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Are hotels obliged to give you the type of Reservation you booked?

Are hotels obliged to give you the type of Reservation you booked?

Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Are hotels obliged to give you the type of Reservation you booked?

I want to see from you frequent travelers what your take is on a hotel's obligation to meet the reservation you made at booking.

During a recent trip, we had reserved a suite at a chain hotel. The suite was supposed to have a separate living area with a kitchenette and separate room with king bed. When we got to the hotel, that room was not available, and the hotel tried to give us a room w/o separate sitting area but with kitchenette and two queens for the same price. After a little fussing, the manager let us look at another room and we found after all they did have what we booked. I asked the manager if we reserved a particular room, why it wasn't available. She stated that the person in our room decided to add a night and the she was only obligated to "provide a room" and that our reservation for a particular type room or bed was not guaranteed. In the end, we got the room we booked, but many times, we have asked a hotel to add a night and they have stated they couldn't if it was booked. So how could this hotel have given our room away? Is there a kind of rule or law that a hotel can't make you leave once you are in the room if you want to add a night? And what is the hotel's obligation to the traveler after a reservation is made for a certain room with a price attached? One would think if all that had to provide you with was a room, they could sell you a top room and then provide you with a cheaper one once you arrive. I would like to know my rights for the future. Anyone?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:57 AM
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No law that says a hotel must give you the room you booked and paid for.

It is industry practice to slightly overbook a hotel because people do cancel.

You would not believe the variables involved in juggling rooms from a hotel's standpoint. Rooms get taken out of inventory all the time for various reasons.
 
Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Let me also add that it isn't as simple as just booking a room if that makes any sense.
 
Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:04 AM
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We've had similar problems. We are a family of 4 so we always call and request a room with at min. 2 double beds and we ask for a rollaway. We booked a room at a Courtyard by Marriott by phone and I was told 2 queen beds and a sofa bed in the non-smoking room we booked. We arrived, they put us in a room with 1 bed and a sofa bed. We told them this will nto work for the 4 of us. Then they give us a smoking room which was the correct configuration, but we could breath. Once again, I told them this will not work. All of a sudden the correct kind of room was available. At that point I was just happy to have the room, but do wonder where that room may have been 10 minutes earlier.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:25 AM
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I think, when the room they've told you they DON'T have (even though it's what you were promised) suddenly materializes, it's because they probably gave YOUR room to someone else, now they're giving SOMEONE ELSE's room to you ............ and those people will be the next ones complaining!
 
Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:35 AM
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Right you are, Bonnie and goTravel. Often when a particular room type is overbooked, a hotel will try to steer customers into a room that while not optimal, will accept. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I've accepted smoking rooms when my non-smoking was not available, but sometimes after "sniff-testing" a few rooms before finding one that was tolerable.

It shuld not surprise anyone that sometimes a hotel will not allow one guest to extend another night or two, but will allow another -- such as the guest who's already been at your hotel 3 weeks and wants to stay another 2 weeks. The guest with a 2 night stay who wishes 3 nights is not going to get the same courtesy; it's only business sense.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:42 AM
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I've always sort of laughed about arriving at a hotel in Tucson where we were to have a "junior suite with separate living area". When we got to the room it was a standard, not very large motel room. There was a chair and a round table with two chairs at the window end as there often is.
When I returned to the office to check they insisted it was a "separate living area" -- on the two opposite walls, they had placed sort of square columns, about 10 inches wide. To them, that made this area a "separate room" -- I hadn't even noticed those columns they were so insignicant. So I'm very wary these days of what they call suites.

