Traveler not informed hotel had closed

  • By Christopher Elliott
  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:35pm
  • Life

Question: I’m scheduled to stay at a Ramada Inn next weekend, which I booked through Priceline earlier this year. I called today to confirm my reservation, and I found out that the hotel closed a few weeks ago.

Priceline never contacted me about this, and when I contacted the company, the best answer I got was that I might know something by the end of this week. I have to check in the day after that.

I called the Ramada call center, and I was told that it didn’t have an answer for what was going to happen with the prepaid reservations for this hotel, either. What should I do?

— Angela Newby, Fort Worth, Texas

Answer: Priceline should have informed you about the hotel’s closure at least a week before your stay and offered comparable accommodations. But before I get to Priceline and Ramada, may I just say how impressed I am that you called the hotel more than a week before your arrival to confirm your stay? Nice work.

I always recommend that you call at least 24 hours before you’re scheduled to check in. A week is even better, and it allowed you to fix this before it turned into the kind of problem that would have left you homeless.

When a hotel closes, it typically notifies customers either by phone or email. It also tells travel agents about the shuttered property. In this particular case, Ramada closed the hotel without telling Priceline, according to Priceline.

“Had we known, we would have reached out to Ms. Newby,” a Priceline spokesman told me.

It’s not entirely clear to me whether your type of reservation created the problem. You prepaid for your room via Priceline’s opaque option, which means you don’t find out the name of the hotel you’ll be staying at until you’ve paid for it (Priceline promises steep discounts in exchange).

When Ramada and Priceline found out about your reservation, they should have acted immediately to find you a replacement room. I’m not sure if waiting a week was a reasonable request. I list executive contacts for Ramada (http://elliott.org/contacts/ramada-worldwide/) and for Priceline (http://elliott.org/contacts/priceline/) on my site.

But time was short, so I decided to get involved. I contacted Priceline on your behalf.

“We have found her another hotel in the area and upgraded her to a three-star property, versus the 2.5-star property she had booked, at no extra charge,” a company spokesman told me.

Have a great stay and enjoy the extra amenities!

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the author of “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler.” You can read more travel tips on his blog, elliott.org, or email him at celliott@ngs.org

(c) 2014 Christopher Elliott. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

More in Life

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

‘Young Sheldon’ was born out of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The hit TV show about Sheldon Cooper now has a spinoff series about him when he was a kid genius.

Reminder: Historic Everett’s self-guided home tour is today

The featured home depicted in the tour poster painting by Everett artist Elizabeth Person.

Home and Garden calendar for Snohomish County and beyond

Seattle Home Show 2: The fall version of the oldest and largest… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This red-foliaged switch grass makes a good specimen but also creates a bold statement in a drift.

Plant these late bloomers to brighten up your shade garden

In this follow-up to a column on sunny borders, Steve Smith lists flowers to liven up a dark yard.

Do you know the joke about a set of special-order dishes?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A black-and-white design for colorful plates was sent to China…

Megyn Kelly hopes for a Trump-free zone with new daily show

She says her morning talk show, which debuts Monday on NBC, will not focus on politics.

Beer of the Week: 5 Rights Brewing’s Fresh hop imperial IPA

The Marysville brewery named its beer Wobbly the Laborer after the Industrial Workers of the World.

Most Read