What’s Appropriate Compensation When Someone is Murdered in the Next Room?

There are all sorts of things that hotels compensate guests for when they complain. What about murder?

Now I’ve spent plenty of time in lower end Bakersfield. When I was in high school in Fresno we traveled to Bakersfield for debate tournaments all the time and stayed at the California Inn off the freeway all the time. I made regular trips back there in college when I was coaching debate.

That’s where I started to think about marketing — because the hotel had a single shampoo/soap dispenser mountain on the wall in the shower/tubs but it seemed nice because the dispenser said “EuroBath” on it.

A quick search found several crimes at Bakersfield motels, but Chris Arnade did the work here:

These were apparently the cops who responded.

Fortunately my experience in high school and college was nothing like this. There was clearly a tragedy and I don’t mean to make light of it.

However if a hotel is going to send you an email asking you about your stay when this happens, you’re sort of obliged to answer — if only to see how in the world the person on the other end of the correspondence is going to cut and paste an answer.

And this is the note he received back (click to enlarge):

I value Wyndham Rewards points at 4/5ths of a cent apiece making the compensation here worth $24.

They say human life isn’t cherished the way it used to be. Perhaps this is proof.

Then again the hotel advertises rooms starting at $46 so maybe that’s pretty good. And 3000 points is enough points for a cash and points award from Wyndham Rewards.

Credit: Wyndham Hotels

(HT: @pcpontificates)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. The urgent question is whether my estate can collect the 3,000 points if I am assigned the unlucky room. My wife wants to know.

  2. Enough points for a free room would have been nice. After all, the “value” to them is pretty small given their properties. It’s not like a St Regis or a Ritz Carlton giving a room priced at $1,000 away, its a roadside fleabag at $46 a night.

  3. I was once on a Holland America cruise and there was a murder/suicide on the floor directly below mine. The couple was celebrating their anniversary! No comp tho.

  4. it somewhat depends on whether you were actually aware of the event when it was occurring. if you were completely unaware of it until way way after (like reading it from the news), then 3000 points is more than fair for the ADR of that property. now if you’re fully aware of it and got traumatized by the event, then I agree the comp should be slightly more generous.

    On the flip side, asking for lifetime elite status is ridiculous overreach of entitlement.

  5. @LivelyFL – I saw that movie too (Polanski’s “Bitter Moon”) and thought it was excellent.

  6. It’s disturbing to think that – absent actual involvement by staff or negligence by the hotel – anyone would expect compensation for this. Under what legal or ethical theory would the hotel owner owe me anything? Sometimes terrible things happen, and we should simply suck it up rather than look for ways to profit. If I were to witness a homicide in a Walmart parking lot should I ask WM for a gift card? Of course not. What’s the difference?

  7. Thanks Gary this made my day! Thankfully have not been to Fresno since I was in high school but alas stayed in Bakersfield a few years ago. Could have furthered my career by transferring there… no thanks!

  8. Wow, It happened while you were staying there? Don’t see anything about this in the news… any articles to reference?

  9. Did the hotel staff murder the guests? If not then how is it the hotel’s responsibility? As long as the hotel either moved them to a room away from the clean up or let them leave without charging them then THEY GET NOTHING.

    I do not see a correlation between the murder and their room stay otherwise.

Comments are closed.