Greedy Blog

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Doubletree Hotel Ontario Airport
So property was going pretty well (damn well actually -- 42/66 MPQ-AD), so I thought I could kill some time by setting my itinerary early (in the order I made them and that they were in my inbox).
Flight back Aug 1, check.
Hotel July 25-29, check.
Flight there July 25, fuck. July 24!? American changed the flight at some point... Old flight also on July 24, just different times within that day. Nooooo! Alright, not a catastrophy, just suck it up and pay the $165 for an extra night at the Doubletree.

Check Doubletree Ontario website. Lots of rooms available for July 24 for one night. Prices as low as $103.20. Cool, at worst, should be able to get that and switch rooms.

Call Doubletree Ontario directly to see if I might be able to get the same room for that night. A little more expensive, but I'd rather not mess with checking in and out and switching rooms. Told that my room type was not available, but they could do a room for $209. I told them about the internet rate, and they said to book online. Fine.

Tried to book online. Doubletree's website down. Call Doubletree Online Help 800 number, which is basically just Doubletree reservations. I tell them my predicament, and that I need a room for one night (July 24). Informed of a unique policy: "Back to Back" reservations automatically cancel the second reservation. That is, if I made a reservation for July 24 for one night, that is back-to-back with my reservation starting on July 25 for four nights, and thus would cancel the July 25-29 reservation. Noooo! Then told that they are sold out on July 24 anyways. "But there are rooms online." "That's a mistake." This is something I'd really like to test (to see what they did if I showed up with a reservation to a sold out hotel), but I was afraid of the original reservation being cancelled due to the "Back to Back" policy.

Called Doubletree Ontario directly to see if there was any way around the "Back to Back" policy. Informed that it was set in stone and there was no way around it, even if I paid for all five nights on a credit card in advance with no possibility of refund. "Besides, we are sold out for July 24." Grrrr.

Website back up, still offering the room for $103.20 for July 24.

Called Doubletree Ontario directly and didn't choose "1 - Reservations" so I assume I got a manager of some kind. Told her my predicament. Discussed ways around the "Back to Back" policy (which she didn't deny), and the solution was to just add a night to the original reservation. [That's what I wanted to do in the first place!] The rate is still $165, which sucks because that comes out of my pocket, but it's my fault for making the wrong plane reservation. Being skeptical about the change, I asked her to email the reservation to me. "You need to call the 800 number for that."

Call 800 number to get them to email my reservation. "The hotel should have been able to do that for you." Grrrr. Tell my predicament to get another opinion. Guy has worked for the reservation center for 6 years and has never heard of the "Back to Back" policy. Also tells me that the hotel is sold out for July 24-29, but not for July 24 alone. Being a hotel reservation center alumnus, I know that this is a common problem for popular destinations like Ontario, and surmise that the other people were (1) lazy, (2) too dumb and/or inexperienced to know to check for the one night, especially after I indicated that I didn't want to touch the other reservation so I was only looking for one night, or (3) trying to avoid the "Back to Back" issue by saying that it was sold out when it really wasn't. Any of those is unacceptable in my book.

Moreover, the "Back to Back" policy makes no sense. At Choice we did that thing all the time -- whatever it took to get the person in our hotel for as many nights as possible. I would guess that they could potentially rent my room out for $209/night (their going rate for that room type) if they cancelled my reservation at only $165/night. That's still bad customer service, though.

Received the new reservation via email. July 24-29, check. Room type has changed from "1KG/NEAR CONV CTR/NON SMOK-HISPEED INTERNET ACCESS AVAILABLE/PRINTERON-NEAREST WING TO ONTARIO CONVENTION CENTER BEST AVAILABLE RATE BEST UNRESTRICTED RATE" to "1 KING NON SMOKING INTERNET BEST RATE." I'm guessing that now I have the $103.20/night room for all five nights at $165/night. The website doesn't really separate out room types other than by rate, smoking, and whether near the courtyard.

Oh yeah, this also throws off the schedule I had laid out for the next week. Back to studying...

Posted by Gel 4:28 PM Post a Comment

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