The guests, including the bride’s grandmother and members of the wedding party, were supposed to be staying at the Comfort Inn, but with fewer than 24 hours to go before check-in time, the hotel began contacting the guests with bad news.
“[T]hey were overbooked and the guests were being moved to the Days Inn,” the bride’s mom tells the Newark Star Ledger. “I was not notified until guests started calling me, upset. I called and was told by the manager that he had rented the rooms to ‘an energy company from Oxford, N.J.’ and I had no recourse.”
This meant that the guests would now be an additional nine miles away from where they had planned on staying.
But when they arrived at the Days Inn, some of them were told that their rooms weren’t ready yet.
“When they did get in the rooms that night after the dinner, rooms were filthy,” says the mother of the bride, “stains on the carpet and the white towels, dirt in the tubs, grinds in the coffee makers, chairs that were broken in the room, bugs and filth in the bathrooms.”
Others complained of backed-up sinks and what appeared to be vomit in the hallway.
After the wedding, the bride’s mother made an appointment to speak with the Comfort Inn manager, but he would not only discuss the matter at the front desk and refused her request for a private meeting.
She called the Days Inn to complain to a manager there about the conditions of the hotel, but he told her there was nothing he could do for her.
An attempt to register a complaint with Days Inn parent company, the Wyndham Hotel Group failed, as no one would speak to her because she wasn’t a guest in any of the rooms that weekend.
The response from Comfort’s parent company, Choice Hotels, wasn’t much better. The mother was told that the hotel had followed protocol by offering the discounted rooms at the Days Inn for the displaced guests.
“I cannot believe that the ‘energy company from Oxford’ just walked in and took all our rooms the day before we needed them. I cannot believe they didn’t call me as the person who booked the block of rooms,” the mom tells the Star Ledger’s Bamboozled column. “If I was given more notice, I would’ve seen where else we could’ve moved them, but with less than 24 hours to their arrival and in the last throes of preparation, there just wasn’t time.”
Of course, once Bamboozled got involved, the story began to change.
The Days Inn manager called the mom offering a $50/room reimbursement. She demanded a full refund and that’s when the Wyndham folks declared, “While the hotel is independently owned and operated, customer satisfaction is a top priority to the brand… To that end, we have contacted the property about the incident and believe there may have been a misunderstanding, so we’re going to fix it.” And the guests got a full refund on their rooms.
Finally, someone from Choice decided that maybe the hotel had kinda screwed up and offered the mom points on her rewards account as a make-good.
“She said that cancelling an existing block or reservation was not acceptable policy and neither was it right to deny a customer to talk to a supervisor,” the mom tells Bamboozled. “She said that both employees — the manager and customer service — would be spoken to so it didn’t happen again. That suited me.”
Still no explanation on why rooms that had been booked more than a year in advance were suddenly given away at the last minute.
“It’s sad that I couldn’t go through proper channels, the managers, the hotel chain customer service — and neither could my guests — and get this resolved,” says the mom, about having to turn to the media just to get a reasonable response from the hotels.