A well-known Mid Michigan hotel lost its franchise branding, and the result devastated the business.
The former Holiday Inn at the Gateway Center Hotel in Genesee County has been struggling to survive for months, and the owner says Holiday Inn offered little to help.
Hotel owner Terry Riddle said the Intercontinental Hotels Group had let him down.
“The whole process and the way they did it are daunting,” said Riddle.
Earlier this month he found out that the Holiday Inn Gateway in Flint is no longer owned by IHG.
“You shut down our reservation systems, everything now,” said Riddle.
Riddle said he owed IHG $ 100,000 in franchise fees. He tries to solve this problem with little success.
“Emails unanswered, phone calls unanswered,” said Riddle.
Riddle said he owed the money because of the fighting associated with the pandemic. He said the flint market has not yet recovered.
“They have an airport, I have 25, 30 rooms a night with flight crew. Well, that’s zero now, and it’s been almost two years,” said Riddle.
Riddle also laid off 90 employees to cut costs. Now he and his family are working with a smaller staff to serve the guests.
“I moved with my wife myself, my son, my sister-in-law come over and help out. And we work 12, 15 hours a day doing laundry, cleaning rooms, turning burgers, whatever we can do to just keep things simple to be “stay afloat until this thing is over,” said Riddle.
The Holiday Inn signs are still on the 171-room hotel. Riddle said the largest banquet facility in Genesee County continues to operate under a potential new brand or as an independent operation.
“We are still open for business but it will be necessary to call the hotel to get a reservation,” said Riddle.
Riddle hopes to meet IHG next month. In the meantime, he would like to thank the Flint community for supporting the hotel during the pandemic.
Riddle laments the fact that after 37 years at IHG, they didn’t do the same.
“I just wish they could have just helped us, helped us overcome this COVID,” said Riddle.
TV5 has reached out to IHG, the owner of Holiday Inn, for a comment and is still waiting for feedback.
Riddle said future guests will still be able to book a room at the hotel by phone.