Upon booking a hotel room in Charlotte, NC late Friday afternoon, April 26, 2013, I found out that the hotel Hotwire placed me in had smoking rooms. NOWHERE on the Hotwire site was there a disclaimer or warning about smoking rooms. I didn't know there were hotels that still had smoking rooms! Given my extreme sensitivity to cigarette smoke and fearing that Hotwire booked me into a smoking room, I called the hotel. Sure enough, Hotwire booked me in a smoking room. I asked the front desk attendant if they could move me to a non-smoking room given my sensitivity to smoke. They indicated that they couldn't but that I should call Hotwire directly as they had the same situation with a guest earlier in the week who had booked on Hotwire and, according to the front desk person, they were extremely upset with Hotwire over the ordeal.
As a result, I called Hotwire. They said they could not move me to a non-smoking room and that my $151 purchase for two nights was non-refundable. They said I could fax a physician's form to Hotwire to contest it and only then could they move me to a non-smoking room. Given the fact that it was after 5 pm on a Friday night, my hotel booking was for the following Monday, and the hassle involved, I said that was clearly unacceptable. I wanted a non-smoking room or a refund. Both were refused. I asked to speak to the supervisor. After speaking to the supervisor, they could only offer me one solution... book with one of only two non-smoking hotels in the Charlotte area in their network ($111/night vs. the $65/night hotel I originally booked). A refund was out of the question from their standpoint. Reluctantly, I booked the $111/night hotel for two nights given the fact I would have forfeited the $151 fee from my original booking or suffer from sleeping in a smoking room. If the Hotwire site would have clearly stated that smoking rooms may be assigned, I would have NEVER booked with Hotwire. Needless to say, I doubt I will ever book again with Hotwire. I think it is imperative that they adjust their website to clearly warn other unsuspecting suckers like me who are sensitive to smoke.
Having been in the advertising industry for nearly 30 years, I feel as though Hotwire needs to do a far better job of warning unsuspecting customers. At a minimum, it is communications negligence. At worst, it is gross misrepresentation. Thanks for your help.