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I have been a long time fan of Priceline until now...

I have been a long time fan of Priceline until now...

Oct 4th, 2009, 07:31 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,460
I have been a long time fan of Priceline until now...

In July I used Priceline for a room in October for parent's weekend at my son's college. I bid 3* in a 1 specific location and was awarded a Hilton. Other parents did the same and also got what we thought was a great deal.

Keep in mind that parent's weekends tend to book up area hotels, and last minute there are few options. Well, 1 week prior to arrival, Priceline calls to say they had to cancel our reservation at the Hilton and relocate us to another hotel which is listed as 1-2*s on various sites and is in a different geographic area. Clearly not an equivalent accommodation.

According the the manager of the Hilton (who probably also is at fault), they were booked solid, and had some long term people staying there who extended their stay and supposedly the hotel can not evict in this circumstance to open up rooms for others (this is a state law of some kind). Hilton came up with the substitute and also compensated Priceline (I was told this all by the hilton mgr).

Meanwhile Priceline has horrible customer service, all outsourced overseas, and just able to read from a script and say "I understand" repeatedly. Priceline is allowing us to cancel, but reservations in the area are very hard to come by. All they offered was a $10/night coupon for future priceline bidding and that expires in Jan '10!

So buyer beware, if you get a deal on Priceline, also book a backup that can be canceled at the last minute. The Priceline wording that reservations are guaranteed is meaningless!
MFNYC is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:49 AM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,267
Thanks for the heads up. I use PL from time to time but you point out the importance of having a backup plan, especially if you're really relying on the PL accommodations.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 09:12 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,699
Some may be surprised to hear me defend Priceline, but can anyone offer ANY way to book a hotel which is 100% guaranteed? We've all heard stories of people being bumped from hotels even when they booked direct. If this is a really common problem happening with Priceline it would be one thing, but it doesn't sound like it is. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else got bumped from that same hotel even when they didn't book through Priceline.

Of course, when it happens to YOU, it is always really, really aggravating.

Although I'm a little concerned with the comment that the hotel compensated Priceline. How? And how did that compensation trickle down to you? The measley coupon?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 11:16 AM
  #4  
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I asked the manager of the Hilton if Priceline was compensated and she said yes. I have no idea how much. None trickled down to the PL customers, just the measly (and worthless to most) coupon. I know at least 3 or 4 others, that had also booked the same hotel through PL for parent's weekend and were bumped as well.

I think somewhere around 25-30 reservation were canceled by the hotel, and not all were PL.

I think the part this is most irksome is the substitute wasn't anywhere near the same caliber. Ironically I found 2 Hampton Inns (part of Hilton chain), in a nearby area that had availability and would have been closer in quality, but I guess the hotel (or more like motel) that they moved our reservations to, was able to accommodate the entire group of uprooted guests.
MFNYC is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 11:41 AM
  #5  
 
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Well, it does sound like it was the hotel that cancelled the reservations, not priceline (the hotel probably told them, and they told you), so the issue is really 1) the replacement was a lousy substitute, and 2)the lack of a reasonable compensation for your "loss". I'm not sure what you can do about it, other than stop using priceline. I'm not a big fan of "backup cancellable reservations" because I think that's totally unfair to other travelers (IMHO). I do think Priceline should have given you much more than a $10 coupon.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 11:50 AM
  #6  
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I think both Hilton and PL could have done a better job in 'making good' on the 'inconvenience' as far as customer relations go.
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Oct 4th, 2009, 12:06 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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I agree - and if they've lost a future customer as a result of not doing so, well, then it's pretty stupid from a corporate/marketing standpoint!
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Oct 4th, 2009, 01:21 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,245
we've gotten snagged by the 'hotel guests not departing' scenario... in a PREPAID reservation!

It was a football weekend and hotels were hard to come by - we had booked this about 8 months in advance and prepaid it at that time. When our guests (using the room) attempted to check in, they were told, 'sorry, no rooms'. I believe they offered a hotel about 30 minutes away as compensation. They ended up in a used conference room (complete with leftover cold coffee on the table) with a rollaway bed and a door that didn't lock. I'm not sure why they didn't call us and we would have accommodated them (other than it was 12:30am).

They had no plans to refund us the money and were not only going to keep the money, but not give us a room. Needless to say, that didn't play well. We got a free weekend stay there later, but that didn't help much since we lived in the area and didn't need a hotel except when visitors came.

moral of the story: if it is a big weekend and you expect a full hotel, check in early. Allow the last guy in to be the one stuck. I realize this wouldn't have helped you since yours was cancelled in advance, but it would have helped us.
surfmom is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 01:37 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Depending on the state, there are definitely laws that forbid hotels from evicting customers who overstay their original booking.
HowardR is offline  
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