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(The Consumerist)   Hotels.com: Finding you the perfect place, even if it's imaginary   (consumerist.com) divider line 60
    More: Fail, Surfing the INTERNET, CSR, honeymoons, international calls, Croatia, perfect  
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6987 clicks; posted to Business » on 09 Jun 2012 at 8:37 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-09 07:59:00 AM
You have to be a special kind of moron to make unverified foreign travel arrangements on a shiatty web site like hotels.com.
 
2012-06-09 08:54:28 AM
File a law suit, it's illegal to sell a product or service that doesn't exist. And don't use hotels.com
 
2012-06-09 09:05:05 AM
You know how you like and believe a phone call will easily resolve the issue. But at some point you have to start putting things in writing and create a paper (or cyber) trail. These outfits are like large bureaucracies. Even if his complaint is resolved, the fact the the problem hotel is still shown indicates that no one is addressing the cause of the problem.
 
2012-06-09 09:08:32 AM

Babwa Wawa: You have to be a special kind of moron to make unverified foreign travel arrangements for their honeymoon on a shiatty web site like hotels.com.


FTFA - a very special kind....
 
2012-06-09 09:17:12 AM
Croatia: Just because.

/I don't care to live in a place where "CSR" is used as an acronym without any explanation and everyone is expected to understand what it means. If you know what "CSR" means you've become a trained animal.
//Seventy percent service economy, how work it.
 
2012-06-09 09:29:39 AM

Hey, they got to stay in a Croatian hostel for their honyemoon, at least...

i.dailymail.co.uk
 
2012-06-09 09:56:18 AM
102nd Dalmation there
 
2012-06-09 09:58:12 AM
Always trust Captain Kirk to get your best hotel deal. Just name your own price. He has never let me down.
 
2012-06-09 10:07:15 AM
As someone who works in a hotel, don't use hotels.com. Actually, if you are going to use any online hotel booking sites, always call the hotel to verify the reservation as well. We can look it up in our computer system, no matter how far in advance the reservation is.

In the past few weeks, as the travel season has started, we've gotten more and more online booking site issues (always happens when things get busy). Last year one site (Priceline, if I remember correctly), kept booking every single reservation into a single queen room, didn't matter what they were typing into the web site (saw the printed conformation pages the customers had, it was Priceline screwing up).

And, in the last week, we've had two major booking sites have their credit cards denied (booking sites work by taking your money, and then booking reservations with their cards). Headaches for everyone when that happens.

/sometimes internet sites work to save you money
//sometimes they work just to screw you over
 
2012-06-09 10:16:25 AM
I have used Hotel.com (actually the IPhone App) a number of times. I have had nothing but great success in finding rooms at decent hotels for a much better price than I could by booking direct.

Example...I was in Erie, PA for business and booked at a Red Roof Inn that based on reviews had recently been completely remodeled for $44.00 a night. I figured I would hold off booking until I arrived so the hotel would not have to pay the commission to Hotels.com. The clerk told me that the best she could give me was $59.00 a night so I booked it in front of her on the App and she not only honored the price but upgraded me to a suite with a kitchenette.
 
2012-06-09 10:47:37 AM

HotIgneous Intruder: Croatia: Just because.

/I don't care to live in a place where "CSR" is used as an acronym without any explanation and everyone is expected to understand what it means. If you know what "CSR" means you've become a trained animal.
//Seventy percent service economy, how work it.


What the hell are you talking about?
 
2012-06-09 10:48:53 AM
I've never had a bad experience with hotels.com in fact I've had quite the opposite. Why the hate?
 
2012-06-09 10:50:47 AM

SoCalSurfer: I've never had a bad experience with hotels.com in fact I've had quite the opposite. Why the hate?



Ditto. I haven't used their services for many years, but never had a problem when I did.
 
2012-06-09 11:06:51 AM
They refunded his money, not sure what the outrage is. That some hole in the wall Croatian hotel disappeared isn't exactly shocking and not the website's fault, and expecting the website to reimburse you for an international call wasn't something one should expect. He should have done what he ended up doing, finding another hotel and handling the issue toll free when he returned.

The only real problem I see here is the hotel still listed on their site once they know a problem exists with confirming their existence. Wish the article would have listed the hotel's information so the intarweb could get on the case, that they didn't list it makes me suspect there is more to the story here that might not support the consumer's version of the tale.
 
2012-06-09 11:37:55 AM

Babwa Wawa: You have to be a special kind of moron to make unverified foreign travel arrangements on a shiatty web site like hotels.com.


At least make a phone call to confirm the room, we did while going to London since it would suck to have no place to stay after the long flight.
 
