- Report: #65544
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Hotels And Lodging
Hotels And LodgingAny Nationwide U.S.A.
Hotels And Lodging How to avoid rip offs at hotels and lodgings! Nationwide
*Consumer Suggestion: Nick, your comments are certainly HBO comedy material. Scott in Vancouver - right on.
*Consumer Comment: AAA and MOBIL inspect us but never a wholesaler
*Consumer Comment: MOST Hotels are inspected by online companies
*Consumer Suggestion: I have used Expedia a few times...
*Consumer Suggestion: Pretty close with a few exceptions
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Traveling can be stressful. On the way to your nice relaxing vacation, you encounter crowded airports, clogged highways and and tiring waits in line at rental car angencies, gas stations and hotel check-ins. At the hotel, what may look like a smooth stay to you is actually coordinated by sometimes hundreds of people in several departments all with the same goal... ensuring
guest pleasure so the hotel makes money and they can have their paychecks. The sometimes frazzled front desk agent that you encounter must coordinate with the housekeeping department, the maintenance department, the food and beverage department, the concierge, the bell staff and the management.
They must book reservations, perform check ins and outs, handle guest complaints, and do almost anything to ensure guest satisfaction. Make no mistake... this is one of the most stressful jobs IN THE WORLD. 99% of the time, this is all done with a smile and things are great as far as the guest is concerned. Every now and again, the desk agent just cannot take anymore that day and the next guest that comes to the desk bears the brunt of the agent's frustration. This is, by no means, an excuse for the actions of a desk agent; it's merely an explaination as to why they are sometimes frazzled
when you encounter them.
Now, onto the steps you can take to prevent mishaps.
The first thing you do when you want to stay at a hotel is book a reservation. Often, you can find the cheapest rates online, so many people book their rooms on the internet, and never think twice about it because it should all be taken care of, right? Wrong. Sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com and pricematch.com are known as "wholesalers", meaning that they have a certian number of rooms that the hotel has allocated for them to sell at their discounted rate. Let's say you go to expedia and find a room for $119.00. Expedia is actually only paying the hotel around $79.00 for that room, and marking it up to make their profit. Te $119.00 rate that you are
finding on expedia is cheaper than what the hotel itself can offer you, however, this comes with a couple of downfalls.
First, when you book room online, you are NEVER guaranteed a specific room type. If you want a smoking room, a non-smoking oom, 2 double beds, a handicapped room, a king bed, a suite or any other special request, you ARE NOT guaranteed this if you book through a website. You are merely guaranteeing that you will have some kind of room at the hotel when you get there. It doesn't matter what the website says about this; the contract between the hotel and the wholesaler states very clearly that no room types or special requests are guaranteed for online bookings.
The second problem with booking through wholesalers is that they have never seen the property. Their descriptions do not reflect changes that have been made, full lists of amenities or accurate room descriptions. You may be surprised that the "Ocean View" hotel that you just booked a room in is actually 3 blocks from the beach, and you can only see the ocean from one of the upper floors. If you decide to book a room online, at the very least, research the property that you want to stay at and know what you are paying for.
Another problem with booking rooms online is that you must pay for the room at the time you make your reservation. The hotel never gets your credit card information and never recieves payment from you. The hotel recieves payment from the wholesaler that you booked the room from. This means that if you had any problems during your stay, the hotel cannot reduce your rate or comp your room for you. You MUST contact the wholesaler to get a refund, and most of them hve very strict NO REFUND policies. If you need to cancel or change your reservation, the hotel cannot help you. You have to go through the wholesaler to do this, and most of them also have no cancellations of changes policies as well.
My suggestion to you is to always book your reservation directly through the hotel. Sometimes, a hotel will match the price that you find on a website; othertimes they won't. At any rate, it never hurts to ask. If they won't match the price, it's worth the extra few dollars to get exactly the type of room that you want and to know exactly what you are paying for. You can be confident that there was no mix up and that you do, indeed, have a reservation at the correct hotel. You can be certain that if there are any problems during your stay, the management will be able to compensate you accordingly. You will also be made well aware of the hotel's policies concerning cancellations and room guarantees at the time of your reservation, which brings me to the next section.
