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To think that the YHA has let us down badly

(49 Posts)
AllDirections Thu 28-Mar-13 10:06:30

A large group of us, all single parent families, booked to stay at York YHA this weekend. It's been closed for months due to refurbishment so due to open tomorrow. We got a call on Mon/Tues to say that although the hostel would be open some of the communal areas wouldn't be ready, namely the bar and restuarant. I then spoke to the hostel directly and they said that they expected all areas to be open. Yesterday I got a phone call to say that the work isn't finished and they're not going to open at all shock That's less than 48 hours notice.

Some of our group didn't get their phone call till this morning and one person is already packed up ready to set off today due to the distance. People were coming from all over the country. The YHA can't offer alternative beds in other hostels and won't help us to find other accomodation. They just keep saying they're deeply apologetic, which isn't helping us to find accomodation for 60-70 people! I know these things happen but their attitude is appalling. Some parents have had to arrange to have their child for the weekend, some have paid for kennels and lots of people have booked and paid for the attractions in York. We've been saving for this for months, we all work hard and we were looking forward to seeing our friends and having some quality time with our children.

Groovee Thu 28-Mar-13 10:09:55

That is awful :-(

HappyJoyful Thu 28-Mar-13 10:12:45

Gutted for you. I've always fond memories of YHA from childhood / teen years.. have looked at there site recently and must admit I was put off by prices (thought they were quite step) - now this has really put me off
Outrageous of them to not try and put you up somewhere else.

NotAQueef Thu 28-Mar-13 10:14:27

that is awful. they are still showing on hostelworld as opening tomorrow. are there any others nearby that could accomodate some of you.
sad for you - it will be nigh on impossible to find somewhere for all of you together

ArseAche Thu 28-Mar-13 10:15:30

That is bad. Very bad of them to only tell you at such late notice. Could you not get back in touch and beg them to open just for your group, room wise, even if nothing else is open. That way you could at least get your heads down somewhere and use other places to eat?

NotAQueef Thu 28-Mar-13 10:17:56

^^ that is a good idead Arse,

ArseAche Thu 28-Mar-13 10:21:40

I think you could make them feel suitably awful if you snivvel a bit down the phone, and say everything in your OP about kennels, childcare, visitor attraction bookings etc. I am sure you will be able to wing it somehow.

catsmother Thu 28-Mar-13 10:22:48

That is awful - as NotAQueef says it's going to be impossible to find somewhere alternative all together, let alone at a similar price and especially on a bank holiday weekend. In fact it's probably going to be near impossible to find scattered, individual accommodation at such short notice for everyone and at affordable rates.

I don't understand how they can call you one day then 24 hours later call again and go back on what had previously been discussed. At the very least they should offer you a proper explanation about why the work's not finished - it might not alter anything but perhaps you wouldn't feel quite so fobbed off if they were completely open with you and might also understand why you'd been told one thing one day and something different on another - e.g. some unforseen emergency or health and safety thing. I also agree it would be good customer service - in view of the short notice and because you'd received conflicting info - if someone there offered to try and help with other accommodation. After all, your party must have pretty much filled the place.

AllDirections Thu 28-Mar-13 10:23:15

I've checked all the other hostels and they generally have a few beds free but some none at all. We've had a YHA manager on Radio York with one of our people but by the tone of his apology he's obviously not interested and they're not budging sad

We've been online nearly all night trying to find an alternative even if we have to split the group but there is nothing available with such short notice and within budget. Oh, and our refunds will take up to 28 days!

ArseAche Thu 28-Mar-13 10:29:20

28 days for a refund??????? Get thee onto twitter. I don';t do twitter, but someone must be able to do it. Spread the word of what a letdown this is. Name and shame. I am actually quite horrified for you that not only do you not get your weekend away, but you would have to shell out again in finding somewhere else if you did plan to go ahead.

NatashaBee Thu 28-Mar-13 10:29:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PhyllisDoris Thu 28-Mar-13 10:43:35

Is there a YHA Head Office you could call to discuss the problem with?

