Third Party Booking Problem

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Feb 17, 2015
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#1
I booked a hotel room for me, my husband, and my two sons, for one night at the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale through Kayak and GetARoom. I booked a reservation for a double bed for four people several months in advance of our travel date.

When we checked in after our flight arrived, it was close to midnight. We were checked into a king. Unfortunately there were 4 guests in our party as indicated on the reservation. When I went back to say that we needed two beds for four people. I was told that there was only the king room available and "run of the house" means whatever is available, and that was one bed. We were forced to either get a double room at another hotel or purchase another king room to accommodate our party. The hotel person there told me that this was Kayaks problem and my mistake was booking through a third party service.

The fact that I had two kids and it was past midnight, we did book another room, incurring another $160 charge. If I had known that even though I said when booking that we had 4 people in our party, that we would have to figure out how to sleep in one king bed, I would have never booked this reservation. Additionally, if I had known that the hotel would be so hostile about booking through kayak, I also would not have done that. What should we have done differently? The hotel refused to give us a refund and so does Kayak and Get A Room. I've been given the runaround from everyone. If we end up eating the extra charge, so be it, and I will probably never use a site like Kayak again, but just out of curiosity, is this normal?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#2
I went through the booking process using both Kayak and GetARoom and saw no notice of "run of the house". Since Kayak is owned by Priceline, you can find our contacts here:


I would begin an appeal with the Primary Contact, and include the pertinent details. When pursuing a resolution remember . . .

Any statements concerning financial hardship or distress, while tempting, may not harm your case but will rarely help. And they may be viewed as a ploy for sympathy. Similarly, an aggressive approach accompanied by strong emotional statements or accusations, however justified, quickly becomes adversarial and will almost always derail your case.

be POLITE . . . . . . you're seeking an ally for your cause
be SUCCINCT . . . present only the relevant highlights and stay on point
be SPECIFIC . . . . offer them a fair and tenable option
be GRATEFUL . . . thank them for their time and consideration!
be PATIENT . . . . . wait a week each time you email a new contact
be AWARE . . . . . . if you've exhausted the company appeals, ask Chris for Help

Best wishes for success, and please keep us posted ...
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Jan 8, 2015
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I have never look at Kayak before, but it appears to be a middleman of sorts, searching the major on line travel companies to get the best rate for a given hotel. I went through the process of selecting a hotel for a city I am headed to next week using 4 people and the description did indeed show the amenities included for sleeping at each specific hotel along with the price for each type of room. I would suspect the confirmation you got showed this as well. Do you still have this confirmation email? If so, what does it say?

I don't believe that the problem was Kayak's or that it is what you get when booking a third party service. Most likely, they gave the room to someone else because you hadn't arrived until very late. By then they had given your doubles away and they decided to kick you to another room and upsell you to fill a second king room. I would start by contacting the customer service at the corporate level, not the actual hotel. Politely describe your issue and that you request a refund of the charges as you should have been given the room you paid for and which was confirmed.

<edit> VoR is always 4 minutes faster than me. Darn.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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I have never look at Kayak before, but it appears to be a middleman of sorts, searching the major on line travel companies to get the best rate for a given hotel.
We have used Kayak for over a decade and never had any trouble. As a matter of fact, they have been prompt in responding to our suggestions on the website.

I truly believe this is an omission by the hotel at the time of booking. Did you (Mike) see any "run of the house" disclaimer?
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Oct 10, 2014
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I did mock reservation with the said hotel and OTA. I couldn't choose the number of beds. It's like "Standard room, 1 king or 2 queen", but then on the second page, I could choose "Bed Preference" over one or two.

I tried direct reservation on Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale as well. It's the same. I couldn't choose the number of beds, but there is another entry on the reservation page that says "Room Preferences" where I could choose 2 queens.

This is a poor design of the Marriott's reservation system. It's not realistic to assign a one-king room to a party of four. This won't happen with the Hilton group. If I input 4 guests on the first page, then one-king rooms won't show up.

I would follow Mike's suggestion. Check what the reservation conformation says and file a complaint in the Marriott corporate as to why their reservation system allows assigning a one-king room for a party of four.
 
Jan 8, 2015
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We have used Kayak for over a decade and never had any trouble. As a matter of fact, they have been prompt in responding to our suggestions on the website.

