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Can a hotel be so cruel?

(28 Posts)
Macontour Mon 15-Aug-11 12:08:04

Hello all. It is mine and DH's 10th wedding anniversary in September and he has booked a surprise 2 night break at a posh hotel for us. We have 3 children and have not been away just the two of us for over 6 years so this is a big deal and a chance to spend some quality time together. He had arranged for his sister to come to our house to look after the kids while we are away. When he booked the hotel (costing nearly 500 quid) there was a no cancellation/amendment/refund policy. Last week his sister broke her leg and has been told that she can't bear weight on it for 8 weeks so she can no longer look after the kids in September. My DH had to then tell me about what he had planned and we are both gutted. Now, he seems to think that we won't be able to amend the booking, but I am planning on ringing and asking anyway. After all, this is a 4 star hotel with a good reputation, I don't want to cancel and I don't want a refund, I just want to move the date back a bit when his sister will be better. What would you expect the hotel to say? Does anyone have any hints and tips on what to say if they start on about the 'no amendment policy' and how to influence them to agree to my request? Like most people, we really can't afford to chuck 500 quid away, and this break will do us both the world of good, as well as allow us to celebrate 10 wonderful years of marriage. What would you do? Thanks all.xxxxx

VivaLeBeaver Mon 15-Aug-11 12:12:31

I would beg, it's worth a try. Be polite if first person says no then ask for the manager.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 15-Aug-11 12:12:58

Hope they help btw, if not can someone else look after the kids?

fustyarse Mon 15-Aug-11 12:15:32

do you have travel insurance?

Macontour Mon 15-Aug-11 12:15:39

Thanks, i've found the managers name on the website so I can ask for him if I need to. As for someone else looking after the kids.....sore point, no-one else would be willing to (useless family). xx

mrslurkalot Mon 15-Aug-11 12:16:50

Ring them before you panic. I would have thought you could change it unless it was a particular deal. Don't torture yourself, just pick up the phone.

MrsPlugThePlumber Mon 15-Aug-11 12:16:52

tell the hotel you'll be bringing the kids? wink

Macontour Mon 15-Aug-11 12:20:32

lol Mrs.Plug, that would be funny. I know all I need to do is ring, but I have a bit of a 'thing' (phobia, call it what you will) about using the telephone and I need to know what to say before I ring anyone (almost a script - pathetic, I know). I was just wondering if anyone had any advice about what to say if they won't budge. Thanks.

thinbridewaitingtogetout Mon 15-Aug-11 12:26:19

I work in a hotel and i know that if the guest has not been informed of the cancellation policy then they can cancel at any time, can you make sure that in any confirmation email or letters there is no mention of a policy? Also there should be not problem amending the booking unless it was booked on a specific deal that ws non-refundable or transferable.

Also its always better to have a guest re-book than cancel alltogethar.

Figgygirl Mon 15-Aug-11 12:28:15

Have you checked your house insurance to see if it includes any holiday insurance? Ours does.
I like MrsPlug's reply!
I agree with the others, and to phone them and explain the emergency situation.
If they won't help by offering another date later instead, I would then say that you are very disappointed with their lack of compassion and will have to write a review of your experience on Trip Advisor to warn others considering booking the hotel.
That might work. Hotels are very aware of how many people choose hotels based on TA reviews.

Figgygirl Mon 15-Aug-11 12:30:43

I must say that I am surprised that they didn't offer cancellation insurance when you booked - many hotels do. I always had to take this out when I took my mother away, as her health was not good and there was always the possibility that we would not be able to go when the time came.

Steph260311 Mon 15-Aug-11 12:35:01

Just explain what has happened and ask to move the date - don't mention the policy unless they do. If it's a good reputable hotel they'll probably be accommodating. If they won't you could look into taking the kids with you then at least you haven't lost £500 completely. And as an earlier post said, if you have travel insurance (some people have it with their bank account or credit card I think) you may be able to claim the money back.
Good luck :-)

suzikettles Mon 15-Aug-11 12:36:53

I think it's important to emphasise that you want to rebook, not cancel or get a refund. They might be more amenable if they know they're still getting your money.

The issue may be that there's not enough time to re-sell the room, but if it's a few weeks before your stay then it might not be a problem with a popular hotel. Definitely play up the fact that it was a special treat/unavoidable change of plans. Hopefully they'll operate a policy of giving their staff the discretion to overrule the policy.

