Suspicious: Did A Marriott Hotel Try To Walk Us?

Suspicious: Did A Marriott Hotel Try To Walk Us?

75

I’m trying to give the hotel the benefit of the doubt here, but…

Marriott hotel claims it can’t see our reservation

Ford and I recently visited family in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was last minute and hotels were booked out, so we decided to redeem a free night award at the Courtyard St. Petersburg Downtown — it was one of the only hotels that was available, and Ford had a credit card free night certificate expiring soon, so it seemed like the best option.

We made the reservation a couple of hours before planned check-in, so we tried to message the hotel through the Marriott Bonvoy app. This feature is only available if you have an active reservation at a hotel that’s for check-in within the next couple of days.

Here’s how that chat went, in part:

“Unfortunately we do not have a reservation for you at this hotel with your name on it… if you have any further questions don’t feel free to contact our front desk or me.”

“Thanks for the response. I just booked a little bit ago with confirmation number XXXXXX. Could you please take another look?”

“Yes, I pulled up the Conf# & their is nothing popping up in our reservation’s right now at the moment matching the # or last name of your Marriott Bonvoy number…. You should probably reach out to Marriott directly.”

I’m guessing the “don’t feel free to contact our front desk or me” was a typo, since he then provided his name and the hotel’s phone number.

I’ve gotta be honest, this was a first for me. I get that glitches happen, but something was odd here. Not only was the reservation showing in Ford’s Marriott Bonvoy account, but I could pull it up on marriott.com with the confirmation number, name, and check-in date, without being logged into his account.

In the message the front desk associate said we should call the hotel with any further questions, so we decided to do that. We spoke to the same guy we were chatting with online, and he informed us that the hotel was sold out, and that even if we had made a reservation, it would have automatically been canceled because they were sold out (never mind the fact that the hotel was still selling rooms online, even after we booked). He recommended calling Marriott, so that’s what we did.

Our phone call with Marriott

To my surprise, our phone call with Marriott was great. We explained to the associate that we had a confirmed reservation, but that the hotel was claiming they couldn’t see the reservation:

“Well that’s strange, you definitely have a confirmed reservation, so let me contact the hotel for you.”

We waited on hold for a few minutes, at which point the agent returned:

“I just spoke to the front desk, and I reminded the hotel that if they can’t accommodate your reservation they have to pay to put you up somewhere else. A room suddenly became available then, you should be good to go.”

Someone give this woman a raise!

What exactly happened here?

I’m not sure what exactly to make of this. The employee at the hotel we spoke with didn’t seem malicious or like he was scheming, but at the same time, I’m not sure there’s another good explanation. A few thoughts:

  • It’s a bit ridiculous for the hotel to claim it couldn’t “see” the reservation, when literally anyone could pull it up on marriott.com with the name and confirmation number
  • It sure seems highly likely to me that the hotel was full and just didn’t want to honor the reservation, so the front desk pretended the reservation didn’t exist; at least that’s the only reasonable explanation I can come up with
  • The lack of customer service here is just so ridiculous, as we booked a hotel, had an email confirmation, and the hotel’s solution was for us to call Marriott, which could obviously see the reservation; this shouldn’t have to be our issue to resolve
  • I suppose we could have played along and tried to get walked, try to get compensation, etc., but we weren’t interested in that; we would have gone down a never-ending customer service rabbit hole, since the hotel wasn’t even acknowledging that they had a reservation

Bottom line

We booked a Courtyard by Marriott pretty last minute, and the hotel claimed that it couldn’t “see” our reservation, even though it was pulling up perfectly fine on Marriott’s website. We were told to contact Marriott — of course Marriott could see the reservation, so contacted the hotel.

The hotel seemed to try to claim it was oversold, but the room we booked suddenly became available when the Marriott employee informed the hotel that they’d be on the hook for booking us elsewhere if they couldn’t accommodate us.

What do you make of this situation? Was the hotel trying to walk us without accountability, or any other theories?

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  1. Bob Galaher

    Once again, I've posted this before and I repeat without further detail. I will NEVER EVER stay in ANY Marriott property, ANYWHERE, EVER again....PERIOD....THE END. They are lying scammers...on every level. I don't care if they gave me free suites for life worldwide...I wont set foot in any Marriott EVER again.

  2. DonD

    I ALWAYS bring a printout of my Marriott Reservation (1 Page) to deal with this happening unpredictably- about once every other year. Marriott has multiple Computer Systems that are poorly designed, slow, & don't download / communicate reliably with each other....
    I have learned "the hard way" over the past 31 years that this is the price you pay Marriott for peace of mind: Always bring Page 1-2 of your Marriott Reservation.

    Marriott really...

    I ALWAYS bring a printout of my Marriott Reservation (1 Page) to deal with this happening unpredictably- about once every other year. Marriott has multiple Computer Systems that are poorly designed, slow, & don't download / communicate reliably with each other....
    I have learned "the hard way" over the past 31 years that this is the price you pay Marriott for peace of mind: Always bring Page 1-2 of your Marriott Reservation.

