Do-Over Announced By Leading Hotels Of The World

Leading Hotels of The World is having a “do-over” for today’s botched $19.28 5-star hotel room promotion. You just need to fill out this document and email it to the email address listed inside it starting at 8am Eastern, tomorrow, Oct 2. The forms will only be accepted for 80 minutes. Orders will be handled on a first-come-first serve basis. The link was left in our comments section by a commenter reposting a message from Marshall Calder, SVP of Leading Hotels Of The World marketing. He also made an apology, posted inside…

I am the senior vice president of marketing for the Leading Hotels of the World.

There has been much spoken about our $19.28 promotion today. With this in mind, I wish to update those with an interest in this promotion, but first offer our sincercerest apology for the failure of our website.

Depsite every effort to ensure that our website could accommodate a large spike in traffic, it ultimately failed.

To remedy the situation, we are contacting every registrant to offer them another chance to participate in the promotion via e-mail. As was our original intent, the inventory will be available on a first come first serve basis.

We have over 6,000 rooms designated to the $19.28promotion. Over 150,000 persons have registered for the promotion and it is our intent to offer everyone one of them an equal opportunity to secure the $19.28 rate via our back-up plan.

I also wish to confirm that the e-mails of all registrants will be deleted at the conclusion of the promotion and shall not be used for any other purpose.


Marshall Calder

Thanks for reaching out, Marshall. Let’s hope you guys get it right this time.

$19.28 5-Star Hotel Room Promo Ends In Fiasco
Book A World-Class Hotel Room For Only $19.28 Per Night


Edit Your Comment

  1. leprofie says:

    That’s noon GMT, which is 8am Eastern Time.

  2. leprofie says:

    That’s noon GMT, or 8am Eastern time.

  3. mcreigh says:

    I think that’s 12 pm UTC, so 8 am Eastern time.

  4. weakdome says:

    That’s nice to hear, that the company is giving 2nd chances. I was originally going to participate in this, but I suddenly found myself single and not really needing to travel anywhere solo.

  5. chiieddy says:

    Note: It’s starts at 12 pm GMT. That’s 5 pm EDT, 8 pm CDT.

  6. Frank From Virginia says:

    “available on a first come first serve basis” “served”?
    (Or is that just a British thing?)

  7. Nerdhouse1 says:

    Can someone explain to me WHEN you can get the 20$ room, do you just request anyday? or are their blackout dates? I’m confused (I also realize my chances are slim)

  8. muddymaesuggins says:

    i registered and i haven’t gotten this “apology and makeup” letter.

  9. chgoeditor says:

    I appreciate that LHW is trying to do the right thing, but this is a complete mess. After crashing their servers this morning, they’re now asking 150,000 people to send in a large email attachment at precisely noon GMT tomorrow. I’m no techie, but it seems pretty obvious that this will crash their servers, too.

    (It’s interesting to note that they are apparently sending these emails out to registered users in batches, which explains why some people have received 1, 2 and 3 emails, and others have received no emails. If their server is unable to handle 150,000 simultaneous outbound emails, how will they be able to handle that many arriving with attachments?)

    And they say it’s first come, first served, but as I understand it, it’s pretty easy to manipulate the timestamps on emails, so someone could easily send them an email 20 minutes after the electronic doors open and still have that email appear as if it arrived at the milisecond that they started receiving emails.

    I hope they’ll rethink this and come up with a solution that gives people who have preregistered an equal opportunity to take advantage of the offer. First come, first served just seems destined to fail.

    • EarlNowak says:


      Maybe it’s a Gmail account?

    • scoosdad says:

      @chgoeditor: I think you’re right, we’ll be hearing about this again same time tomorrow. The form is a Word doc, about 225KB in size. Could have probably been a whole lot smaller had they not filled the top third of the first page with a silly color graphic that was totally unnecessary, and had not added a second page of the form that was for their internal office use only.

      And how many of those incoming email attachments can their virus scanners look through in 80 minutes? I know mine gives a good hard look at any Word doc that comes into me.

    • lannister80 says:

      @chgoeditor:Emails are “marked” with a timestamp by each mail server they travel through, including the destination server. Even if you set your computer’s clock ahead a few minutes, only the email’s “stated” sent time would be affected. All the other mail servers would apply their (correct) timestamps.

      Assuming their IT people aren’t retarded, it’s easy fraud to spot.

    • Antediluvian says:

      @chgoeditor: Remember, it’s going to be the time that they RECEIVED the mail at their servers, which will be time stamped by their servers. Given the nature of this promotion, you can bet there will be a hell of a lot of network and IT staff involved, so they’ll be able to determine that ACTUAL time the mail arrives.

  10. B says:

    Wait, we can call do-overs? Wall street might want to look into this. Knowing them, however, they’d just make the same mistakes a second time. Or find a new way to screw up.

