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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:23 pm   #1
 
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Angry Hotel canceled Starhot (employee) reservation [Update: issue resolved]

I am an employee of Starwood and I have a privilege of making a discounted starhot reservation if it is offered. I used it on several ocasions. I made a reservation with Westin Los Cabos in Mexico over two weeks ago. The reservation is for 6 nights. I bought also three flight tickets from Chicago, obviously without any restrictions to save money on this trip. Today in the morning I received a phone call from a front desk attendant of Westin Los Cabos to inform me that my reservation will be cancelled due to overbooking. I was shocked. She said that Westin will not look for me for a different accomodation and it will not reimburse me for the flight tickets. Then I talked to a reservation manager and he told me that they cancelling all starhot reservations because they are almost booked and then he threatened that since I cause a problem he would call my HR department. In his opinion I should just say "ok that is great, thanks for calling". I went straight on-line and tried to make a new reservation without using the starhot rate and I was able to do it.

Last edited by Sebastian13; Jan 28, 08 at 3:45 pm. Reason: SOFTENNING THE ISSUE
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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:32 pm   #2
 
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Sounds like you need to talk to someone else. Either that, or there's some fine print that says they have the right to screw you at any time...which while possible, seems unlikely. Wouldn't they know that they were overbooked at the time you made the registration? And why are there rooms available now if they are in fact overbooked?
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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:38 pm   #3
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I guess if I found myself in this position, I would contact my HR director and ask for their assistance with it.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

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Old Jan 28, 08, 12:51 pm   #4
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definitely contact Human Resources. this really isn't a topic in which flyertalkers can help out (unless you are asking for recommendations for alternative accommodations). this is really an internal/starwood employee benefits questions.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:36 pm   #5
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Either StarHot rates are unconfirmed, and a hotel can cancel them, or they're not.

I'd talk to HR to find out. And if they can't be cancelled, no doubt someone up the food chain can help.

Either eay, I suggest you avoid posting about this on a public bulletin board, since I'm guessing it'll be particularly displeasing for your employer.

Annoying? Yes, incredibly.

Worth job-related discipline? Probably not.

Best,
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:52 pm   #6
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Sounds very much like normal business practices.. that the priority goes to full fare paying customers. Discounted or free accomodations/flights for employees take second priority.

I don't know about US airlines, but on SQ , employees get the lowest priority for any SQ 'free' flight. Companies do have to protect the clients over 'freebies' I guess.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:55 pm   #7
 
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Wow, that's pretty shocking, however it seems like the same policy airlines have with buddy passes. It's standby only and if there is a paying customer ahead of you, though luck.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:55 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Betsy View Post
Sounds very much like normal business practices.. that the priority goes to full fare paying customers. Discounted or free accomodations/flights for employees take second priority.
i don't think starhot rates are like non-rev standby for airline personnel. but, i could be wrong.

clearly this is an issue for the original poster (OP) to take up with his/her HR department. i think we are beating a dead horse and a moderator can probably feel free to close...esp. after what william said (i.e., discuss with HR).
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Old Jan 28, 08, 1:55 pm   #9
 
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Agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
I guess if I found myself in this position, I would contact my HR director and ask for their assistance with it.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

guest.forum@starwoodhotels.com
I agree with William.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 2:05 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Betsy View Post
Sounds very much like normal business practices.. that the priority goes to full fare paying customers. Companies do have to protect the clients over 'freebies' I guess.
None of us would disagree with the thrust of what you've written here ... except .... hotel stays are a tad different than airline transport.

When I worked for Marriott a billion years ago, we also had access to deeply discounted rates at any global property. However, the rates were subject to availability --- if a property forecasted to be at high occupancy for a certain time, chances were that the lowest employee rates were not available then. However, if you were somewhat flexible, you could often snag some great overnight rates (we're talking $29-$45 here folks) and, YES, they were confirmed in advance. That was one of the perks of working there.

If that is the same sort of benefit plan in place at *wood, then you can bet I'd be majorly steamed if my confirmed in advance employee-rate stay was bounced after I'd made travel plans. That's unacceptable in anyone's eyes.