And unless there is a written guarantee that you will get the type of room you requested, you're just hoping for good fortune. That even includes getting a "non-smoking" room.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:45 AM
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In many states, a hotel cannot throw you out of a room if you decide to stay beyond your original reservation. Thus, you can be the innocent victim of someone else's change of plans. And, thus, it very well may be a case of the hotel being unable to do a thing about it.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:54 AM
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Is it not true though that if you have a written confirmation from the hotel "guaranteeing" you a certain type room: ie: king, non smoking or whatever, that they will give you that or better? I called JW Marriott to confirm exactly that for my upcoming trip and she assured me that if my confirmation guarantees me a particular type room, they will provide that or upgrade me for free. This seems reasonable to me, it was booked directly through them, not a secondary seller, and I have reserved a specific type of room. Perhaps not all chains do this but my experiences have been good with most I use. Aside from, as Patrick pointed out, misleading descriptions. Thats a whole other story, lol.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:49 AM
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We have gotten the "someone else did not check out on time and is staying in your room" story more than once - skeptic that I am, I just assume it is over-booking. Happened in San Diego a year ago, and it really ticked me off to see, from our balcony, people checking into a room that was identical to the one we thought we had reserved. Reserved a room with 2 double beds in suburb of NYC and got to hotel to be told there were no rooms with 2 double beds in existence at the hotel.

Also got to the Bahamas once on Thanksgiving Day and told we had no room at all! But anytime something has gone wrong like this, we have been able to get some satisfaction for our inconvenience - in San Diego they gave us certificates for free drinks and appetizers at their restaurant and then moved our stuff for us while we were out the next day. In Bahamas we got sent to a different hotel for a night and got a room far better than what we had paid for at the first place. While all this was irritating at end of long day of travel, worse things have happened to us in our travels.

I try to chalk it up to one of the many things that can go wrong during travel, despite all the best planning in the world - but it sure makes me mad when it happens.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:17 AM
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We recently just experienced a case of 'sellers' remorse. Because DH is a frequent traveler, we usually have more reward points than we know what to do with.

On this particular trip to Chicago, we were upgraded to a corner suite, which was lovely. Half way through our vacation, the front desk wants to speak to DH - seems they have a 'problem', they have a guest in the room next door who would like to use our room for meetings. They were trying their absolute best to get us to move (hotel dinners (ugh), 100,000 additional points, etc). DH, the kind and patient man that he is, listened, although he repeatedly stated that this trip was a vacation NOT a business trip.

Long story short, we did not move and suggested that they find the other a guest a conference room instead.

The room was booked, confirmed, and we were in the room for 4 nights of a one week stay, when they were trying to accomodate another guest. They gave it their best shot and I thought they really had a lot of nerve to even approach us but that's the hotel business, I guess.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:24 AM
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HowardR, I had the same understanding about certain states that you stated as not being able to "make" you leave your room...which is why I asked, and I am going to research that further and see what I find out.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Sorry, seetheworld, but I see nothing wrong or inappropriate on the hotel's part. They weren't forcing you to move and offered you some inducements. You declined their offers, which is your perogative. Fine. Nervy? Not so, based on your report.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:44 PM
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HowardR, I only began thinking it was nervy of the hotel when they were reluctant to accept our 'no' as an answer and the conversation had to last as long as it did. But thinking about it further, it IS nervy to ask a guest who has settled into their room for 4 nights, to pack up and move. THAT has never happened to us before and we were very taken aback that it happened in a hotel that initially went out of their way to accomodate us in the first place! We were, in part, made to feel like the 'bad guys' - which I did not appreciate. I guess you had to be there.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:04 PM
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If you book a specific type of room at a higher rate - they are obliged to give it to you if it is available. If not, they can give yuoa better room at the same rate - or a lesser room - at a lower rate.

However, there is never any guarantee - even if you have prepaid - they may have any one of a number of problems that prevents you from getting a room. they are then obliged to get you an equivalent room at an equivalent hotel and pay for transport and phone call.

With a large hotel you will almost always get what you book - just because there are so many rooms - unless you turn up at 1 AM in a convention week. (I have actually gotton the Presidential Suite in these circumstances - duplex, dining room and all - but since I checked in a 1 AM and out by 7AM - didn;t get to use most of it).
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:27 PM
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Nearly anyway you book nowadays, your "special requests" are deemed "if possible". Many have "disclaimers" throughout the booking process, whether on the web or via phone. Everything (it would seem) turns on what's available at the moment you happen to be checking in, for the length of your stay, along with the desk clerk assigning same. Yet, all will attempt to charge you for what you thought you were booking.

