An online friend of mine asked this question and since it probably effects a lot of people next weekend, I’m putting it here…
I booked a room at the Doubletree for AN as soon as the rooms were available. I called to confirm the room on Thursday and they said that even though I have a confirmed room, they were overbooked and I would be sent to another hotel. Can they do this? They still have my deposit (for religious reasons I don’t use credit cards and overnighted them a cheque).
I looked at the AN Facebook page and it looks like they did this to a lot of people. What can I do?
In the hotel industry, we call this “walking,” and it is really a rare occurrence. It sounds like this hotel has some serious problems if they are walking bunches of people (judging by the Facebook post you directed me to)
Since Anime North takes place in Canada, I don’t know the rules for “walking” up there, but I can tell you, if this happened at my property, we would secure you a room worth more than your reservation at a nearby hotel for the rate you had booked with us, provide transportation there, pay for two phone calls (this goes back to the days before cell phones), and if you were part of a conference, we would pay for your transit back and forth to our property if we were hosting the event.
1. Call the hotel and get details on where they are sending you. Make sure it is comparable and that the location is okay. (I really find it odd that they are “walking” a week before check-in. Normally it is a same day thing caused by people not checking out on the day they are supposed to, so…perhaps they booked two events and figured the con-kids would be easier to move? IDK)
2. Contact the con itself. While they are not at fault, they need to be made aware that one of their contracted properties is pulling this garbage. Again, one or two rooms being walked is one thing. Blocks of people being walked is suspicious. I wonder if Doubletree is going to try and fill a sister property of lesser quality with their higher rates?
3. When you arrive to check in, have in hand some acceptable properties. Don’t let them tell you it’s an “upgrade.” You can look on your phone and check the rate. Better yet, call them in front of the front desk and ask for their rates and availability. If the Doubletree is charging you $150/nt, they should be sending you somewhere that is getting AT LEAST $150/nt.
4. Ask about transit to the conference. If you were staying at the Doubletree because it is the conference hotel and there are events taking place there, ask them to pay for taxis or shuttles to bring you there.
5. DO NOT cry, throw a fit, or act like a brat. I know it’s frustrating and you’re annoyed, and if the staff is worth their salt they will take care of you. If they are not treating you like a valued customer, tell them that. Ask to speak to a manager. If that fails, call corporate right in front of them. You can find the number on Hilton’s website. Store it in your phone. Be firm, but polite and professional.
6. Contact a travel ombudsman. Try www.elliott.org. I read him often. I bet he could get to the bottom of this mess and make sure Doubletree takes care of you and your group.
Hope this helps and that you have a great con!