    Marriott really needs to seriously upgrade its Technology.

  3. Jon

    Being the conspiracy theory type, I'm thinking the hotel gains more revenue by selling rooms than by honoring award room requests. Since sales were going strong, the locals probably believed if they rejected you, then they would sell the room at a higher revenue rate.

  4. donnakay0812

    As a Marriott Rewards member, we had a fairly recent experience where we arrived at the Marriott property hotel only to be told that they were sold out (this has happened twice now). On both occasions, as a valued" Marriott Rewards member, we were provided accommodations at another property (however, 30 - 45 min distance from the original property). We were certainly NOT happy about either of shuffling us off to another property location but...

    As a Marriott Rewards member, we had a fairly recent experience where we arrived at the Marriott property hotel only to be told that they were sold out (this has happened twice now). On both occasions, as a valued" Marriott Rewards member, we were provided accommodations at another property (however, 30 - 45 min distance from the original property). We were certainly NOT happy about either of shuffling us off to another property location but due to the "sold out" situation due to events in the area, closer accommodations were not available, and we had no other choice. After the 2d event, we did make a mental note if it happened again, we would be switching our Reward membership to Hilton properties where maybe we would be more "valued." I certainly hope this is not becoming an industry-standard like the airlines. The agent at the hotel when we arrived was very pleasant on both occasions and the first agent explained it was being done because many people make reservations and then do not show up, so maybe the answer for the hotel industry is more like the airlines, you have to pay for your room up front and then if you need to change your reservation, you have a "credit" for future use.

  5. Darlene Coy

    It's quite possible the front desk associate was new and did not know how to find your reservation. They probably gave you the room from another guest reservation because sometimes there are cancellations and no-shows.

  6. Neel Woods

    Marriott becoming Bonvoy was about the same as Continental Airlines becoming United. What is it they say about something always rolling downhill? I think that applies to corporate acquisitions and marketing makeovers as well.

  7. Neel Woods

    Sorry, but I don’t buy the Marriott Revenue Director’s take at all. I’m in I.T. so I totally understand the latency between the corporate portal and the property’s system. But….. anyone working the front desk should be acutely aware of this potential hiccup and ANTICIPATE this problem when a customer claims to have a valid reservation. The front desk agent should have IMMEDIATELY logged onto the corporate portal to see what was up. If they...

    Sorry, but I don’t buy the Marriott Revenue Director’s take at all. I’m in I.T. so I totally understand the latency between the corporate portal and the property’s system. But….. anyone working the front desk should be acutely aware of this potential hiccup and ANTICIPATE this problem when a customer claims to have a valid reservation. The front desk agent should have IMMEDIATELY logged onto the corporate portal to see what was up. If they claim they can’t get to that site, how about if they go to their own hotel business center and log into Marriott.com there?

    Absolutely no excuse for what happened here- it’s the difference between basic customer response and actual customer service. I’m not sure when Marriott fell off the wagon with this concept, but the letters B-O-N-V-O-Y come to mind.

  8. Donrob

    It's not unlike many large retail companies that have a Web based customer ordering system and a DOS like Linux delivery system. One feeds the other, but not in real time. Marriott I know for a fact has a front desk Linux system. I was checking in when a new front desk person that was being trained was told by the trainer to hit F4 to return to the prior screen. F3 and F4 are...

    It's not unlike many large retail companies that have a Web based customer ordering system and a DOS like Linux delivery system. One feeds the other, but not in real time. Marriott I know for a fact has a front desk Linux system. I was checking in when a new front desk person that was being trained was told by the trainer to hit F4 to return to the prior screen. F3 and F4 are common go back Linux commands. For example Lowes uses HTML systems for customer online interface and Linux systems for sales and delivery management, order something to be delivered at 9AM and it might not be available yet for a store inquiry at 10AM on delivery. Just saying almost all large online customer order systems interface with a independent delivery systems and none of them are real time feeds. Try to return something at Costco, without a receipt, that you purchased earlier that day at a different Costco, you can't. Costco membership records are updated overnight. Same thing, sales systems interfacing with customer systems.

  9. Steve Caron

    Here’s my take on it because I had a situation with a Marriott Courtyard several years ago about my leaving something in my room. After I checked out I realized what happened and called within a half hour after checking out. I told them exactly what I left behind and exactly where I left it.
    Talking to the local people they played deaf, dumb and stupid. What they didn’t realize is I was checking...

