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Beware of Hotels.com and other such sites

Beware of Hotels.com and other such sites

Apr 13th, 2004, 05:50 AM
  #1  
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Beware of Hotels.com and other such sites

This is just a friendly warning.

I have used several internet sites to book hotels recently, and I will not do it again, unless it is directly through the hotel. Here's why:

I booked my Nice hotel (Comfort Hotel Roosevelt) through Hotels.com about 6 weeks before our trip. About 5 days before our check-in date, I called the hotel directly to confirm. They confirmed the reservation, but everything else was a mess!
According to the hotels.com website, the hotel:
-gladly welcomes pets -- no, in fact they do not allow them at all (they made an exception for me)
-has a check-in time of 1:00 -- no, it's 2:00
-all rooms have a mini-bar -- no, ours did not
--site said "buffet breakfast included" -- no, hotel staff refused to include breakfast, they said this is "never the case"

This is just one example of how the internet site's information was completely inaccurate. We had the same type of experience when looking for Milan hotels several months ago. We found many sites that listed a pool as an ammenity, but when we called the hotel, they in fact did NOT have a pool!

I just wanted to warn others, because these sites all seem to be very misleading. A good idea would be to call the hotel you are interested in directly BEFORE booking to verify all information, so you are not surprised upon arrival.

I, for one, will not use hotels.com again in the future. Their customer service (via email) was awful as well.

The Comfort Hotel Roosevelt in Nice was a nice place with a good location, and the front desk staff were all very pleasant. Despite all the other issues, we were still very pleased with our stay there.
Wesch is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 05:55 AM
  #2  
 
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I personally don't trust hotel booking sites. I would rather deal directly with the hotel I am interested in. Alot of people here do use booking sites with success but I choose not to-even if they advertise a lower rate than the hotel offers. Perhaps it is possible to ask the hotel if they'd charge the lower rate the booking site shows.
In dealing with the hotel directly you can go over what type of room you want, the size of the room, amenities, and practically any question you have. With booking sites the people working there most likely won't be familiar with the hotel you're interested in.
francophile03 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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I also do not use reservation systems. I try to use only direct sites.
www.accommodationwebsites.com is a good place to find direct links. hope they will increase the number of hotels there.
mortenfromcph is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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Hi
Many people do use booking sites successfully so I wouldn't condemn them all, and it's possible that the hotel itself changed the information it had previously provided to hotels.com

But, as I've said before, I always prefer to deal with the hotel directly, and on only one occasion out of many inquiries have I had a hotel refuse to honor a lower rate that was posted elsewhere.

I always confirm arrangements with the hotel quite in advance of my arrival. If there has been a mistake, the more time in advance, the more flexibility they will have to correct it.
elaine is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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My brother's family has a very unpleasant experience with hotels.com as well. They had to find another hotel altogether...and this was in the U. S. In fact, their customer service was downright nasty. Not a pleasant way to begin a vacation!
Lorac1127 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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I've used hotel-assist.com many, many times over the years and never had a bad experience. I go there to look for the specials and view the amenities, then go to the hotel Web site to confirm that everything matches. It always has, except the price was always lower through hotel-assist.

Never used hotels.com, however.
MelJ is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:00 AM
  #7  
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I have used hotels.com several times without problems but usually deal directly with the hotel via e-mail.
To say that this, or any other booking service, is risky just because of one experience, or even the two or three mentioned here, is a generalization considering how many thousands of bookings these services do, probably without incident. Hopefully, your own unfortunate experience won't be experienced by others.
 
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:16 AM
  #8  
 
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My in-laws had a bad experience with hotels.com. And it was on a trip to Ohio for a funeral. My in-laws were sent to a hotel in the worst part of town....so bad that they had to find another hotel in the middle of the night.

It was bad enough dealing with a death in the family but the terrible service from hotel.com made it worse. It's just better to book hotels on your own.
JenniferW is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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I love to use the various internet sites for research - general price range, photos, etc., but I have also found errors in descriptions. We are a family of 5, so the ability to sleep 5 people is of crucial importance to us. Last year we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel in California. Some of the web sites said all rooms slept 5; others said all rooms slept 4. The truth was that some rooms have a day bed (but no where near all.) I also ruled out another hotel because none of the web sites said they could sleep 5. It turns out that the hotel I ruled out had quite a few rooms that could have slept 5. Moral: Contact the hotel directly, just as you said.
missypie is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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I had a very good experience with hotels.com, everything went smoothly and the price was over 1/3 less than the hotel's regular price. This was in the US. As far a hotel being in a bad section of town, do you suppose that if you had called the hotel they would have told you not to stay there because of the area?
SusanP is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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SusanP, The point of using a service is so that they will save you time of doing the research.
They should not be referring people to hotels in the ghetto when they charge a fee for their service and recommendations.

