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Old Mar 13, 00, 10:03 am   #1
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Compensation for bad hotel stay.

I need a little help here, and would appreciate feedback.

My father-in-law needed surgery (nothing life-threatening) in the Burlington, MA area. My mother-in-law wanted to be out there the whole time. My wife went out there with them and returned yesterday, but mother-in-law is staying there until Wednesday.

Using Priceline, we got her a room at the Wyndham for $55/night, 6 nights. Life is good.

Except when they got there, the adventure just began.

Instead of a room with two beds, they got a queen (despite calling and getting a confirmation of two beds only a couple days earlier). Adding to this, my father-in-law was sleeping there too on the first night. My wife had to get a cot.

Next evening, a youth hockey tournament was taking place nearby. Judging from behavior, it must have been the Atilla Cup. 12 year-olds running up and down hallways, banging on doors at random. Chaperones are downstairs getting loaded at the bar.

Numerous calls to the Front Desk. Finally they do something, but in the process, identify my wife as the caller, so all night long, kids bang on the door and yell expletives.

Next night, kids are back at it. This time playing hockey in the hallway. Wife decided enough is enough, and didn't waste her time with the Front Desk, and instead called the Police. (Other guests had apparently done so as well).

Six cruisers later, problems solved. Parents of these animals start arguing, "I paid for this room, my kids can do whatever the hell they want." Fortunately the police disagreed.

General Manager called my wife to apologize and treated them to breakfast yesterday morning. Wife asked for extending stay at the Priceline rate (my father-in-law's stay at the hospital was extended two days), no go. Ditto for $ back. He even refused AA upgrade certs.

I say breakfast isn't enough. Now I know there is ZERO chance of getting $ back. I'd like to know what you folks think we should be asking for.

Thanks much!

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own."
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Old Mar 13, 00, 11:26 am   #2
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When we encounter juvenile delinquents and their indulgent parents at the Orlando Marriott (the fancy one at Disneyworld), I wrote afterwards to the Gen Mgr and got 2 free days (future stay - unfortunately did not return). However, when I got really frustrated with a bad LAX Hyatt stay, I wrote Hyatt's CEO. Got a free stay and used it. You should be entitled to something. I get crazed when the hotel, instead of quieting the mob, suggests moving you. In the night, who wants to move? When groups of partiers come in, they should not stick a stranger in their midst. We got stuck on an adult party floor in SDiego once and got moved to a suite. Now, that was worth the move! Disappointing that the Gen Mgr was such a jerk.
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Old Mar 13, 00, 12:08 pm   #3
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Agree with Karen that a gratis night is a good settlement for both sides. yet I've enevr received this type of compensation since I just do not follow up.

BTW- I too had a problem at the Hyatt LAX- No suite, despite being prepaid and gauranteed 3-4 weeks beforehand. Also I'd confirmed by phone that morning I'd be there but arriving late- I did about 1:45 am.

Called/wrote to file complaint in this case with hyatt abd got a letter in return saying they were sorry and that it wont happen again.

It hasn't- I've never returned!
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Old Mar 13, 00, 12:13 pm   #4
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Oh, the vicarious thrill of a Priceline bargain. The noise thing happens all too frequently. Very very common now in the Washington DC hotels with the high school trips. The better hotels hire Rent-a-cops for these trying times. The others do nothing.

Calls to the front desk rarely brought results. Calls to my credit card company did (dispute the TOTAL bill). Usually the only peace is on the concierge levels if you are lucky enough to get there, but moving at 200am is no picnic.

Many mornings I have awakened to fire extinguisher residue all over the hallways and/or food party junk or the wonderful aroma of beer/pizza/hamburger vomit from an eighteen year old on his/her senior trip. Ugh!!

Again, call or write your credit card company ASAP and dispute the charge. I received full credit each time for non-Priceline stays (I dont do Priceline).

As for a "free weekend".......this doesnt cut it (or solve the problem).
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Old Mar 13, 00, 12:14 pm   #5
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I cant say that I have had a bad hotel stay (knock on wood), but you should write corporate headquarters and the hotel. You should get something.

As for the AA cert, as of 12/31 they no longer offer the triple upgrade. However, you should still receive 500 base miles for the stay.

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Old Mar 13, 00, 12:59 pm   #6
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First, let's keep the issues straight. Priceline had nothing to do with it. They got you the rate. What happened after that had everything to do with the hotel and nothing to do with what you paid or why you paid it.

Next, try to separate what wasn't their fault from what was. A hotel can't legally refuse a legitimate booking from anyone, even a youth hockey team. What it can do is supervise their behavior on the premises and enforce some standards of decency. Apparently they didn't, and to make things worse told the hooligans who had complained. They also didn't have the kind of room they confirmed to you. This is where you have a legitimate beef.