    Here’s my take on it because I had a situation with a Marriott Courtyard several years ago about my leaving something in my room. After I checked out I realized what happened and called within a half hour after checking out. I told them exactly what I left behind and exactly where I left it.
    Talking to the local people they played deaf, dumb and stupid. What they didn’t realize is I was checking into another Marriott hotel just down the road. I went to the Courtyard to confront them and got the same response. I let them know my status level and threatened to call the corporate office. I left the hotel and wasn’t two minutes down the road when I got a call telling me they found my item.
    I did call the Corpotate office and learned that many Courtyards are privately owned an not run by Marriott.
    My read was they thought I was a tourist and was out of the area so I personally couldn’t pursue the issue. Boy we’re they wrong.
    Upon talking to Corpotate Marriott, after writing a letter to Bill Marriott, they more than compensated me for my poor experience.
    Once again, the lesson I learned is the Courtyards are independently operated and do not have the same standards as corporate . My practice now is not to deal on line but call Marriott directly.

    1. INS Vikrant

      Surname is fitting

  10. Jodie

    The important part is that they made it right. In many businesses/companies different employee levels have different levels that they can see within programs. This is not unusual. I also do know that award bookings are based on availability in the market area. If there are few rooms, no award nights are available. I think that we ALL have to be understanding to the worker shortage that is occurring. Will it EVER go back to...

    The important part is that they made it right. In many businesses/companies different employee levels have different levels that they can see within programs. This is not unusual. I also do know that award bookings are based on availability in the market area. If there are few rooms, no award nights are available. I think that we ALL have to be understanding to the worker shortage that is occurring. Will it EVER go back to pre Covid times/ stimulus times? I do not have a crystal ball. It does appear that you were frustrated, however based on the short notice of booking, and then not getting the response that you needed in the beginning, I think that it was handled by Marriott. I know that we all want things to go seamless. However in the end, you received great customer service, and got a free night. I do not work for Marriott, however I am a VERY loyal customer of theirs, because of their customer service. I

  11. Evan M

    I fly for a living so I’m in a hotel room half the year. This happens from time to time, more specifically when the hotel was booked a few hours before I arrive. Both at Hilton and Marriott, sometimes when you book so close to check in it hasn’t populated yet on the hotels end.

  12. Jim Bunch

    We used two free night awards at the last minute while traveling 4th of July weekend, one at the Fairfield in Sidney, Nebraska and another at the Courtyard in Sioux City, Iowa a couple of nights later. Both were booked at the last minute and we had no issues. I really do think when problems arise it is something with a specific property. Now if we could get full-service hotels to stop using Covid as...

    We used two free night awards at the last minute while traveling 4th of July weekend, one at the Fairfield in Sidney, Nebraska and another at the Courtyard in Sioux City, Iowa a couple of nights later. Both were booked at the last minute and we had no issues. I really do think when problems arise it is something with a specific property. Now if we could get full-service hotels to stop using Covid as their excuse for closing the Executive Lounges like we encountered two weeks ago at the Downtown Sheraton in Oklahoma City, that would be great. The breakfast vouchers I took as the welcome gift were fine on the surface until we discovered the quality of the buffet was suspect. Burnt bacon seems to be the rule and not the exception.

  13. ROBERT V Pellechi

    Marriott customer service has been going downhill for a very long time, I'm a Titanium elite lifetime member I can't remember they the last time they upgraded me. They serve you a good line but they don/t live up to it, as far as points go U have to watch them like a Hawk. I'm forever having them correct my points. SAD

    1. Milly

      Do you see a difference between corporate owned properties and franchise owned?

    2. Darlene Coy

      There is defiantly a difference between corporate and franchise. Corporate has higher standards than a franchise hotel. Most Marriot name brand hotels are franchise.

  14. Pete Wilcox

    I have to agree. Marriott’s customer service has gone down hill. When I arrive, I no longer feel appreciated as a Titanium Platinum member. No one seems to care about anything.

    I have a ton of Suite awards that are about to expire. Not from lack of trying.

    I just stayed at the Waldorf Astoria I’m Cabo San Lucas. They made me feel like family. I remember that feeling before Bonvoy. I miss it...

    I have to agree. Marriott’s customer service has gone down hill. When I arrive, I no longer feel appreciated as a Titanium Platinum member. No one seems to care about anything.

    I have a ton of Suite awards that are about to expire. Not from lack of trying.

    I just stayed at the Waldorf Astoria I’m Cabo San Lucas. They made me feel like family. I remember that feeling before Bonvoy. I miss it so. Just the pure appreciation for being a loyalist.

    Hilton didn’t make me chose breakfast or points. They give you both! No suite awards to try to use in one year. If the suites are available they just upgrade you period. Wow. Again, like old times.

    I always loved the Marriott brand; seems like no matter where I travelled, there was a property. But now, I’m seriously thinking of jumping ship and go where I feel appreciated. Just saying thank you and we appreciate your loyalty goes a long way in my book. I hate when I feel like a burden to anyone. Lately, I feel like a burden.

    Thanks Marriott.

  15. RandyD

    I am a long time Marriott fan (original Marquis Rewards member with a 6 digit number). My most recent experience with what was supposed to be a J.W. Marriott in Santa Monica was a horrible experience. Turns out Marriott no longer runs the property and the new management company had, thus far, made a mess of the transition. My complaint is that Marriott left the property, but didn't take the name of their premiere level...

