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Chris Elliott to The Rescue in This Hotel Booking Horror Story

June 10, 2008 at 3:50 PM | by | ()

Just when we thought it was safe to book on these opaque booking sites, comes another story of a hotel guest showing up at their selected hotel to find no room waiting for them.

Chris Elliott over at MSNBC posted this travel horror story of a couple that booked a holiday weekend stay in Las Vegas to attend a wedding for $952. They found the deal on Hotwire. The hotel they were given was the Wynn Las Vegas.

Yet when they arrived at the hotel, there was no reservation in their name. When we interviewed Clem Bason, Hotwire's VP of Merchandising, he said these stories only happen about 10 percent of the time. Well, keep reading to see what happens 10 percent of the time.

Turns out the Wynn neglected to complete the reservation. And since it was a holiday weekend, the hotel was all sold-out. The couple then called Hotwire who put the duo up at the Loews Lake Las Vegas, not a bad hotel, but one they felt was about 20 miles away from all the action of The Strip. Oh yeah, and it costs $62 one-way to get there by cab.

Reportedly, Hotwire refunded the couple's hotel room and gave them a $50 voucher. However, the couple felt that Hotwire should have reimbursed them for every expense occurred on the trip, a little bit of a drastic demand but since their whole trip was screwed up, we could see how they would want for this.

Chris Elliott, who called Hotwire to confirm the couple's account, makes some sensible points here:

Hotwire should have found a room for you at the Wynn or a comparable property -- not sent you to the suburbs with a $50 voucher as compensation....

If Hotwire was correct, then Wynn failed to process your reservation. And that means Wynn -- not Hotwire -- should have tried to make things right. It could have done that by either finding a room at one of its other properties or at one of the other nearby hotels with which it has agreements to walk its customers....

Bottom line: someone screwed up. Hotwire, in fact, offered you either a three-star hotel on the north end of the Strip for $112 a night or a four-star resort "located 10 miles outside of town" for $175 a night. The Loews -- which, don't get me wrong, is a really nice resort -- is closer to 20 miles outside of town.

In a situation like this, I would have stayed in the check-in area until you had acceptable accommodations. Do not leave without a room key. The hotel will try to persuade you to move on, but don't.

Chris was even able to get the couple's $571 hotel bill for the Loews stay credited back to them.

So just like the situation with Six Columbus and Quikbook, location is very important. If this ever happens to you (hopefully it won't), make sure that you check the location of your hotel reassignment. If you need to attend a wedding on the Strip, as this couple did, being in a resort 10 to 20 miles away is a huge pain.

Like Chris said, don't leave the hotel until you have what you feel are acceptable accommodations.

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