Tips when a hotel "loses" reservations

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 11:51 AM
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Tips when a hotel "loses" reservations

What do you do when a hotel “loses” your reservations and there are no rooms in town? When I got back home I’d write a strong letter, but what do you do to get a room? Demand to see the manager? Get loud? Be quiet and polite but firm? What works best? It has not happened, but here’s why I’m nervous…

I made reservations with Marriott last Aug. for this 3/29-4/1 in San Antonio. (Was that early because the NCAA Women’s Final Four means full hotels.) Three months ago, we called for our Rewards program certificate and learned someone had cancelled our reservation. After several chats with two customer reps, they said our original reservations were back in effect but “check back in March to be sure.” HAH! What a surprise when we called today and they had us down for one night only. Again, “so sorry,” a little back and forth, and they said our original reservations are back.

Thanks for any tips, personal experience, etc.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 11:58 AM
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Did you write down your reservation number and the name of the person you dealt with?? I would ask to speak directly to the manager and have as much ammunition as possible, credit card receipt, res. number, name of clerk etc. Be nice and don't shout or call anyone names.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:00 PM
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I don't know the answer to your question other than to get it in writing, but thank you so much for using the word "loses" properly. It drives me crazy when people use "looses" instead.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:00 PM
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When you make your intial reservation..always ask that a written confirmation be sent to you.
Then take a copy with you to the hotel. That way you have proof of your reservation.

If they don't have a room(due to overbooking)..and you have guarantedd your room most quality hotels will find you a room, They call it "walking you".
They will also list your name on their phone board, so that if someone calls for you, they will be direted tot the right number.

Getting loud doesn't help...but being firm does.

When I was in college and a hotel didn't have room for me I calmly asked to speak to the general manager,,,,and said..."no problem, I'll just sleep on a couch in the lobby until a room is found. Guess what, a room just magically appeared.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:04 PM
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Don't take this the wrong way, but that sort of thing seems to happen more often in the South and Southwest than anywhere else. I'll leave the reasons to your imagination.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:07 PM
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Usually they have a couple of rooms they hold or else they can find you one at a neigboring property. I agree always get a written confirmation and make sure you get the name of the person you talked to initially.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 02:00 PM
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Greg, "usually they have a couple of rooms they are holding" is truly a myth--best to know that in advance if you find yourself in this situation. In actuality, hotels, like airlines over sell inventory, knowing that a percentage will cancel or be no shows. If the staff is good, they do it properly and no one is walked--a dreaded occurence. Bad business, bad feelings, bad situation all around. You want the no shows and over sells to wash, or, at worst, for you to end up with a couple of rooms that go begging, and 99.9% of the time, that's the way it does work.

The problem with the Final Four is that rooms are sold out almost a year in advance, and the odds of a hotel anywhere in town having a vacancy are slim if you are walked. That puts Sluggo in a precarious situation.

Absolutely, Sluggo, get confirmation of your two night stay in writing now, and bring it with you. If you are arriving in the evening, because of Final Four, I'd call earlier in the day and confirm that you are indeed keeping your reservations, and that you plan on arriving at such and such a time. I don't blame you for being apprehensive, but it will probably all work out and you'll have a ball in SA. Can't even begin to imagine that town in a Final Four situation!! Take care not to fall in..Riverwalk gets pretty tight...and so can the folks walking it!
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 02:53 PM
Not So Little Lulu
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Sluggo -
you mentioned calling for a Rewards certificate. Are you getting these rooms using points, as opposed to paying for them? If so, be extra carefult to review the program terms and conditions. Some reward programs state that if they don't have a room you are just out of luck despite having a reservation, and they will not wlak youto another hotel. Given that you expect sellout crowds in SA for the F4, check now!
On a positive note, there are so many hotels in SA that it hard to believe that there would be absolutely nowhre to turn. It may not be as convenient as one of the downtown Marrriot properties, but there ARE lots of places.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 05:40 PM
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Many times the first two nights of the Final Four are sold out (the night before semis and night of), but some fans of the losing teams leave after the semifinal, which means rooms can open up for the night before the final.

We had the nightmarish occurrence of showing up in Sydney Australia for the 2000 Olympics and our hotel had NO reservation for us. There we are, after 21 hours of travelling, loaded down with bags, tired and in nned of a shower, and there is not a room within 30 miles. We had our AmEx issued confirmation with us. The hotel was at fault. But they had very little to offer us. Ended up putting us in a basement apartment at a sister property, smelly mildewed place with floor dehumidifiers all over. Yech. AmEx tried everything to help out but to no avail. Fortunately the Olympics were spectacular, as was Sydney, but we barely even slept in the room.
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 05:55 PM
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Thank you for your ideas. I'll definitely get back to Marriott and strongly request written confirmation. And we'll check the Rewards program's fine print. (We're using it to pay one night of three.)

OliveOyl, you are correct that our concern is that the city will be crowded for the F4 but I'm encouraged by Michelle's observation that rooms will come available after the semis Fri night. We're staying through the Finals no matter what.

I've picked up a lot of great info from the Fodor's archives and will report back after the trip. It's my first trip to Texas.

Go UConn Huskies!
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 06:24 PM
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Sluggo, I'm a UMie myself (back in the days when they were called the Redmen and you were still the Huskies...which never became PIC), and have a TX Tech son. Don't know if Tech will make it to the women's FF. Whatever, whomever, you'll have a wonderful time. SA is a great town to visit--especially if it's March and you are from or around Storrs!
Old Mar 6th, 2002, 08:34 PM
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Well...notnorth...happened to me in the great midwest...Chicago!!! Fortunately, I had a print out of the reservation and those blasted yankees had to cough up a room!
Old Mar 7th, 2002, 06:36 AM
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If a hotel "loses" your reservation, I wouldn't give more than a 10% Tip. That's more than adequate, even though Americans are tip happy.
Old Mar 9th, 2002, 12:21 PM
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Good suggestions above that I've used with various success. Reservation in writing despite computer showing cancellation or nothing has helped me a couple of times--someone else arriving later didn't get a room, I'm sure. I didn't get the exact type of room I wanted, but I had a bed.

Calling directly to the hotel a couple of days in advance and the day of arrival also helped in tight situation--I guess they knew my name and knew I was going to come no matter what so I got a room with the overbooking problem.

Being a member of the frequent guest program has been helpful, but not always in a regular overbooking situation.

Once my husband arrived before me in the evening with 3 teenagers at a discount Denver airport hotel where they told them the snowstorm had stranded people so they didn't have our 3 reserved rooms and no rooms were available for miles. He told the clerk they'd have to wait there in the lobby for as long as it took because I was flying in even later and they couldn't leave without me. He suggested the kids make themselves comforable on the sofas and chairs in the lobby. By the time I arrived 2 hours later the clerk had found 2 rooms for us and only charged us for 1 that night.

A couple of times my husband has been stuck arriving late on business and been left roomless because of overbooking. He was busy traveling or meeting and never thought to call the hotel that day and was out of luck, sometimes being walked to another hotel and other times being told just sorry, we gave away your guaranteed reservation to someone else and he had to fight to keep from being charged for the night.

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