fighting the lack of good ideas

staybridge replies – the next week

In follow-up to my post from last week, two members of the Staybridge staff contacted me on Wednesday of this week. Their replies are posted below. Also, a disclaimer: I never asked for anything to be done in recompense for the situation – I just wanted it fixed.

Mr. Myers:

Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to your email. I have received it through IHG Guest relations and was not aware of it until this morning. I have copied the email to go over with the executive housekeeper. While we have been challenged with very large sports groups, staying one week or longer, it is no excuse for poor service. I was not aware that the complimentary room was not a direct benefit to you. In lieu of the issues you encountered I will add 10,000 priority club points to your account. The description of your stay, by no means, represents the type of service we strive to present to all guests. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. If I may be of any further service please do not hesitate to contact me directly my cell phone number is 317-640-2708.

Gary W Miller

General Manager
Staybridge Suites
Indianapolis/ Fishers

And from the other manager (quoted as sent, including any typos):

Hi Warren,

I was reading over your comments in regards to your recent stay with us. I want to sincerely apologize for the problems that you encountered. I understand that the company was paying for your stay and that the comp night was not an actual benefit to you. I have included a free night certificate for you to use in the future. While it doesn’t make up for the problems you had, I hope that you and your family can use it for personal use next time you are in the area. I have also upgraded the room type to a one bedroom suite for you. I will be sure to address these items with housekeeping and the front desk, so that the same mistakes doe not incur. Again, please accept my sincerest apologies.

Natalie Page
Guest Services Manager
Staybridge Suites Fishers-Indianapolis
317-712-5101 direct dial
317-577-9500 front desk
317-712-5200 fax

When I emailed Gary this morning asking why he had not replied to the emails I sent him directly, this was his reply:

Mr. Meyers

That is the correct email address. However, I am having issues with my email account over the last few weeks. I am receiving an exceptional amount of “spam”. It is not unusual for me to have over 150 emails every morning. Yours may have been deleted by mistake. I did however receive your email through IHG Guest Relations. That is what I was responding to. I hope we can be of service to you in the future.


Gary W. Miller

Yeah, I get a lot of “spam”, too – but when the subject line includes not only the reservation, but my Priority Club number, and is addressed directly to you from a corporate address… it sounds like a weak response.

Regardless, at least there was some form of reply to the situation – not what I would have expected, but I suppose it’ll do.

personal vs professional blogging

A friend of mine recently pointed me at the newspaper-associated blog of a “recent Appalachian State University graduate and now a freelance reporter for The Charlotte Observer”.

Ms Penland seems like a nice person – but her writing is not at all what I would expect for a blog associated with a newspaper – it is far more like a personal journal of a teenager than a professional blog of a reporter.

I’m all for personal voice showing-up in folks’ writing (it certainly does on all of the blogs I follow – and on the ones I write ;)) – but when you’re writing reviews for a newspaper, it would seem like you’d try to be a bit more … professional in your writing.

Besides the myriad grammar errors (I know – we all have them, but certainly some proofreading should be done to catch things like “was is“), it seems she has a routine dislike for “chains” – and yet visits many. She also refers to her boyfriend in many of her reviews: a perfectly fine thing to do in passing, but she ends up making some of them more about him than about the place they went.

As a “recent graduate”, I wouldn’t necessarily expect Brittany’s writing to be on par with, say, Malcolm Gladwell, but I would expect it to be at the level of, well, a college graduate. (I have seen some collegiate writing that appalled me when I was in school – writing submitted by 4th year English Majors that looked like it was pulled from a 6th grade student’s portfolio: but those folks don’t [typically] get hired by newspapers… do they?)

I hope Ms Penland’s writing improves dramatically through her “freelance” association with the Observer, but I also hope that the Observer doesn’t have too many folks like her writing in association with them: it reflects poorly on their editorial staff and hiring practices if they do.

staybridge suites – avoid like the plague

I rarely have good reason to complain about hotels, restaurants, etc.