    I am a long time Marriott fan (original Marquis Rewards member with a 6 digit number). My most recent experience with what was supposed to be a J.W. Marriott in Santa Monica was a horrible experience. Turns out Marriott no longer runs the property and the new management company had, thus far, made a mess of the transition. My complaint is that Marriott left the property, but didn't take the name of their premiere level hotels off the door. Worse, I booked it through the Marriott on-line reservation system, and there was no notice of the change. This isn't the customer-centric Marriott anymore. They have so many hotels, they don't know what they are doing at the customer level.

  16. Sara

    FYI. I am Titanium for life and I have had issues with the Marriott reps who answer my calls regarding the points and my complementary Suite awards that exist on my account. Some have downright lied to me as to saying I do not have the suite night or nights I asked about and thankfully I recalled and a lovely representative agreed immediatly found my suite nites and credited back any other points that were...

    FYI. I am Titanium for life and I have had issues with the Marriott reps who answer my calls regarding the points and my complementary Suite awards that exist on my account. Some have downright lied to me as to saying I do not have the suite night or nights I asked about and thankfully I recalled and a lovely representative agreed immediatly found my suite nites and credited back any other points that were taken by the first representative. Concluding that some of the Marriott representatives we talk to are not qualified or honest enough to do their job correctly... This has occured before to us.
    I suggest these issues be addressed as loyalty to travelers and Marrriott credit card holders is impt.

  17. Fred

    The good thing here is that Marriott took it’s responsibility seriously. I have had occasions with other chains that just tell me each hotel is individually owned and operated so they do not accept any responsibly to solve the issue. Last night at a Choice hotel someone was making a racket knocking on a neighboring door. Then all of a sudden a guy enters my room and I yell and he backs out. I pick...

    The good thing here is that Marriott took it’s responsibility seriously. I have had occasions with other chains that just tell me each hotel is individually owned and operated so they do not accept any responsibly to solve the issue. Last night at a Choice hotel someone was making a racket knocking on a neighboring door. Then all of a sudden a guy enters my room and I yell and he backs out. I pick up my wife to continue our vacation. During check out I explain what happened and they offer to comp another night. My wife would freak. I complained to the credit card cobranded and Choice and I will see what they do to right this.I hate complaining but chain management needs to know what is up at hotels carrying their brand.P.S. Inside the exhaust fan it was so black and dirty I had to look twice to know it was not a black cat in there - just unhealthy mold and dirt. Would you think I should have stayed another night.

  18. Chuck

    My wife and I were traveling back from California to Utah, and last minute we decided it was too late to continue east, so I checked the Marriott web site, and a Fairfield Inn showed availability in Sparks NV, we were close so we just went directly to the hotel.
    The Front desk informed me that they were sold out, I explained that the web page showed availability and I was Titanium with Marriott...

    My wife and I were traveling back from California to Utah, and last minute we decided it was too late to continue east, so I checked the Marriott web site, and a Fairfield Inn showed availability in Sparks NV, we were close so we just went directly to the hotel.
    The Front desk informed me that they were sold out, I explained that the web page showed availability and I was Titanium with Marriott and you should be able to accommodate us. He continued to say they were sold out.
    So I went back to my car, logged into my Marriott account and booked a room at the very same Fairfield Inn. We walked back back into the hotel and the front desk could not explain why he turned us away in the first place.
    We got our room! But I don't know why he said they were sold out. Never got an acceptable answer.

    1. Darlene Coy

      What! Because you are Titanium does not mean that the front desk will kick a guest out so you can be accommodated.

  19. Marc ROSENBERG

    Same day reservations for hotels and cars are usually delayed in being transferred to the location’s system it has happened to me more than I care to experience. Carl’s comments are indeed correct.
    My solution has been to ask the location to contact the central reservation directly, they normally have a hotline number, and the issue is often resolved.
    Staff, as part of their training should always ask when the reservation was made...

    Same day reservations for hotels and cars are usually delayed in being transferred to the location’s system it has happened to me more than I care to experience. Carl’s comments are indeed correct.
    My solution has been to ask the location to contact the central reservation directly, they normally have a hotline number, and the issue is often resolved.
    Staff, as part of their training should always ask when the reservation was made to know that same day is likely not in their own system yet.

  20. Peter

    This exact scenario happened to me in Bismark, ND. Had free night booked weeks before they told me that my reservation was canceled. When I asked who canceled they said they didn't know. So while in lobby, I booked new room which I had to pay for. When I got to my room I called Marriott directly and told them what happened. They told me that that hotel canceled my reservation and it wasnt the...

    This exact scenario happened to me in Bismark, ND. Had free night booked weeks before they told me that my reservation was canceled. When I asked who canceled they said they didn't know. So while in lobby, I booked new room which I had to pay for. When I got to my room I called Marriott directly and told them what happened. They told me that that hotel canceled my reservation and it wasnt the first time it had happened. They gave me 15K points and an apology and then applied my canceled night to the next night.