  11. MavisGeschnozzle says:

    Here’s another problem -while the form they’re supplying here offers your main choice and 2 alternate hotel choices, it doesn’t list which of their hotels are taking part (not all are)-and you still can’t access the promotion page at their site to find out.

  12. OmarMarr says:

    Since they erased the page, how are we supposed to find out which hotels were part of the deal?? I was looking at the one in NY, but now don’t know which one it was!

    Jeez, get it together!

  13. lowercase says:

    I preregistered too, but can’t get or receive home e-mail from work. I’ll have to figure some way to send it time-delayed right at 8, or hope they’ll accept one from my work e-mail that wasn’t registered.

  14. carlosdelvaca says:

    I’m a member at FlyerTalk, and on reading the thread there I was astounded at the fury of some posters. Yeah, LHW screwed this up badly, and it’s disappointing. I don’t think that warrants pulling e-mail addresses for LHW staff off their web site and signing them up for porn spam, or plotting a campaign to generally bad-mouth the hotels involved.

  15. leprendun says:

    I wasted nearly more than an hour this morning trying to receive the reservation, and now there’s even more hassle involved. While I’m glad that they’re trying to fix things, they should have anticipated the response, especially considering that they had people pre-register.

  16. stanhubrio says:

    Looks like Marshall Calder needs to do a little proofreading. He did come off as one of the most sincercerest of executives, though.

  17. Jbondkicks says:

    Today’s Question: What happens when thousands upon thousands of people try to access a website at the exact same time?

    Tomorrow’s Question: What happens when thousands upon thousands of people send an e-mail to the same address at the exact same time?

  18. Sathallrin says:

    Why did they have to make it a word document? Especially one that doesn’t open properly in OpenOffice.

    • femaleconsumerist says:

      @Sathallrin: I actually got it to work fine with the newest version of OpenOffice. Getting it to let me to type in the spaces provided just took a little more finesse than usual (reading: repeatedly clicking until the text box finally came up).

  19. wiretapstudios says:

    I predict a massive fail tomorrow. Of course, how will you know, when it is going to take a week to process. Then what, they call you on the phone? There is no space for an email address. The possibility of my form staying with my email is remote.

    On another note, if they hadn’t put that stupid graphic in the form, and just made it text only, they could have cut their server load tomorrow in half, or even a quarter.

  20. potzertommy says:

    can someone tell me what the names of the hotels are that are involved in the promotion? It’s hard to put down your three choices when you dont know the names of the hotels

  21. mblitch says:

    I had signed up a few weeks ago for a supposed promotion put on by Leading Hotels of the World that offered a rate of 19.28 for some high-end hotels for one or two nights in mid-Nov to mid-Dec to be a surprise from someone in the future. Their promotion required pre-registration and, here is the obvious flaw, required everyone to use the website precisely at 12 GMT to vie for 6000+ claimed rooms within a 80 minute span. This was a heavily promoted system, so apparently ten of thousands (they claimed 150,00 actually) of people pre-registered. As would be completely obvious to anyone with network experience, the site was completely unreachable from at least 7:30 AM (when I tried to get on) until after 11AM. As would be expected, their web server could not handle the sudden load. this should be been foreseeable since even the evening before the site was crawling.

    By 8AM I had put in an email to one of the executives and called some numbers, but even when I got through I was told the servers were up and people were getting through. In the 4-5 forums I check that had threads concerning this promotion, not a SINGLE person was reportedly able to get through until there was a message saying that all 6000+ rooms were booked, which obviously was a lie.

    One would think an intelligent company would step back, recover, and wait to find the best action. the sheer incompetence of this company is astounding. They sent out 2 emails later saying that the attached form would have to be sent in for a new drawing, however there were NO attachments. The third email gave a web address that had the form. The stupidity gets even worse. The forms are sent in Microsoft Word format that is NOT an industry standard for these kinds of things (e.g. a platform-free PDF), so this shuts out many Mac and Linux users. The form also had macros enabled, thus opening people up to macro viruses that are common. If IT was so incompetent in the first place, how can any guess what level of security they have an are not infected. The first version of the form asked for a credit card, which hopefully few people are stupid enough to send via unsecured e-mail even if they were willing to allow a charge which could not even be guessed due to taxes and other fees being added in. They later removed the CC requirement, but still in the form is a large, useless, graphic file. this company is now demanding that everyone send in an email (with this 200+k attachment) at the same time. They claim that the e-mails time stamp will provide for a ‘first-come first-served’ method of choosing. Hundreds of not thousands of emails are going to have identical time stamps, which is is going to be pointless when the servers crash because they will not be able to handle the load.

    Chronology of errors:

    1) Even with indications the previous night of a slow-down, web server slows to a crawl well before promotion time and pretty much halts until well after the promotion

    2) Calls to office has one being told the server is fine and people are getting in. Obviously this is a lie or sheer ignorance.

