Leading Hotels Do-Over Postponed

Don’t bother getting up early tomorrow to submit your Leading Hotels Of The World do-over app in the hopes of snagging a $19.28 hotel room. All the registrants just got an email saying it was postponed. Here’s their full email:

Dear Ben Popken,

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
President & CEO
The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.

The Leading Hotels of the World | Leaders Club | Privacy Policy

Should you wish to change your email subscription options or to unsubscribe please click here.
Note: Replies to this message are not monitored. Please direct any comments to 1928@lhw.com.
The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. | 99 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-1601

If you release 5-star hotel rooms around the world for $19.28, don’t be surprised when half the internet shows up.


Edit Your Comment

  1. azntg says:

    I think I smell lawsuits LOL

  2. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    “That deal we had? Yeah, well forget it existed. And don’t email us either, because we’re past the point of caring.”

  3. wiretapstudios says:

    Epic double fail. I got this in my email as well. Hey, quick question, what’s a great way to piss off new customers twice before even BOOKING one of your hotels?

  4. humphrmi says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how in 2008, fully twelve years after e-trade suffered severe outages due to overwhelming network crashes caused by too many of their customers trying to trade all at once, that any company still doesn’t understand the basic physics of the Internet.

    E-Trade. Sears. Leading Hotels of the World. Countless others. “Let’s have an Internet sale!”

    All a bunch of morons who can’t be bothered to do a little basic research.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @humphrmi: I’d think a company could make a good deal of money renting out temporary server capacity to companies for promotions like these. It would keep these guys from crashing and burning-if they used it, that is.

      • GTI2.0 says:


        Done – Amazon EC2 is perfect for this, more companies should use it for flash loads.

        There are other solutions as well. This was just sloppy on LHW’s part.

  5. Reidicus says:

    I was half-expecting this to happen. Their fallback solution smelled of a panicked improvisation (which I’m sure it was), and I was already wondering how they were going to distinguish forms emailed from their pre-registered participants from those of gate-crashers — the form wasn’t behind a password-protected wall, nor did it contain any embedded information about the registered user.

    And those concerns don’t even address the server strain from having 150,000 emails with 100kb attachments hit at exactly the same time. Time to think this through just a bit more, which is what they should have done in the first place.

  6. chiieddy says:

    What they should do is pick random ‘winners’ at this point.

  7. GrantGannon says:

    I’d be up for a random email or phone call at this point saying ‘Hey, you won, where do you want to stay?”

    • mike6545 says:

      @GrantGannon: Well there’s two problems with that.

      1) They don’t know who will want what. If they do it random, they may have all the rooms for florida booked but none for california.

      2) I never win random drawings, so no. :D

    • jamar0303 says:

      @GrantGannon: Different hotels have released different dates. But this can be fixed. It should go like this- do as you say but take a note of the people whose desired hotels and dates aren’t available. Go over the list again and repeat the process until the rooms are all filled.

  8. carlosdelvaca says:

    The Phillies sell playoff tickets via a lottery. You have a week to sign up, then they pick at random from that pool, and you get an e-mail saying “Click here to purchase tickets.” You don’t buy them within a day, someone else gets your shot. How hard could that be?

  9. goodstuffmaynard says:

    LOL, I got this e-mail as well. Somebody’s not thinking through the logistics of these things. As much as I would prefer not to have to resolve it with randomly drawing winners, I suppose that is what they’ll have to do. :(

  10. kaylabear says:

    LHW should just hold a ‘sale,’ something more realistic like 50 or 60% off, instead of releasing all of their rooms virtually for free ($19.28 a night at a 5-star hotel is practically free considering the actual rack rates of most of LHW’s hotels). I know that sounds crazy seeing as the rooms would cost more, but hey, maybe that might give more people a chance, and maybe their site wouldn’t break down so horribly.

    • dialing_wand says:


      They are only making available a certain number of rooms (6000) at certain hotels. So while it is a fire-sale price, it’s not for all their offerings.

      But I think your general idea is a far more realistic and a possible solution that would make more people happy.

  11. parkerjh says:

    yeah, when I got the form to fill out for the do-over, I knew INSTANTLY that it would not work. Very cursory information, too many people emailing at once, etc. Hopefully they figure it out, great promotion.

  12. spidra says:

    Yup yup. I figured it would just be their mail server that melted down this time. And I didn’t appreciate a solution that required me to wake up at 4:30am PDT *again*. I’m good with the lottery solution carlosdelvaca talked about.

  13. Whinemaker says:

    Ahh yes, I too was one of the *early risers* who got up at 4:30 and then began furiously clicking, only to keep getting the error message. My destination of choice was a stay at the Bernardus Lodge, in Carmel Valley, CA.

    My normal employed self wouldn’t bother with this nonsense, but my sad, too-broke-for-vacation self would. It’s the only way to quench my champagne taste on a beer budget …

    • Antediluvian says:

      @Whinemaker: Forget beer — I drink tapwater and pretend it’s vodka. Or gin, if I feel like pretending I’m a sot.

