Posted by: Marty Fahncke | July 25, 2008

Dear Holiday Inn Express: Show some respect

I was traveling through Grand Island, Nebraska the other day, and was walking my dog past a couple of hotels near where I was staying. 

When walking past the Holiday Inn Express, I looked up and saw this…

Flag outside Holiday Inn Express

Dirty, torn and tattered American flag outside Holiday Inn Express in Grand Island, NE

I was so disgusted by what I saw, I took a picture, posted it here, and have sent a link to this post to Holiday Inn corporate to see if they respond.

As you can see, their flag pole is located right next to the huge sign with their name. 

Was it their intent to make themselves look patriotic by placing it there?  Probably. 

Have they blown that?  I think so.

Also, does this lack of caring about their first impression outside translate into bad service inside?   I can’t say, as I wasn’t actually staying at this hotel.  However, if I was booked to stay there, and I pulled up and saw this, I would cancel my reservation, and tell them why. 

What do you think?  Am I overreacting?

UPDATED:  I had originally posted this indicating the hotel in question was in Kearney, NE.  After being contacted by that hotel (see comments), I realized that I had mis-identified the hotel.  The picture above is actually from the Holiday Inn Express in Grand Island, NE.  My sincere apologies go out to the hotel in Kearney, NE.



  1. Dear Mr. Fahncke:

    You recently contacted Guest Relations for Holiday Inn and also posted on your website an article with the above title. You posted also a picture of a Holiday Inn Express hotel sign with a very torn flag flying next to it. You claim this was taken in front of our hotel in Kearney, Nebraska. I’m writing to inform you that our Holiday Inn Express in Kearney DOES NOT have a flag pole – at all! Secondly, you refered to walking your dog in front of this hotel which was by several hotels, in one of which you were staying. Our hotel in Kearney does not have ANY hotels next to it . . . you would have had to walk half of a mile and cross Interstate 80 to get to this hotel from the next closest hotel, and there is no pedestrian walkway over I-80.

    In light of your obvious error, I’d like to request that you post on your website an apology, and admission of your mistake and also that you contact Holiday Inn’s Guest Relations department and retract the same claim you made there.

    I don’t know what city you were in when you took this photo, but I would suggest in the future you check your facts before writing slanderous allegations like this.

    Were you trying to make yourself look patriotic by posting this article? Probably.

    Have you blown that? I THINK SO!!

    Very Sincerely,

    Craig Link, Director of Sales & Marketing
    Heartland Hospitality Hotels
    110 Second Avenue – PO Box 1925
    Kearney, NE 68848
    Phone: 308-234-2212
    Fax: 308-236-5622

  2. Dear Craig,

    You are absolutely correct, and I sincerely apologize for the confusion. Yes, I have blown it.

    I did indeed put the wrong location on this post. The actual hotel I should have put is the Holiday Inn Express in Grand Island, NE.

    I have changed all of the information in the above posting to reflect this, and contacted corporate to update them as well.

    I am truly sorry for the confusion. I was all over Nebraska during this time period, and simply got confused over the town names.

    Again, to my readers, the picture above is NOT from the Holiday Inn Express in Kearney, NE.

  3. Dear Mr. Fahncke

    As the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Kearney Ne. I would like to make it perfectly clear to anyone reading this, that as Craig Link has stated in the above reponse there are NO FLAGS on my property what so ever. The closest flag I could find this morning is 2 miles north of me. I run a nice hotel & take pride in all areas of it; and take offense to your statements & actions.

    I look forward to you retacting your statements & hope you can remember where you were when you took this photo & bring it to that hotels attention.

    Meredith Cromer, General Manager
    Holiday Inn Express
    508 2nd Ave S.
    Kearney, Ne 68847
    Phone: 308-234-8100
    Fax: 308-338-0892

  4. Dear Ms. Cromer,

    Thank you for your concern. The information in this post has been corrected to indicated the offending flag is NOT at your hotel.

    I have also contacted Holiday Inn corporate to advise them of my mistake.

    Again, please accept my apologies.

    Marty Fahncke

  5. Respect for the flag is one of the simplest and most powerful signs of patriotism. A simple pull of the string can speak volumes for any business. Unfortunately, displaying a flag as tattered and neglected as the one pictured also contains a powerful message. A message that I would not be willing to overlook either.

    I fully understand the frustrations of Mr. Link and Ms. Cromer. I am glad to see you are doing everything in your power to rescind your former claim and hold the guilty party responsible. I am glad to see, by their reaction, that they agree with you and do not want their hotel associated with something so unacceptable.

    I will say though, that I am a little disappointed in the way Mr. Link chose to handle this situation. Holiday Inn Express is a nationwide chain and, unfortunately, anyone displaying the name is affiliated. Instead of trying to make you look less credible, he should have offered his apologies for the neglect and carelessness of a fellow co-worker.

  6. @Brandie – Very good comment, thank you.

    I was so concerned with correcting my mistake, I forgot about the branding and customer service aspect of the situation…which is the main focus of my blog.

    You raise a good point. The two hotels in question are just down the road from each other. And they are both members of the same brand franchise.

    A poor image at one reflects on the image of the other.

    Thank you for your insight.

  7. Hi, i am the daughter of Mrs. Cromer and I would like to add that Grand Island and Kearney are at least 50 miles away from each other. These two hotel have nothing to do with each other other than sharing the same name!!! Next time you decide that you are going to post something on your blog, you should have your facts strait. And if you thought that it was a problem you should have contacted the hotel directly and verified the correct hotel in which you are talking about.

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