From the department of “they write slightly miffed letters”:
I had decided to just let this slide, but every time I mention my experience at the Green Granite Inn to friends, they’re outraged (okay, they’re also pet owners, so consider them biased), and I thought I’d just drop you a note to follow up.
In late February, I unexpectedly needed to book a room for my family in the
area for two nights. As the program head for the Ford Sayre BKL Nordic Racing program based in Conway Hanover, NH, I was also scrambling to arrange race schedules, book hotels for our coaches, and troubleshoot for 40 families attending a big race in , and I had very little time to deal with my own hotel requirements. My only two criteria were that the hotel have an indoor pool and be pet friendly. A quick search online gave me one obvious choice: the Green Granite Inn – it offered what I wanted, the price was right, the location was good, and the place looked fine. I took the number off the web, and called and booked with one of your friendly front desk staffers, and we were all set. Or so I thought. Fryeburg, ME
After a long day and a tiring drive, we arrived late Friday night, and I proceeded to check us in. Casually mentioned along with the breakfast hours and checkout time was, “no pets allowed.” Come again? I explained that I had specifically chosen your hotel because it was listed online as pet friendly. “No,” explained your front desk staffer. “We used to be. We’re now pet unfriendly.” Well, at least she was being honest about it. I explained that this was a bit of a problem, since we had our dog with us. It was curtly re-emphasized that dogs were not allowed, and pointed out that there was a $250 charge if dogs were found to be in the room anyway, and would I perhaps like to try to find a room somewhere else? Much care was taken to demonstratively click thru your own website while pointing out to me that there was no mention of this “pet friendly thing.”
I wasn’t about to go hunting for a new place to stay at 10PM with two tired kids and a race early to attend the next morning. And even though your staff felt compelled to tell me it couldn’t be done, my dog was perfectly fine – if slightly confused – staying in our car both nights.
When I came down the following morning and inquired about the room number of friends who were in town, I was a little taken aback when I was immediately grilled by your receptionist about whether I had allowed a dog into my room last night. A concerned inquiry whether everything had worked out for us would have been nice, but instead the assumption seemed to be that I’d obviously elected to violate your rules.
Now, here’s the thing. While I’m not sure I understand it, I fully respect your choice to change from being a pet friendly to a pet unfriendly establishment — for all I know, you’ve made a strategic decision that there is more money to be made from families with allergies than families with pets. Or maybe you just don’t like pets. Whatever — it’s your hotel. I also appreciate that it was careless of me not to doublecheck your pet policy when I called to book. Clearly my bad, it just never occured to me that a hotel would regress to a “no pet” policy. And I do appreciate that once you’ve set your new rule in place, it’s incumbent upon your staff to enforce it.
But it’s rather disingenuous of your staff to feign disbelief and revert to blame mode when someone inadvertently shows up at your establishment with a pet. Because The Green Granite Inn continues to be listed on countless web sites as a pet friendly establishment (tripadvisor.com, travelpost.com/kayak.com, hotpads.com, settlersgreen.com just to mention the first few that show up in a Google search). And even closer to home, you’re still prominently listed as pet friendly on the free area maps distributed in the
region. It’s not like I simply came up with the bizarre idea that pets were welcome, even though the skeptical and disapproving looks from your staff would indicate they thought as much. Or maybe they’re just tired of dealing with the fallout from this mixed message? Conway
If you’re so keen on changing your status to “pet unfriendly”, then it would behoove you to do the necessary legwork and get your message straightened out. At the very least, you should perhaps post a rather prominent notice on your own website along the lines of: “Pet owners, please take notice: The Green Granite Inn used to be pet friendly, but now is NOT.”
Either way, we’ll keep our pets – and, alas, our business – well away in the future. In the meantime, I should note that I’ve posted this letter on my blog: I hope to soon be able to update it with a note on the efforts taken by the Green Granite Inn to clear up the online confusion about their pet policy.
Update: Green Granite Inn writes back:
Just returned from vacation and read your e-mail. Thank you for taking the time to write me. We did have to change to “no pet policy” due to several bad experiences. I put much thought into this before we changed at the first of the year. I’m a new general manager as of the end of October 2009. I have had my front desk research all sights [sic] to remove that we are pet friendly. We are also in the middle of creating a new web page that will clear up this confusion also. I’m sorry that your experience here was not enjoyable. My intent is that everyone that comes to the Green Granite has a pleasant time. Once again, thank you for bring this to my attention.