Mary Yostos needs your advice.
She had a horrible experience at the Grand Hotel in Minneapolis last September. While at a wedding party, her wallet was stolen. Her complaints to the hotel were for nothing. “They said the restaurant on the second floor was technically not part of the hotel,” she says.
So she wrote a negative review about the property on TripAdvisor.com.
i was at this hotel for a pre-wedding party and we went to the restaurant upstairs…my wallet was stolen here from some guy off the street who walked into the hotel and randomly went to this restaurant. as i was in pursuit of the criminal in the street, my friends reported this to the front desk and they were not willing to call the police and said it wasnt their issue…the valet parking people ran after the criminal and called 911…i wouldnt feel safe to stay here.
That’s when the fun started.
The hotel wasn’t happy with her review. First, it responded to the post online, leaving a rebuttal on TripAdvisor. So she wrote to the hotel, explaining again what had happened.
I was at your hotel on the evening of September 11th to attend a very small pre-wedding gathering with my friends on the restaurant on the second floor.
We were the only ones in the restaurant at the time and this couple came in the midst of us and stole my wallet out of my purse right in front of me. When I actually discovered the wallet was gone, I went after him in the street.
As I went in pursuit of the guy in the street to attempt to get my wallet back, my friends proceeded to the front desk to call the police and report the incident, where the front desk person refused to call saying that the restaurant is not part of the hotel and that the hotel is not responsible for what goes on in the restaurant. While I understand this point, I just found that response very rude.
The doormen in front of the Grand Hotel and the Crowne Plaza across the street (I think they were in charge of the valet parking as well) were the ones who tried to help me by calling 911 for the police from their cell phones and help me run after the criminal. Your hotel staff though, was extremely unhelpful.
What can be done in the future? Train your staff to call the police, even if something happened in the restaurants above….it’s common courtesy….I ended up staying at the Marriott City Center down the street and actually the set up of the hotel makes it more difficult for a stranger to walk up to the lobby/restaurant areas….I know that the Grand Hotel has history behind its structure which makes it difficult, but something tells me that this guy has been in the hotel before since he knew to randomly come upstairs to the restaurant on the second floor.
I was very disappointed with the way the hotel handled the situation which prompted my post on Tripadvisor.com. I do travel a lot for work and for personal and this is the first time where anything like this has happened to me (I am from the NYC metro area and haven’t been robbed once). I do think that the hotel just needs to review its security policies that are in current place.
I did write comments to the Grand Hotel on their Web site the week after I returned from Minneapolis and sadly there was no response, up until your message today on Tripadvisor.com.
Here’s the letter she received after her inquiry and TripAdvisor post:
I just want to close the loop on the issues that we’ve been discussing. Regarding the delay in getting back to you, I’ve had to involve several people, including employees within several departments our hotel, Zahtar restaurant and the Minneapolis PD, and it’s taken quite some time to get the complete picture.
Thank you for the kind words regarding our hotel staff. We like to think (and it’s been my experience) that everyone who works here is, at the very least always hospitable, responsive and helpful, which is why your situation caught us so completely off guard. I have a lot to address here so I’m going to resort to bullet points, please forgive my formality.
1) Lack of Security…while troubling, we’re sort of in a bind here as your personal situation relates to hotel security. First of all, even though we’re privately held as a hotel we’re a very public place particularly in our “public” areas. Frankly, it’s in our best interest (and that of our lessees) to not restrict access to these places during business hours. Additionally, Zahtar (where your belongings were stolen from) is neither owned nor operated by the hotel and for us to keep out potential paying customers during business hours based on the premise that they “may be up to no good” is strictly forbidden in the terms of their lease.
2) Lack of Responsiveness…your review on Tripadvisor was literally the first time that we were made aware of your situation. Unfortunately there was some sort of technical issue with our on-line complaint forum and I did not receive the auto-generated email that the system is supposed to send. This has been fixed, and the flow of questions, praise and the occasional complaint has been restored. For this I do apologize, but please understand that it was out of control, and we would never take a complaint lightly, regardless of where an incident may have occurred.
3) Rude Desk Staff…after reviewing our records and seeing who was on duty that evening, we have taken the steps necessary to remove the individual on duty that evening (this wasn’t the first or last incident in which they were involved) from any position in which they would have guest contact. We were certainly at fault for hiring and placing this individual in the first place, and we’ve taken steps to rectify that situation in light of what you’ve told us.
4) Minneapolis PD…Having received the case # from the Zahtar manager, I followed up with the police, but also was able to get nowhere in their bureaucracy.
I understand that you have mixed feelings about Minneapolis and strongly negative feelings about our hotel based on your experience. I suppose anyone in your shoes would feel that way. But I also urge you to put yourself in our shoes. We bend over backwards to take the best care of our hotel guests…for many of us, it’s our life’s work. And it’s our sincere feeling that we have addressed the issues in your complaints, and where culpable we have tried to right our wrongs. As such, I ask that you consider editing and/or taking down your negative review on Tripadvisor.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Senior Corporate Sales Manager
Grand Hotel Minneapolis
So should Yostos delete her review or not?
Well, TripAdvisor reviews can’t be edited once it’s submitted, but you can ask the site to remove a review.
I tried to find Yostos’ review, but it appears someone — maybe TripAdvisor acting on the request of the hotel — zapped her post. I have asked TripAdvisor to comment on this and will update this story when I hear back from the site.
Yostos asked me what to do, and frankly, I don’t know.
The people who were there said I should keep it up. The only thing they really did was just move the front desk person to another place where not dealing with guests. I feel like this guy went through everything because of the bad review on the Web site and now thinks i should take it down since he was so ‘responsive’.
Personally, I would never go back there myself…so i dont know, which is why im asking your professional opinion.
Nothing she said in her review appears to be false. But at the same time, it appears that her concerns are being addressed by the hotel.
What to do?
What would you do?
(Photo illustration: nataliej/Flickr Creative Commons)
Update (2 p.m.): Yostos has investigated the disappearance of her review:
I went onto my account and it says I never posted anything.
I was considering of being nice and adding something to say the hotel has responded, but an event is an event…and this happened and it could happen to someone else. It’s just like if you saw a rat in the room and you write a review about that.
Thanks for your help with this! I appreciate it. I guess they did the dirty work for me and removed the review so that the hotel could keep its excellent reputation. I’m contemplating writing to the manager of the Grand Hotel asking if they had anything to do with it. I find it suspicious that it disappeared after the manager asked me to remove my post.