PAGE, Ariz. - Screenshots of an online post made by the TripAdvisor account of the Best Western Plus at Lake Powell are angering members of the Native American community, including an employee who claims she was fired because she spoke out about the incident.
The post was made by an account named "Guest Relations Manager" in response to a negative review left by a guest complaining about the front desk service, no hot water and bad coffee.
The response starts out apologetic, but then places the blame on Native American staff members.
"Dear James G: Thank you for your stay with us. I do apologize for your disappointing stay with us. I have noted your comments and will review them with our staff members to make improvements. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen with our staff as our hotel is working with a mostly Native population that have not had privileged education available in most parts of the country.The hotel does our best to train them to improve their quality of life. We hope our guests from outside the reservation can also introduce kindness to them as they are very nice people learning to service a more sophisticated and well-traveled public. Thank you."
It appears the post has been removed.
Belinda Lee Barney said she worked for that Best Western for about a year and is a Navajo woman. She said she was angered by the post when she saw it online and sounded off against her employers with a critical Facebook post.
"And that night on Aug. 10 at 7:40 p.m., I get a phone call from my supervisor stating I was fired," Barney said.
She also claims she asked for a reason why and her supervisor hung up on her.
12 News made several phone calls to the Best Western asking for a phone interview but instead received a statement via email from the owner, Steve Wang.
"The Best Western Plus at Lake Powell is dedicated to providing all guests a high-quality stay and experience. Equally, we appreciate and value our employees and the community of which we are privileged to be a part."
Spokespersons at Best Western's corporate office in Phoenix declined an on-camera interview, but also sent a statement regarding the incident:
“Best Western values diversity and the fair treatment of all individuals. We are committed to ensuring guests have an exemplary experience at each of our independently owned and operated hotels. Having spoken to the hotel’s leadership, we have been assured that the comments were never intended to be offensive or demeaning, and that they truly regret that they can be misconstrued. The hotel truly appreciates being a valued member of its community.”
12 News also asked the corporate office about Barney's claims of being fired, but never got a response.