Also, I strongly urge you to tweet about it, and write on Facebook about how badly you've been treated. Get everyone and his friend to retweet and repost as much as possible. It might not get you your weekend back, but it might get you a better apology and increase the level of compensation offered, and it will make you feel better.

parachutesarefab Thu 28-Mar-13 10:44:11

Awful, but unfortunately you'll probably find that their terms and conditions allow them to cancel your booking, and all they need to do is repay and money you have paid. There's always a risk that building work can overrun. If you have travel insurance you may be able to claim something on that (I know I would only have it for a weekend away in this country if I had an annual policy - but if people have paid for a lot of things other than accomodation they may well have covered themselves).

You need to speak to someone high up, and see what they can realistically do to help you.

They won't be able to provide alternative accomodation - but they could help you to look for some, by phoning hotels, B&Bs etc, and to apologise maybe they could offer you an alternative weekend away, for free? I know that doesn't fix this weekend, but maybe it could help with a break next year? (We recently booked a whole hostel, for over 60 of us, and it was brilliant.)

Less than 48 hours notice is appalling.

I hope you manage to salvage this weekend (I assume you've been in touch with the tourist office). And that YHA come up with something to properly make amends.

AllDirections Thu 28-Mar-13 10:47:45

We've pulled out all the stops, Facebook, Twitter, local radio and non stop phone calls.

They've just started to look into possible alternatives for us which they're only doing because we've kicked up such a stink about it. I'm feeling slightly more optimistic...

AllDirections Thu 28-Mar-13 10:49:44

Initially the YHA offered us a night free in York when it does open. They've now said that they'll look at extra expenses such as kennel fees and attraction bookings.

parachutesarefab Thu 28-Mar-13 10:54:37

Have you tried caravan parks? Budget, and the weather may have put people off, so not fully booked (hopeful emoticon). I've no idea how many have caravans you can book for a weekend, or whether any of you have access to a caravan / motorhome??

Yes to radio coverage, other media, facebook, twitter etc.

parachutesarefab Thu 28-Mar-13 10:55:30

Need to type quicker - keep cross posting. Glad it's looking slightly more hopeful.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 28-Mar-13 11:00:32

Well you're doing the right thing. That's appalling, sloppy behaviour and they should be publicly shamed into finding accommodation for you - even if that means them paying the difference at a hotel.

If they can't offer that (why not?), then a compensatory free weekend of greater value and all your pre-paid tickets and transport refunded.

Are you members of Gingerbread or another single parent organisation? Do they have a press office? Honestly, I think given the size of your group and crapness of their project management and customer service, this is more than a local story. The Chief Exec of the YHA association should be explaining it on national radio.

You are absolutely the YHA's target market. They've been trying to reinvent themselves in recent years, losing custom to independent hostels and B+Bs at one end, camping barns at the other, because their product is no longer unique and is expensive for what it is. They've tried to go upmarket, targeting groups who will eat in, like you, rather than the traditional but dwindling clientele of young, indepndent outdoorsy types on a budget, who cook for themselves.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 28-Mar-13 11:01:58

To conclude that thought - they need your business and the business of people like you - hence your publicity power.

MNetBlackpoolLE Thu 28-Mar-13 11:07:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 28-Mar-13 11:12:42

Of course Mumsnet has press office. This sort of individual case isn't the sort of thing they work on, it's all planned campaigns but maybe they could offer some advice?

AllDirections Thu 28-Mar-13 11:14:02!/YHAbeinspired?fref=ts

The apology!

YHA exec is now looking at the possibility of letting us use one of their places that is normally only available to school groups.

People power grin

ArseAche Thu 28-Mar-13 11:16:08

Can anyone tell me what the apology says, I don't do facebook either!!

At least things are looking a little less gloomy than they were an hour or so ago. Keep up the pressure!

MNetBlackpoolLE Thu 28-Mar-13 11:18:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 28-Mar-13 11:18:32

I think the YHA have let everyone down tbh.

They used to be about being cheap and affordable with few luxuries, now they're like 5 star hotels with the fee-structure to go with it.

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