    3) Server messages later indicates that all rooms were booked even though not a SINGLE person has reported to be able to book a room.

    4) Users sent e-mail #1 and told they would have to send in attached form. There is no attachment to the e-mail.

    5) Users sent e-mail #2 and told they would have to send in attached form. There is no attachment to the e-mail.

    6) Users sent e-mail #3 and told they would have to send in form that is being hosted on their website.

    7) Website form 1 is in Word Format (thus prevent most Linux and Mac users for using it). Form has macros enabled (pointlessly) and thus is a huge security issue. Form has large graphic file in it. Form also demands credit Card number be written in so it can be sent via unsecured e-mail.

    8) Website form 2 is in Word Format (thus prevent most Linux and Mac users for using it). Form has macros enabled (pointlessly) and thus is a huge security issue. Form still has large (200+ K) graphic file in it. It demands everyone send it at 12 GMT and that the time stamp will determine which is accepted first.

    9) {Prediction tomorrow} By 11:50 GMT the email server will be completely shut down due to sudden onslaught of hundreds of megabytes of data come in at once demanding immediate processing.

    What a mess it was; completely avoidable even. I can understand the first problem, server get sudden traffic all the time and go down, but they way they handled it shows, and I am not exaggerating here, complete and utter incompetence. Every step they have done shows they don’t have a clue as to the technical reality of it all. If they for whatever reason could not use an automated system, then the ONLY way to handle it would be to use a lottery system (much like football/baseball playoff tickets are handled). Provide a large window where the entries can be made and then randomly select them. But no, that would actually require critical thinking skills.

    OK, enough of the rant. It is just frustrating to think that people like this are in business. I have no doubt the same kind of people are responsible for the domestic financial crisis, namely people that do not think critically, assume too much, and cannot comprehend a bigger picture even if they did want to even bother thinking of anyone other than themselves.

    • scoosdad says:

      @mblitch: Relax, take a deep breath. It’s only a sweepstakes. It’s not the financial system meltdown.

      We all know they’re boneheads by now.

  22. PolythenePam says:

    Does anyone have a list of the hotels, or know where a link is that actually works? I want to try this but can’t get on their website.

  23. boogermike says:

    You will need to be pre-registered to participate in this promotion, so no use trying to send in a request if you didn’t sign up previously (although, it likely will be no use to send a request in anyway, as this promotion is very popular, and likely will result in another catastrophic technology failure in the morning).

    My comment, is that after the failure this morning, the company didn’t step back, assess the situation, and figure out an elegant solution to appease their customers. They rushed out terrible solutions, that will only ensure that there problems increase tomorrow when their system fails again.

    Attention Execs at LHW: You guys messed up, but now is the time to take a moment, and assess the situation. You should ensure that you dig yourselves out of the hole you are in, not just start digging faster in the hopes that you will emerge from the bottom of the hole!

  24. XTC46 says:

    I just configured Outlook to send the entry form and email for me since the opening is 2am my time. Awesome.

  25. ShriMabawza says:

    How do you unsubscribe from Leading Hotels of the World? I reply to Unsubscribe but I have to authenticate every time, so their Sender Address Verification makes me feel like my requests to get off the list are just going to a bulk mail folder. Also, the promo has been postponed.

  26. SOhp101 says:

    Just got an e-mail from the company… they’re canceling the e-mail submissions tomorrow as well, so don’t even bother sending your e-mails.

  27. techman01 says:

    E-mail methold cancelled:
    Dear !!!!!!!!!!!!,

    Thank you so much for your continued patience with The Leading Hotels of the World. We are extremely sorry for the inconveniences we have caused and regret to advise you that the USD 19.28 email promotion scheduled for tomorrow October 2nd shall be postponed.

    Although our original back-up plan provided a viable solution for the 150,000 people who were registered, it was met with some confusion over submission procedures and timing. In addition, we have become increasingly concerned that a large number of non-registered respondents plan to submit forms which would inundate the system and greatly diminish your chances of securing a USD 19.28 rate.

    In view of this, please do not email your form tomorrow. You will most likely receive an error message we have put in place as a safety mechanism.

    We are sincerely committed to restoring your faith in our brand and do not want to risk disappointing you again. We are working tirelessly to develop a solution that will be fair for you and all registered participants. We will email you next week with further details.


    Ted Teng

  28. techman01 says:

    What they should is give everyone that pre-registered a room for $19.28…

    Just let x amount of ppl access a resevation site at a time.

    Problem solved.

  29. andrew72681 says:

    If they didn’t have a way of reconciling the email addresses of the email submissions why send out the form in the first place? I can’t imagine someone didn’t think in the several hours between the site completely buckling and sending out the email with the form attached someone didn’t say “how do we know who registered and who’s gloming on now that it’s news”

  30. DH405 says:

    I think its pretty obvious that they’re not tech people by the fact that they’re using a DOC file for this. At least it isn’t DOCX.