Over on Elliott.org, a woman describes how her $29 Days Inn room ballooned to a $180 charge when the hotel’s owner refused to honor the deal, and what she did to get the difference refunded. [Elliott.org]

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  1. tedyc03 says:

    Can you tell us what she did? Cause her blog is down for the count.

  2. tmlfan81 says:

    Yes, a transcript, please.

  3. rpm773 says:

    While it’s good that this worked out in the customer’s favor, it only did so because Travelocity ate the difference.

    So unless the motel manager gets his out of this, it most likely will happen again. Can Travelocity be bothered going after 1 case? Hopefully.

  4. chgoeditor says:

    “what she did to get the difference refunded”…She wrote to Elliot, who got Travelocity to refund the difference.

  5. MrsLopsided says:

    A $29 room was booked thru Travelocity. The hotel didn’t want to honor the advertised low rate and canceled the reservation without informing the guest. The only option was to take a $180 room for the night. Days Inn blamed Travelocity, Travelocity blamed Days Inn. Travelocity eventually refunded the difference.

  6. loganmo says:

    I think the bigger part of the story is that Elliot apparently is taking heat for calling the pricing practices of both airlines and on-line booking sites as “bait and switch.” Sounds like an accurate description to me.

  7. laserjobs says:

    Travelocity is crap, I have had them screw up my room reservations 3 times. They would not eat the difference for their screw-ups either. They never notified me of a cancelation, luckily I called the hotel before to I showed up to a conference and found a replacement. Always call the hotel to confirm when using any of these booking services.

  8. MrsLopsided says:

    I suspect it was a corporate chain-wide promotion and the local franchisee would have to eat the cost. I’ve seen this with other franchise operations. The local operator gets screwed. It’s not right, but in this case it seems the hotel was not booked solid so its still additional revenue to the operator with no additional cost.

  9. Julia789 says:

    I no longer book through sites like Travelocity and Expedia. I’ve been burned before, both hotel and airline tickets. For example, Travelocity will blame the hotel, and the hotel will blame Travelocity. Or Expedia will blame the airline, and the airline will blame Expedia.

    I could swear the airlines and hotels have this system worked out with Travelocity/Expedia, and are all having a laugh at our expense. “Here’s the deal – I blame you, and you blame me. No one will budge, and no refunds are given to anyone!”

    I might use the services to locate available hotels, or search for flights on many different airlines. Then I jot down the flight number or name of the hotel, and go to the airline or hotel website and purchase directly. That way if there is a problem, they have no one to blame but themselves.

    • TheStonepedo says:

      @Julia789: I agree fully. Travelocity and Expedia are preliminary search tools. Hotels.com is the only booking company I’ve used without dealing with refund/cancellation nightmares.

    • J.Heck says:

      @Julia789: Agreed. And if you choose to deal with the hotel (speaking for hotel only, I don’t know anything about airlines) directly, they will often honor the price. Why? Because they then have two options… honor the price listed on Travelocity/Expedia/whatever and make the maximum profit from it, or let the customer book through that site, resulting in still having to honor the price and losing a percentage of the sale to Travelocity/Expedia/whatever.

  10. floraposte says:

    So how bound to these promotions are local franchisees? Because my gut reaction would be to report this to the state’s attorney general as fraudulent practice. However, I’m now wondering if local franchises are obliged to comply with corporate promotions–does anybody know?

    • samurailynn says:

      @floraposte: I think most of the time, if you own a franchised business, you have to do what the franchiser tells you to as far as promotions. Of course, it depends on the what the rules of the franchise agreement are.

    • xjeyne says:

      @floraposte:

      I worked in franchised hotels for about 5 years. I haven’t worked for the Days Inn brand but I have worked for several others and my position in the hotels I’ve worked for dealt directly with these websites.

      The deal hotels have with websites has nothing to do with the franchiser. The hotel’s owner or General Manager, or one of their peons, has access to a user interface on the website in which they set their own price for the room based on the rates set by other hotels in the same market. Say the normal rack rate is $139/night. The hotel tells the website to pay $40/night for the room, and then the customer pays $99 to the website. The website makes $40 and the hotel makes $59 from the transaction. These rates are only available during the slow season and usually not on weekends or during special events or any time the hotel can fill the beds without help from the website.

