter.
Within 48 hours I was speaking over the phone with Kari, a lovely Executive Liaison for IHG. She started by saying, “So your story has come across my desk a couple of times…could you tell me again what happened in Soho?”
I retold my experience and before I was even done, because she’d read it already, she began to explain her proposed solution. She said that her team of execs discussed my case and decided as a group that I should be reimbursed; that this was an issue with the hotel which should be corrected. She spoke with the Soho GM directly, and it’s my understanding that the conversation wasn’t exactly productive. The hotel needed to agree with IHG’s decision because my claim of theft was technically a “hotel issue,” as opposed to an “IHG issue.”
Hearing this, I was immediately concerned that this meant a dead end. But Kari then said that her group decided, for reasons which were equally pragmatic and compassionate, that they’d like to just go ahead and reimburse me for my requested amount, which was $1,169 (the cost of the refurbished model of the computer which was taken). I was floored.
My check for $1,170 (Kari said what I requested was a “weird number”) arrived in the mail earlier this week. And I waited for everything to be settled before writing this post.
And I felt that I needed to write a follow up post, to provide some resolution for anyone who was still wondering how it all turned out. I also needed to write it for myself. And I needed to write it because it was the just thing to do for IHG, who were incredibly sympathetic and easy to work with, and should not be judged by the singular hotel on trial in my letter. Kari and the other IHG representatives I communicated with were simply wonderful. Despite one condescending hotel manager and at least one broken door lock, IHG has shown themselves to me to be a company that believes in the customer experience. I called Kari again yesterday to thank her one more time for how she treated me, and she humbly remarked, “We just try to treat human beings like human beings.” Well I am one and I feel like one.
My open letter was a strange piece—it was long, serious, goofy, deliberately redundant, and satirical. I wasn’t sure how anyone would take it, or if anyone would give a crap, and the amount of views and shares it received was surprising and overwhelming to me. I am so thankful to anyone who read the open letter, and especially to those who shared it on social media. Thank you to the people who (hilariously) harassed Holiday Inn on Twitter and Facebook, and also to those who sent strongly worded emails on my behalf to the Soho GM and various IHG customer care accounts.
You guys made this happen, and you certainly didn’t have to. Thank you again. Thank you so much.
Some people questioned whether or not what I believed was right, and provided that feedback in a critical but helpful way. I certainly don’t mind having my ideas challenged—that’s how I know whether or not they’re good. This feedback made me consider what I was asking and if I actually deserved any recompense. It was important for me to evaluate my own ideas, so I’d like to thank those readers as well.
A very small number of readers just provided uncivil criticism. Nothing helpful, nothing trenchant. This “feedback” was also cowardly offered by fake names. (This is unlike those who (hilariously) trolled Holiday Inn online—Mikey Manker, Mitch Kurka, Dan Sheehan, to name a few.) I wasn’t bothered nor offended by this, but I’d still like to thank those folks for making my resolution with IHG just a little bit more satisfying.
I’ve said basically all that I wanted to say. I just wanted to let those who read the letter know that things turned out the way we hoped they would and expected they wouldn’t (I really didn’t think this was going to work). And that’s pretty remarkable. I can hardly believe it happened. Maybe IHG is always that easy to work with—I don’t know. But I’ve got to give most of the credit to you all: the people who recognized wrongdoing and actually spoke out and did something to correct it, instead of just complaining or just deciding the cause was lost.
PS—if you’re staying in a hotel, make sure your door locks before you leave. Otherwise you might have to write a whole bunch of stuff.