July 31, 2003Mr. Manny Hernandez, General Manager Travelodge At Colonial Plaza 2801 E. Colonial Drive Orlando, Florida 32803Dear Mr. Hernandez,I am in receipt of your letter, which you sent to me on July 28, 2003. Upon examining this letter closely, it appears to be a standard 'form' letter with no personal attention given to our unpleasant experience at your hotel. I base this on the fact that there had been something stapled in the upper left hand corner of the letter, but it was removed before mailing and not included with the letter but you can see the staple hole plus the letter is dated 05/23/2003 (letter is attached for your observation) and also there was not specific mention of any of the problems we encountered and either voiced to your staff, Travelodge, Bizrate nor Hotwire.This letter just re-affirms the lack of concern from your establishment in trying to rectify a very unpleasant situation with a customer. I, too, am in the service industry and I will do anything to make sure that my customer is happy and satisfied as negative word of mouth by the customer is the thing that can ruin my business right before my eyes and there will be no way to right the wrong once it has done. Evidently you are not concerned about negative publicity.Let me once again tell you about our most horrendous experience at your Travelodge. My wife and I arrived at your establishment at approximately 6:00 PM on July 24th. According to your advertisements, check-in time at your place is from 4:00 PM. Prior to arriving at your Travelodge, we had read how there had been a $2 million dollar renovation in the year 2000. Upon arriving at your establishment, we noticed that it was quite a bit away from the amenities that Orlando has to offer. That in itself did not really bother us. We noticed a rather large complex of buildings that were probably about 30 years old. It did appear to have been painted not too long ago. From what we saw, that is where the renovation must have finished. When we entered the reservation lobby, there was a 'stale' musty smell in the air. Being from Florida though we tried to overlook that as we do realize that we live in a climate of very high humidity. We were greeted by two hotel staff personnel. We were checked in and given the keys to room 169.My wife and I drove over to the building that housed this room. While driving over to that area, we noticed that most of the guests that had already checked in were in basically one area. We got out of our vehicle and walked over to the room. We were not able to park right in front of our room as we were told we would be able to because all the parking spaces were already in use. We basically parked on the side of the building. Upon opening the room, we saw two double beds with mattress covers in disarray, no sheets, blankets, pillows nor bedspreads on the bed. Black plastic trash bags of dirty laundry littered the floor in the room. This room had not been cleaned and readied for our arrival even though we had been assigned this room and it was two hours past your normal check-in time.We immediately drove back to the reservation lobby. I wish to make you aware of the fact right now that my wife is handicapped and has difficulty walking and she had called your Travelodge prior to our arrival to inform them and to request a first floor room. Once back in the reservation lobby, we spoke to the personnel behind the desk. He really did not offer any apology. It appeared that he could not understand that the room was not ready. We were then informed that there were no other first floor rooms available even though there were only vehicles at the hotel for about 20% of your rooms. We asked if we could have a room down by the pool so when we used the pool my wife would not have to walk so far. At first we were told we could have a room around the 340's. My wife went out to our vehicle to sit as her leg was bothering her. I was then given the key to room 427 and was told that they would be able to rent the room in the 340's for a higher price so I took my new room key. My wife and I drove to the last building and found out that our room was now on the back of the hotel even though we were shown that we would get a room facing the pool. By this time, we were getting a little upset. I assisted my wife in climbing to the second floor, which is very difficult for her. Upon entering our room, it appeared to have been cleaned. At least the beds were made. Then I noticed that the bathtub had been refinished and the new finish was coming off. I also noticed that there were no clean towels in the room. I immediately called the front desk to voice my concerns and asked if there was another room available as my wife would not possibly use that tub with the finish coming off as she has a 'non-healing' wound on her leg and it could be very detrimental to her healing process if she got any foreign object in the wound. I was told that there were no rooms available. I then also requested towels that were brought to us shortly after the request. My wife and I decided to try and make the best of a 'bad' situation.After unpacking, I decided to go to check out the pool and the jacuzzi and to fill our ice bucket. I noticed the pool was not clean and contained many leaves in it and there was NO water in the jacuzzi. By this time, I knew that making the reservation at Travelodge was an error on our part. I proceeded to the ice machine for our building only to find it also not working. I returned to our room and while putting soda in the refrigerator noticed that there was such a build-up of ice in the freezer that we could not put anything in it. We decided to go out to eat just to get away from the place.When it was time to retire for the night and we pulled down the bedspreads we noticed a bottle cap from a beer bottle on the floor as well as a hair tie. This only proves that the room was not vacuumed prior to our occupying it. We did not move either object for our entire stay (July 24 - July 27) and they were still there when we left which also proved that the floor was never vacuumed while we were there.Friday morning we woke up very early to get ready to go to our convention for the company that we work for. Upon awakening I noticed that I had forgot to bring along a razor to shave with so I went to your lobby to get