Hotel policies. Hotels have a lot of policies that may seem unfair or petty to the average person. The most hated of these policies is the no-show policy. When you book a room, you are asked to provide a credit card to guarantee that room. If you do not provide a credit card, your room reservation may be cancelled at 4pm or 6pm if you have not yet arrived. This is so the hotel can be sure to sell that room. If you do not provide a credit card, the hotel has no way of guaranteeing that it will be paid fr if you do not show up at all, and they can lose revenue.
If you Do provide a credit card, your room will be held for you for much longer, usually 6 or 7 am. If you fail to show up to claim your room at all, the credit card that you have provided will be charged for one night's room and tax, and your reservation will be cancelled for the remainder of the nights that you reserved. A lot of people will tell you t use a credit card that has very little money on it to reseve a hotel room with. That's a terrible idea, because it can result in your reservation being cancelled. At many hotels, they begin authorizing credit cards that have been left to guarantee rooms with at 6pm (or 4pm, depending on hotel policy).
If the hotel gets a decline on your credit card, your reservation will be cancelled, and your room will likely be sold to someone else. Note that the card you leave is not being CHARGED; it is being AUTHORIZED, which means that the hotel is asking the credit card company to make sure that you have enough money on your card to pay for one night's room and tax. It's important that, unless you are absolutely certain that you can be at the hotel by 4pm, you leave a valid credit card number to guarantee your room with. If you do not do this, you could find yourself without lodging on the first night of your vacation, and the hotel will not take responsibility for it.
It's also important that you pay close attention to the cancellation policy when the reservationist explains it to you. Most hotels allow you to cancel your reservation within 24 hours of your arrival (usually 4 pm the day before). I have, however, seen some hotels that insist on a 72 hour cancellation policy. Many resort hotels have the 72 hour cancellation policy. Basically, the gist of the cancellation policy is that if you do not call to cancel your reservation within the alloted time, your reservation will NOT be cancelled, and you will be treated as a no-show and charged one night's room and tax. It is very rare that a hotel will change it's cancellation policy for a guest, so make sure that you know it and are well familiar with it.
When you check into a hotel, make sure that you read over the entire registration card that you are signing. More often than not, hotel guests just sign where told and ignore the fine print, and begin yelling at check-out when they find out that local calls cost 99 cents. Many hotel policies will be explained on the registration card, as will your rate. After you sign the card, it is legally binding and the hotel is under no obligation to change anything or lower your rate. Make sure that all of the information is correct BEFORE you sign the card.
When you get to your room, check things over immediately. Is it cleaned to your liking? Is everything you need provided for you? Is it the wrong room type? Is it too close to an elevator or near a noisy ice machine? If you are unhappy with your room, it's usually no problem for the hotel staff to get you moved to a room that you are more comfortable in. The sooner that you tell the hotel about your problems, the sooner that you can be moved, and the sooner the hotel staff can do whatever needs to be done to make the room sellable to another guest. Please note that most hotels don't offer discounts if you want to be moved because of elevator proximity or something of that nature. This is personal preference, and it's inappropriate to expect the hotel staff to compensate you because your mind was not read at check in.
Do everything in your power not to alter or damage the room in any way during your stay. If you're in a non-smoking room, be respectful to other guests who may stay in that room after you and to other guests who are currently on the floor that you are on. Smoke outside or on the balcony, if your room has one. There are a few hotels out there that can and will charge you for the thorough cleaning that must be done to the room after you check out of it. If you reserved a smoking room and the hotel was unable to accomodate that for you, simply don't check in.
In most cases, the hotel will not charge you as a no-show if it is their fault. If you break something in the room, report it immediately. The hotel may or may not charge you if you report it, but if you don't, you can bet that your credit card will be cahrged large amounts of money to replace it. If anything is broken when you check into the room, you should also report that immediately so that the hotel does not think you were responsible. ANy leaked bodily lfuds must be cleaned with heavy chemicals that can ruin the carpet, causing it to have to be replaced. Take care with this, as a single drop of blood on the carpet could cost you hundreds of dollars.
Sometimes, no matter what you do to prevent them, problems may occur during your stay or with your billing. That's where Rip Off Report comes in. If you are unable to resolve your complaints with the hotel, by all means, post a report here and seek the advice and assistance of people who know the business or have had previous encounters with them. The best of luck to you!
Morehead City, North Carolina
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/11/2003 06:38 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hotels-And-Lodging/nationwide/Hotels-And-Lodging-How-to-avoid-rip-offs-at-hotels-and-lodgings-Nationwide-65544. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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