Unfiltered Story #178406

, | Unfiltered | November 30, 2019

(Note that any names mentioned are fake for the sake of privacy)
Me: Thank you for calling (our hotel), this is (my name) speaking, how can I help you today?
Customer: Yes, I would like to book a room for the 18th of February, checking out the 21st. A room with 2 beds please, we have a block of rooms reserved there for our hockey team, (Team A of city1) and we have a discounted group rate as well.
Me: Absolutely ma’am, I’m glad to help with that. Hmm, I’m sorry I’m not seeing a block reserved for that team on those days…
Customer: Well I’m looking at the dates right here, the 18th, 19th and 20th of February, 2016. Are you sure YOU are looking at the correct dates?
Me: Yes ma’am, and you did say the team name was…
Customer: (cutting me off) it’s (Team A of City 1)
Me: …yes, I got that. Thank you. I’m sorry but I don’t have a block reserved for that team for those days…or for any day in the month of February. Are you sure you’re calling the right hotel? There are a few in this town and they all have bookings for that weekend with all the different teams coming in.
Customer: Well isn’t this (our hotel) on Duke street?
Me: Yes it is ma’am, let me just check the list of bookings for the year. Maybe the name is spelled differently and it’s just not coming up in my searches.
I look through the list of group bookings for 2016 and find nothing that is even close to her team’s name.
Me: I’m sorry ma’am, I simply don’t have a group booking for that team at all this year. I have bookings for those specific dates for (team B in city 2, team C in city 3 and team D in city 4.) Could it be one of those teams?
Customer: No, it isn’t.
Me: Ok, well unfortunately there is no booking here for your team. I’m very sorry about that. I can still book you a room if you need it, maybe the team decided not to stay all together at the same hotel?
Customer: (sighs heavily) Do me a favor please. Check to see if you have a reservation under the name John Smith for those dates.
Me: Yes I do have a booking under that name for those dates…
Customer: Right! Now, check for a reservation under the name Jane Doe for those same dates.
Me: Ok, yes I do see a reservation for Jane Doe on those dates, however…
Customer: That’s right! (she becomes very condescending at this point) So if you have rooms under those names you must have a block of rooms booked, right? Because John Smith is the group coordinator and the one in charge of reserving the block and Jane Doe is the coach. If THEY have rooms, then WE have rooms. Just put us in the same block as them, ok honey?
Me: Ma’am, I’m sorry for the confusion but there is no block of rooms reserved for your group. Those 2 reservations we just mentioned were made as individual reservations about a month and a half apart. The one for John Smith was booked 2 months ago on the internet using a travel agency website. This second one here for Jane Doe was made…yes I see right here it was made 2 weeks ago over the phone. There is no indication on either of these reservations that the 2 people even know each other and there is no indication that there was supposed to be a group. There is also no indication of a negotiated rate, John smith did get a discounted rate through the travel agency but only because he took advantage of a special promotion they had at that time. The rate is about $3 less than our normal group rates for that same room but like I said, there is no indication that this was meant to be a group booking.
Customer: Unbelievable. That means that you guys messed up then. I’ll have him call you back to sort this out and I expect to get extra discounts for all this hassle.
Me: again ma’am, this reservation was made on the internet using a travel agency’s website. That means that John Smith selected his own dates and entered his own information. He would have received a confirmation by email as well, this was not a mistake on our end. Is there any possibility that he forgot to reserve the other rooms?
Customer: All I know is he booked a block of rooms at your hotel for the 18th, 19th and 20th of February, 2016 at the rate of $X per night. I want a room within that block!
Me: Again ma’am, the only blocks we have for those dates are the 3 I listed a moment ago and you’ve already stated that those aren’t the group you want to book with.
Customer: Well just book my room anyway and give us each the group rate for all the trouble you’ve caused us.
Me: That’s not how the group rates work ma’am, the fact that 3 of you are staying here at the same time does not make it a group. In order to qualify for the negotiated group rate someone has to call to book a specific number of rooms, the minimum being 5 rooms. We get all their information as the group coordinator, there are contacts, terms and conditions to be agreed to, and a deposit to be given in the form of a check or credit card to guarantee the rooms.
Customer: Fine! then book me a block of 35 rooms for those dates. I’ll be the coordinator but I’m having John Smith call you tomorrow and I swear we will make sure to tell everyone NOT to book with you people again. And we will NOT be coming back here again!
Me: I’m very sorry but we don’t have 35 rooms to reserve.
Customer: What?
Me: We have 3 other teams here already, they have taken a good portion of our rooms. I’ve got maybe 12 left to rent for that night and all but 2 of them are standard single rooms. I can book your individual room but there is no way I can make a block!
At this point the customer starts rattling off the names of other people who are supposed to be staying here asking me to check to see if they have a reservation. None of them have rooms booked here.
Customer: Ok, I’m hanging up and I’m calling John Smith. This is just ridiculous, I can’t believe you call this customer service. Absolutely unbelievable.
She hangs up and about 10 minutes later I get another call.
Customer #2: Yes, my name is John Smith. I called about 2 and a half months ago to reserve a block of rooms for our team and now I’m being told you don’t have anything for us. I want to know what the hell this is about.
Me: Yes sir, do you remember who you spoke with?
Customer #2: Yes, I have it right here.
He reads off some information and I determine that he spoke with the general manager. I put him on hold and go to speak to her. She goes through some papers and finds the notes from his call as well as a printed email exchange between them. I take this information to the front and get back on the call.
Me: Ok sir, I think I’ve cleared this all up now.
Customer #2: So you DO have our rooms then?
Me: No sir. You called us nearly 3 months ago to inquire about our availability. The general manager told gave you all the information, took your email address and sent you some additional information and asked you to confirm that you would indeed be taking the rooms. You responded 2 weeks later telling her to never mind because you had found a cheaper rate on line. That email was received the same day you booked your individual room on (travel agency)’s website. We never reserved your block of rooms because you didn’t confirm it, you told us to never mind and since then we’ve sold all the rooms for those days to other teams who DID confirm.
Customer #2: I’m not following, what do you mean by my individual room? I booked more than 30 rooms…
Me: There is a reservation request attached to your reservation, but we normally only see those on the day before you check in. I think I can access it though, let me try. (I click around for a few seconds and get it) Ok, I have it. It says “this is a group booking. 34 additional rooms required, thnx.”
Customer #2: See?! I booked a block of rooms with you, mine plus 34 more!
Me: No sir, those reservation notes are meant only for things like, I need a play pen in my room for our baby or I request a room near the pool, things like that. As I said, we don’t see the notes until just before you check in and the website will only book the rooms that you physically reserve. As far as I know that site is only set up to book 2 rooms per person so even if you had tried to reserve 35 it wouldn’t have worked. You would have had to book directly with us, like to began to do at first. There would have been contracts and confirmations involved, deposits and rooming lists and the like. I’m so sorry but when you told us to cancel your group booking request you gave up your 35 rooms. They’ve since been rented out to other teams and I simply don’t have enough rooms to accommodate your team.
At this point the customer flies off the handle, screaming at me through the phone and threatening to sue me. Over the course of the next 2 days, I received repeated calls from Customer #1, Customer #2 and a few from their coach, all pretending to be other people trying to reserve a block of rooms and screaming at us about ruing their trip when we tell them we don’t have the space. Since all the other hotels in the area were booked solid that this point, they ended up staying in another hotel nearly an hour away and cancelled the 2 rooms they had booked. I’ve never had such an odd experience with group bookings before or since. I really hope they learned a lesson.