2012-06-09 11:49:40 AM
A discount website that searches thousands of random listings looking for bargains steered you to a closed hotel that you didn't bother to verify half way around the world? Shocked I say, shocked.
 
2012-06-09 12:05:32 PM

MiamiChef: I have used Hotel.com (actually the IPhone App) a number of times. I have had nothing but great success in finding rooms at decent hotels for a much better price than I could by booking direct.

Example...I was in Erie, PA for business and booked at a Red Roof Inn that based on reviews had recently been completely remodeled for $44.00 a night. I figured I would hold off booking until I arrived so the hotel would not have to pay the commission to Hotels.com. The clerk told me that the best she could give me was $59.00 a night so I booked it in front of her on the App and she not only honored the price but upgraded me to a suite with a kitchenette.


Seems legit.
 
2012-06-09 12:28:45 PM
hotels.com sucks.

Think about their business model for a minute. You and the hotel are contractually bound to hotels.com but you don't have a direct relationship with the hotel. Who is the customer here?

Keep in mind that hotels.com keeps a stiff percentage of the transaction. They pressure the hotels in their list to lower prices and then turn around and keep a percentage for themselves, up to 30%. When you arrive at the hotel, not only are you not a customer, but the hotel has booked the room to hotels.com for far less than their other customers. You can likely forget about leniency with cancellation policies, upgrades, late check outs and other favors that you might otherwise expect. You are a second class customer, which is exactly what you don't want to be when problems arise.
 
2012-06-09 12:55:02 PM

Babwa Wawa: You have to be a special kind of moron to make unverified foreign travel arrangements on a shiatty web site like hotels.com.


I mean, I could see it if you were making arrangements to get a hotel in England, France, Germany, maybe Italy, Spain... but to former Soviet Bloc nations? You'd better have a carton of cigarettes and some bottles of vodak ready for when the clerk says "We no can find it your reservation. You sure you paid? I no see where you paid. This system is very good. I never have it problem with system."
 
2012-06-09 01:34:15 PM
When I want to find the perfect place, I use a flying wooden ark filled with cartoon characters.
 
2012-06-09 01:55:48 PM

The_Sponge: SoCalSurfer: I've never had a bad experience with hotels.com in fact I've had quite the opposite. Why the hate?


Ditto. I haven't used their services for many years, but never had a problem when I did.


Well, its a good thing that the two of you encompass the entire user experience for hotels.com. I've never used hotels.com myself, which means no one in the existence of mankind can have an opinion on them since no one has ever used them. Logic. Look into it.
 
2012-06-09 02:34:47 PM

Dalek Caan's doomed mistress: As someone who works in a hotel, don't use hotels.com. Actually, if you are going to use any online hotel booking sites, always call the hotel to verify the reservation as well. We can look it up in our computer system, no matter how far in advance the reservation is.

In the past few weeks, as the travel season has started, we've gotten more and more online booking site issues (always happens when things get busy). Last year one site (Priceline, if I remember correctly), kept booking every single reservation into a single queen room, didn't matter what they were typing into the web site (saw the printed conformation pages the customers had, it was Priceline screwing up).

And, in the last week, we've had two major booking sites have their credit cards denied (booking sites work by taking your money, and then booking reservations with their cards). Headaches for everyone when that happens.

/sometimes internet sites work to save you money
//sometimes they work just to screw you over


yeah, i work at a hotel as well and 3rd party sites suck, they don't guarantee your room type, they make it fairly challenging to cancel your reservation if something comes up, a lot of the time the hotels charge the same amount as the 3rd party site and there was even one that someone had booked with that actually charge about $20.00 more then what our nightly rate was.

so yeah, always call the hotel to compare pricing before you book online
 
2012-06-09 02:58:31 PM
You don't get any discount using that website. .. most times you pay more.

use company site.
 
2012-06-09 03:43:14 PM
Ha, it's funny because there's no such place as Croatia or Narnia!
 
2012-06-09 03:56:47 PM
so did they make it home okay with their new sex slave?
 
2012-06-09 04:16:16 PM
No more Consumerist links.

It's just whiny bullshiat from over-privileged B-students who are angry because they turned into baristas and office drones, instead of rock stars and millionaires.
 
2012-06-09 04:20:04 PM
If you want to get a hotel room in Europe, I'd suggest Venere. They're who I used when I was in Italy.
 
2012-06-09 04:30:49 PM

Phil McKraken: hotels.com sucks.

Think about their business model for a minute. You and the hotel are contractually bound to hotels.com but you don't have a direct relationship with the hotel. Who is the customer here?

