Malati and I have made numerous trips across the world and a great deal of planning and research goes into each trip. I take great pain in defining my visit plot and finalizing a workable (for us) itinerary which then leads to finding the right location and hotel to support this plan. Do read my post Choosing the right hotel.
I define my “Must Have” requirements, read the reviews across two or three web sites and take the decision based on a simple matrix. And this is what I did when I selected a hotel in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong Island for my recent trip. For saving a few hundred rupees ( 100 rupees equals 1.50 dollars) I abandoned my time tested and trusted website for a leading Indian travel web site. I made my reservations almost two months before my trip and was pleased with my efforts.
And then it happened. Just two days before my trip the travel agency called up to inform me that due to “technical reasons” the hotel had cancelled my booking. What technical reasons he could not say. The interaction was very pleasant and the agency offered me an alternate hotel which did not even meet my “must have” requirements or location. parameters. After a further discussion the agency agreed to refund the money and even threw in a few loyalty points.
What however bothered me was that with my experience of numerous bookings across the world never has this happened before. Rather unprofessional I thought! And so I called up the hotel in Hong Kong. The hotel desk confirmed that my booking had indeed been cancelled by the Travel agency and categorically informed me that the hotel had no authority to cancel any bookings once made. She further emphasised that they have never ever done so. And that I should check with my travel agency in India.
A call again laced with profuse apologies from the travel agency confirmed that the refund had been processed and will reflect in my account shortly -which it did. I could check the website and my mail for full details. More profuse apologies followed. Under the circumstances notwithstanding the trigger or the motive one could say that the agency handled the issue very well. But what of the inconvenience and what if another equivalent option was not easily available – often happens during peak season. The agency web site however states reason for cancellation is “You cancelled the booking” which was not true.
I booked another hotel in almost the same price range and solved the immediate issue but what still lurks in my mind is Who bumped me off – The hotel in Hong Kong or the travel agency in India. I guess i will never get the answer to this question! And also do I appreciate the corrective action taken by the travel agency or ——-
Has this happened to any of my readers – I have heard of overbooking and bumping off passengers on airlines and related compensation rules but this is my first experience with hotel booking cancellation! Do share your experience with me.