I truly believe this is an omission by the hotel at the time of booking. Did you (Mike) see any "run of the house" disclaimer?
If I am looking at the same hotel it does say that the room is one king or two queens but it says rollaway beds are available. So even if given a king room, the staff should have offered the rollaway beds before offering another room or telling the customer that it is their fault for booking third party. That's like the hotel saying it is your fault for buying something we advertised.
 
Feb 17, 2015
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Thank you for the replies. Yes, I have the confirmation email that says, "two double beds, run of the house, 4 guests". We were offered one roll-away bed ("if we have any even available" said the front desk person) that evening but unfortunately, my sons are 6'4 and 6'3 and can't fit on one roll-away. My thought is that there should have been 4 beds for 4 guests. Not a king bed and perhaps a roll-away. Out of desperation and exhaustion we just booked another room so we didn't have to argue with the extremely unpleasant person at the front desk - we had several family members right there checking into the same hotel, so it just was an unpleasant beginning to a 50th anniversary vacation. We took the easy route. Probably a mistake looking back on it.

I did just get an email back from Melaney at Get A Room who offered me $50 on my next booking through Get A Room. I politely declined and asked for the next supervisor up on the list. I am grateful for the offer, but realistically, I'll never feel comfortable booking through either Get A Room or Kayak again, so I don't want a $50 credit. I've been using Kayak for several years and have never had a problem. But, I like to know that I have a place to stay when I get to my destination.
 
Feb 17, 2015
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I have never look at Kayak before, but it appears to be a middleman of sorts, searching the major on line travel companies to get the best rate for a given hotel. I went through the process of selecting a hotel for a city I am headed to next week using 4 people and the description did indeed show the amenities included for sleeping at each specific hotel along with the price for each type of room. I would suspect the confirmation you got showed this as well. Do you still have this confirmation email? If so, what does it say?

I don't believe that the problem was Kayak's or that it is what you get when booking a third party service. Most likely, they gave the room to someone else because you hadn't arrived until very late. By then they had given your doubles away and they decided to kick you to another room and upsell you to fill a second king room. I would start by contacting the customer service at the corporate level, not the actual hotel. Politely describe your issue and that you request a refund of the charges as you should have been given the room you paid for and which was confirmed.

<edit> VoR is always 4 minutes faster than me. Darn.
That's a good idea! Thank you!
 
Jan 8, 2015
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#9
I did just get an email back from Melaney at Get A Room who offered me $50 on my next booking through Get A Room. I politely declined and asked for the next supervisor up on the list. I am grateful for the offer, but realistically, I'll never feel comfortable booking through either Get A Room or Kayak again, so I don't want a $50 credit. I've been using Kayak for several years and have never had a problem. But, I like to know that I have a place to stay when I get to my destination.
Realistically, 4 beds in a room is not possible, but I can see a hotel needing to offer two roll away beds plus the king if that is what they had. or perhaps even a large sofa bed as some hotels have. Basically, at least two beds large enough for 2 couples.

As far as Kayak and Get a Room, it seems as though your anger or disappointment is misplaced. these companies only advertise what is given to them by the hotels. The hotel claimed that they can offer a room for 4 people and that it may be a king size but that roll away beds are available. In your case, it specifically says double beds. The third party sites pass this info to the consumer and sell the room. Given that you have used them for years, I don't believe that you should give up using them.

The frustration, and I believe your effort should be placed toward the hotel chain and their customer service and the executives of the company who operate or license the chain names. They gave the booking sites their availability to book a certain room, it was booked, and they failed to follow through on the expectation of the purchase. Not only that, but their front desk personnel was rude and unprofessional, by your account. These items are all things that the owner/operators need to take care of.
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie
Feb 17, 2015
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#10
Thank you all very much for the ideas and the replies. I may have sounded angry at Kayak and Get a Room, but I did understand that it's not their fault and that they are a third party booking agent. I did decline the offer of the credit though, as I'm now pretty wary of booking through a third party, and I didn't want to take that in case the companies involved perceived that I now felt the issue had been resolved to my satisfaction.

I'm happy to report that I did send a polite email to the corporate office of Marriott re. the Renaissance property, and they have agreed to refund us one of the rooms. Again, thank you for you for your ideas and help. I am very appreciative!
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#11
Great news, Maggie. Once I read that your confirm said 2 doubles, I knew you would prevail, but it's nice that it didn't take 3 months! The lesson we take from this is to call the hotel directly if you're arriving after 6pm to be sure the little darlings don't give your room away.
 
Likes: Grant Ritchie