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jca2's avatar

How much oversight and control does a corporation have over one of its franchises?

Asked by jca2 (16088points) July 20th, 2022

Recently, we took a road trip to the west (US). One the five day ride home, we stayed one of the nights in a Days Inn. It was such a nightmare. If it weren’t for the fact that it was after midnight and after driving and stopping at several hotels inquiring about vacancies and calling 30 other hotels and finding no accomodations, we wouldn’t have stayed there. The room and the cleanliness were not just poor, they were below anything that would be acceptable to most people.

I stayed at another bad Days Inn in South Carolina, this past winter. That was also dirty (hair in the tub, hair on the sheet, empty toilet paper roll) but was a palace compared to the one that we were just in a few days ago (Illinois). After the stay in the winter, I called Wyndham Corporate. Wyndham owns Days Inn, and the Wyndham name is on the Days Inn signs. Wyndham Corporate was very apologetic, and asked if I wanted them to have the owner of the franchise call me. I said no, because I didn’t want a chance of the owner obtaining my information. I realize it’s possible he may obtain it anyway, but I wanted to lessen that chance. I told them I would never stay in another Days Inn, but the only reason we did a few days ago was because we were desperate. When we checked in, and saw the conditions, I called another local Holiday Inn but it was 265 a night and I wasn’t willing to pay that at 1 in the morning. I was tempted to get back in the car and keep driving, but after calling 30 previously and finding nothing available, I didn’t want to take a chance. I really was between a rock and a hard place.

The experience a few days ago in the hell-hole makes me think that Wyndam has no oversight over its hotels, or maybe overlooks Days Inn because they’re concentrating on their more expensive brands. Even if they did spot checks, and saw how terrible it is, I am wondering what the outcome might possibly be.

I am wondering partly because I am debating whether it’s worth my time to call Wyndham Corporate again about our most recent experience, or not to bother. I know that i can write a bad review on TripAdvisor and I am probably going to do that, too.

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Definitely write your reviews.

A lot of lower end hotels have had trouble getting staffing, but some, like Wyndham, seem to be even worse. Wyndham is sub par from top to botttom, which is why it is cheaper.

I stayed in a Courtyard by Marriot last winter; while the room was clean enough, the breakfast area only had one person working and she could not keep up with the number of guests.

I stayed at the Sonesta in White Plains NY last month. A little pricier, but clean and friendly all around.

Zaku's avatar

Different companies do more than others. The amount they care and have influence also varies, but if/when they do care enough, they can remove their brand or even in many cases shut down/reclaim/replace a franchise.

elbanditoroso's avatar

All depends on the contract. There is no across the board rule.

McDonalds is known for being exceedingly stringent and demanding to their franchisees.

Apparently Wyndham is not.

filmfann's avatar

When I worked for KFC, my boss said there was something in the franchise contract that the corporation could revoke it and seize the business if she violated standards.

Smashley's avatar

Compliance is always and issue with franchises. How well the mothership controls it’s satellites is a critical part of the brand.

Some places can pull your franchise agreement for violation, but McDonalds will do you one better, and evict your ass. Ultimately, if a hotel is doing a shit job, it’s because the corporate overlord is doing a shit job. Don’t trust that hospitality conglomerate again. Your experience is not a priority to them.

jca2's avatar

In addition to the bad review, I’m going to call Corporate and let them know the details, and I’m going to tell them that there are basic standards for cleanliness and this hotel doesn’t meet them.

I prefer nice hotels but I’m not a total princess, as long as a place is decent. If we’re staying for a few days, I like a nice, comfortable place, but if it’s one night and we’re passing through, I’m ok with a Holiday Inn or a Fairfield, Hampton Inn or similar.

@zenvelo: I live not far from that area and I am guessing that hotel you stayed at was a bit more expensive because of being in the city that it’s in, and so the draw is probably that you can walk to a lot of things. If you’re looking to save on price and don’t mind a few minutes travel into that city, try staying in Tarrytown (Fairfield Suites or Doubletree).

YARNLADY's avatar

Day’s inn are notorious for this, and Wyndham doesn’t seem to care. I had booked a room in Reno that was so bad, we refused to stay there, and had to drive 40 miles out of town and pay twice as much.
I found a good response is to contact the local health authority and report them.

SnipSnip's avatar

You would have to read the documents.

jca2's avatar

@SnipSnip: As I’m sure you’re aware, something can be written in documents but yet not enforced.

HP's avatar

It stands to reason that there are going to be variations in how well franchisees adhere to standards dictated by the corporation at large. There are of course examples of food franchises where deplorable sanitation failures are uncovered. Reporting one of those to the local board of health will usually result in swift results and dire crippling consequences for the establishment. Motels, on the other hand, are another matter entirely. And motels today are an adventure in Russian roulette. Talking to the people I know who travel for a living, you never want to arrive at a backwater motel with which you are unfamiliar. Not today. Today, even the former moderately priced chains find their members unable to maintain the staffing necessary to supply suitable service. The days are gone when you could just drive til you’re tired and expect to find a decent room at random at a price you believe affordable. If you are unfamiliar with wherever you might call it a day, you must sadly devote the same diligence as with an excursion through the jungle. Get over to AAA. And, never, never, never check into a room prior to an inspection a barracks drill sergeant would deem acceptable.

JLeslie's avatar

It varies. A jelly above mentioned McDonald’s, and that was a well known business story years ago that Burger Kings varied from location, and customers didn’t like that they didn’t know what they were going to walk into. On the other hand, McD’s was more consistent, so especially people who were traveling liked that. It was believed that the consistency in cleanliness and quality was a big reason McD’s had such a large market share.

I have said on previous Q’s that I switched back to Marriott family hotels from Hilton, because Hampton Inn’s were so inconsistent, and we often were in locations where only that level of hotel (or lower) were in the area. Our jelly who used to work for Hampton agreed with me. Supposedly, the company worked on it (like Burger King) and it’s much improved. I switched over ten years ago. I’ll send the Q to her.

It costs the corporation money in payroll and travel expenses to hire someone to oversee the franchisees, but the risk is ruining the brand if franchise owners do whatever they want and have no standards.

The really low level motels and hotels can vary a lot. A Super 8 or Days Inn can be drek, or a newer ones might be perfectly fine. I knew someone who worked for a company that insured hotels and he said never stay at a Motel 6. I’ve stayed at some sketchy places, but I try to avoid them now.

There are some Undercover Boss episodes where the CEO is visiting franchises. That gives you an idea of how consistent or how varied locations can be.

SnipSnip's avatar

@jca2 I answered your question. You’re welcome.

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