      The customer books the room through the website (this reservation is usually set in stone & you can’t change it for any reason, which is why it’s better to book directly through the hotel if your plans are sketchy), and then the website books the room with the hotel. The website charges the customer’s credit card for the booking, then they either send the hotel a credit card set to only accept a charge of the exact room & tax, or the hotel’s accounts receivable department bills the website once a month. This is why it becomes a pain in the ass for both parties if anything on the reservation is changed. The hotel usually doesn’t have the customer’s credit card information and must take an alternate form of payment for incidentals incurred during the guest’s stay, and if the guest wants to change any part of their reservation which would change the rate it gets complicated for the hotel to get the website to change it on their end.

      I apologize if this comment is difficult to read – it’s early in the morning for me (west coast).

      • xjeyne says:

        @xjeyne:

        Hmm can’t edit comments – I meant to say the hotel makes $40 and the website makes $59 from the booking transaction, not the other way around.

  11. chucklebuck says:

    Someone commenting on the elliot.org article says this:

    That said, their contract isn’t with you, they didn’t advertise a room at X, travelocity did and that’s why when there was a problem, Travelocity stepped up and coverred you. You’ll likely never know who screwed up your reservation, but talking about it in terms of a relationship you feel you had or a contract you feel you had with the hotel is misleading, the hotel owes ‘you’ nothing.

    If this is true, I can’t see why anyone would ever use Travelocity or any other similar service – it’s like playing Russian roulette with your vacation.

  12. samurailynn says:

    The hotel business is screwy. I used to work in the travel industry, and it pretty much sucks. Prices change all the time, and hotels will try to screw anyone they can. Even if you have a contract for room rates in writing, they will still try to do what they can to get more money. Not that any other part of the travel industry is better… the whole industry is like that.

  13. bigvicproton says:

    same with priceline, the hotels see those who have pre-paid as being the first to screw over. plus they see you as just someone looking for a cheap rate and its doubtful if you will be a return customer. book through the hotel’s site, don’t prepay, and you have leverage when they screw up or try to give you a gulag room..

  14. lastingsmilledge says:

    their whole online price-guarantee is a scam too. if you find a cheaper rate they’ll give you some sort of excuse like “that is a handicap-accessible room” – and then when you email back with a non-accessible room they simply refuse to reply to your email.

  15. howie_in_az says:

    I’ve dealt with the backend of both Travelocity and Expedia — it’s a company/service called SABRE, or Semi-Automated Booking Reservation Engine, and it is a royal pain to deal with. The only thing worse than SABRE’s services were RCI’s services, but RCI’s were new whereas SABRE is running the same 40-year old stuff (I wish I was joking) with pretty pretty dressing on top. Thankfully I’m no longer in the travel business industry.

    The horror, the horror.

  16. frodo_35 says:

    She should have done a charge back on the 180 and told the hotel to contact their vendor( Travelocity )for the diff.

  17. penuspenuspenus says:

    Ok, I’m not seeing an important part in this article: When was the booking made?

    Travelocity has a tendency to not heed a hotel’s request to pull rooms off of its site when it is close to selling out and we tell them to.

    I work in a small hotel and have had to sit on the phone for 1/2 an hour telling them that I had no rooms left to rent out, and yes, we meant it when we pulled our last rooms for sale from the site. Unfortunately that doesn’t solve the problem for the traveller already en-route.

    Since Travelocity paid for this, I am going to assume they are to blame. Since I have to form an opinion on the initial transaction, the hotel was “booked” through Travelocity at the last minute, and I’m guessing the hotel told the website to pull the rooms, which didn’t happen in time.

  18. J.Heck says:

    At the hotel I used to work at, we would offer guests who booked through those sites a 20% discount if they booked directly with us the next time they came through. Honestly, there are many hotels who despise those companies, but feel forced to use their “services” because if they don’t, they don’t compete with those who get big business from them.

  19. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Days Inn is one of the hotels that has a pretty reliable booking system on their website as well.

    The most recent trip my boyfriend and I took to Kennedy Space Center, we needed one overnight room. I booked the cheapest one on their website. When we got there, we got a free upgrade to the manager’s “friends & family” room. Which was awesome.