Jun 29th, 2001, 12:59 AM
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Message: I need some help. We are going to Italy next Tuesday for 10 days & we just received our travel documents. When we received our itinerary 2 out of the 3 hotels where different than what was told to us 2 months ago. One hotel is not a problem but the other is a real dissapointment. We were supposed to be booked at the HOTEL SANTA CANTARINA in AMALFI. Now we are booked at the SORRENTO PALACE in SORRENTO. Has anyone ever had this happen & if so what can you do in this situation. The travel agent said that somehow the reservation got changed & we no longer have a reservation in AMALFI. We talked to another travel agent & they said there is nothing they can do at this late date. If there is a TRAVEL AGENT out there that can pull some strings for us at this last minute I would be grateful. This trip is for our 10th ANNIVERSARY & I am really distressed over this. If there is a TRAVEL AGENT out there that can pull some strings to get us into a nicer place or preferably at the SANTA CANTARINA my husbband & I would be grateful. Please contact me ASAP if you think you can help. Any help with this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Jun 29th, 2001, 02:38 AM
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Sue - I'm not a travel agent but I have been to Amalfi and Sorrento, and the former place is a lot smaller than the latter (although Sorrento isn't that big either.) The Amalfi coast in general is very popular in the summer months. This might explain the problem.

Why don't you try waiting until you get there and see what you can do yourselves over the phone. At this point you want to talk direct to the hotels. Good luck.
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:28 AM
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If this is important to you and you want to try fighting for it, go for it.
Your travel agent said "somehow the reservation got changed." I hate to sound cynical, but this "mistake" possibly could be deliberate--perhaps the commission paid to agents is more at the Sorrento hotel. On the other hand, true unintentional mistakes can happen, but as we teach our children, they should be rectified in some manner. Talk to your travel agent's boss--better yet, make an appointment and go into the office, more is accomplished when you're in their face than on the phone. Bring with you any documents, faxes, or notes you've made concerning your contacts with the travel agent. Either they can try to bring pressure to bear
on the original hotel you wanted, or they can book you at an even better hotel and eat the extra cost, or they can get you the "presidential suite" at the hotel in Sorrento,or SOMETHING.
If they are not responsive in some manner, do feel free to report them to
your state's Attorney General's office IF you feel that they are engaging in unfair business practices.
I hope the trip works out beautifully.
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:40 AM
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I think a lot of your response would depend on if you made individual bookings, then I would say the agent did not fulfill her job and did you a great diservice and it should be rectified. Ask to speak to her manager or if a national company like AMEX go even further. However if this booking was on a tour, you may be out of luck , in the fine print it will always say, "choosen hotel may not be available and you will be booked into comparable hotel" or something like that. That's the main reason I prefer to do it myself even though you may save a few dollars on tour groups.
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:51 AM
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If it's any consulation to you, we were in Sorrento last year, and it really is one of the nicest placces I've been to in Italy.

I know that it's not what you had planned, and I definitely think that you should fight for whatever you feel you deserved. Just make sure that all coresspondence is documented in writing. At the very least, if you have it all in writing, and still don't get any resolution, you can try the section of Conde Nast magazine, that helps people who have had all kinds of problems with travel agents, cruise lines, airlines, hotels, etc. It's amazing how, when Conde Nast contacts the agency, how all of a sudden, the companies are willing to reimburse people for what they were told previously, was a lost cause.

But back to Sorrento--you will really enjoy it, and from there, you can take the ferry to Capri, Ravello, Naples, Ishcia. It's really a great place. The Amalfi coast can be over-run with tourists, this time of the year, so in the end, you might really love Sorrento.
Jun 29th, 2001, 05:56 AM
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I know you are upset now but please do not let this mess up your whole vacation.If you have never been to this coast before I will guarantee you will love it no matter where you stay. This will be no comfort to you but I prefer to stay in Sorrento. You can walk down to the boats and go to Naples--Capri- or catch a bus and go any where on the coast or catch the train.
Keep trying to get the room you want but don't let it upset you so much it takes away all the fun.
You will have a great time
Jun 29th, 2001, 06:06 AM
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Hi Sherry,

I was curious to know if the booking you made was with your travel agent was with one of those outside tour companies. We were going to do one of those trips they cannot guarantee you the same hotel as in your itinerary they only guarantee a hotel in the same class, if that be the case it was probably written somewhere and they just didn't point it out. If not you should demand a reason for this and speak to a manager I'm certain they can do something at this late date maybe not the same hotel but at a hotel in the town you desire even some sort of compensation. It's no wonder people are making their own travel arrangements now, it is more stressful at the beginning but you get what you want or almost nearly.
Jun 29th, 2001, 06:09 AM
Mary Ann
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I guess I would also pursue the agent and his/her supervisor. But simultaneously I would try to contact the hotel directly to see if there is availability, either by phone, fax or internet.
It is not as difficult as you might think. You picked the hotel to begin with so you must have some basis (brochure, book, etc). The worst case would be that you cannot speak their language but if they can you might be able to book a room or find out that it is impossible at this stage (which would at least save time in pursuing it now or when you get there)
Good Luck and do not let it spoil your trip. If nothing else, it may give you a reason to go back. Our first time to Rothenburg I could not book us into the accomodations I wanted. 2 years later we went back and with early planning I got the place and it did live up to my expectations.
Jun 29th, 2001, 06:10 AM
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Sherry -- I hope you have a GREAT trip!