  21. Bull#it

    Spoken like a true revenue manager disliking free night award.

  22. Roy

    Ben,

    You were most likely dealing with a Franchised Hotel. Therefore the employees were not employees of Marriott. Since you are travelling on a free night certificate they only get paid a fraction of the bill. They usually only allot a certain amount of a certain amount of free nights each day. They usually build in a certain amount that they will allow the system to overbook. Someone was probably not watching the bookings and...

    Ben,

    You were most likely dealing with a Franchised Hotel. Therefore the employees were not employees of Marriott. Since you are travelling on a free night certificate they only get paid a fraction of the bill. They usually only allot a certain amount of a certain amount of free nights each day. They usually build in a certain amount that they will allow the system to overbook. Someone was probably not watching the bookings and they got into a situation where they did not want to admit they made a mistake. Training in franchises blows hot and cold because the owners don't want to spend what is needed to properly train and staff properly. That starts from the GM on down through all of the ranks. Your treatment from the hotel was deplorable. At the hotels I worked at you would be fired for treating a guest at that way. I would he told them to fix it as you had a confirmation number.

  23. Justin

    Curious what Ford’s status is. Surely they wouldn’t have tried to walk an Ambassador?

  24. BobLHead

    I was recently speaking to the overnight manager at a hotel I was staying at. 20+ years in the business, many of them at Marriot. He spoke of a venture capital group that would buy up Marriot properties that were declining to flip them. They typically overbooked and staff was specifically instructed that if the person that elite status to not tell them about the elite package available to them if they were walked. So...

    I was recently speaking to the overnight manager at a hotel I was staying at. 20+ years in the business, many of them at Marriot. He spoke of a venture capital group that would buy up Marriot properties that were declining to flip them. They typically overbooked and staff was specifically instructed that if the person that elite status to not tell them about the elite package available to them if they were walked. So it does happen out there. Not the norm but there are some unscrupulous owners out there.

  25. Lois Bradshaw

    I had a similar weird experience. I made a reservation at a Fairfield Inn in Noblesville IN weeks in advance of travel and received a confirmation email. While driving, I decided to go to my Marriott Bonvoy app and was shocked to see the reservation was cancelled without any email to me! I later learned that the hotel was closed! After several emails to customer service, I received an apology and 20,000 points for my inconvenience. How does that happen???

    1. Darlene Coy

      Please, stop passing along information that is not true. It is usually third-party bookings that are made incorrectly. Marriott does not cancel reservations because they didn't check in on time. Your reservation is held with a credit card and only charged if you are a no-show by early morning the following day, it is not canceled because the hotel wants to make more money.

  26. Colleen M

    I used to work for Hotwire and this happened all the time. Hotels that were getting full can sell their high demand rooms for a higher price than people got online. Hotels would 'lose' reservations, or say guests didn't check in on time so that they can make more money off of their room selling it to someone else.

    1. Darlene Coy

      Please, stop passing along information that is not true. It is usually third-party bookings that are made incorrectly. Marriott does not cancel reservations because they didn't check in on time. Your reservation is held with a credit card and only charged if you are a no-show by early morning the following day, it is not canceled because the hotel wants to make more money.

  27. Sandy

    I had this problem back in August. Booked the Aloft in Gainesville for 2 rooms months in advance for graduation. Called the night befor directly to hotel as I didn’t see on line. They couldn’t find my reservation even though I had confirm number. They finally did call me back to say I was confirmed but it put me through a great deal of stress. I think their systems don’t talk to each other. Too much of a hassle

  28. Sam

    I guess if the front desk guy closed his eyes, he could then honestly say “I can’t see your reservation”.

    Bonvoyed.

  29. Bobbi Barrett

    My husband and I travel a lot. We have been staying at Marriott Hotels exclusively for many years. The last few years their customer service has gone down hill. The last thing we want after a long travel day, is a problem getting in to our room. We have made the decision to move over to Hyatt and have been very happy with them. Marriott needs to step up their game. The lack of customer...

    My husband and I travel a lot. We have been staying at Marriott Hotels exclusively for many years. The last few years their customer service has gone down hill. The last thing we want after a long travel day, is a problem getting in to our room. We have made the decision to move over to Hyatt and have been very happy with them. Marriott needs to step up their game. The lack of customer service, very long wait times where calls just drop off after a certain period of time and people on the other end of the line who simply don't care. Good bye Marriott.

  30. Eliz Reid

    Hilton refused to accept my reservation and didn't walk me - they left me stranded in Phili at night with no place to go. The front desk staff hid in the back room. There were several of us (not traveling together), and we found rooms at a hotel 20 miles away. Guess who's never stayed at a Hilton since? Walking is so much better than the alternative.

