By JAMES FELTON, JAMES PAXSON
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MICHIGAN (WNEM) – A well-known hotel in Mid Michigan lost its franchise brand, and the result devastated the business.
For months, the former Holiday Inn at the Gateway Center Hotel in Genesee County struggled to cope, and the owner said Holiday Inn had offered little help.
Hotel owner Terry Riddle said the Intercontinental Hotels group had left it dry.
“The whole process and the way they did it is overwhelming,” Riddle said.
He found out earlier this month that the Holiday Inn Gateway in Flint was no longer part of IHG.
“They’ve shut down our reservation systems, everything now,” Riddle said.
Riddle said he owed IHG $ 100,000 in franchise fees. He tries to solve this problem with little success.
“Unanswered emails, unanswered phone calls,” Riddle said.
Riddle said he owed money because of the struggles associated with the pandemic. He said Flint’s market has yet to recover.
“You have an airport, I used to host 25, 30 rooms a night with an airline crew. Well, it’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 at the service of the guests.
“I myself moved my wife, my son, my sister-in-law is coming, help. And we work 12, 15 hours a day doing laundry, cleaning rooms, flipping burgers, whatever we can do to try and stay afloat until this thing is over, ”Riddle said.
Holiday Inn signs are still attached to the 171-room hotel. Riddle said the largest banquet hall in Genesee County will continue to operate under a potential new brand or as a freelance.
“We’re always open for business, but you have to call the hotel to get a reservation,” Riddle said.
Riddle is still hoping 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 haven’t done the same.
“I just wish they could have helped us, help us get through this COVID,” Riddle said.
TV5 has contacted IHG, the owner of Holiday Inn for comment and is still awaiting a response.
Riddle said future guests can always book a room at the hotel over the phone.
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