Good luck to the OP.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 2:18 pm   #11
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If the reservation was guaranteed and you have a confirmation, they cannot cancel it.

They can only appeal to you as a colleague and ask you to change the date due to unexpected high occupancy (and it better be above 91% if I remember the policy right from my Starwood days).

Last edited by tyn; Jan 28, 08 at 2:24 pm.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 2:30 pm   #12
 
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Yes, I believe that these are rates like any other discounted rates - they only load them on dates they are comfortable with - but then it *should* be confirmed. As the OP mentions, he has non-refundable flights. That changes the equation here, as the hotel is effectively asking the Starwood employee to eat costs associated with the cancellation. Effectively charging the OP for being a HOT employee.

However, as also mentioned, this is between the OP and HOT. And it's usually not a good idea to post internal employer/employee stuff like this on a public message board.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 3:15 pm   #13
 
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This particular situation certainly should be better handled privately as an internal issue, but I have no objection to emplyees asking questions and discussing the StarHOT program if we can help and if we can learn. I would hope that they would be questions that would not get an employee in trouble, though. The OP might could have asked, "Are StarHOT reservations guaranteed? What are the cancellation policies for StarHOT rates?"

StarHOT rates are not only for employees. They are also for families of employees. So it's nice that there is a public link with answers to these questions.

StarHOT T&Cs

StarHOT rate search site

From the T&Cs:
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION
Important note to hotels using a mandatory guarantee. The non-guaranteed reservation option is possible due to an enhancement made to StarLink. StarLink will override the mandatory guarantee policy for reservations made for the StarHOT rate plan and allow non-guaranteed reservations to be booked, except at resort hotels that require a mandatory deposit at the time of booking. This is a benefit for our associates who do not have access to a credit card at the time of reservation. Hotels must hold and honor these reservations until the designated 4:00 or 6:00 p.m. hold time. After this time, the reservation may be released unless the associate has called with a credit card or mailed a deposit.

Restrictions – Rooms are provided on a space available basis. If occupancy rates for the date(s) requested are at 80% or forecasted to be at 80% or greater then the hotel may close out StarHOT. If occupancy rates are less than 80% or forecasted to be less than 80%, properties are required to set aside a minimum of 5% of their room inventory for associate use. Discounted rooms may not be granted during any special events, such as New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, etc. Blackout dates and other individual property restrictions may apply. We reserve the right to change or cancel this benefit at any time.


As best I can tell, the OP's reservation should not have been cancelled.

OP, I suggest that you handle this internally. If it is resolved (and especially if it is resolved in your favor), it would probably be a good idea to update this thread to say so. For your own benefit, you might wish to edit or delete your opening post. I would think that Starwood would prefer to keep its internal StarHOT faults private.

Sebastian13, welcome to FlyerTalk! I hope you'll continue to contribute to the forum. It's always nice to have another Starwood employee that can share information, answer questions, and learn from the other FTers.

Last edited by sc flier; Jan 28, 08 at 3:21 pm.
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Old Jan 28, 08, 3:52 pm   #14
 
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Thanks for all the replies. My HR manager is trying her best to help me out. I was trying to look for any info about cancelling the hotrate reservations and I was unsuccesfull. I guess this forum is the best to look for an answer. I will keep you posted how it all ended for me. I hope that I won't get fired for my post and that my post will help others to clear this issue. If I knew about this policy I would definetelly buy a more expensive flight with cancelation option. Once again appreciate for all the help.

Last edited by Sebastian13; Jan 28, 08 at 3:52 pm. Reason: misspelled
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Old Jan 28, 08, 4:13 pm   #15
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For 20 years, I worked at a hotel chain. We had deeply discounted staff rates (Free when I started), but when confirmed, they were always honored. This hotel should be honoring it's commitment. The acceptance of the rate only proves their poor forcasting, which you should not be penalized for.

On an employee rate, I was always treated with distain. But the price still made it worth it.

I'd look for alternate rooms, and enjoy the trip dispite their poor handling of the situation.
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