      Although I find it tastes a little diluted unless you order it neat.

  14. resonanteye says:

    Goes to show that lower prices are the only thing needed to spark new life into our tourist economy!

  15. Frank From Virginia says:

    So be it. Actually this getting like waiting for a new iPhone. In time we will, or we will not get to book a hotel. Either way we can enjoy the ride or bitch about. I’m OK waiting. I’m on the east coast, so my window starts at 8:00 AM, I feel sorry for you left coast folks getting up at O-Dark-Thirty.

  16. lowercase says:

    Wow, so much anger over what is essentially someone doing a favor that didn’t work out. Nobody has lost anything! Anyone who made concrete plans around this thing wasn’t paying much attention- even if the servers worked flawlessly, it looks like about a 1 in 25 chance of getting ANY room at best, and who knows which rooms and which nights are in their system.

    When they get it back going, I’ll try it again, and with a little luck I’ll have a nice little getaway to a cool city. And if not, then I’ll be mildly disappointed and get on with my life.

  17. leprendun says:

    Well, some of us wasted about an hour and a half trying to get in yesterday, and then I spent another 10 minutes filling out their form that later they decided not to use. I’m not angry so much as annoyed. I don’t mind not getting a cheap room, nor did I actually expect to win. I did expect, however, to lose in a fair manner and without jumping through all these hoops. Many people predicted the failure of the website when the promotion launched and the mess associated with this reflects quite poorly on the company.

  18. mcreigh says:

    These poor silly hotel marketing people. Maybe they need a federal bailout deal.

  19. acarr260 says:

    I still haven’t received their foolow-up emails about this. Is anyone else in the same boat?

  20. tedyc03 says:

    Wow. That was like the most stilted email I’ve ever read.

  21. Jakuub says:

    Please, after the initial wave, their waiting for their IT guys to get Google ads put on the form for the next go ’round.

  22. serialportme says:

    So funny. After the whole initial fiasco, I was bummed and had to leave the office for an appointment. Then got the 80 minute deadline on my mobile – figured I was done. Woke up this AM to the newest disaster email. This entire thing was thought out so poorly. I love the “don’t be surprised when half the internet shows up” line.

  23. scoosdad says:

    Well that didn’t take long, someone has already edited their Wikipedia entry with this:

    Instead of honoring their promotion, the company has opted to suspend the deal indefinitely, banking the tens of thousands of dollars in free promotion from media outlets who covered the promotion in the days leading up to the anniversary sale, and acquiring 150,000 email addresses. The long term effects of the bait-and-switch have yet to be seen.


    I went there wondering, “who the hell are these people”, and you know, I still don’t know the answer. What does “representing” a hotel really mean? Owners? Managers? Or simply a big advertising and promotion co-op?

    • scoosdad says:

      @scoosdad: Ah, you gotta love the twisting winds of a Wikipedia entry, where anybody can be an editor, anytime. It says now instead of what I quoted above:

      They immediately contacted all of the individuals who were pre-registered to participate in the promotion with an apology and news of a forthcoming back-up plan. They were quick to also reassure these customers that once the promotion was complete, all emails collected for this initiative would be deleted. A solution is currently being developed to provide another opportunity for registered participants to secure the $19.28 rate.

  24. econobiker says:

    Dear Consuming Public,
    We apologize for the problem with this 19.28 promotion.

    We did not anticipate that people communicate with eachother by forwarding email information about great deals.

    We had no clue that this would be a problem. At least my IT people did not think so but you should have seen them hopping when the computers started smoking…

    And in conclusion, I truly believed that turkeys could fly.

    Ted Teng
    President & CEO
    The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.

  25. mzs says:

    What incompetents!

    I did not register the first time around because I did not want them to have my email address. Yesterday I woke-up and their web server melted. Then I was too foolish to check here again before waking-up early in the morning to fire off the email (should have just did a mail cron job but felt that would be cheating). Now I am convinced that this was just a PR stunt and these PR people with no computer savy have my email address.

    That can only end well…

  26. justbychance says:

    This is worst than the Extended Hotels farting thing. All press isn’t good press.

    I would never ever ever for free never stay at one of these hotels. Not if every other hotel burned down and they were the only other option left.

    This is the kinda stuff Circuit City would do if they were a hotel company.

    If this was all a ploy to get people to remarket to, they must have been an easier way….must have been.

    That is all.


  27. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    Please. There’s no way they’re bringing it back, especially now that there’s even more publicity around the deal than before. But it will be fun to see them try to dig themselves out of this PR debacle.

  28. vastrightwing says:

    I suggest that congress act quickly put together a bailout of the hotel industry by issuing coupons good for $20/night stays. This will make consumers confidant that hotels are not simply going out of business and will stimulate travel.