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Old Apr 17, 10, 7:09 pm   #1
 
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Volcanic Eruption Related Refunds?

I have a prepaid stay booked at the Renaissance LHR which I won't be able to use.There is a thread over in the Hilton forum indicating that Hilton are refunding even "non-refundable" prepaid stays due to the air traffic disruption from the volcanic eruption in Iceland, so I wonder, is Marriott doing the same?
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Old Apr 17, 10, 9:16 pm   #2
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I would suggest given MR a call and see what they tell you. I don't normally purchase prepaid rooms, so I'm not sure how flexible they will be. If they give any problems, you could ask to move your reservation out to a future date rather than just canceling it. They may be more amenable to that.

But given the whole "worst travel event ever" notion, I would think Marriott would be willing to work with you on this.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 9:30 pm   #3
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Agreed with hhoope01 - I know that Expedia has sent out notices to its travel partners requesting that they be flexible with reservations. I'd probably call the hotel directly.
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Old Apr 17, 10, 9:31 pm   #4
 
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I wonder if the hotel clerks ever get to hang up these days. In fact, working in anything in travel and hospitality must be REALLY wearing since the volcano blew.
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Old Apr 18, 10, 10:18 am   #5
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As someone posted in another forum, it's a major pain in the ash! Sorry, couldn't resist

I would hope that Marriott would be flexible re: the non-refundables given the circumstances. This is going back in time, but does anyone remember what they did after 9/11?

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Old Apr 18, 10, 10:39 am   #6
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I would think if they were contacted before the actual date of the stay that they might be willing to take care of it. Contacting them after the date of the stay well, I wouldnt expect them to be too forthcoming about anything

A friend called me last night how he couldnt believe that they wouldnt refund him for his stay last Thurs, yep he 1st called to cancel or see what could be worked out last night
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Old Apr 18, 10, 12:00 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhoope01 View Post
I would suggest given MR a call and see what they tell you. I don't normally purchase prepaid rooms, so I'm not sure how flexible they will be. If they give any problems, you could ask to move your reservation out to a future date rather than just canceling it. They may be more amenable to that.

But given the whole "worst travel event ever" notion, I would think Marriott would be willing to work with you on this.
I am certainly willing to call them, but it is always good to do so armed with solid information! In this case, I would think it would actually be to their advantage if I cancel out of Heathrow for tomorrow (Monday) night - they can probably resell for higher rate given how many people are stranded.
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Old Apr 18, 10, 4:36 pm   #8
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I think we're all in agreement that if you call in advance you have a better chance of getting a refund. craz's friend is SOL & should be IMO. You don't call days after your stay for goodness' sake.

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Old Apr 18, 10, 4:47 pm   #9
 
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Now is the time for Marriott and its franchisees to step up and do the right thing. Refunds should be offered to those who paid in advance and physically cannot make the stay on account of a natural disaster. Presumably, the hotels can recoup the revenue from stranded travelers. Let's also hope the hotels will also be fair and flexible with travelers who might be unavoidably stranded for days on end.

All of that said, I think prepaying guests unable to travel still have an obligation to contact the hotels before their reservation dates if they expect a refund.
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Old Apr 18, 10, 5:39 pm   #10
 
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Thanks for all the comments. First, I should say that I did not leave it until after the arrival date to call about this - reservation is not until tomorrow (Monday). Called Renaissance several times and situation is unresolved:

1) Called Renaissance worldwide number. Agent denied that there was any special policy in place for eruption induced disruption, i.e. no refund. Umn... said thanks and hung up.

2) Called Hotel (Renaissance LHR) directly, but was transfered to Renaissance Worldwide! This time, agent said there was indeed a policy - that it was being dealt with on a case by case basis by "Marriott Customer Care." However, transfer to them failed...

3) Called a Marriott Customer line. Was told that agent #2 was correct, but that it was some special office to which she would have to transfer me - this time call transfer worked. However, turns out that this "Customer Care Office" is not empowered to actually deal with this. They are only "documenting" cases, and then contacting hotels, who make decision on case-by-case decision. She tried to contact Hotel again to query their policy, but office is closed by now.

Overall, a very uninspiring interaction. Hilton has a clear, uniform policy - why all the run-around with Marriott/Renaissance? I have stayed at the Renaissance before, won't be in future unless they match Hilton, who are my other main provider in LHR.