The next step is to write a letter to the chain's CEO stating clearly what happened and what part of it was the hotel's fault. State how your trip, under stressful enough circumstances to begin with (play up the surgery bit - I'm glad it wasn't major, but they don't have to know that and any surgery carries risk) became unbearable DUE TO THE HOTEL'S ACTIONS. Say things about how you're sure they stand behind the quality of their hotels and would want to make amends if a stay isn't up to their usual standard, and how they would surely agree that this one wasn't. Then, suggest what you expect in return. If you think you might go back, a free stay is a possibility. If you won't, you can suggest you shouldn't be expected to pay for rest you didn't get.

Another option is to write to Conde Nast Traveler's "Ombudsman" column, but they get so much mail the chances of their picking your case to pursue are small. It didn't happen in an exotic location or involve rare jewels.

Either way, leave Priceline out of it. They didn't do a thing wrong. (I have no financial or other interest in them and have never used them. I just like to see blame put in the right place.)

Good luck!
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Old Mar 13, 00, 2:17 pm   #7
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quote by Efrem:
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________
First, let's keep the issues straight. Priceline had nothing to do with it. They got you the rate. What happened after that had everything to do with the hotel and nothing to do with what you paid or why you paid it.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________

In actual fact YOU CANNOT leave Priceline out of the equation. By using Priceline you give up a HUGE AMOUNT OF NEGOTIATING power for a reduced hotel rate (and one quite often gets the poorest room in the whole hotel). OF course you may luck out especially if you are elite. You pre-pay Priceline, takes yer chances and hope they pay the hotel in a timely fashion.

I know more people who are/were dis-satisfied with their Priceline usage than satisfied with their services. Also the news groups, such as rec.travel.air, rec.travel etc denote many sorry tales of Priceline stays. Not worth it IMHO to save a buck or two with hotels or airlines. You apparently have a different recollection or hear different traveling friends tales. I wish I, or specially my friends did.

I fully agree it is not the fault of Priceline, but let's see HOW OR IF Priceline ASSISTS IN GETTING PROPER CUSTOMER SATISFACTION for the original poster's parents. That will be a the real test of their inclusive services. If I book travel through a TA (I usually use Rosenbluth), have problems with airlines, hotels, cars etc, and cannot obtain satisfaction with the hotels etc, I ometimes swrite or call my TA and explain the problem. Often they can work the refund miracles. They are my legally-defined agent and work for me. I dispute credit card charges as a last resort but will if I believe I am right. I probably would dispute the Priceline charge (but do not know if this can be done as I have never used them).
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Old Mar 13, 00, 2:46 pm   #8
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I should clarify... I am NOT blaming Priceline for this. They got the room at the price requested, fulfilling their obligations. I've used Priceline on a couple of ocassions (hotel only), and have never had any problem with them.

I mentioned Priceline ONLY because the $55/night rate is so far the regular $150/night rate. I am sure that is certainly a factor in why we didn't receive some sort of attempt to make amends immediately.

"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own."
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Old Mar 13, 00, 3:02 pm   #9
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Hilton is looking better and better. I complained via e-mail about smoking in the non-smoking room next to mine (and leaking through the connecting door) and continuing throughout my stay although I had complained. At my next stay there, I was handed an apology letter from the manager and a voucher good for a free night's stay there with no strings attached except an expiration date. The experience you have described here is much, much worse and what was paid for the room is absolutely irrelevant.
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Old Mar 13, 00, 4:28 pm   #10
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Push the corporate angle, Priceline or no Priceline, the Hotel Manager was unable to control the situation. I have had similar problems in the past and have always been able to receive complimentary nights as a result.

Push the fact that Hotel Personnel identified your wife as the person complaining, this fact is unbeleivable! That is one of the most unprofessional things that could have been done.

You may want to mention that other Hotel Chains require the parents to sign forms stating that they will control the children during thier stay. I was at a Comfort Inn in PA during a Wrestling Tourney and they had all guests sign the form.

I live in the Burlington Area and can tell you that the Wyndham Burlington used to be a Holiday/Days Inn. When Wyndham took it over, they did some exterior work, but as far as I have seen, not much else. This Hotel has NEVER been worth $150 a night.

I assume that your Father-In-Law was being treated at the Lahey Clinic. If this is the case, and he has to come back, let me know ahead of time. Burlington is the home to Sun Microsystems new East Coast Campus HQ. So, Hotels in Burlington are overpriced. I can recommend some Hotels that will be within 5 - 15 minutes, but should be more affordable.
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Old Mar 13, 00, 7:15 pm   #11
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Jon: I totally agree with your take on things. Priceline fulfilled its obligation. The front desk blew it.

I had a bad stay at a Hyatt recently (problems with the heating system), and they offered to put enough Gold Passport points in my account for a free weekend. I thought that was very fair compensation.

If I were in your shoes, I'd write to corporate as others have suggested.