Keep in mind that hotels.com keeps a stiff percentage of the transaction. They pressure the hotels in their list to lower prices and then turn around and keep a percentage for themselves, up to 30%. When you arrive at the hotel, not only are you not a customer, but the hotel has booked the room to hotels.com for far less than their other customers. You can likely forget about leniency with cancellation policies, upgrades, late check outs and other favors that you might otherwise expect. You are a second class customer, which is exactly what you don't want to be when problems arise.


Exactly. I booked through a third party only once, the hotel tried to stick me in a room with a broken air conditioner, I had to raise hell to get a decent room.
 
2012-06-09 05:33:34 PM
I stay in hotels approximately 125 nights/year and use Hotels.com almost exclusively. I believe the company is owned by Expedia. Anyhow, I've never had a problem with their service and I like staying at any hotel property and accumulating reward points. Then again, I reach their Five Star Extra Special Mega Bonus level every year, so maybe that has something to do with it. Every time I've called customer service, they've always been responsive and even refunded money on several occasions that I screwed up.
 
2012-06-09 05:44:49 PM

Goimir: Babwa Wawa: You have to be a special kind of moron to make unverified foreign travel arrangements on a shiatty web site like hotels.com.

I mean, I could see it if you were making arrangements to get a hotel in England, France, Germany, maybe Italy, Spain... but to former Soviet Bloc nations? You'd better have a carton of cigarettes and some bottles of vodak ready for when the clerk says "We no can find it your reservation. You sure you paid? I no see where you paid. This system is very good. I never have it problem with system."


I'll admit I don't have much hotel experience in either place, but I'm damn near certain you're less likely to get farked in Croatia than Italy.

/obviously this depends on the city and the hotel and whatnot.
 
2012-06-09 05:45:57 PM
I find that when I use the booking sites, I get the room next to the elevator or above the fish fryer in the kitchen.
 
2012-06-09 06:08:11 PM
I work in a hotel too!

It's not that we see guests who make third party bookings as "second class customers", it's that we know that you just want a cheap room. Fair play. But when you ALSO want the staff to wipe your ass and accept your abuse because the lights in your room are 60 watts instead of the 40 watts you requested....well....

//The real headache is that these sites don't book specific rooms, just "whatever is available".
///And even if the jacuzzi suite is available, you are NOT going to get it. Stop asking.
 
2012-06-09 06:08:32 PM

the opposite of charity is justice: They refunded his money, not sure what the outrage is.


Not all of it. That's what the outrage is.

/And yes, a $55 phone bill trying to rectify the issue is a cost they should reimburse.
 
2012-06-09 06:32:19 PM
I work in a hotel too.

www.bhmffaconnection.com
 
2012-06-09 06:54:18 PM
Split and Dubrovnik are OK, but I would recommend Montenegro over both. If you insist on Croatia, stay in some village along the coast outside of the cruise ship ports, otherwise you're just inundated with the boatloads of Americans.
/watch out, we've got a travel badass over here
 
2012-06-09 07:06:26 PM
I don't work in a hotel, but I know someone who does. She tells me there's one "customer" who stays with them on a regular basis(at least once a month). Every time he goes there, he finds something wrong, and raises hell until they give him his next stay free. He's been staying there for a few days at a time for years and hasn't paid a dime since his first visit.
 
2012-06-09 08:17:55 PM
When I worked at a busy hotel, we "walked" clients who used the booking sites to the cheaper hotel down the street. Your reservation does not have any kind of priority or significance if someone can get full price for the room.
 
2012-06-09 09:10:25 PM

Scruffinator: I don't work in a hotel, but I know someone who does. She tells me there's one "customer" who stays with them on a regular basis(at least once a month). Every time he goes there, he finds something wrong, and raises hell until they give him his next stay free. He's been staying there for a few days at a time for years and hasn't paid a dime since his first visit.


I find this difficult to believe in this era of loyalty programs and the customer-level revenue tracking that this brings.

Does she work in a shiat-hole or a real hotel?
 
2012-06-09 09:29:41 PM

Phil McKraken: hotels.com sucks.

Think about their business model for a minute. You and the hotel are contractually bound to hotels.com but you don't have a direct relationship with the hotel. Who is the customer here?

Keep in mind that hotels.com keeps a stiff percentage of the transaction. They pressure the hotels in their list to lower prices and then turn around and keep a percentage for themselves, up to 30%. When you arrive at the hotel, not only are you not a customer, but the hotel has booked the room to hotels.com for far less than their other customers. You can likely forget about leniency with cancellation policies, upgrades, late check outs and other favors that you might otherwise expect. You are a second class customer, which is exactly what you don't want to be when problems arise.


I work for a site in the same industry, so I might be able to give some insight here.