  31. Steve

    I can't imagine a scenario where I'd need to communicate via an app for a CY stay. Pick up the phone and call if the request was that important!

    1. Bratty

      Good one gramps. I bet Lucky doesn't even have his initials stitched on his pocket square either.

    2. BobLhead

      tbf pocket squares are back

  32. John

    I agree the system is flawed for sure, but working for this company (Marriott) for 7 years it honestly sounds like you got a bad egg, when it comes to that agent! the system marriott uses is from the 1980’s and it communicates with all the other systems each properly uses including Starwood, for this web of communication to be built there is a tad lag time but there is no reason that the agent...

    I agree the system is flawed for sure, but working for this company (Marriott) for 7 years it honestly sounds like you got a bad egg, when it comes to that agent! the system marriott uses is from the 1980’s and it communicates with all the other systems each properly uses including Starwood, for this web of communication to be built there is a tad lag time but there is no reason that the agent couldn’t go and look up your info in the central system.

    I hope you don’t take this as marriott as a whole as I have had many of stay issues as well but 9.9 times out of 10 my stays are great!

  33. iamhere

    Agree with Carl. The agent at Marriott did nothing. You just expected the reservation to be in their system too soon. You expect it to show up in their system immediately which does not happen

  34. James

    Ben forgot the "don't attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence."
    I had an issue where a Hyatt didn't see my reservation. I called the central number and they could see it and talked the hotel into "refreshing" the screen, and there it was!

  35. Ken

    I had something similar happen to me recently except the reservation was booked weeks in advance. I went to check in, also a free night reservation, and they couldn’t find the reservation. I showed them the info on my app but they didn’t care. Plenty of rooms were available so that was not an issue.

    What aggravated me is that they had me call Marriott rather than doing it myself. The folks from Marriott got it all resolved but this killed over an hour.

  36. Reneta McCarthy

    Dear Ben—
    Why don’t you do a little experiment. Just make a reservation at any Marriott hotel, of your choosing. Wait 10-15 minutes and then call the hotel and ask them if they have your reservation.
    I would bet big money they will have your reservation. If they don’t, then Marriott has HUGE problems.
    Great story… snd sad, but it also made me laugh, out loud… hard!
    Try it. Let us know what happens.

  37. Laura

    EXACT same thing happened to me this summer at a Courtyard in Manchester. Booked hotel late afternoon for that night, only to be told by the hotel when I called a bit later to request a lower-floor room that they were sold out. They said their systems automatically cancelled the over-booked reservation, but I did not receive any email to that effect. I was still an hour and a half away from the hotel when...

    EXACT same thing happened to me this summer at a Courtyard in Manchester. Booked hotel late afternoon for that night, only to be told by the hotel when I called a bit later to request a lower-floor room that they were sold out. They said their systems automatically cancelled the over-booked reservation, but I did not receive any email to that effect. I was still an hour and a half away from the hotel when I called them, but I really needed a room in that area and was told by the hotel and internet searches that nothing was available in the vicinity. I called the Marriott Titanium line and was on a series of calls where I was told that because the hotel told me that they couldn’t accommodate me before I showed up (i.e., on the phone when I called an hour earlier), it was not a “walk” and they would not compensate me. I showed up at the hotel anyhow and they magically were able to put a room back in service with a faulty air conditioner they fixed since my earlier call. Well, it really wasn’t fixed, but I had a bed for the evening. Lesson learned: Marriott doesn’t give 2 nickels about its elite members.

  38. Sage

    I had a very bad experience with this very property in February 2020. I won’t go into all the details as there were multiple issues, but suffice it to say this Courtyard’s manager and staff were unhelpful and defensive. Marriott was useless. I contacted the actual property management corporation for this Courtyard. They made things right.

    Apparently this property still has issues.

  39. Joe

    Having worked in IT for 30 years I have been working with companies with great IT infrastructure and those who are laughable bad (and some of these are some big companies).

    Based on my personal experiences with Marriott they are probably somewhere in the middle on the low end.

    You may think it's absurd but there are still many many companies especially those with small IT budgets and who has aggressively merged with other...

    Having worked in IT for 30 years I have been working with companies with great IT infrastructure and those who are laughable bad (and some of these are some big companies).

    Based on my personal experiences with Marriott they are probably somewhere in the middle on the low end.

    You may think it's absurd but there are still many many companies especially those with small IT budgets and who has aggressively merged with other companies that still rely on workflows that include humans exchanging daily emails with data attachments as they "automation". Many still rely on excel spreadsheets being passed from one dept to another to fix issues or sync up data. I am almost convinced this is the case with most hotel online based promotions. I am also betting that a lot of hotel reservations data is not synced real time. At best there is a 15 minute delay and at worse especially if they rely on outsourced centers its a 24 to 48 hour sybc provided the humans didn't make a mistake like accidentally deleting a file they were suppose to load into their system. I've seen all kinds of craziness out there.

    Likely the hotel staffer doesn't himself know all the workflows to check because the whole thing is probably so convoluted most engineers themselves don't even know the whole process.

