Marriott overbooks and strands travelers

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Apr 10, 2017
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#21
He would have but I didn't contact him. I would have done so if I wasn't able to get it resolved myself. We had several other issues with that resort and I did share all of this with the agent. Again, I was able to take care of everything myself so I didn't tell him anything until after the trip.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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#22
Sadly, being walked happens. I’ve been there, more than once, in more than once chain. They all do it. Most hotels find that 4 to 7% of bookings are no-shows, and sometimes as much as 10%.

I am now always prepared for it. I ask for: my car to remain in the garage of the hotel where I have my reservation and the hotel to comp the parking and give me a taxi/Uber to the new location, both for that night and for my return the next day. They usually have a slip to do that with. Pls, I ask for breakfast to be comped as well, if it is not already included.

The last time, I was at an Embassy Suites for a large conference. They sent us to another hotel a few miles away. They covered our parking for that arrival date, walked us to the other hotel where they covered that first night, paid for a taxi both directions, and told us to come back to the ES for breakfast, bringing our bags with us. They stored our bags for that day until a room was freed up, at which time they moved our bags into our room and held the key for us at the front desk. I came out ahead by about $300. The first night/day was a little rough due to less sleep, but we managed and then were in our preferred hotel.

It happens. You just have to roll with it and not get worked up.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#23
It took a lot of back and forth with escalation to a supervisor and a manager. They finally agreed to pay for the dinner. Having to spend so much time and effort to have that charge removed made me more upset than being walked.
I know exactly what you mean ... being jerked around for no reason is just too annoying. I've never understood why hotels don't put someone with a brain in charge of these kinds of things ... they create such ill will by treating their customers this way. It's not as though your case is complicated, or subject to fraud, it's totally straight-forward. Just take care of the customer, boys and girls, it's a good thing.
 
May 16, 2016
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#24
If you were attending an event and booked your room through the event Web site (i.e. in their reserved block), then you would have had some recourse through the organizers of the event. Every event contract includes a clause about what happens when members of the group are "walked" -- because yes, it does happen. It's not just Marriott Hotels, it's all hotels. This is part of why event contracts include this clause and why it's so important to book a room using the code or link provided by the conference or event. When you book on your own, you have no contractual protection against overbooking and the hotel will always try to put you up at another hotel of the same brand or family of brands. If you book with the contracted block, the overbooked hotel has to put you up at the closest hotel of "comparable quality" to the hotel where you have a confirmed reservation - but that hotel has to have rooms available! I'm very familiar with Detroit and the surrounding suburbs and there really aren't many hotels in downtown Detroit that are comparable to the Marriott at the Ren Center - and those properties may very well have been fully occupied. Troy may be a bit farther than you wanted to go, but trust me, you don't want to stay in any Detroit hotel that isn't either downtown or north of I - 696.
 
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Dec 19, 2014
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#25
FYI, they don't guarantee that Platinums won't get walked. If you're a Platinum, and book at least 48 hours in advance, they'll let you book a room, even if the hotel is sold out. If they do walk you, your night at the alternative hotel is free, and you get 90k points and $100-200.

https://www.marriott.com/marriott-rewards/member-benefits/guarantee.mi
I will personally attest that being a platinum elite does NOT guarantee that you won't be walked!

A few years ago, I was "walked" from a Fairfield Inn. Was driving and used the Marriott app to book a room down the road. The reservation went through and I received a confirmation number. Approximately 20 minutes later, I received a call from the front desk. They profusely apologized and said that when I booked the room, the front desk was in the process of registering a walk up customer, and I managed to get the confirmation a few seconds before they locked out the room. It was the last room in the hotel. Seriously, the front desk was so apologetic I thought they were going to have a stroke.

It has been the only time in hundreds of stays that I was walked as an elite member. They applied the ultimate reservation guarantee, and did not charge me for original reservation, paid for the new reservation, and a whole slew of other "goodies (cash, points and additional vouchers) The front desk manager even came to the Country Inn to personally apologize and deliver the "goodies."

For us, it was not a major inconvenience, and I actually felt bad because I came out way ahead on their "mistake."

Another memorable "walk" was many years ago in Vegas. Bally's was completely full and for some reason we had booked 2 rooms, but the hotel had "accidentally" cancelled one of the rooms. Instead of being "walked" they upgraded the original room to a 2 bedroom suite and refunded 1 night. The suite was probably the size equivalent of 5 rooms.

To the OP, I realize that this response is 2 1/2 months too late.
Walking occurs. It occurs with EVERY hotel chain. It is rare, but it happens.
Lawsuit? nope

Even if there isn't "overbooking" things happen. Rooms can be offline for maintenance issues. A guest could "overstay" and the protocols and policies for "evicting" a guest aren't as easy as throwing their stuff out of the room.

