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Yours is a Very Bad Hotel: Revisted

Where: 2828 Southwest Freeway [map], Houston, TX, United States, 77098
July 28, 2004 at 8:12 AM | by | Comment (1)

We thought it was time to re-visit a classic hotel hell story.  

It was almost three years ago when a couple of business travelers from the Northwest walked through the doors of the old Double Tree Club Hotel in Houston. Little did they know, they soon would become famous for having a terrible hotel experience, and creating one of the most entertaining Powerpoint decks ever made.

This classic Powerpoint deck takes you through the duos late night discovery that their rooms had been given away.  From there these two detail what exactly a reservation "guarantee" is (maybe not as rock solid as we all think), night clerk Mike's career path, and their forced exile Shoney's Inn and Suites.

Months after the event Snopes did a story chronicling the events (yes this really happened) and their aftermath.  Seems our duo from the Northwest even made out OK, and maybe even felt a touch of guilt about the effects this deck had on the hotel and its staff. The power of the Internet rides again!

So what does all this mean three years later?  

For one, the hotel appears to have changed its name, ownership, and management (we have no idea if this was related to this meme, and we highly doubt it).  The hotel on 2828 Southwest is now a Four Points Sheraton.

Secondly, this deck proves that we, as hotel customers, are not helpless in situations like the business duo from the Northwest in Houston faced.  If you have a true, honest complaint about a hotel there are places you can go, and things you can do, that will force your complaint to be heard. (Just remember that anonymous complaints are not taken as seriously, because no one can follow up).

In closing, we will harken back to some wise words from the originators of this hotel hell meme:

Hopefully, that while $#!@& happens, service matters -- and hand-to-hand email has power. We'd urge you not to draw conclusions about the whole Doubletree brand on the basis of our little complaint. Every hospitality brand has good properties and awful ones. (Thanks for so many great personal horror stories, by the way.) But we do urge travelers to be bold when they get the short end of the stick. Perhaps, now that "Yours Is a Very Bad Hotel" has attracted attention in corporate offices of many hospitality providers, managers and customers alike will be a little more aware of the power customers wield.

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The more they change, the more they stay the same

I recall your power point presentation oh so many years ago, I work in the Hospitality Industry and it was well distributed throught our very small and tight world.  

What you may have missed is even more interesting.  The hotel was dropped by DoubleTree within weeks of your e-mail; initially it was converted to a Ramada.  Starwood's Four Points by Sheraton came on the scene a few months later and has been there since.  However, somethings do not change; the owner of the hotel is still the same; the General Manager of the hotel is still the same person you identified in your deck (at my last check); I am not sure on the night desk clerk, however, I do know he was still there when they converted to a Four Points.  

New wrapping paper...but were the problems addressed?  I for one am not staying there to find out first hand.  

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