    Until companies' upper executives understands tech and why they need to be willing to spend $$$ on IT this will be a never-ending problem. I'm sure they feel they already spend too much on IT but A) they are not spending nearly enough B) they are currently not spending wisely by investing in nonsense resources like cheap but poorly trained support and engineers. I guarantee you that the good engineers are frustrated in working an extra 10-20 hours each week fixing outsourced created problems or building excel work arounds to quickly solve a problem mandated from upper mgmt like hurry up and merged this new hotel chain or do whatever temp fix to a security issue.

    1. Milly

      I used to work at a rival hotel in IT and I agree with your assessment.

  40. Noah L

    On a side note, has anyone had any luck extending free marriott night certificates? I have a couple expiring in January. Thanks!

    1. Bobbi Barrett

      Yes, they have extended them for us. Doesn't hurt to ask.

  41. ktc

    did you ever try to talk to management, seems only the FD was involved? or is it possible the FD picked up the 'trick' from management so no need to escalate?

  42. Mike

    This does not surprise me, considering the current CEO is taking a very outspoken anti-guest stance on all fronts! He has come out in favor of cutting back as many services at all their branded hotels as they can, especially the full service top of the line hotels. Now to protect his stand he is trying to coerce the CEO’s of the other major hotel chains to support his agenda. Bill Marriott Sr., has to be rolling in his grave.

  43. Reno Joe

    I had a confirmed suite at a St. Regis -- not an upgrade or SNA -- that the Ambassador team also saw as a confirmed suite. The day before, I called the front desk to ensure everything was set. The front desk said I had a regular room not a suite -- at the suite room rate on my reservation. The manager said the same. I forward the confirmation to the manager, who simply said...

    I had a confirmed suite at a St. Regis -- not an upgrade or SNA -- that the Ambassador team also saw as a confirmed suite. The day before, I called the front desk to ensure everything was set. The front desk said I had a regular room not a suite -- at the suite room rate on my reservation. The manager said the same. I forward the confirmation to the manager, who simply said he was confused and would not honor it. The Ambassador team said that I would have to work in out with the hotel. That was the last in a string with Marriott -- I'm done. It's a dirty industry.

  44. John bush

    I would bet it was a Franchise property and using the award cert gets them less income than a full fair walk-in or on-line reservation.

  45. UA-NYC

    Ben, terrible CS and awful IT with Marriott is a feature, not a bug these days you know

  46. Dustin

    The room that magically "opened up" is them screwing over someone else later on that night when they'll try to check in.

  47. Klaus

    On a different note, your blog/you make a living selling us credit cards that can earn super great points. The storyline is that you can afford (or get) a luxurious way of traveling thanks to miles and points.
    However, when you regularly report negative experiences with miles and points, it makes me think that maybe points and credit cards aren't so great after all. Or maybe I think you're a nagging diva. Neither is...

    On a different note, your blog/you make a living selling us credit cards that can earn super great points. The storyline is that you can afford (or get) a luxurious way of traveling thanks to miles and points.
    However, when you regularly report negative experiences with miles and points, it makes me think that maybe points and credit cards aren't so great after all. Or maybe I think you're a nagging diva. Neither is such a positive thing.

    Maybe you should report positively more often and just cut yourself some slack.

    1. GBOAC

      Klaus:
      I guess you haven't read many of Ben's recent posts about the great service he has received recently at many of the hotels that he and Ford have stayed at.
      Besides many of us find it useful to be aware of "bad" things that happen occasionally, what may cause them, and how to rectify them.

  48. Klaus

    Hi Ben, I don't think you were intentionally lied to by the front desk manager. The system probably didn't fully synchronize: I guess that the room was already blocked through the system, but Ford's reservation details were not yet fully transferred. Furthermore, I would be surprised if a front desk employee is trying to improve the hotel's revenue management.

    If he was acting in bad faith, he would have been really stupid to refer...

    Hi Ben, I don't think you were intentionally lied to by the front desk manager. The system probably didn't fully synchronize: I guess that the room was already blocked through the system, but Ford's reservation details were not yet fully transferred. Furthermore, I would be surprised if a front desk employee is trying to improve the hotel's revenue management.

    If he was acting in bad faith, he would have been really stupid to refer you to the reservation center. That makes no sense. Sorry.

  49. Casual Commentator

    Shady!! I worked in different customer service call centers for years and we were specifically trained NEVER to tell a customer basically to “sort out” a problem themselves! Terribly unprofessional. I also suspect something else was going on but I’ll refrain from speculation.

