(Note to DigNuggetville readers: Hotels.com asked for my feedback and the text below was my response. Enjoy!)
To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for requesting my feedback on our recent experience with Hotels.com. The short answer is that I will not be using Hotels.com again.
On Saturday, October 8th we made a reservation through Hotels.com to stay that night at the Staybridge Suites Dulles, located at 13700 Copermine Rd., Herndon, Virginia. We made the reservation through the phone with a Hotels.com agent since we wanted to verify that the room we reserved would have two queen beds. The agent confirmed that information and proceeded to fulfill our reservation with those specifications. The confirmation receipt I printed out specifically stated that the room would have two queen beds. When we checked in, the room assigned had only one king bed.
When I went back to the front desk to request a change in rooms, the hotel clerk refused to make the change and blamed Hotels.com for “faxing over the wrong paperwork,” not because there was unavailability. When I showed him my confirmation receipt indicating the two beds requisition, he told me: “my hands are tied and you need to get Hotels.com to fax me over something new before I can switch your room.” He also refused to show me the paperwork sent to him by Hotels.com.
Since the efforts made with the hotel clerk had been futile, I resolved to call Customer Service for Hotels.com to straighten out this mess. First, I spent half an hour on the phone waiting for a Customer Service agent to get on the phone, and nobody picked up the call. Only when I tried calling the sales number did I get someone to respond. After explaining in detail the situation, I was put through another line and got a customer service specialist named Eli. I spent another twenty minutes on the phone with Eli, who tried to help by faxing over something to this hotel to remedy the situation. According to the hotel clerk, the Hotels.com fax was not coming in. I kept Eli on the phone throughout the multiple attempts to fax the document but the hotel clerk insisted that it was not coming in.
By this time, I had spent over an hour time trying, in good faith, to have this situation resolved without avail. It was clear that we would not get any resolution to the problem and I requested a cancelation of the reservation. Eli was trying to persuade me to do otherwise and shortly thereafter, the call dropped. At this point, I determined it was time to go to another hotel.
Throughout this ordeal, my wife and two small kids waited for an hour and a half for us to get settled in the hotel after a four-hour car ride from New Jersey. It was 6:45 pm and we were already running late to a family event in the area, so we needed to leave.
Later that evening, we stayed at a Westin booked though Expedia and it was a delight. I’m not sure what you are going to do about this ugly service experience but at the very least, I am going to use it as “a case in service failure” when I teach services marketing later this semester.
Daniel, M. Ladik, Ph.D., (website)
Associate Professor of Marketing
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University