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The Public Was Failed By Public Chicago's Online Reservation System

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  Site Where: 1301 N. State Parkway [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
January 18, 2012 at 9:33 AM | by | ()

OK. It happened. The Public Chicago's $1 sale came and went in the blink of an eye, and by the end of it (five minutes later), we were left still clutching our measly dollar, and cursing the hotel gods above. But it eases our conscience—slightly—to know we weren't the only ones duped into thinking we were actually going to score a $1 hotel room yesterday.

So what was going on? Well, just like with any place that gets inundated with too many customers all at once (eBay, Ticketmaster, Missoni for Target), some people simply got lost in the shuffle. Of course, some actually did end up scoring reservations. And hooray for them. But understandably, we were a little curious to know how—three times in a row—one minute we managed to snag a room, and the next, it was gone. So we spoke with a Public Chicago manager to find out her take on the whole melee. See below to read her response!

HotelChatter: I had a room, and then it was gone. What happened?

Public Chicago: Unless you got a confirmation email afterwards, then the room wasn't actually reserved. As you were going through the process, there's a good chance that at least three other people were going through the process at the same time.

HC: Then why was it showing available rooms in the first place?

PC: Because of how the hotel's reservation system works, when you start the process it doesn't hold the room for you. So by the time you finished, the room was no longer available.

HC: What did those error messages mean?

PC: Those error messages were popping up because of the volume of responses we received.

So how to best deal with the problem the next time this happens? Fill out the check-out form reeeaaally fast. And cross your fingers. If everyone is logging on at the same time, and the computer has too many users to choose from, it just becomes a game of who can pass through the system the quickest.

If we could slip someone a crisp Mr. Washington to ease the process along, we'd be all over it. But the room is already going for just $1, so we might as well hold onto our bill and just wait for the next round of $1-slam-your-head-against-a-wall sale. May the fastest fingers get the room!

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