Hotel Blows Up Relationship On Anniversary Stay, Welcomes Couple Back-But She’s Never Been There Before

For some, business travel is sad and lonely. The business day ends and they retreat to their room. Maybe they order some Uber Eats. They order the same chain food, eating it alone, no matter where they are in the world.

Other people get out and experience the cities they visit. Sometimes those experiences get tawdry. 15% of business travelers have admitted going to a strip club, watching in-room dirty movies, and having affairs during their trips. What happens on the road may stay on the road, but sometimes it doesn’t and a spouse accidentally finds out.

A hotel guest shared that he’d splurged on a fancy hotel for his anniversary – not the kind of place he’d normally stay at – and when they checked in there was a ‘welcome back’ note. That’s causing friction in his marriage.

We get to the room and on the bench is a ‘welcome back’ note. Only thing is, neither of us had ever been there. Spouse found it sus and I STILL hear about it from time to time.

He insists he’s never been to the hotel. My first thought was that his wife had been which is just as bad! But the guest says the reservation was in his name, and his wife uses her maiden name.

More likely, then,

  • The hotel confused him with another guest. I’ve gotten welcome back notes with my last name when arriving at properties for the first time.

  • The amenity wound up in the wrong room. Maybe it was left for a guest, whose room was switched at check-in, and left behind.

United Airlines ran a promotion “Take Me Along,” promoting businessmen bringing their wives with them on trips with 25% and 30% discounts on the second ticket. This was the original ‘bleisure’ travel. Urban legend has it that businessmen took advantage of it in droves – and it led to a large number of divorces.

When I interviewed Adam Aron, once Senior Vice President of Marketing at United but then Starwood’s CEO, he told me that the divorce angle of the story came in when the airline sent follow up surveys to customers about their trip and many of the wives didn’t know anything about it.

A French employer was held liable when a business traveler for the company died in the midst of having an extramarital affair on a business trip. It was considered an “industrial accident” requiring payout to the wronged spouse.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Some properties are lazy and leave the “welcome back” generic note for anyone with status.

  2. @Gary, Perhaps I’m misremembering, but I feel like you’ve stated before that a huge missed opportunity is when hotel reception asks “Have you stayed with us before?”

    To me, this has always been the danger of attempting to proactively recognize past stays to personalize a greeting.

  3. I was upgraded years ago in Sydney to a 3 bedroom suite larger than my house, plus a welcome amenity of 100 year old port and chocolate dipped strawberries and a very nice note welcoming me and Olive back. I was very puzzled until the next day when a colleague explained that they had me confused with a retired but still record holding Aussie Rules footballer of the same name.
    My wife might not have been as amused, had she been along on the trip, since her name was very much NOT Olive.

  4. A while ago, my wife noticed Marriott “nights” on my account, she asked?!? We haven’t been anywhere for months and definitely not Marriott, 15 nights credited was from the CC…

  5. @js – Same here. Seen that multiple times at places I’ve never been prior for that same reason.

  6. Please do something about your pop up ads. They now take up half the space on the screen so I give up on reading your story.

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