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Problems with 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability and "Corporate Clients"

Problems with 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability and "Corporate Clients"

Old Oct 20, 18, 3:55 pm
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Problems with 48-Hour Guaranteed Availability and "Corporate Clients"

I am wondering about whether any of you folks had a problem using the Platinum Premier guaranteed availability benefit 48 hours before stay, particularly at Starwood properties.

This was the second time I needed to use it in ~6 years, and the hotel -so far- is unwilling to open up availability. The first time was a Marriott property, which went flawlessly (in fact, worked online and I didn't even had to call). Now, it is a Starwood property, and it does not work at all.

The situation is: my travel agent called 10/19 to book a 4 night stay at the Westin Forrestal, from 10/19 to 10/23. The night from 10/22 to 10/23 is unavailable, everything else is wide open availability-wise. The agent called Marriott/SPG global booking, which could not open availability, and also the hotel directly, which refused to open availability. I also spoke with the front desk to set up late checkout, and I asked whether there is any special event happening that day, which was answered in the negative. Instead, they said that they are sold out because of "corporate clients like every week." So, to my understanding, this would certainly not qualify as "limited dates" if they block availability for PP because of regular pattern. Overall, to me, this very much sounds like a SPG property playing with availability for their own benefit.

Ultimately, if the benefit does not actually work, then it's useless, and it's the *only* benefit on top of Platinum status that is actually useful. I'll probably have to move to the Hyatt in the middle of my stay because of it.

What is the proper recourse here? Reach out to Marriott global? The general manager? Thoughts?
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Old Oct 20, 18, 5:03 pm
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Both Marriott and the property are well aware of this. "Corporate client" is code word for important HVC or VIP (which could be a corporation). Bottom line is that it's pretty established practice and you won't get more than some pittance and a cut & paste seeming apology which is not.

Last edited by Often1; Oct 21, 18 at 5:40 am
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Old Oct 20, 18, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Both Marriott and the property are well aware of this. "Corporate client" is code word for important HVC (which could be a corporation). Bottom line is that it's pretty established practice and you won't get more than some pittance and a cut & paste seeming apology which is not.
Does this mean you need to book all the rooms (i.e. hold an event) in the entire hotel to be treated well these days?
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Old Oct 20, 18, 8:56 pm
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Looks like there is availability for the next 3 Mondays, so I’m not sure if I’d call it their “regular pattern.” They probably got the waiver from Marriott, so I doubt they’ll do much if you complain (but certainly doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re not happy about it)
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Old Oct 20, 18, 9:39 pm
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This doesn't sound like something I could get an exception for. Usually those are reserved for special events. I've never had a problem getting the override and used it this week simply by booking online 48 hours out. Using a travel agent rather than booking online would have complicated the issue. Of course, it's quite possible the GM of the Legacy SPG property is part of the Resistance to Marriott. Additionally, it's also possible that there is a disconnect between the Marriott reservation systems which provides this benefit and the Legacy reservations platform still in use at many of the Legacy SPG properties.

did Starwood have a similar benefit?
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Old Oct 21, 18, 7:36 pm
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Originally Posted by GoPhils View Post
Looks like there is availability for the next 3 Mondays, so I’m not sure if I’d call it their “regular pattern.” They probably got the waiver from Marriott, so I doubt they’ll do much if you complain (but certainly doesn’t hurt to let them know you’re not happy about it)
To clarify, they called it their regular pattern. In fact, it made me even more doubtful that there is a special event that would warrant blocking the days under the Platinum Premier benefit, and instead it feels that the GM is playing games with the inventory (see also second part of my response to daniellam, below).

Originally Posted by daniellam View Post
Does this mean you need to book all the rooms (i.e. hold an event) in the entire hotel to be treated well these days?
This hits the nail on the head. I don't mind not getting a room, but if your T&C provide me with a benefit that I am guaranteed one, and I try to use the benefit, I'd at least expect an attempt at a reason and not just "corporate clients" (of which I am one, and it is definitely one of the larger ones in the area).

Furthermore, the location of the Westin Princeton is a business park, with nothing else around, their bread and butter are corporate clients. I don't think that it is unreasonable to be answered the question what the special event is beyond "corporate clients" considering that the 48 hour benefit explicitly says: "Forty-eight (48) Hour Guaranteed Availability may not be available on certain limited dates (e.g., special events)" (emphasis mine), and what they call a regular weekly pattern is certainly not limited dates.

Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
This doesn't sound like something I could get an exception for. Usually those are reserved for special events. I've never had a problem getting the override and used it this week simply by booking online 48 hours out. Using a travel agent rather than booking online would have complicated the issue. Of course, it's quite possible the GM of the Legacy SPG property is part of the Resistance to Marriott. Additionally, it's also possible that there is a disconnect between the Marriott reservation systems which provides this benefit and the Legacy reservations platform still in use at many of the Legacy SPG properties.

did Starwood have a similar benefit?
I would understand a conference, large meeting, etc. in which the hotel might be booked out, but I doubt that's the case because they even told me to "check again online to see if a room becomes available."

I think Starwood had the same benefit, but with 72 hour notice required, never used it though.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by bookeew View Post
To clarify, they called it their regular pattern. In fact, it made me even more doubtful that there is a special event that would warrant blocking the days under the Platinum Premier benefit, and instead it feels that the GM is playing games with the inventory.
Did you speak with the GM (or some other manager)? An FDC saying they have “corporate clients like every week” sounds like it could be some college student or something that may not know what they’re talking about (even if they go to Princeton)
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Old Oct 21, 18, 9:00 pm
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I think the issue is you were going through a travel agency.

If I book 48 hours out through the website, it doesn't show that I'm getting an override ... it just shows that its available. I can sometimes tell its an override because its a rack rate -- sometimes outrageous, sometimes reasonable.

But ... I'm not sure you'd see anything through Concur or a travel agent.

But, we're busy doesn't get an exception in the Marriott world .... its s Super Bowl, Sweet 16, Oracle World, type thing to get the exception.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 9:23 pm
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Originally Posted by GoPhils View Post
Did you speak with the GM (or some other manager)? An FDC saying they have “corporate clients like every week” sounds like it could be some college student or something that may not know what they’re talking about (even if they go to Princeton)
I was unable to, but I will be escalating this with Marriott and possibly dropping by the hotel also.

Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
I think the issue is you were going through a travel agency.

If I book 48 hours out through the website, it doesn't show that I'm getting an override ... it just shows that its available. I can sometimes tell its an override because its a rack rate -- sometimes outrageous, sometimes reasonable.

But ... I'm not sure you'd see anything through Concur or a travel agent.

But, we're busy doesn't get an exception in the Marriott world .... its s Super Bowl, Sweet 16, Oracle World, type thing to get the exception.
Online worked for Marriott properties for me in the past, but this SPG property did not show any availability. For Marriott properties, it did show different availability when I am logged in or not in the past, but I haven't made the same experience with SPG properties.

The corporate travel agent called both Marriott global and the hotel with explicit instructions to call and knowledge of the benefit. I've been told that Marriott global attempted to force availability but apparently could not.

On your last point: that's what I thought and expected, but this doesn't seem to be the case here.

Interestingly, the hotel now lists some room at $204/night for the night in question (10/22 to 10/23), but if I am trying to view the rates, it throws me back as "Sorry, currently there are no rooms available at this property for the dates you selected. Please try your search again."

Possibly one of the SPG properties with legacy inventory management until they force them over December 11th?

Last edited by bookeew; Oct 21, 18 at 9:26 pm Reason: Added inventory mgmt sentence
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Old Oct 21, 18, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by bookeew View Post
I was unable to, but I will be escalating this with Marriott and possibly dropping by the hotel also.



Online worked for Marriott properties for me in the past, but this SPG property did not show any availability. For Marriott properties, it did show different availability when I am logged in or not in the past, but I haven't made the same experience with SPG properties.

The corporate travel agent called both Marriott global and the hotel with explicit instructions to call and knowledge of the benefit. I've been told that Marriott global attempted to force availability but apparently could not.

On your last point: that's what I thought and expected, but this doesn't seem to be the case here.

Interestingly, the hotel now lists some room at $204/night for the night in question (10/22 to 10/23), but if I am trying to view the rates, it throws me back as "Sorry, currently there are no rooms available at this property for the dates you selected. Please try your search again."

