Now that I have your attention, I have a morals question for you.
Q: You are staying at the Daytona Beach Hilton Ocean Walk and when you are checking in the oh so not even happy to have a job front desk employee, but one that really does a great job checking people in asks if you took a cab to the hotel or not. Not if you plan to valet or self park. I ask why does it matter if I took a cab or not. She replied that if I took a cab then she would not have to explain the various parking options. Made sense when you think about it. But, I happened to drive and then she asked if I was going to valet or self park? Self-park, I replied. Having been at the groundbreaking for this building over two decades ago, I knew there was a lot diagonally across the street. She said it costs $10.00 a night to park there. No problem, and she told me to swipe my room key to get the entrance gate to go up. Got my free meal vouchers and upgraded room because I am a member of HHonors, and off to park my car. Parked and then went to my room. Uneventful so far. Then I remembered that I left something in my car, and instead of taking the elevator down, I did what I usually do, I took the stairs down, 16 stories.
As I approached the parking gate, I noticed that the EXIT arm was in the UP position. Made a mental note and went back about my business, played on the beach for a while, had dinner, and walked past the parking lot, and noticed that the EXIT arm was still up. When I got back to the hotel I left the valet person know, and they replied that it is usually like that. “Well doesn’t that mean anyone can park there?” I asked. Looking at me like I was an idiot the girl behind the glass replied “ah, yeahhhh”. Decided to let someone else that might actually care. Found a security person who told me pretty much the same thing. I asked him then why is the hotel charging people to park there. Because they are trained to charge for parking was his reply. I asked to see the hotel manager on duty. There wasn’t one. I asked for the resident manager, “we don’t have one” was his reply. I decided it was a lost cause and figured I will wait until I check out to bring it up again.
Fast forward to the next morning. I did what I came to Daytona to do, and my job at the speedway was done before the sun rose. I came back to the hotel for brunch. Guess what I saw when I came back to the parking lot? If you said the EXIT gate was down, well you are wrong amigo.
I took a couple of photos, because you know you can never have enough photos of an EXIT gate to a hotel parking lot. They are at the bottom of this post, enjoy, it is some really nice urban landscape photography, Ansel Adams would be proud. If you have no idea who Ansel Adams is, ask your parents.
So, after I had brunch, went back to the room, gathered my things, I went to check out. GREAT! Guess who was at the front desk, does this person ever go home? Though I knew I did not have to go through the charade of actually checking out, I wanted her to ask if everything was OK or not. I asked her why I paid $10.00 to self park in a lot that has the EXIT arm in the UP position. “Because you self parked there and that costs $10.00 per night”. Yes, that is true, but what does the hotel do if someone just parks there and does not tell you? “That’s dishonest and no one does that.”, was her terse reply. “Are you sure” “Yes, this is a Hilton and we do not do business with dishonest people.” I was caught off guard by that statement. As if they know the actual business that every one of their guests is involved with.
I gathered my wits and when she asked me again if everything was ok or not with my stay I slid her my bill and said that it will be better when she refunds me my $10.00 for parking. “But that is dishonest sir.” I’m not lying about wanting my $10.00 back. You know the gate arm is broken and that you are pretty much letting anyone park there for free.” Now, I would like my money back. She refused, no manager was on duty, and the resident manager was at church. Hey, at least she admitted to what I already knew to be true, almost all Hilton Hotels have a resident manager that actually lives on the property.
I figured that instead of leaving a voice mail on the RM’s machine, I would instead make sure that everyone knows how to get FREE parking at the Daytona Beach Hilton Ocean Walk. BTW, they DO NOT issue parking passes, which means that they have no way of looking at a car and knowing if that car belongs to someone staying at the hotel or not.
Yes, in the photo is a booth, which from what I understand is only used when there is an event at the Ocean Center, Peabody Auditorium, Spring Break, Bike Weeks, and Speed Weeks.
During brunch I DID in fact encounter an employee that actually LIKED his job, even said so. His name is Joseph and works in Doc Bales’ Grill. His very professionalism made my entire stay and if I owned a hotel, Joseph would be the person who at that moment I would want my employees to be like. Maybe he was in a great mood, maybe he really is a great person, have no idea, but I do know, he appears to work hard and it showed.
So, the morals question is this, do you admit to parking and pay the $10.00 or jet park there knowing that the hotel doesn’t have a clue as to who should be parking there or not?
Leave your answer in the comments.