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!