I realize you are extremely frustrated with Marriott, but I hope that you took the points. 35000 points is a pretty generous offer.
 
Aug 30, 2015
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#26
Overbooking does happen. It is a calculated risk of how many people will cancel their rooms and how many people will "no show." Airlines have it easier as they have your money but most hotel rooms can be cancelled same day or within a day or so without penalty.
I worked in the hotel industry for a few years at the front desk. I never had to walk anyone but watched it a few times. It rarely ends up good for the guest. Guests on vacation benefit more than business guests. When I am on business, I really don't care about a free night. The money saved doesn't end up in my pocket.
I think you missed your ideal time for compensation that would help you. That time was when you were at the hotel being walked. If you wanted to park your car and take a taxi to the rebooked location and back, they would pay for that and not charge you for parking for the first night. I might ask for a suite the second night as a complimentary upgrade or maybe a couple free drinks at the bar.
For you to be guaranteed not to get walked you have to be a Marriott Platinum member and that requires 75 nights in a calendar year. I would listen to the advice given and avoid the word "liars." Your best card to play is that the hotel was 21 miles away at this point and a long drive during rush hour to and from the COBO Center.
Marriott has a 48 hour cancellation policy now, and has had for some time, which in my mind, takes away any sort of justification for overbooking.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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#27
Marriott has a 48 hour cancellation policy now, and has had for some time, which in my mind, takes away any sort of justification for overbooking.
I disagree. A hotel has 120 rooms, let's assume they DON'T overbook and only accept 120 reservations. They are happy - looking at 100% occupancy.

Now let's assume that at 48 hours, 10 of those rooms are cancelled. Now there are 10 vacancies and no guarantee they'll get 10 walk-ups or last minute bookings. Better to have 10 'extra' in the pipeline.

Overbooking is a reality, and unless a hotel goes fully to non-refundable rates I don't see it going away any time soon.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#28
Marriott has a 48 hour cancellation policy now, and has had for some time, which in my mind, takes away any sort of justification for overbooking.
Things happen. Rooms can be taken off line due to maintenance emergencies (AC or heater breaks, toilet stops working), a previous guest trashed the room or refused to leave. Even if a hotel does NOT overbook, there are still situations that are outside of the hotel's control that prevents them from accommodating a guest.

Out of hundreds of stays over the past 10 years, I've only been "walked" once.

Frankly, its how a hotel treats a guest if they have to "walk" you that determines if you were treated "right."
 
Jun 13, 2018
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#29
I was able to get a complete refund for the second night, so my stay at Marriott was free, except for the pain and agony they caused my wife and I which led to ruining our trip completely. I took the “nuclear” option, using the contact on this website, while also taking to social media and review sites. (One-out-of-five all the way, Marriott!) I kept on them until I got results. They wanted me to go away, I repeatedly told them I was in it for the long haul, and the only way to make me go away was to refund the second night.

To clear up some points, and put this one to rest:

1) They overbooked. They admitted it. This was not mechanical, weather-related, or any other understandable issue. No matter what anybody says about “walking” being a normal thing, this was an intentional business practice by Marriott., and it’s not acceptable.

2) As I have stated here, and to Marriott, points are worthless. No matter how much people drool over them, they always come with conditions. The corporation that issues them always holds the power, through expiration dates, blackout dates, rules, restrictions, etc. Cash is king.

3) I took the “nuclear” option because I ran out of patience and politeness. The time for them to make it right was while we were right there at the desk in Detroit. They intentionally overbooked, dumped us, and ruined our trip. Business as usual for them, it seems.

4) If customers keep accepting this type of behavior, corporations keep doing it. Why enable it by accepting it? If I treated customers like this in my line of work, I’d be fired. So, if Marriott does this as a corporate policy, they should also be fired. Which I have done. Things don’t change if everybody just goes along with it.

5) About the “walking” being as common as has been noted here. I have talked extensively with business and leisure travelers in my age group since this incident happened. I have yet to find one who has had this happen to them even once.

I only come here today because I received another notification of somebody posting and telling me what a great deal the points are. I can’t trust Marriott reservations, so what would I use the points for?

It's done. They gave me what I wanted, even though it took months. If they had done a better job on the front end and given us our reserved room, they would not have had to endure me for months on end.
 

Neil Maley

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#30
Glad you got something that worked for you.

Just so you know this isn’t limited to Marriott- all hotels occasionally overbook. How does this happen? They have someone who is there that decides to stay an Day or two extra. (Hotels cannot throw people out that refuse to leave if they have paid and aren’t causing problems)

There may be canceled flights leading to walk in bookings just as someone experienced and someone can be booking on online at the same time causing this.