Last edited by Wexflyer; Apr 20, 10 at 11:09 pm.
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Old Apr 18, 10, 6:36 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Overall, a very uninspiring interaction. Hilton has a clear, uniform policy - why all the run-around with Marriott/Renaissance?
Very disappointing to hear this. Frankly I'd have expected better. Both in terms of having a clear, uniform policy and also in their ability to serve customers on the phone without the runaround you described.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm safely at home. However, I have two work colleagues are stranded separately in different countries in Europe as I write this. They're not at Marriott properties. But in each case their hotels are doing the right thing. In at least one instance, the hotel was refunding prepaid one-night deposits for confo attendees who couldn't make it....no questions asked. Also to the best of my knowledge, both hotels were also offering to indefinitely extend discount rates to volcano stranded travelers.

Last edited by cyberdad; Apr 18, 10 at 7:50 pm.
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Old Apr 18, 10, 6:53 pm   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Thanks for all the comments. First, I should say that I did not leave it until after the arrival date to call about this - reservation is not until tomorrow (Monday). Called Renaissance several times and situation is unresolved:

1) Called Renaissance worldwide number. Agent denied that there was any special policy in place for eruption induced disruption. Umn... said thanks and hung up.

2) Called Hotel (Renaissance LHR) directly, but was transfered to Renaissance Worldwide! This time, agent said there was indeed a policy - that it was being dealt with on a case by case basis by "Marriott Customer Care." However, transfer to them failed...

3) Called a Marriott Customer line. Was told that agent #2 was correct, but that it was some special office to which she would have to transfer me - this time call transfer worked. However, turns out that this "Customer Care Office" is not empowered to actually deal with this. They are only "documenting" cases, and then contacting hotels, who make decision on case-by-case decision. She tried to contact Hotel again to query their policy, but office is closed by now.

Overall, a very uninspiring interaction. Hilton has a clear, uniform policy - why all the run-around with Marriott/Renaissance? I have stayed at the Renaissance before, won't be in future unless they match Hilton, who are my other main provider in LHR.
Holey moley - that sucks. This is a unique - but across multiple chains, airlines, countries problems - situation; Marriott should have sorted it out by now. Hoepfully you've documented all your troubles. Bump it up to Mr. Bill!

Short of that, for at least tomorrow, call the LHR property & ONLY SPEAK W/ THE GM. Don't accept a front desk or telephone agent.

Good luck!

Cheers.
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Old Apr 19, 10, 7:16 am   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Called Renaissance several times and situation is unresolved:...
While I have not had to deal with an "event" as far reaching as the volcano, I have had issues with Marriotts before. And as unfortunate as your situation is, the run around you have received isn't completely unexpected or unheard of.

I have found that central Marriott support seems to be unempowered and fragmented. Then to add confusion, the different fragments just don't seem to want to talk with each other. They expect you to do that for them. The end result is it can take a number of calls to get things resolved. The best alternative is just to work through the hotel directly. That usually will work and can be a single point of contact. Again, unfortunately in your case, bad timing can impede talking with the right persons at the hotel.

Normally, though if you are persistent, Marriott's customer care center can and will help out, it just takes a bit of effort and time from your end.
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Old Apr 19, 10, 5:38 pm   #14
 
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All's well that ends well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Called Renaissance several times and situation is unresolved.....
Awoke today to find an email from the Renaissance LHR saying that a refund was approved. So, all ended ok. However, my overall impression is still one of needless complication and make-work and on the part of Marriott at a very stressful time. One might expect that massive travel disruptions such as that induced by the Icelandic volcano would result in **simple**, generally applied policies, as opposed to their actual approach of one-at-a-time individual review, after passing through multiple hands.....
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Old Apr 20, 10, 1:32 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wexflyer View Post
Awoke today to find an email from the Renaissance LHR saying that a refund was approved. So, all ended ok. However, my overall impression is still one of needless complication and make-work and on the part of Marriott at a very stressful time. One might expect that massive travel disruptions such as that induced by the Icelandic volcano would result in **simple**, generally applied policies, as opposed to their actual approach of one-at-a-time individual review, after passing through multiple hands.....
Glad it ended well, but have to agree w/ your analysis.

Cheers.
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