This is one of those rare occasions. And it was made worse because my wife had to go through it, too 🙁

The following is the message I sent to the general manager of the Fishers IN Staybridge Suites location on Tuesday 19 July 2011 (after sending it to the corporate customer service department):

Our stay at the Staybridge Suites in Fishers IN has been horrible so far.

The facilities have been adequate, but the service has been appalling. Shortly after checking-in on the 18th, my wife was hit in the head by a stray thrown basketball while walking through the parking lot to walk our small dog. While walking our dog, she was also shouted-at by some of the teens staying at the hotel. After reporting this to the front desk, nothing was done – no apology was given, or was any attempt made to control the myriad teens running amok through and around the hotel.

The teen group has been out of control every time we have seen them, except at breakfast: taking-over the pool area, screaming, shouting, horseplaying, throwing basketballs out of the court (and hitting cars), making loud a ruckus after 10p last night in the common area (which could be heard completely down the hall and in every room facing over the great room).

Hotel staff have been unwilling or unable to control the behavior of the teens, and their apparent attempts to contact the chaperons and coaches have gone unheeded: the chaperons have been nowhere to be found (contrary to posted rules), and have done nothing to control the unruly children either.

At 1030p Monday evening, my wife went to the front desk to ask for extra pillows. The front desk lady indicated they would be sent up to our room “shortly”. At midnight, I went down and asked where they were: not only had housekeeping not brought anything up to our room, they had not been contacted even though there is a radio at the desk for such purposes. I waited an addition 12 minutes for someone in housekeeping to find a couple spare pillows and bring them to the desk so I could take them upstairs.

As I mentioned earlier, we are traveling with a small dog (a 2.5 year old Shih Tzu). The pet rules at Staybridge, vs any of the other ICH brands) are excessively stringent. An option is given at check-in as to whether daily housekeeping checks will be done either between 9a and 2p or after 5:30p. We selected the after 5:30p option. At 12:20p today, housekeeping knocked on our door. After being told to “wait just a moment”, they knocked again, and were told again “wait just a moment”. Then they opened the door WITHOUT INDICATING WHO THEY WERE until after the door was partially open. My wife was in the room by herself enjoying a TV show, and this behavior is unacceptable. After being shown that our housekeeping contract shows no one should come before 5:30p, they insisted on attending to the room anyway, and two maids came in, reset the sheets and replaced the towels, then left. If this is the daily housekeeping that is “required” for suites with pets, I shudder to think what “housekeeping” is done typically.

The behavior and attitude of the staff at this location is truly unbelievable for *any* hotel, let alone one in this price range. I travel extensively for business, and stay at hotels 2-4 times per month just for work. This is my first (and I expect my last) experience staying at a Staybridge Suites location. I have stayed at Candlewoods several times in CT and here in IN (just last week down one exit from the Staybridge). Candlewood has always been eagerly attentive to guest needs and requests, has a far more lenient pet policy, and is less expensive than Staybridge. We only selected to stay at a different location this week due to the Candlewood being sold out. We should have stayed the full week on the other side of town at a Candlewood to avoid this horrible experience with Staybridge.

It has been over a year (with hotel stays near weekly for much of that time) since having even a mediocre experience at any hotel – let alone such an egregious example of not caring and not trying on the part of hotel staff – and I am extremely disappointed with the Staybridge in Fishers.

His response to this message was NOT to call me at my cell phone number given on the day of the report (which the manager on duty (a sales coordinator) said he would do prior to my sending of the initial email), but rather to call my room the next morning (Wednesday) – after I had gone to work.

Hello, Mr Miller

My wife called and relayed the conversation you had with her this morning.

We will definitely contact you if anything else comes up and/or we need anything else during our stay.

