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Old Aug 21, 14, 4:43 am   -   Wikipost
FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: FAQ: Starwood policy: guarantee bedding and smoking preference on paid stays
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If booked on a BRG rate, the room type is guaranteed but bed type isn't.

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Old Aug 9, 05, 11:44 pm   #1
 
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Exclamation FAQ: Starwood policy: guarantee bedding and smoking preference on paid stays

Can someone educate me? What is Starwood's policy about this? (This isn't intended as a whine -- I truly would rather know the policy for the future.)

I recently had a Starwood stay where I booked a king non-smoking room [1], but when I arrived late in the evening, they said there were no more king non-smoking rooms available any more -- they had given them all away -- and there were no upgrades available, either. I didn't give them a hard time, but since it has happened to me before, it made me wonder. What is the policy about this? (I'm Starwood Gold, if that's relevant.)

In particular, does anyone know what is Starwood's policy about room reservations? Do they give out favored rooms according to whoever books them first, or whoever shows up at the hotel first, or by some other policy? Is there any way, as a Starwood Gold, to get a specific room type guaranteed in advance? When you make a room reservation and specify a room type, is that type of room actually reserved, or is it just treated as some kind of "best-effort" request? I ask because, since I often travel for business, I often am stuck arriving late at night.

Do different chains have different policies about this?

Again, sorry if this comes off sounding whiny; that wasn't my intent. I'm primarily interested in gathering information for future reference. Thanks in advance for anything you might be able to share.


[1] When I was reserved the room in advance, I distinctly remember on the phone the representative saying "hmm, ok, I can give you a king non-smoking, but you might have to take an accessible room to get it" -- which was fine with me. I left with the impression that I had a king non-smoking reserved, but I don't think this was ever clearly stated, so perhaps my impression was wrong.
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Old Aug 9, 05, 11:54 pm   #2
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[As Lurker discussed later, my comments here are just full of hot air and I had no idea that Starwood had a guarantee policy on room preferences.]

I'd say I get my "preference" 90%+ of the time. Lots of variables can happen over the course of a day - people staying over, the "early checkouts" being the room type you reserved, and the early checkins wanting/needing rooms, problem guests demanding other rooms, and 1000 permutations of same.

Also, a room booked for 1 person for a later arrival may seem to an agent at the desk, needing to handle a "situation", like someone who would be fine, alone, in a queen or double bed (when indeed, it may not be).

Remedy - a handful of points, or a hotel amenity such as a breakfast, free drink, etc.

The only time I have issue with hotels not being able to accomodate a situation is when there are LESS beds than reserved, and you need the MORE beds - and they refuse to send up a cot at no charge.

I'd venture to bet that Starwood doesn't have a policy, but rather, that it is hotel-specific. I wouldn't hesitate to put in the reservation that the room type as reserved is very important.

Last edited by Eastbay1K; Aug 10, 05 at 9:18 am.
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Old Aug 10, 05, 5:05 am   #3
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This is one benefit lacking at Starwood. At Marriott if you are gold or Platinum, they guarentee it. No non smoking King bed, here is 100 dollars. As a platinum at both, I never have a problem. But I do remember the days where my status was nill.
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Old Aug 10, 05, 9:11 am   #4
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On a paid rate, room preferences, such as bedding type and smoking preferences, are guaranteed. If you did not get what you reserved, then you should call Corporate Customer Service to report it. 800-328-6242.

Sincerely,


William R. Sanders
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Old Aug 10, 05, 10:30 am   #5
 
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This is always my fear when I do the internet pre-paid room. "Now that we have your money and aren't giving it back, bend over..."

So, if I'm going to arrive late, I always note that in the comments along with "so please save my king, non-smoking bed." If it's big convention-type hotel (vs. your run of the mill W or Westin), I'll even call during the day and speak to someone at the front desk to "confirm" my reservation, at which point I confirm the king, non-smoking part, and inform them of the hour I'll arrive and how much I appreciate them holding my room. Sometimes the front desk agent offers to assign and hold me a specific room and/or quasi-check me in right there over the phone.

