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How should a hotel respond to a scary wake-up call?

Courtyard Marriot.JPG

A man named Elbert recently spent the night in El Paso. He said after he and his wife had gone to bed at the Courtyard Marriott hotel along I-10 in East El Paso, someone entered the room at around one a.m., turned on the light and said, “Hello.” Elbert said he yelled back and the unknown visitor said, "Sorry, wrong room," and closed the door.

After complaining, Elbert said the hotel paid for his night in the room. But he asked, "Do you think this was reasonable and responsible?"

I forwarded Elbert's question to Marriott's corporate office of consumer affairs. A corporate liaison, Sara Terkelson, offered the company's response. In a statement, she apologized for Elbert's disappointment and wrote in part, "I can certainly understand this guest's distress when the hotel gave another guest access to their guestroom by mistake. This occurred because your viewer was not checked in correctly and it's clearly a training opportunity for our team."

Terkelson also said the hotel manager decides how much compensation is offered. She said if Elbert wasn't satisfied with what he received, he was free to contact her personally.

I passed on that information to Elbert. He told me his bigger concern was not the compensation, but the lack of an initial response from Marriott to his concerns. He said the hotel desk in El Paso had no clue how to handle the situation, and everything was left up to the hotel manager when they got back into town. In addition, he said his attempts to reach Marriott for help online and through its 800 number proved fruitless.

It might have taken my media inquiry to get Marriott to respond on a more personal level to Elbert, but he now has the contact information for one of the hotel chain's corporate liaisons.

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