Possibly one of the SPG properties with legacy inventory management until they force them over December 11th?
I wouldn't expect a hotel to be willing to pay the travel agent commission on a guaranteed availability rate, not would I expect them to offer a corporate or travel agent rate in such circumstances. Moreover, it might be better to try to book the entire stay together as even with guaranteed availability, there could be a minimum stay requirement. The downside is that the hotel might try to charge you the guaranteed availability rate for all nights and not just the one night where it's needed.
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Old Oct 21, 18, 10:00 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I wouldn't expect a hotel to be willing to pay the travel agent commission on a guaranteed availability rate, not would I expect them to offer a corporate or travel agent rate in such circumstances. Moreover, it might be better to try to book the entire stay together as even with guaranteed availability, there could be a minimum stay requirement. The downside is that the hotel might try to charge you the guaranteed availability rate for all nights and not just the one night where it's needed.
The benefit does not limit it to me having to book it, but only to my room. Therefore, the hotel must be willing that a travel agent books it instead of myself. This is also necessary because there are more than enough cases when employees are *not* allowed to book themselves but have to go through a travel agent (as I am sometimes). Overall, a travel agent booking it isn't really a "me problem," but the hotel's problem. IMHO, if they don't want to adhere to the terms that Marriott sets out for them, then they are free to not participate in the program anymore and not get Marriott's customers' business.

The travel agent was authorized to book both the guaranteed availability rate and the corporate rate, whichever would have been available and cheaper, and was also authorized to split up the reservation as necessary to book it. FYI, the entire phone call took about 35 minutes (gotta love being on hold), 25-30 minutes or so were with Marriott global, and a few minutes with the hotel directly. This time discrepancy also pushes me into suspecting that they are playing inventory games.

Last edited by bookeew; Oct 21, 18 at 10:01 pm Reason: Missing the
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Old Oct 21, 18, 10:12 pm
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I think it's fairly obvious there is a "resistance" element within the SPG GM world. We know they've been playing games in Asia at a variety of properties by designating a couple of rooms as "standard" rooms to avoid awards availability. I know they've also played games at properties I stay at by designating certain rooms as "standard suites" and refusing to upgrade to other rooms. These GM's are employed by franchisees -- not Marriott -- so there are limited options for Marriott but we should out these properties.

That being said, there remains a web-based interface at Marriott.com that pulls from the two databases. The interface and rules from those databases appears to me (as a non-programmer to be --- clunky). For example, if I use a corporate code rather than the same SET code, I get rates on legacy Marriott properties but not SPG properties whereas I get the reverse if I run a SET code.

Further, I've had a run of SPG properties this month including Sheraton, W, Westin, and Luxury Collection. They don't know the new levels and haven't trained. As the W FD person told me, I think we have that information somewhere but I've never seen it. The Luxury Collection FD was very clear ... in a professional Luxury Collection mindset ... that they didn't have that information.

But your situation was handled wrongly and I hope you'll escalate it.
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Old Oct 22, 18, 7:32 am
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Of late, I have noticed with legacy Marriott Properties in the Philadelphia area, the platinum override doesn't appear to be working. Most weeks even a few days prior to they stay many properties are just listed as unavailable (both legacy Marriott and legacy SPG). In the past pre 8/18 system merger, platinum override was working on those same legacy Marriott properties. This is a frequent occurrence that happens most weeks, so I highly doubt there is a valid exception in place for the platinum override. So not sure if it is unintentionally broken or if we have an unpublished enhancement on our hands. Hopefully it does get fixed and start working again. Even a 72 hour override would be useful. Might force me to start giving stays to Hilton if this keeps up. They seem to have availability on my standard corporate rate most of the time even though I don't have any Hilton status.

Are other folks also experiencing issues with Platinum Override in general?

--Jon
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Old Oct 22, 18, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
[...]

But your situation was handled wrongly and I hope you'll escalate it.
I reached out to Marriott global this morning. I'll keep the post updated (famous last words).
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Old Oct 24, 18, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
This doesn't sound like something I could get an exception for. Usually those are reserved for special events. I've never had a problem getting the override and used it this week simply by booking online 48 hours out. Using a travel agent rather than booking online would have complicated the issue. Of course, it's quite possible the GM of the Legacy SPG property is part of the Resistance to Marriott. Additionally, it's also possible that there is a disconnect between the Marriott reservation systems which provides this benefit and the Legacy reservations platform still in use at many of the Legacy SPG properties.

did Starwood have a similar benefit?
I believe they did, although I never used it. Probably because availability was at Rack Rate only IIRC
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