The hotel reservation that wasn’t


Apparently some hotels in India have learned from the airlines in the USA about how to book their properties – with more guests than they have rooms available. I suppose I should at least be happy I was informed a month in advance, right? Still, with room inventory drying up in Kochi (Cochin) rapidly for Christmas week getting a replacement is not going to be pretty. Thanks to an email I received from hotels.com I’m stuck in that position.

Last week I finally booked our hotel room for the four nights we’ll be there. At least I thought I did. I got the confirmation email so I figured I was all set:

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Turns out that wasn’t really the case. Late last night I got this email from the company:

This is an urgent message regarding your reservation with the Hotel Arches for 12/23/2011.  Unfortunately the hotel is unable to accept your reservation for your upcoming stay.  Due to these unforeseen circumstances, we would like to offer you comparable alternate accommodations.

Your reservation has not been cancelled, but due to a limited amount of availability it is very important that we speak with you as soon as possible.

The agent explained it that the hotel called them and denied the reservation I had made, despite my having paid in full for the room. Not good at all. Still, given the opportunity I figured I’d make a go of trying to get the best I can out of the deal. Like maybe a big upgrade for the same price. They confirmed the reservation, after all.

I tried to be reasonable for starters, looking for something else in the same neighborhood around the same price point. They had this one listed on their site:

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Imagine my surprise when the agent called to confirm the room and was told that it did not actually exist. Craptacular. The only other room they’ve got available in the same area is a much cheaper guest house. I’ve booked a backup reservation there while working the other bits but I’m still hoping for something better to get out of the deal. I’d like to avoid the Holiday Inn over in the new part of town (one of the other options I was given) and if I can swing the Vivanta by Taj (lists at $400+/night!) I’d be quite psyched. But I’m not betting on that actually working out.

Back to the drawing board…

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

7 Comments

    1. Sorry to hear that, Steven.

      I’m glad that I got a one month lead time to make some alternate plans. In the end I think that the cheap place will actually be fine for what we need and I’ll save ~$450 so it isn’t all bad. But I am quite annoyed that they can confirm a reservation and take my money and then just tell me a week later that I’m screwed, especially when the “comparable alternatives” don’t really exist.

  1. Seth,

    Sorry to hear the trouble you are going through. I’d recommend you use an indian consolidator like cleartrip.com who has a better hang of the inventory and local circumstances. Hotels.com has ditched me in three countries, so I don’t trust them anymore :(. Or drop me a line if I could help you. Best, AJ

  2. The same happened to me when booing a hotel in Glasgow last year. Booking confirmed but later retracted. Hotels.com rebooked me at a much more expensive – albeit less convenient – hotel and gave me a 100 USD voucher as compensation.

    1. They gave me the option of rebooking and paying the difference but the alternative they offered wasn’t nearly in the same neighborhood and we didn’t want that. Instead I found another place that was a fraction of the price (and probably not as nice, but who knows; the pictures look fine) and still in the neighborhood we wanted to be in. Plus I did get the $100 voucher which will come in handy at some point.

      Overall not a huge deal, but it is somewhat annoying.

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