I try to put language in my complaint letters that doesn't threaten to withdraw business but asks for fair compensation. I also try to tell them what I liked about the hotel stay or flight, especially if I can identify one person who helped resolve the problem or did their best under difficult circumstances. With Hyatt, I stated:

Given the problem, I feel that some level of compensation, such as vouchers, cash reimbursement, or Gold Passport points is in order in this case.
I have written a number of letters with language like this in them over the years and I've hardly ever been disappointed with the level of compensation I've received.
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Old Mar 13, 00, 8:16 pm   #12
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I have never known a hotel to *confirm* type of bedding, but rather accept a request. Just the same for smoking/non-smoking.

While this is clearly not Priceline's fault, as you've acknowledged, it is worth your while, in my opinion, to let them know about this. They have been known, on many occasions, to compensate, in whole or in part, for customer service problems. It worked for me and was handled very professionally. I know others who've had a similar experience.

While all the hotel guests were severely inconvenienced by this, your family was at a disadvantage because their entire stay was pre-paid. Other guests had the option of checking out the next day and going somewhere else. I would include that in my complaint to Priceline. I would also mention that you are a repeat user of Priceline and let them know how many times you have used them in the past.

And JIMBOLIGUY, please do not make such a factually incorrect statement that he deserves 500 AA miles for the stay. Priceline users do not qualify for such bonuses, and in fact, it is my understanding that customers booking directly with the hotel don't even qualify for such bonuses when paying a discounted rate.
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Old Mar 13, 00, 10:41 pm   #13
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Jon, I would NOT write Wyndham (actually I would say go ahead and write) but as you send that letter out I would get teh PHONE NUMBER of Wyndham's headquarters.

*Talk to a LIVE person. Start a diary. Get names, time that you called and explain your situation.
*If you (or your wife) can have a brief written statement of the situation, ask if you could fax it to Wyndham's customer relations. Get a name, not "customer service." (the perfect statement is what you wrote here.)
*Wait five business days. If no response, call again.

For what your wife went through, they should give you all and your kids the ENTIRE RUN of a Wyndham hotel. A night for just all of you (and a few dozen Flyertalkers to do exact what those children and their so called chaperones did to you.)

OMNI: I went through the same situation at the MGM GRAND. I called, complained, complained to the staff (the manager I was told was "too busy to see me.") The staff didn't care and one joked "just get ear plugs."

I said I"m doing one better: Not only will I never stay there again but I will make sure I tell my thousands of friends never to stay there. and post it on the INternet as well.

NO compensation. NOTHING.

I hope you do better.

FYI Sheryl: I don't know about PRiceline but as a Platnium Starwood Preferred Guest, A Gold Marriott Marquis and a Gold Hilton HHonors I'm almost ALWAYS GUARANTEED THE TYPE OF BEDDING I WANT... whether it's me staying alone (KING) OR sharing my room with a good buddy (DOUBLE TWINS, of course.)

Let's say my record for this is 95 percent in the bedding department.

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Old Mar 13, 00, 11:40 pm   #14
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I had an inexcusably bad stay last year at the Doubletree in Santa Monica, CA. Massive, noisy renovations, hot water cut off without notice, room electronics missing, deeply incompetent staff, general manager out of town... yeesh.

I learned the GM's name and wrote him a succinct personal letter, indicating exactly what had gone wrong and what ought to have happened. I then went to the Promus website, learned the name of the VP/marketing (he was new to his job), and copied the letter to him with a formal, personal cover note.

Result: cost of entire stay refunded, offer of two free nights at any Doubletree in the US, and a personal, telephoned apology from the regional GM for Southern California. The hotel was terrible, but I can't complain about the company's attempt to put things right.

The keys, I think: be succinct. Sound professional. Indicate that you are an experienced traveler. DON'T recite an obsessive diary of phone and mail contacts; it makes you sound nuts. Strike a tone not of personal injury, but professional courtesy -- your own. (As in, I'm taking time as a a courtesy to tell you what's happening in Santa Monica under the auspices of your brand... because I felt you would be interested to know.) You get results.

PS. I've stayed in that Wyndham in Burlington as well... with my four-year-old son in tow... always been treated well, never attacked with fire extinguishers, and paid the Wyndham Internet rate of +/- $65. a night.

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Old Mar 14, 00, 2:14 am   #15
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Mr. Nice,

First of all, priceline.com doesn't prepay hotels for the bidder's stay. It actually provides its MasterCard to the hotel for room & tax charges.

Next, you are correct that many hotels will place priceline.com guests in inferior accomodations. This can be easily remedied. Simply move. I recently checked-in to the Sheraton Harbor Island-San Diego. I paid $50 a night to priceline for a 3-night stay.

At check in, I was placed on the lowest floor. This floor was undergoing construction and my smoking room had two double beds. I immediately retreated to the front desk. I asked the agent to be placed on a high floor without construction, in a king non-smoking. The agent did as requested. Result... nice room, nice price, and Starwood points! Ask and ye shall receive.
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