And they sometimes plan to have so many cancellations and then people don’t cancel.

Hopefully with hotels changing their cancellation policy from same day up to 6 pm to 72 hours, it might lessen some of these instances.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#31
Also glad you got it worked out.

But I don't think you fully comprehend what some of us are saying....
overbooking occurs with EVERY HOTEL CHAIN, and many independent properties.

You are frustrated with Marriott, and understandably so, and it is your prerogative to never book with Marriott again. So when Hilton, Hyatt, Best Western, Choice Hotels, or Wyndham hotels also overbooks you in the future, you will find your choices of where to stay rapidly diminished.

It is not a common occurrence but it does happen. For me, it was once in 5 years over hundreds of stays.

Good luck with your future travels.

The take home message for travelers:
While overbooking is uncommon, it does occur.
It can occur with any chain, and is not a practice that is unique to a specific hotel chain or brand.
To minimize your risk of being walked, book direct (if possible) and avoid OTAs or opaque sites (Princeline, etc)
If you are arriving late, it can be beneficial to call the hotel, or use online check in (via hotel apps) to let them know that you are arriving late.
If you are a member of a hotel's loyalty program, make sure that information is in your reservation (even if you have to book through a conference site such as Passkey, they allow you to enter a frequent travelers number)

If you are "walked" make sure you know your "rights" (aka the hotel's policy). Sadly, there isn't any standard policy, but at a minimum, you should be offered a comparable hotel room, and you should not pay any more than what your original night's rate. Ideally, the room should be provided at no cost to you. You should be offered transportation to and from the property (if you do not have a car).
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#32
Agree with Chris. Also this type of situation can work both ways. I arrived at a Hyatt in Miami late at night and they had no regular rooms (which I had reserved) left. They put me in the Presidential penthouse suite which occupied one-half of the top floor. Unfortunately, I was only there for one night and had to check out at 7 AM. They could have walked me. The bottom line is that ALL hotels may be unable to provide an empty room for many reasons, including overbooking. Unless you prepay at a private inn and receive a confirmed room AND room number, you will always run the risk of arriving at a hotel with no empty rooms. Checking in online as early as possible also lessens this risk.
 

weihlac

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Jun 30, 2017
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#34
So if they all do it, it's okay? I do believe the advocacy here seems to be flipped around a bit. ??????
The goal for any hotel/airline/train/hospital etc is to have all the rooms/seats full. If they only book the number of rooms that they have they will never be full because of last minute cancelations made for whatever reason (there will ALWAYS be reasons for cancellations). The other goal for any business is to maximize return on investment. While we as consumers might wish that a hotel runs at 90% occupancy, that is not realistic. We also want our hotels to be successful and make a profit to invest in improving their facilities. You as a consumer are free to choose or avoid any business that does or does not meet your expectations, but hotels and other businesses will continue to overbook for good reason,
 

AMA

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Dec 11, 2014
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#35
So if they all do it, it's okay? I do believe the advocacy here seems to be flipped around a bit. ??????
We are not saying it's "okay", merely that it is a fact of modern travel and should not come as a surprise if it happens.
 

weihlac

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#36
We are not saying it's "okay", merely that it is a fact of modern travel and should not come as a surprise if it happens.
Actually, as far as I am concerned, it is "Okay". I want the hotels, airlines, cruise lines, hospitals etc I use to be successful and be able to invest in and upgrade their facilities. A low load factor will not allow this. I will also plan my travel to minimize the chance of being refused due to overbooking. There is also another side to this issue--my wife is flying to Europe in October for 1/2 fare since she took a voluntary bump on a United flight and was rerouted, still arriving at her final destination at the originally scheduled time.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#38
I am glad we reopened this thread so our readers can learn about being walked from a hotel ... and what to do about it. Being angry and vindictive doesn't get a traveller very far. Being understanding and working out a solution with the hotel is a much better way to handle the situation. I've never been walked but once, like weihlac, once enjoyed an overnight stay in the Presidential Suite at a Doubletree. Sure wish this kind of thing would happen when I didn't have a plane to catch the next morning. Thanks to this thread I know what to do if I ever am turned away at the front desk.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#39
We have to be realistic here about what we have the ability to advocate. Overbooking is beyond something we can control. Write to your Congresspeople and ask them to advocate for changes to the hotel industry.
If you don't allow hotels to overbook, they will have to get rid of cancellable reservations (or make them much more expensive).
 
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Neil Maley

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#40
If you don't allow hotels to overbook, they will have to get rid of cancellable reservations (or make them much more expensive).
I fully understand that. But the writer complained about our advocacy- or “reverse advocacy”. My explanation was if he wants to affect change, he needs to go to his congress person- this is beyond what we advocate here.
 
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