Hotel desk clerks will tell you, as Howard suggests, that they are not "overbooked", they are "underdeparted". Whether or not this is true, and you'll never, ever, be able to prove the contrary.

Sadly, more often than not, many huge hotels/chains will attempt to stick you with their least desirable available room, regardless of the sort of promised room you (believe you) booked, for the rate you've agreed to pay. Then, you are left to feel as though you have to "complain" to get that which you reasonably believed you were booking.

If you read or listen carefully when booking, it's all about what you agree to pay while they allege they will "do everything possible" to fulfill same.

Your particular circumstances could not more clearly exhibit this: You (thought) you had booked a specific type of room at an agreed upon price, whereupon the hotel declares they are only "obligated to provide a room". How ridiculous!

The confusion is NOT with you, rather the disclaimers.

Whatever the local laws are wherever you're staying is of no matter whatsoever, since, you'd have to look them up afterward, and all is irrelevant, given all dislaimers during the booking process.

Hoteliers understand perfectly that once you've stayed and paid, their obligation is "legally" fulfiled. Whereupon they're hoping that you'll be satisfied with your stay/bill, confident that very few will have/spend the time/determination to dispute same successfully.

My recommendation would be to report your experience on TripAdvisor.

The huge advantage of the www and travel forums such as this one is that we can all share unsatisfactory experiences.



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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:54 PM
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I'd have to say that I would be more than happy to move rooms if enough inducements were offered to me. I don't know that I ever get that "settled in." I mean, it is just clothes out of a suitcase, I didn't redecorate the room. I'd be annoyed if they wanted me to volunteer to move, but if they were offering enough back, I'd be interested.

And I guess when you talk about giving you a different room, when my wife and I travel (no kids) we don't care that much about bed type even though we request King, so if they tell us nothing is available, we don't really fight it that much -- but I would never accept a smoking room!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:12 PM
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Vacationdreamer: If DH was there, alone on business, he would have probably moved because he wouldn't have cared less. But all four of us WERE settled in on vacation and I did not want to spend any time whatsoever repacking my suitcases and losing valuable time doing the things we were there to do. There would never be enough incentives offered to get me to move when my family is with me. Besides, we had a fabulous view which we were not about to give up.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:47 PM
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I don't think it was nervy of them to ASK, after all...many people would be thrilled with free dinners and 100,000 points so they would have ended up making two parties happy.

Nervy not to take no for an answer? Yes...but they're probably trained like the airline personnel.....i.e. offer $200 to bump, if nobody bites then offer $400 etc. No use offering $400 to someone who would have bitten at $200!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Texas is a state where a hotel cannot force you to leave without some sort of due process. There are MANY MANY MANY travelers who extend their stay. When I was a TA for a huge corporate account, it was so common we only booked fully refundable/changeble airline tickets.
So based on my personal experience I believe it is WAY more common than most of you believe.
Also, on my trip to London last month I stayed in a lovely suite at the Savoy.
2 days into an 8 day stay the idiots above me let the bath overflow and it flooded my suite. Everything was totally soaked. We were moved to another suite and the hotel was totally sold out and now one room was out of order for 2 nights while they had it cleaned and the wiring and structure checked and approved.

Having said all that... I travel every week and have NEVER been denied the room I confirmed at check-in. Often they upgrade me, so if it was due to my confirmed room type not being available... who cares.
Again, my TA experience tells me that this is much more common with requests such as adjoining rooms, full apartment suites when the hotel has very few and other limited room types.
It is my recommendation that consumers reconfirm a reservation a few days prior to arrival and on the morning of the day of arrival, call and pre-register so they assign the room and keys and put the hold on your credit card. That seems to help...
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