Hotel cancellations experience

By Ross Colebrooke, in , posted: 18-Jan-2010 13:42

Last weekend, I was meant to have gone on a holiday with my brother around part of the North Island. We had booked to stay at The Devon Hotel in New Plymouth, and at Astro Motel Taupo.

I booked through, as it was the easiest way for me to book.

My gripe here is the different cancellations that different places offer. It seems that the smaller a place is, the less time they give you to cancel. Eg the Devon Hotel, gave me 24hours in which to cancel, but Astro Motel only gave me 72 hours.

Unfortunately, my bike got blown over on Friday night, the night before the Saturday’s accommodation in Astro Hotel. As soon as it happened, I called Wotif, Astro Motel and The Devon Hotel.
The Devon were great, they were willing to move/cancel my booking at no cost, although I was within my right, they were understood that a motorbike without handlebars is very hard to ride from Wellington to New Plymouth.

Astro Hotel was less than willing to do anything. Even talking to me seemed to be a problem. Both Wotif and I tried to reason with Roy (the Manager of Astrol Motel) but he said it was not his problem that my motorbike is broken, and that I injured myself in picking the bike back up.

Fair enough, I know it has nothing to do with him.
But customers are at the forefront of his business, and word of mouth go a long way. So here is my 'word of mouth'...

I suggest that no one stays with Astro Motel, as Roy is, in my opinion, less than accommodating when something beyond everyone’s control happens. Having worked in customer service, I know that shit does happen, and it can affect people’s repayments, abilities to meet deadlines etc. And sometimes you do need to make a hard-line, but when you show no sympathy, empathy or any reasonable consideration towards a situation then you will not get far in the business world.

I know for a fact, he still had rooms available on that night, so my booking had not caused him to lose money (if he was to cancel it), but he could have been reasonable and moved my booking to another date, again he did not want to hear it.

Just yesterday, I booked some accommodation direct with a small Motel in Tauranga, and was shocked to hear that they have a 7 day cancellation policy! That is just crazy, but not a big deal as we are not paying a lot for the booking.

EDIT: Roy has come back to me, and has offered me a similar room at 50% of the normal rate. That I can use any time in the next three months. Thanks Atro Motel for coming to the party and helping me out.

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Comment by Dion, on 18-Jan-2010 15:50

You just have to check out each policy before you buy or pay the extra for a place that has a flexible policy. I booked a return flight from wellington to auckland at the end of the month after I got asked to do some work up there for a volenteer organisation I do work for. Some cheap grabaseat fares came up so I got them and yesterday got told that the work is cancled due to unforseen cercimstances. I could of paid $20 extra so I could get them refunded if this did happen but I did not and I knew the risks as I read up on them before hand. So now I am $79 out of pocket and there is nothing I can do about it. It would of been good if they could of moved it to another day for you but if they give in to everyone that says they had an accdient then everyone would use the excuse regardless if they has an incident or not. They would of lost out on money if they refunded your money as you did not come, but I agree that they could of come to an arrangement to stay another day even if there was a transfer fee. Dion

Comment by alikat, on 18-Jan-2010 15:57

That really sucks. I've made a note of that motel and won't be staying there. I can recommend another place on that same street in Taupo, they have excellent customer service, so we always stay there now. They're called Adelphi and my husband stays there at least one a month and has a corporate traveller, so hes very picky.
No problem too big or too small. For the A1GP, the room we booked was ok, but then we had another person wanting to stay so the owners of Adelphi moved their own single bed into the upstairs studio unit and we agreed to pay them extra and some wine under the table for the consideration.
I'd suggest googling for motel review sites and dissing this Astro place as much as possible :)

Author's note by rscole86, on 18-Jan-2010 16:59

Dion, I agree that a refund would not have probably been a reasonable solution from their point of view, and that is why I would have been happy to accept a new date even if I had to pay for the convenience. You are quite right in that I should probably pay more in the future, to get a place that is more flexible, it is just unfortunate that it was within 24hours so most hotels/motels would have a similar policy.

@alikat, thanks for suggestion of Adelphi. I am not going to go out of my way to dis him everywhere. Just passing on to people I know, and communities I belong to.

What is interesting, is that I let Roy know that I was not happy with their service, and that I would be advising against people staying there. Solely on their lack of reasonable customer service. Roy replied, that I should not threaten him, be careful what I say, and that if he feels their reputation is damaged, he will take legal action against me, and I will have to pay his legal fees and compensation.

Unfortunately for Roy, I am allowed to express my opinion, and the facts about the service they have provided. I have not misled anyone about his or their policies, nor is this blog considered libel. I did tell him that I was willing to not post about this on the internet, if we could come to an agreement on a transfer or dates, with reasonable admin fees, but as he is threatening me with legal action then I shall leave my review here for everyone to read.

Comment by Ezzie, on 18-Jan-2010 17:20

the owner threatning you with legal actions to me shows that he knows he is in the wrong - and just proves what kind of a business owner he is.

good luck to him in the future - will not be staying there.

Comment by Linuxluver, on 20-Jan-2010 16:10

I can understand "Roy's" approach. You made a booking and it's a commitment to turn up and use a room. 
What happens to you is your business....and if you can't keep your commitment then the consequences are yours, too.  
What would you have said had you arrived at Astro Hotel on the day of the booking and Roy had said you couldn't have the room because [whatever excuse - how tragic - feel sorry for Roy]. 
Itwould be nice for Roy to let you out of your commitment.....but it seems a bit 'off' to bad mouth Roy because you weren't able to meet your commitments, however valid the excuses are to you.  
Roy's just running a hotel and people probably lie to him all the time. "The dog ate my lunch!" How does he know any different? 

Author's note by rscole86, on 20-Jan-2010 16:47

I agree with that fact that I made a booking, and that I had a commitment to that. I was not necessarily asking that Roy let me out of my commitment, just that he look at what has happened, and make reasonable solution available to us.
For example, the cost of the room will not be what I paid. It would be silly to let your rooms out at cost.

And to Roys credit, he has come back to me, and offered me a night in the same room at 50% of normal price. For me to use within the next three months.

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Ross Colebrooke
New Zealand