I wish I didn’t have to expect it. I try to be an optimist and hope that when I enter the door, I won’t have to engage in a battle. But nine times out of 10 this happens when we arrive at a hotel. Recently, when visiting family members in Richmond, the same old scenario occurred. We had to battle and negotiate over our incorrect room reservation.
I try every means possible
I thought I had tried every means possible to ensure that our reservation is accurate when we arrive at our destination. When I call and make the reservation, I explain to the agent in as many different ways as possible that we need a wheelchair accessible room with a roll in shower and a room adjacent or very close for my attendant so I can call for help with my call bell. I request that a notation be put in the comments section of the reservation. I get the name of the individual who makes the reservation. And, if I’ve had success at a specific hotel, I ask for the exact same rooms by number.
For some reason, this still does not work. Each time, I add additional “must information” to my list. But why should it have to be so hard to get a correct reservation? It is not like I am asking for a free room. I am paying the rate that everyone else pays. And when we arrive, just like other customers, we may be tired or need to quickly freshen up and get to another commitment. There isn’t time or energy to spend moving from room to room and/or negotiating with the individual at the desk about the problems with the reservation.
It can be so frustrating
This time, our wheelchair accessible room was not listed. Luckily there was another wheelchair accessible room available. First breath of relief. The second issue was the adjacent room was far from adjacent. We were in room 401 and the adjacent room was 414, located as far away as you could get, at the opposite end of the hallway. I was told that no other rooms next to 401 were available. I was informed by the manager on site that to get the adjacent room, even though it was written in the comments, I would need to call the day before and the day of arrival to ensure that the person doing the allotment of rooms made the appropriate designation. Really? In my frustration, I requested extra hotel points, complimentary parking, and compensation for the room that was all the way down the hall — so far away that my call bell did not work when I needed my attendant during the night.
I was given 400 points and complimentary parking, but was told that the manager on duty could not take the second room off of the bill and that I would have to contact the district manager. Even though I told them I had another reservation for December and I would change it if I was not appropriately compensated, it didn’t seem to make a difference. I felt like they wanted me to go to another hotel so they didn’t have to deal with the problem. The frustration is so over the top that it really makes you think twice about traveling because of the effort and discomfort. But my husband and I have decided that we will not let them beat us!
Calling out corporate on social media got some results
And they did not! I called and emailed the district manager and did not get any response. So I resorted to Twitter and it worked! I got an immediate response from them. Who says there is no such thing as bad publicity? They were upset with how I was treated and told me that I would hear from the manager within 72 hours. And I did! I was compensated 2,000 points instead of 400 and the second room was removed from the bill! Additionally, they assured me that my room for December would be reviewed and promised that everything would be accurate.
My new approach, revised after this experience, is to make a reservation and have them put everything in the comments. Get the name of the individual who makes the reservation. Call one week before to ensure the reservation is accurate. Call again the day before to make sure the second room is adjacent. And call again the day we check in to double check everything. Will it work? We shall see. In the meantime, I will not hesitate to use Twitter to get what we deserve in the form of compensation and to let people know when service to people with disabilities is not appropriate.