Bob owns Bob's Hotel. Bob's Hotel has 100 rooms, and just by himself, he can sell 70 on average each night at $120 each.

Hotels.com comes in, and says "We'll buy the other 30 rooms at $70 each. And we'll pay you $70 every night, whether they're full or not". Bob is happy because he now has a full(er) hotel, and he's making more money. And at least the way I've heard it, Bob's cost structure is fairly flat, so selling 30 "full" rooms at half-price-ish is still better than sometimes selling 30 rooms and sometimes not.

Hotels.com then turns around and is free to sell them at any price they want to sell. If they can sell for $20, they sell for $20. If they can sell for $200, they sell for $200. Note that this explains most of the creepier business practices by both the hotel and the site (If you have a room with a broken air conditioner, you might as well make it the one you're not using, and that selling it makes you no money) and why it's always a good idea to shop around. Instead of Hotels.com buying 30, it might be Orbitz buying 10 at $80, Expedia 10 at $60, and Hotels.com buying 10 at $70, and then they're all selling them at wildly different prices depending on supply, database errors, their particular business model, etc.

/And then we aggregate those prices on one site, and get a few bucks every time we send someone their way.
 
2012-06-09 11:35:09 PM
If you make a reservation through some agency and don't take the time to contact the hotel directly to verify your reservations, you're asking for trouble.
 
2012-06-10 01:19:01 AM
Because a room for a night can't be sold the next day,Hotels will offer extra rooms real cheap to places like hotels.com.

If you show up in person, they're gonna ask for list price, no savings. In fact they might even charge more for a room the same day.
 
2012-06-10 01:39:18 AM

Befuddled: If you make a reservation through some agency and don't take the time to contact the hotel directly to verify your reservations, you're asking for trouble.


Your advice belies your handle.
 
2012-06-10 02:00:41 AM

Babwa Wawa: Scruffinator: I don't work in a hotel, but I know someone who does. She tells me there's one "customer" who stays with them on a regular basis(at least once a month). Every time he goes there, he finds something wrong, and raises hell until they give him his next stay free. He's been staying there for a few days at a time for years and hasn't paid a dime since his first visit.

I find this difficult to believe in this era of loyalty programs and the customer-level revenue tracking that this brings.

Does she work in a shiat-hole or a real hotel?


I'm also calling shenanigans. No way a hotel that incompetent could stay in business that long.
 
2012-06-10 06:42:08 AM
Best solution: Just stay home.
 
2012-06-10 07:09:20 AM

Phil McKraken: hotels.com sucks.

Think about their business model for a minute. You and the hotel are contractually bound to hotels.com but you don't have a direct relationship with the hotel. Who is the customer here?

Keep in mind that hotels.com keeps a stiff percentage of the transaction. They pressure the hotels in their list to lower prices and then turn around and keep a percentage for themselves, up to 30%. When you arrive at the hotel, not only are you not a customer, but the hotel has booked the room to hotels.com for far less than their other customers. You can likely forget about leniency with cancellation policies, upgrades, late check outs and other favors that you might otherwise expect. You are a second class customer, which is exactly what you don't want to be when problems arise.


Hey.

Some people like the room next to the ice machine / with the noisy AC unit / next to the breakfast room / without a view / closest to the traffic noise / etc.

It's the same as anything else, though. You get what you pay for. If you're paying $30 under the hotel's normal rate... Expect to deserve it.
 
2012-06-10 07:18:08 AM

Goimir: "We no can find it your reservation. You sure you paid? I no see where you paid. This system is very good. I never have it problem with system."


Come on, Peggy. It's my honeymoon!
 
2012-06-10 07:39:04 AM

mavrickatubc: No more Consumerist links.

It's just whiny bullshiat from over-privileged B-students who are angry because they turned into baristas and office drones, instead of rock stars and millionaires.


Evidence right here
 
2012-06-10 07:52:27 AM
I use a unique email address every time I sign up for something. I used hotels.com and then started getting spam, the 'cheap viagra', 'your bank account needs verifying' etc type, at that address. Fark hotels.com.
 
2012-06-10 08:23:02 AM
Hotwire was tight up until a few years ago when they became a hotels.com clone.

Incidentally, i've booked probably 10 vacations over the years through them + others, and never felt like I was treated any differently. Nor have I had a problem with any place as far as broken units/etc.

I mean seriously. You think the cashier gives a shiat who you booked your hotel from? Bartender? I'm sure they are just sitting there bored all day looking for the people who figured out their way into 20$ less a night.
 
2012-06-10 09:29:33 AM
FTA: In fact, the hotel in question is still currently being offered on Hotels.com

You know, if you identified the hotel, the rest of us wouldn't run into the same problem.
 
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