Onme question: Was everything booked individually by the travel agent or was this a pre-packaged tour?

If it is the former DO take the agent to task as recommended above and find a new one!

If it is a pre-packaged tour -- then read the fine print -- they're allowed to make those kinds of changes.

And, as I said, have a WONDERFUL time!
Jun 29th, 2001, 09:37 AM
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There is a lesson here. Many travel agents will take the path of least resistence or higher commisions. The web is a wonderful tool. Book your choice of hotels online and take the responsibility for your own fate.
Jun 29th, 2001, 10:05 AM
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Sherry, yep things like this can really pose a challenge. First of all, as previously mentioned, grab all of your documentation... every last bit of it, then make copies. Start making calls, everytime you speak to someone on the phone get their name and direct extention. I arrange all the travel for several VP's at our company and stuff like this goes on all the time.
Read all the fine print back wards and forwards to be sure that the agent doesn't have some kind of escape clause:
"reservation not guarenteed until ..etc etc:
If they do have an escape clause you may be out of luck. However IMHO the agents big mistake was not informing you of this change until what, less then a week before you leave! What's up with that? I would start making phone calls... if nothing else you should be able to swing some kind of discount or something to "keep you happy" especially if you speak directly to a supervisor.
Those would be my first steps... secondly, travel is 50% adventure even in the most planned out excursions. Go online and try to get some info on this new hotel you are booked into. I know that once we arrived at a hotel in York.. confirmation letters in hand, only to find that the Hotel was out of business... we ended up staying at another place who's owner's felt to badly for us they went out of their way to make us feel like movie stars... at the end of the day we felt darned lucky that the first place had gone under! Every time you leave your front door you need to be ready for some improvisation,,, and attitude is 90% of the experience. I know you will have a great trip regardless.. Bon Voyage and have a happy anniversary!
Jun 29th, 2001, 10:35 AM
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I am a travel agent and have been in this business about 12 years. I empathize with you and will try to offer some help.
Did your agent book your trip through a tour operator or did she/he e-mail or FAX the request to the hotels directly?
I have booked several independent trips for clients to Italy and I always Faxed or e-mailed my requests. If she booked through a tour operator then the problem starts there. Also, Sorrento is beautiful. My clients absolutely loved staying there. This is high season to Italy and substitutions are common. There really is nothing more that can be done at this late date as the other agent you contacted advised.
You will have to wait until you are there or try FAXING your request to the hotel you initially wanted. I really doubt that your agent deliberately did this for more commission as one respondant implied. Most travel agents are in this business to help clients. Good luck.
Jun 29th, 2001, 03:24 PM
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We stayed at the Sorrento Palace last year, and I must say it has NO charm. That is not to say that it is bad, but there's not much of a view (ie - sea is way in the distance, and it is a big hotel that handles conventions & tour groups. It's about a 10 min. walk into town. Although I have not been into the HTL Santa Cantarina, it's location is lovely - right on the Med. I believe they have a shuttle bus that takes you into Amalfi.
With all that said, I think you would enjoy Sorrento as much as Amalfi. Sor. is larger, but both are really neat places.
Jun 30th, 2001, 01:36 AM
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I'm with the complainers. Regardless of whether the travel agent has a "get-out" clause allowing them to change your hotel, they didn't have the decency to tell you until they sent you the travel documents. This is without doubt bad service. Push it back at them - "somehow the reservation got changed" is not an acceptable response. Be polite with them, but very firm, and point out that you are very unhappy, not just with the change but with the fact that they didn't tell you about it until it was much too late to do anything. It may truly be impossible for them to get you a place in your original hotel, but they should at least try to do something. At the barest minimum, they should make you some kind of goodwill gesture, such as a discount, or upgrading your rooms.

Good luck, and I hope you have a great holiday whatever happens.
Jul 1st, 2001, 05:24 AM
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I agree that it is bad service that the agent didn't advise you about the hotel change. Find out when the agency received your documents. You do have some recourse by speaking to the agent again regarding compensation. Being in the travel industry for 12 years has taught me that mistakes can and do happen and I am surprised they gave you a lame excuse. Overall, we travel agents do have ethics and try very hard to do the best we can for our clients irregardless of some of the comments I have read on the forum. I have taken money out of my own pocket to compensate a client for an error a tour operator has committed simply because the tour operator said "there is nothing we will do about the change". I hope everything works out for you and you have a wonderful time.
Jul 1st, 2001, 07:01 PM
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Not to make you feel any worse: We are just back from the Santa Caterina for 3 nights. It is the most wonderful hotel...service, views, accomodations, etc. Keep the hotel directly, that's how I made my reservations. Good luck.

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