one. While going to the office, I noticed that there were only a few vehicles in the back parking lot with us that indicated to me that most of the rooms were not rented out. I questioned your staff about moving again to another room, specifically a first floor one. He did inform me that he might have one when someone checked out later in the day but if I was not here to move I would not be able to get it. No forethought on your personnel's part that my wife was handicapped and needed the first floor room with the statement that the only way we could get a room was to sit around the hotel and to wait to see who checked out. We had seminars to attend that day. When I did get to lobby, I was given a key to a first floor room which I was told was less of a room than we had (I can't imagine having a room worse than we now had) but I took the key to check out the room and told your personnel that I would have my wife also check it out and let them know. I could not open the door to the room with the key they gave me. I then drove back to our building and told my wife about the room. She said she would like to check it out because it was on the first floor and as she said 'how much worse can it he?' Well I had been back at my room less than 10 minutes, when the front desk called and asked if we were going to switch rooms. My wife had not even had the opportunity to get dressed, walk down the stairs and drive over to the new room in this time frame. I also told the man that I could not open the door with the key. He did not offer to assist us to open the room so my wife said that we might as well stay in the room we had, as at least we knew what we had!!! A room that never got vacuumed before we took it nor while we were there. Your personnel also told me that most of the rooms were not available, as the air conditioning did not work in them. I thought that this place had gone through a $2million dollar renovation in the year 2000 that is only 3 years ago at the most.We got ready to go to our seminars for the day. We were gone all day. When we got back to our room, we noticed the light on in the room, the television on, our beds and been made and the bedspreads turned down. Different but acceptable we thought. Once in the room, we noticed no towels again. I immediately called the front desk and was informed that they did not have any right now as they were still being washed. How many towels do you have???? Evidently not enough to put a clean one in a room when you remove the soiled ones. Your staff must wash them before they can replace them. Towels were delivered to our room about 30 minutes later.Still we noticed that most of the hotel was not rented out. One must admit it was rather quiet with most of the hotel empty. Saturday morning came and again I assisted my wife down the stairs and I remind you this is very difficult for her to do. Again we were gone for the entire day to seminars for the company we work for. Upon arriving back at the hotel Saturday evening about 7:00 PM, we noticed our room was dark this time. No lights on and no TV on like the evening before. Upon entering the room, we noticed the beds had been made up but once again NO towels. Again I called the front desk to request towels but this time they never were delivered. It appeared that the staff from your hotel was having a party around the pool and never got to bring us towels.No problem though. We used our towels that we had brought to use at the pool to shower with on Sunday morning, as we never used the dirty pool while we were there nor could we use the empty jazucci. I did take the time to call the 1-800 number to voice my concerns with Travelodge. Around 9:00 AM we checked out of your hotel and we were thankful that what should have been a nice vacation away from home while attending our company seminars was over as it was the WORST 3 1/2 days we ever stayed at a hotel and we travel frequently and have never endured the situations we did at your establishment with no recourse to better our stay while we were there.Once home, my wife checked her email messages and she had received a request to rate the reservation process that we booked through and to rate the accommodations we had. She took the time to honestly rate the situation and informed the booking company that she would probably never use them because of what we had to endure.Now today I get a letter from you, with staple holes in the upper left hand corner and the wrong date on it and it appears to be a standard form letter which not even once reference to our situation. And in the letter you ask us to accept an invitation to stay one night complimentary the next time we visit and that you assure us that you will work to ensure that our stay with your Travelodge will be pleasant and will meet my expectations. First place one day complimentary for three days........no way.......three days complimentary for three horrendous days at your Travelodge MIGHT be a consideration. Offering me only one day is an absolute insult to me. I would NEVER treat my customers that way. Actually we have a 100% money back guarantee on the services we provide and I can tell you not once have we had to refund even dollar one that we have taken in because of our commitment to customer satisfaction.If you cannot even take the time to make sure the correspondence that you send me has a correct date on it, how can I ever expect that you would make my next visit with Travelodge one that would meet my expectations. Because of my experience at your Travelodge, and your shear lack of concern for what we endured and for making my disabled wife climb to the second floor each day when your hotel new before hand of her needs, I doubt if I ever will be able to stay at another Travelodge in my extensive travels for my employer and I was questioned by the more than 1000 franchisees that I work with what my experience was with booking through Hotwire and what my accommodations were like. Now I guess that I get to convey to them your genuine lack on concern to our specific situation.I trust that I will hear from you upon receipt of this letter. I have also forwarded a copy of this letter to Hotwire and to the Travelodge corporate offices.Sincerely,Gary J. Melansoncc Hotwire Travelodge Corporate Offices
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