If you have further questions or need to contact us, please call me at [redacted]

In the intervening days, nothing has been done beyond comp’ing us for the first night’s stay: which is a nice gesture, but doesn’t really do anything for me as this is a business trip (though I am sure my customer will appreciate the discount). The message I sent to Gary Miller today:

Mr Miller

While the noise from the rowdy teens has disappeared (I am guessing from not having seen them the past couple days that they left), housekeeping has been atrocious during our stay. Referring back to my initial email (which you have still not replied to outside of a call to my room on Wednesday morning when I was not available, in contradiction to what Kim Ilagon said you would do by calling my contact number she took down (and that has been on each of the emails I have sent you) or the contact number on my reservation), a “light touch service” is supposed to be mandatory every day in every room, with some form of more extended service if there is a pet in the suite. As you know, Tuesday’s housekeeping visit occurred over 5 hours before they were supposed to come to the room. That service visit was a mere “light touch” – replacing towels, emptying wastebaskets, and straightening the bed.

On Wednesday there was no housekeeping visit at all, and I was forced near the end of the evening to go ask for new towels at the front desk myself. Likewise on Thursday: no housekeeping visit occurred – and we again had to get new towels on our own.

Over the intervening days since Tuesday, the wastebaskets in our room have filled from day-to-day items – with no visit or way of getting housekeeping to take care of the room.

Additional cleanliness problems:

  • There is a cup of beer on the windowsill at the end of the hall by room 201 that has been there since before we checked in
  • The tray we used to bring breakfast up to our room was set outside our door yesterday – by lunchtime it had not been collected, so we moved it to the windowsill as well; it had still not been picked-up by when I left for work this morning
  • Myriad soaked towels were on the floor of the pool last night for over 90 minutes with no one using them or coming to take care of them (my wife and I were swimming by ourselves for that duration)
  • Trash bags have been left in stairwells for over a day before being collected

I appreciate the token you gave of comp’ing us for our first night – but as I am traveling on business, that doesn’t really “do anything” for myself or my wife (though my customer will be happy to have saved a night’s cost).

Last night I went to the front desk to ask if it might be possible to do a late checkout, which the staff member told me was not an issue, and wrote down that we would be checking-out at 2p. Today housekeeping came by at about 1215 to do a service on the room, and were surprised my wife was still in the room.

90 minutes later the front desk called my wife asking if we were going to extend our stay – the woman at the front desk had not bothered to read any of the comments/notes left for her from the night before.

Communication at this hotel amongst the staff is atrocious. I have copied this message back to corporate customer service as well (as I did the first message to you).

Contact information for this hotel:

Front desk: 317.577.9500

General Manager: Gary Miller

mid-term travel needs

Since I can’t register on Kevin’s blog, I’m replying here 🙂

He asked about where to find “mini” packages of laundry needs.

Here’s what I do, I hit the dollar store if I’m going to be somewhere more than a few days – $3 and I have detergent, bleach, and fabric softener.

where google makes its money

Wired has an interesting infographic today from WordStream on where Google makes its money in advertising.

No surprise on some of the top entries: but the last was surprising (both to me, and the folks who did the analysis): Cord Blood. Seems “rich parents” are wanting to store their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for the stem cells contained, in the hopes that they could be used later in life if some health crisis arises.


centos 6 – first thoughts

CentOS 6 was released today. So far, I am not impressed.

I run a *lot* of virtual machines. So I thought I’d give the netinstall edition a try with the “minimal” install option: when the installer reboots at the end, there is no valid boot image on the drive and starting-up fails.

So I switched to the DVD installer. First problem: CentOS comes on 2 DVDs – RHEL 6 (and 6.1) come on one each.

The minimal install profile does not configure any network, or any useful packages – it is truly minimal. So, while the system will boot once the DVD has finished installing, it is pretty much not usable.

Afetr the smoothness I’ve experienced with RHEL 6.1, I think I’m going to need to evaluate other long-term releases instead of CentOS, unless they get their act together – fast. It’s been 7 MONTHS since RHEL 6 came out. CentOS historically only lagged a few weeks behind. This is ridiculous.

Shame, too – always like that you could “upgrade” a CentOS box to RHEL by adding an RHN license.

4-h judging

My wife and I are participating as judges in the state finals for the Kentucky 4-H presentations at UK’s campus Saturday. We’ve both gotten tagged to judge speeches.

This’ll be my first time ever involved with 4-H, whereas my wife has been doing something with them every year for about 15 years 🙂