I almost regret ever sending a letter.. because the ensuing correspondence only served to anger me.
Aside from my limited communique with the current general manager of said hotel property, I got a separate email string from the Starwood Consumer Affairs. I speculate it was due to my lack of response to the GM’s offer to generously increase the donation to $500.
Thank you for connecting with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. through our Social Media team. Further, we appreciate that you have taken the time to speak with the General Manager of this hotel.
Please accept our apologies for the delay in reaching out to you. We understand you as have discussed this concern with [GM], and you still have strong feelings about this matter. If you wish to discuss the issue with us, please let me know.
I look forward to your follow up.
[Consumer Affairs person #1]
[against my better judgement, I replied.. ]
Mr Consumer Affairs person #1,
I appreciate that [the GM] took the time to talk to me, especially given how uncomfortable it must have been for him, not knowing the details, and having to account for his predecessor’s lack of action. I’m sorry he wasn’t in charge at the time- I can only imagine having a kind and caring voice around would have gone so far in helping me cope with the aftermath.
To me, all this just highlights exactly what my issues with Starwood are. [GM] may not be in charge at the time. But the fact that he had to do digging around to get as much information as he could tells me the staff in charge at the time either tried to ignore it, hide it, or bury it and that you, Starwood, as a corporation, have no formal incident reporting mechanism for violent crimes that happen on your properties.
Given all that, how is any number of free points going to convince me to step a foot on any Starwood property? You work in a highly competitive and saturated market- I am not lacking in choice of hotels when I travel even after eliminating Starwood from my pool.
I don’t think there is much to discuss at this point. The points and the $500 donation? You can’t be serious. I wasn’t complaining about something trivial like the elevator doors slamming shut on my suitcase or a lost reservation upon arrival. Basically, right now, it’s far too little effort offered far too late. So I’d rather you don’t bother with any offer at all than offend like that again.
Then, the most insulting reply ever.
Thank you for taking the time to personally connect with us further, I hope your day is off to a wonderful start. [Consumer Affairs person #1] is out of the office it’s my pleasure to respond on his behalf.
Despite the circumstances, I’m glad to learn that you had a good conversation with [GM] in relation to your experience. It’s understandable how frustrating it may have been for you to learn [GM] may not have had easy access to the details of what transpired; at the time of your stay this hotel was managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts. At this time it is a franchised property, which is independently owned and operated. This Hotel utilizes the Westin trademarks and logos pursuant to a License Agreement. This in addition to the time that has elapsed is why [GM] would not have easy access to the details of your experience; we understand the disappointment this may cause you as one of our valued guests and recognize that it is an area where our efforts of sharing as well as preserving certain information may be improved.
It’s regretful to see how the gestures of goodwill offered were interpreted and that they may have caused offense, this certainly wasn’t our intention. Whilst we understand that neither of these gestures can change what transpired, our hopes were to show you our willingness to win your faith back and allow you the opportunity to create new, positive memories with us. I have copied [GM] in this email so he is aware of your preference to not receive these.
Thank you again for taking the time to connect with us personally to share your feedback. Your present feelings are appreciated; however, I do hope that you will not judge us solely on the basis of this particular experience and that we may have the chance to welcome you back to one of our destinations worldwide in the future.
With warmest regards,
Consumer Affairs person #2
My final reply.
MS Consumer Affairs Person #2,
A couple points about sensitivity training that a consumer affairs executive might benefit from:
Do NOT minimise hours of assault and robbery at gun point as a “particular experience”
Do NOT invite someone who has been assaulted in your business’s room free nights on the exact same room set up, no matter where in the world that would be.
Finally, do NOT say anything if you have nothing to say.
And that is the end of it. I am closing this chapter. I wish I never dealt with the consumer affairs people but it only validated why I will never stay in Starwood again. The careless callousness was just too much.