Good luck!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 15-Aug-11 12:37:00

Yes, if they don't budge politely tell them that you'll put a review on trip advisor. Tell them if they're helpful you'll sing their praises to the rooftops on there and on mn.

I'm just looking at booking a break in a top hotel and have been looking at lots of different places. They all seem to have two prices, the cheaper one is non refundable, the one which is a bit more says you can cancel, change dates, etc

Figgygirl Mon 15-Aug-11 13:31:30

Viva - totally agree with writing a good review on TA if they are helpful. Many people write a review to grumble about something, but don't always bother when credit is due.

BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 13:35:27

I wouldn't threaten to write a bad review. DP works in a hotel and as soon as someone says this he's been told to switch off. They get plenty of good reviews anyway, so a bad one won't phase them.

Figgygirl Mon 15-Aug-11 13:41:07

Bertie - this was only suggested after all else has failed - not before. It would make the poster feel better if nothing else.....
DPs hotel may not care, but judging by the number of ' Please write a review on Trip Advisor ' cards now on hotel reception desks, others obviously do.

sleepevader Mon 15-Aug-11 13:41:56

I think the way to go is flatter them and explain how much you were looking forward to the stay etc, use humour ie especially after the long summer school holidays, and say i do hope you can accomadate us on a different date.

I think you will find they will be helpful. Hardly likely to be at full capacity anyway

VivaLeBeaver Mon 15-Aug-11 13:43:49

Yes, Only use the bad review threat as a last resort. I don't think it's good customer service to tell staff to switch off. As I've been looking at hotels over the last couple of days trip advisor has been my starting point. And if a hotel has a smattering of bad reviews in with a load of excellent ones it is definitely enough to put me off.

BertieBotts Mon 15-Aug-11 14:12:28

To be fair this was more for things when customers are trying to get something for nothing - not for a reasonable request like wanting to change dates, especially if it's not next week or something.

Macontour Mon 15-Aug-11 15:49:03

Thanks everyone, some fab advice here. I'm not a 'shirty' person and it is not my style to wade in and start complaining and threatening before I have covered all the options. I'm completely reasonable and understanding and I would hope they are too. Sleepevader, I love your comment about using humour and the long summer holidays, if the person on the other end of the phone has kids, they'll completely understand where i'm coming from. I'll just make a big deal that it was such a big deal trip for us, what with being an important anniversary. I'm a bit worried about the broken leg story, even if it is totally, 100% true, it sounds much too much like a 'my dog ate my homework' type of story, and i'd be very suspicious if I was them. Unfortunately, i've not had a chance to ring them today as my youngest has decided not to have a nap and I need to know I won't be disturbed on the phone (I can stick the other two on the Wii while I ring so they aren't a problem), so i'll phone them tomorrow whilst my LO is having his nap. Funnily enough, I did look on trip advisor to see if anyone else had experienced this issue with this particular hotel, but no joy. Might be worth commenting to them if they do change our booking that I will be writing a good review, but perhaps leaving the threats about writing a bad review as a very last resort if needs be. Thanks again I'll let you know what happens.....

frenchfancy Tue 16-Aug-11 14:50:19

Why don't you e-mail them instead, that way you don't have to wait until the kids are away.

Most hotels are absolutely fine about moving dates as long as you let them know more than a fortnight in advance.

Simply say due to unforseen circumstances you need to move the booking from x date to y date. Keep it to the same time period (eg weekend or mid week) and avoid school holidays and you will be fine.

EmmaRoyd Tue 16-Aug-11 15:12:50

Phone them and say 'Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me what your cancellation policy is please?', they will then tell you and you say 'ok thanks bye'. If it's good news then great, if its not then you can think up a script about how to confront them and ring them back. Just ask them!

EmmaRoyd Tue 16-Aug-11 15:13:41

and your insurance wouldn't cover you for someone else breaking their leg!

Macontour Wed 17-Aug-11 17:43:46

UPDATE......It's (surprise surprise), GOOD NEWS. I rang them yesterday and the lady was very understanding and looked up some dates for me. I had to confirm it with my SIL that it would be OK, she confirmed last night and so I rang again this morning and changed it for October. I was just getting myself in a tizz beforehand, catastrophising and thinking the worst before I had even queried it.....DURRRRR. They didn't say anything about the cancellation policy, only that we were allowed to amend the dates once. Thanks again ladies for all your kind words and advice. Now i'm looking forward to our peaceful break away. YIPPEEEEE

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