This system has worked all but once--at a Marriott!
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Old Aug 10, 05, 11:11 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker
On a paid rate, room preferences, such as bedding type and smoking preferences, are guaranteed. If you did not get what you reserved, then you should call Corporate Customer Service to report it. 800-328-6242.

Sincerely,


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
Lurker -- I have a stay coming up that is 3 days paid (special weekend promotional rate) and 1 day on points. Because of the 1 points night, is there any way the hotel could say that my room preference is not guaranteed for the stay?
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Old Aug 10, 05, 11:28 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paullevi
Lurker -- I have a stay coming up that is 3 days paid (special weekend promotional rate) and 1 day on points. Because of the 1 points night, is there any way the hotel could say that my room preference is not guaranteed for the stay?
As you know, award rooms are booked as run-of-the-house (ROH). This means that if they have a room that matches your bedding and smoking preferences, then they will do everything they can to ensure that those preferences are fulfilled. However, you may have to accept an award room that does not match your preferences if none are available when you check in.

In the scenario you describe above, the hotel will have to meet your preferences on the paid portion of your stay or that is a chargeable offense. If they don't have a room available that matches your preferences for the last day of your stay under the award room, they could move you, but I think the possibility of that is miniscule, although not totally out of the equation.

Sincerely,


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Starwood Preferred Services

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Old Aug 10, 05, 12:45 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker
. . . the hotel will have to meet your preferences on the paid portion of your stay or that is a chargeable offense.
William, what does this typically mean to the customer?
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Old Aug 10, 05, 12:57 pm   #9
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Originally Posted by AZ Travels the World
William, what does this typically mean to the customer?
That the hotel has to pay us a fee for handling the complaint and that it goes against their monthly Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI) scores. Either of which they try to avoid like the plague, if they're smart.

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Old Aug 10, 05, 1:58 pm   #10
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Since the SPG program has integrated Sheraton and Westin brands, I've had my bed-type + NS res. honored in all but one property on one stay -- a Westin and that was a very late c/i. The excuse was "we didn't have your SPG # in the res." When I asked to speak to the MOD and showed the Starwood booking printout with my #, all of a sudden, a reserved room type was "found" in hotel inventory and the manager made things right. His initial position was that it was a computer problem in getting res. info reliably from *wood. My answer was that if his property was having computer problems of that type *wood needs to know about it ASAP because its corporate HQ was going to be calling when increasing #s of Plats get stuck in smoking rooms on the 3rd floor, contrary to their res. confirmations.

Despite this stellar record of Starwood compliance, I do what EnvoyBoy does if I am going to arrive late and just call the property, mainly so I don't lose any u/g that may be available.
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Old Aug 10, 05, 10:32 pm   #11
 
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Got it. Thanks! That's very helpful. I appreciate everyone's responses -- truly enlightening. (Gosh, FT is amazing...)
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Old Nov 19, 08, 8:16 pm   #12
 
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I take it the room type guarantee is still in effect? I checked in today, and was given a room with two doubles. I called down to the front desk, and was told that room types are not guaranteed, and are "preferences". I went downstairs, and got a different guy. He apologized that no kings were available and said that next time I'm in town, drop him a line and he'd try to give me a suite upgrade. I'm only staying for 2 nights so I didn't push it.
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Old Nov 19, 08, 10:28 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condition One View Post
I take it the room type guarantee is still in effect?
Hi Condition One,

As William has mentioned earlier, on a paid rate, room preferences, such as bedding type and smoking preferences, are guaranteed.

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Old Nov 20, 08, 10:48 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker II View Post
Hi Condition One,

As William has mentioned earlier, on a paid rate, room preferences, such as bedding type and smoking preferences, are guaranteed.

apguest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
In addition, it should be reported to Corporate Customer Service. 800-328-6242 or customercare@starwoodhotels.com.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

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Old Nov 20, 08, 2:57 pm   #15
 
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Would it still be worth the effort to notify Corp Cust Service if I had a stay during the middle of October where the hotel gave me the "its only a preference" line? I was a Gold at the time, and I'll admit I'm really new to the SPG rules, so I just took their word for it and went about my business.

But if it is helpful to let Cust Service know, I can call them. (Note I have since stayed at that same property 3 times since and haven't had a bedding issue.)
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