  50. Sam G

    Marriott.com etc is looking at the CRS (central reservation system) whereas the hotel is looking at the PMS (property management system). Hotel IT is pretty flakey and it's possible if the hotel was full the interface could have been rejecting the reservation until the hotel override the inventory to open up the room required. Or there was a lag somewhere. Quite possible someone else got walked unless there was enough no shows

  51. Carl

    I'm a Revenue Director for Marriott. Most likely scenario: Your booking online did not make into the Property Mgmt System by the time you called them. There is sometimes a data delay between Marriott's reservation platform and the property's system. The Front Desk agent is using the property mgmt system not Marriott central reservation system and I'm sure he was not lying about not seeing your booking. However he most certainly should of ask you...

    I'm a Revenue Director for Marriott. Most likely scenario: Your booking online did not make into the Property Mgmt System by the time you called them. There is sometimes a data delay between Marriott's reservation platform and the property's system. The Front Desk agent is using the property mgmt system not Marriott central reservation system and I'm sure he was not lying about not seeing your booking. However he most certainly should of ask you to hold or get your number while he tries to sort it out with central reservations. He shouldn't have asked you to do it. Regarding the call between Marriott and the property he most likely was able to finally see your booking while confirming with central. His sold-out comment is basically a Front Desk agent's limited autonomy in making some decisions I assume.

  52. Super

    Honestly - I think you're overthinking it and it legit did not show your reservation for the agent. For example, the Marriott agent could have spoken to the same hotel agent, told them the would have to pay to house you elsewhere, at which the hotel manager might've stepped in and just told the hotel agent to put you in a room and they'd figure out the problem for another guest (hoping someone would no-show).

    ...

    Honestly - I think you're overthinking it and it legit did not show your reservation for the agent. For example, the Marriott agent could have spoken to the same hotel agent, told them the would have to pay to house you elsewhere, at which the hotel manager might've stepped in and just told the hotel agent to put you in a room and they'd figure out the problem for another guest (hoping someone would no-show).

    This also might just be a case of Hanlon's razor: "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Hotel agent fucked up and realized his mistake on the call with the Marriott agent.

  53. Jeffrey

    I had the same experience using Bonvoy points last minute in Miami. The staff said that I didn’t have a reservation, but that they were sold out. Reservations helped me find a different property and actually kept me on the line to confirm a room was available. I wound up getting an ocean front balcony room, so the frustration quickly went away. Good save, Marriott!
    Now my elite suite upgrades seem to be unusable.

  54. James S

    "You should probably reach out to Marriott directly.”

    Uh, isn't this their job? I get if you book through priceline and it doesn't show up to call them, but if it's a Marriott hotel isn't it they're job to talk with their IT people to get it fixed?

  55. Steven B

    STVR has a good point. We think when we have these rewards that somehow makes us a VIP but it's becoming increasingly clear that it really makes us a second class citizen to these hotels and airlines. They love us when we're spending full price as they shower us with points, but as soon as we try to redeem those points they look for excuses to get out of it.

  56. Michael

    I wonder if they follow you and were trying to get you back for your dust up in Greece, which also wasn't your fault. What did the hotel say once they suddenly had a room for you? In your plan I would've been compelled to ask them... (will x post on fb if that's ok)

  57. Pete

    I usually will give the hotel the benefit of the doubt. I have had the similar “refresh” issue. Some of these hotels’s IT systems are ancient.

    That being said the Marriott rep you spoke to needs to be applauded!

  58. Stvr

    Not sure why you even chatted at all. Just show up to the property.

    Next time you hawk a $95 annual fee credit card let us remember that the best these certificates get you is a rude Courtyard

    1. Neel Woods

      Yep- I cancelled my Marriott Visa last month for that very reason

  59. JB

    Ben, That hotel is on my street here in DTSP. It would've been great to meet you and Ford. Good to know though, I'll take your experience into account if I have to recommend a hotel to visiting family in the future.

  60. Tony

    I was working for Marriott in London, We were trying to overbook as much we could and then we were sending guests, sometimes Marriott Platinum guests to other Marriott hotels,

  61. Jacob

    This has happened to me before. There’s sometimes a lag and the front desk needs to do something special for it to pull up. For a lack of a better word, almost as if they “refresh” their confirmed bookings and it shows up. Giving the desk my confirmation number didn’t help much until they did this whole “refresh”.

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Carl

I'm a Revenue Director for Marriott. Most likely scenario: Your booking online did not make into the Property Mgmt System by the time you called them. There is sometimes a data delay between Marriott's reservation platform and the property's system. The Front Desk agent is using the property mgmt system not Marriott central reservation system and I'm sure he was not lying about not seeing your booking. However he most certainly should of ask you to hold or get your number while he tries to sort it out with central reservations. He shouldn't have asked you to do it. Regarding the call between Marriott and the property he most likely was able to finally see your booking while confirming with central. His sold-out comment is basically a Front Desk agent's limited autonomy in making some decisions I assume.

DenB

Completely disagree.

GBOAC

Klaus: I guess you haven't read many of Ben's recent posts about the great service he has received recently at many of the hotels that he and Ford have stayed at. Besides many of us find it useful to be aware of "bad" things that happen occasionally, what may cause them, and how to rectify them.

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