I am astounded by the tremendous lack of customer service acumen the GM of this hotel has demonstrated. I've been in service management my entire career. Policies are created to provide consistency in business practices NOT to punish customers who have legitimate emergencies.
I booked my reservation 30 min before calling the hotel to inform them I had a family emergency and needed to cancel. The GM decided to use "policy" to justify charging me for one night ($160). His decision shows that he puts profit above people. In my experience, this approach never ends well.
I travel one week p/month for business and will never step foot in this hotel when I am in the area. And, if this GM's behavior is representative of the way all Choice Hotels operate in difficult situations, I won't be stepping foot in a Choice Hotel ever again. The mark of business excellence is not how a company performs when everything goes as planned, but how they respond to difficult situations. And, research shows that for every negative review, it takes 10 positive reviews to overcome the damage. Apparently, collecting $160 from someone in a family crisis is more important to them than doing the right thing, having a potential repeat customer and avoiding negative reviews on social media. Instead, they stand to lose thousands in future business from me and others who will read this review. Well done.