My fiancé and I recently had a terrible experience dealing with the Holiday Inn in Leesburg for our wedding block. We highly recommend that everyone reconsider when looking to do business with the folks at the Holiday Inn in Leesburg.
We reached out to the hotel to reserve a block of rooms for the weekend of our wedding. We worked directly with Shamika McGee. From the beginning, Ms. McGee was very unresponsive - it routinely took several emails/calls to get her to return one of our queries. When we finally did speak with her, we reserved 20 rooms for our wedding weekend. After quickly realizing that wouldn't be enough, we updated our room total to 40 via email with Ms. McGee, which was confirmed via email.
Several of our guests complained of difficulty in booking their rooms - the hotel had told multiple people that the room block didn't exist. For our guests that did book, several had to call multiple times to finally get a room reserved. In May, we learned from a guest the hotel told them that not only was our block full, but the hotel was also at capacity, therefore not taking anymore reservations. We didn't think it was possible that all 40 rooms in the block were already booked, so we contacted Ms. McGee. We learned that she never updated the room block in the system even though she confirmed our increase via email. Instead of helping us find a solution to her mistake, she told my fiancé that “she couldn’t find us any other rooms” and "we should probably start looking for additional hotel options."
We asked Ms. McGee for the number of guests that booked a room in our hotel block, and she was unable to give us a straightforward answer – she came back to us several times with several different numbers. When we finally asked for a list of those that had booked, she emailed us a list of 17 rooms - meaning that not only did the hotel not update our initial request for 40 rooms, but they also didn't even honor our initial request for 20 rooms.
We contacted the general manager, Jay Javid, to express our frustrations with Ms. McGee and the entire process. Mr. Javid was very nice in our initial conversation. He assured us that he did not want to lose our business and he would take care of our wedding block. He said he needed to look into a few things and would call us back. We waited the rest of the week (4 days) for him to call us back. At the end of the week, we contacted him again and left a voicemail. We waited 3 more days and left another voicemail - again, we heard nothing back. As of today, it has been a total of 2 weeks since our initial conversation, and Jay Javid has not returned one of my phone calls.
As a result of the incompetence by Holiday Inn Leesburg and the lack of a response from anyone at their hotel, we decided to switch hotels. We had to redo the following tasks and incurred the following incremental expenses:
- We had to find a new hotel that could accommodate all of our guests. Since there are not many hotels in Leesburg, we had to reserve a block at a hotel in Reston, VA - a 25 minute drive from Leesburg.
- We had to contact all of our guests and tell them of the hotel change. Those guests that already booked their rooms had to cancel their reservations and make new reservations at the new hotel.
- We had to cancel our rehearsal dinner in Leesburg and find a new rehearsal dinner location closer to our hotel in Reston.
- We have to obtain an extra shuttle to take guests to/from the wedding location in Leesburg on the wedding day. This is the biggest cost, since each shuttle is over $1000.
Since I was not able to get in touch with anyone at the Holiday Inn via phone, I emailed their customer service page explaining that I’d like to cancel after we secured the hotel above. I then received a phone call from June Priesner, who works at Baywood Hotels – the parent company that owned the Holiday Inn in Leesburg. Ms. Priesner was nice on the phone and wanted to get to the bottom of the situation. She offered to provide a 10-15 person shuttle for us free of charge. While a nice gesture, this wouldn’t help us, as we need two 50-60 person shuttles to transfer all of our guests to the wedding, so we turned down the offer. She explained that she would not provide any financial assistance for the additional shuttles we had to purchase, which was unfortunate.
It has become increasingly clear to us that the Holiday Inn Leesburg doesn't care about our business. If they did, they would have treated us right the first time or at least contacted us back to correct their mistakes. While Ms. Priesner’s offer of a shuttle was nice, it was far too little and too late. One 10-15 person shuttle wouldn’t put a dent in the number of people we needed transferred. Additionally, I shouldn’t have to write a nasty email to customer service to get someone to contact me.
If you are looking to book a room or a block of rooms in the Leesburg area, do yourself a favor and stay away from the Holiday Inn Leesburg. Dealing with them has been a terrible experience. I can, without a doubt, say that I will never stay at the Holiday Inn in Leesburg. I cannot stress enough that you all do the same. I am a consultant who travels often and spends about 40 nights a year in hotels, and I have never seen such poor customer service in the hospitality industry. I used to consider most InterContinental Hotel brands good options, but I will give a second thought in the future – especially towards Holiday Inn brands.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
June 25, 2013
Dear Michael L,
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Thank you for your review regarding your recent stay at our hotel. It is regrettable you were not satisfied with the service you received. I would like to address this with you further. I have sent you a private message to obtain more information about your stay. I look forward to hearing from you and being of further assistance.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.