By JAMES FELTON, JAMES PAXSON
MICHIGAN (WNEM) — A well-known Mid Michigan hotel lost its franchise branding, and the result has devastated the business.
For months the former Holiday Inn at Gateway Center Hotel in Genesee County has been struggling to get by and the owner says Holiday Inn has offered little to help.
Hotel owner Terry Riddle said the Intercontinental Hotels Group left him high and dry.
“The whole process and the way they’ve done this is disheartening,” Riddle said.
He found out earlier this month the Holiday Inn Gateway in Flint is no longer part of IHG.
“They shut down our reservation systems, everything now,” Riddle said.
Riddle said he owes IHG $100,000 in franchise fees. He is trying to work this issue out with little success.
“E-mails unresponded to, phone calls unresponded to,” Riddle said.
Riddle said he owes the money because of the struggles associated with the pandemic. He said the Flint market hasn’t recovered yet.
“You’ve got an airport, I used to house 25, 30 rooms a night with airline crew. Well, that’s zero now and has been for almost two years now,” Riddle said.
Riddle also laid off 90 employees to cut costs. Now he, and his family, along with a smaller staff, are pitching in to serve guests.
“I myself have moved my wife, my son, my sister-in-law comes up, helps out. And we’re working 12, 15 hour days doing laundry, cleaning rooms, flipping burgers, whatever we can do to try to just stay afloat until this thing is over,” Riddle said.
The Holiday Inn signs are still attached to the 171-room hotel. Riddle said the largest banquet facility in Genesee County will continue to operate under a potential new brand or as an independent.
“We are still open for business, but it is call the hotel in order to get a reservation,” Riddle said.
Riddle is holding out hope for a meeting with 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 with IHG, they did not do the same.
“I just wish they could’ve just helped us, help support us to get through this COVID,” Riddle said.
TV5 reached out to IHG, the owner of Holiday Inn for comment and are still waiting to hear back.
Riddle said future guests can still book a room at the hotel over the phone.
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