Not on my road, you don’t.

We don’t watch TV, so I have no idea how long this monstrosity has been out, but Wyndham Hotels has released a Microtel commercial in which an announcer makes some snarky comment about how “with some hotels, you never know what you’ll get” while images of mom-and-pop motels run in the background.

I wasn’t able to identify the first property shown in the commercial, but the second was so iconic it was impossible to miss: the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook, Ariz.

Got that? A multinational corporation which by its own admission has over 7,000 properties apparently feels so threatened by one tiny mom-and-pop motel that it has to attack it on national TV.

Wyndham is right about one thing: You never know what you’ll get with mom-and-pop motels — and that’s the point. I travel to faraway places to have experiences I can’t have at home.

I like to sleep in concrete tepees. I like to cool off in a Texas-shaped pool. I like to bask in the soft blue glow of neon swallows under the high desert air. I like to listen to the quiet whir of a box fan in the window of an asphalt-shingled cabin in the Pennsylvania mountains. I like to unwind in vintage travel trailers. I like to listen to trains clatter past in the Arizona night as I fall asleep imagining the ghosts of long-ago Harvey Girls whispering in the corridors outside my room. I like to imagine Clark Gable’s bare feet touching the same honeycomb tile I stand on as I shower. And when personal tragedy forces me onto the road unexpectedly, I like to draw comfort from the compassionate hug that greets me at the door of a favorite haunt as the owner assures me that I am not alone, but that I travel with her thoughts and prayers.

I like all those things, and I regard all those places and their owners as friends.

I don’t take kindly to bullies picking on my friends. I’m guessing my readers don’t, either, which is why I am asking all of you for a favor: Watch the commercial, if you haven’t seen it yet, and then take a few minutes to write Wyndham a little note explaining that you will not be staying in any of its affiliate hotels — Wyndham, Tryp, Wingate, Hawthorn, Microtel, Dream, Planet Hollywood, Ramada, Baymont, Days Inn, Super 8, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Knights Inn, or Night Hotel New York — until it withdraws this unethical and dishonest ad and replaces it with a nationally televised commercial promoting the Wigwams and formally apologizing for its lapse of ethics in falsely implying that they are undesirable. If that motel shown at the beginning of the commercial is still going, Wyndham owes it an apology and some free advertising, too. (Anybody recognize it? I’m dying to throw it a little business.)

Click here for Wyndham’s e-mail contact form. If you’d rather send snail mail, you can send it to Wyndham Hotel Group, P.O. Box 5090, Aberdeen, SD 57401. Or, if you prefer, you can simply call Wyndham at (800) 468-8737 or (605) 229-8737.

When you finish, please share this with anyone else who might be willing to do the same.

Thanks in advance for your support. This really has me hopping mad.

Emily

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2 Responses to Not on my road, you don’t.

  1. i just stayed a one of there hotels ( super 8 , sorry i didnt know) anyway i got my bill for 89.00 the next AM under my door, I went to the front desk to ask why it was MORE THAN DOUBLE what it was 3 months ago and six months ago. “rates went up” was the ONLY reply, YA BUT ITS OVER 100 % MORE than it was just 3 and 6 months ago! WHY? ..rates went up, was all I got,,,I will not be back was my reply and I will post this on travelosity and whatever else I can find

  2. CarlB says:

    The wording “with some hotels, you never know what you’ll get but every Microtel was designed to *be* a Microtel”, when placed alongside an altered image of the Wigwam in Holbrook (“Cozy Cone Motel”), is misleading.

    The Wigwam Motels were indeed designed to be wigwam motels… the buildings were even patented and two of the three remaining wigwam courts are on the National Register of Historic Places, which requires the historic integrity of a notable structure be preserved.

    In motel franchising, a “conversion” is an existing independent which is “converted” by being added to a national chain as an afterthought, paying to use the franchised name as a promotional tool often after the original business begins to decline. Wyndham is infamous for buying a long list of once-respected but declining brands expressly to put them on these old low-end motels for a lucrative franchise fee.

    Locally, long-declining low end properties have been rebranded by Wyndham as Knights Inn, Super 8, HoJo and the like with no outwardly-visible improvements to building or amenities. Some have no restaurant; one has a “cheque cashing service” (almost a payday loan shark at the typical costly subprime rates in that sector) in what used to be the motel’s on-site restaurant.

    The brands used to mean something (a Howard Johnson’s orange roof indicated a proper, inexpensive full-service sit down restaurant with 28 flavours of ice cream) before going into decline and being sold to Cendant, now Wyndham.

    Wyndham has run brands into the ground by placing them on any random “conversion” property until the name means nothing. They may even be the most notable offender in this regard. As such, this campaign could very easily backfire.

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