Much smarter to just do it yourself to avoid headaches in the future.
JenniferW is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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Used hotels.com about 3-4 times, never had a problem.

I also agree with SusanP. This is not your nrighborhood TA, or some travel concierge service. This is your basic discount hotel reservation service. It's up to you to know what you want and where. Hotels.com gives you basic info, which probably comes from the hotel anyway. That's why they could offer better deals, although not all the time.

Besides, couldn't they call the family and ask for a recommendation before the funeral?
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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If you are traveling with a Pet you should contact the hotel directly no matter what the website says.

Yes, they may accept pets. However, that can also mean pets that weigh less then 10 lbs, yes we will accept them but charge you for it, etc.... You need to confirm that.
CarolA is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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I have used these sites a couple of times and am inclined not to do so again. My biggest complaint is that both times I was given "run of the house" rate, which appears to translate into "worst room in the house"

I have found that my TA can get me rates very similar, in most cases, and when I specify I want a mini-bar, king-size bed etc., I get what I ask for. I can also cancel my reservation 24-48 hours before without any penalty. I have also found that when I book through a TA, I usually get upgraded to a better room than I paid for.

I will say that I have had to deal with Expedia.ca customer service on two occasions and was extremely impressed by the manner in which they dealt with me - very pleasant and helpful.

One thing I learnt from Expedia is that the colour of the bar above the hotel indicates if they are reserved Expedia hotels (in other words, Expedia reserve a block of rooms) or not. If they are NOT, then information on availability and rates may be wrong or not up to date. In other words, you could assume you have a booking at an hotel when you do not.
OReilly is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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AAFrequentFlyer, If hotels.com only gives you the same info. as the hotel then what is the point?

According to others they don't even give better rates on rooms and they mess up reservations. Seems like a waste of time....might as well do this on your own.
JenniferW is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Did you read my entire post?

I did say that they don't always give you the best rate. I also said that it's a discount site that does not hold your hand during rservations, BUT if you are willing to play your own travel agent and are willing to do some basic research, these sites have on many occassions saved many some nice change. It's not for everybody. If you need to have a chat with an agent, make special requests, know every little detail about every hotel, this is not for you. For me and many others it does work. It's not always Hotel.com, it could be some other internet agency, or it could be the hotel itself. I've made reservations many different ways, depending on my needs and or wants on any particular trip and who is giving me the best option, but like Susan said, Do you think the hotel would tell you were it's located? Before I make reservations regardless which agency/hotel I do it with, I know which hotel(s) I'm interested in and only then I go looking for a price.
The bottom line is that for me Hotels.com worked just like advertised when I chose to go through them.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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I did read your entire post (and others as well)....which is why hotels.com does not seem worth it.
JenniferW is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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Recently I read in a Budget Travel magazine that it is becoming all too common that booking through these sites yield substandard service/rooms. As they said, it is patently unfair, since the hotel apparently accepts the reservation and more pointedly the money, but a reality. I have used it once, but only for a night's stay. If all you need is a bed it is probably fine, but if you don't want to be next to the maid's quarters or the elevator. . . At the same time, a squeaky wheel would probably prevail at check in but really who wants to go through that?
wills is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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It isn't unfair at all (re comment on substandard rooms etc) if they are getting a lower rate for those rooms. It makes sense, why wouldn't they get the worst rooms. I don't know what substandard service would be, they have to clean the rooms every day, I'm sure.

I have used hotel booking sites a few times and never had any problems. I did it to save money. I would never use one without checking the information on both the rate and the hotel against other sources, though. The whole point of using them, to me, would be to get a lower rate so I would always compare to the hotel's own web site if they had one, and would see the listed amenities, etc. I've gotten good deals on Londontown and other sites and never had a problem. I used Travel in Spain (I think) recently to book a really nice hotel in Madrid because their rate was listed at least 25 pct lower than the hotel's own web site. As a matter of fact, that turned out to be a mistake on the web site and the rate was the same as booking directly, but I had a very nice room and they catered to my type of room request (which was very picky re noise and location) on checkin. It's one of the nicest hotels and experiences I've had (the Intur Palacio San Martin).
Christina is offline  
Apr 13th, 2004, 02:10 PM
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JenniferW had a bad experience with hotels.com but I had an unusually good one. I'm an occasional hotels.com user. I like their cheap rates but the deals typically involve prepayment or big penalties for cancellation.

Last winter I had a hotels.com booking I had to cancel at the last minute (snowstorm, didn't want to travel) fully aware that I had no recourse to recover my $ . Hotels.com suggested I call the hotel directly and plead my case; hotel was sympathetic but declined. I figured the risk of getting a cheap rate was a gamble and I lost. Two days later hotels.com called and said they'd contacted the hotel directly on by behalf and negotiated a full refund.

It cuts two ways. You pay your money and you take a chance.
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