Sunday, July 13, 2008

I threw a fit that would make my mother and sister Francie proud and embarrass just about everyone else I know.

So yesterday we, meaning my sister Rachael, her 4 kids, my 1 kid and myself, started our road trip to OK before the sun came up. Our goal was to leave by 5 and we were on the road by 5:45 which is very good for us to only be starting off 45 minutes behind schedule. The drive went pretty smoothly most of the way, we made several stops for food, bathroom and gas, but overall was much smoother, quieter, and pleasant than we expected it to be and our 12 hour drive only took us 14 1/2 hours. We were quite pleased with our time.
About 2 hours before we were to arrive at our hotel, I received a phone call from the Crown Plaza hotel saying that they were having a problem with the A/C and they were not going to be able to accommodate us. They would be moving us down the street to the Country inn and suites, and to make it up to us they would be paying the first night on both of our rooms for us. Sounds pretty good right? Wrong! The Crown Plaza is a 4 star hotel and the Country inn and suites is a 2 star hotel. So needless to say I was not at all happy that they were not holding up their end of the agreement and we were being moved to a hotel that would not have adjoining rooms nor would they have poolside rooms as we had reserved at the Crown Plaza. Shouldn't they move us to an equal or greater hotel? You would think so right?
So I started calling around to some different hotels, because even if it meant paying a little more or not getting the first night free, I wanted what I reserved or something at least similar. I mean really how many places can you go on vacation and stay in a 4 star hotel for under $100? (Because I booked 3 weeks ago, I received an advanced reservation locked in low rate of $93 per night (regular price is $169 per night) with the understanding that it was non refundable, should we cancel our reservation we would be paying for the entire stay. I guess because it was such a good deal).
I found a Marriott on the same street as the Crown Plaza and gave them a call. They were indeed a 4 star hotel, had an outdoor pool, and adjoining rooms available for the 4 nights. They were $169 a night though. I told the girl at the Marriott what happened and she said she couldn't believe they moved us to the Country inn and suites, and that the Marriott and Crown Plaza often swap clients when they overbook their hotel. She said I should call the Crown Plaza back and get mean if I had to. So that is what I did and the conversation went like this.

me: I do not think it is right for you to move us to a 2 star hotel when we booked a room at your 4 star hotel. I would like you to move us to the Marriott because they are more equivalent in quality to your hotel.

CP: If you want to move to the Marriott we could do that for you but they are full and don't have any availability.

me: Yes they do, I just spoke with them, but here's the problem, they are $169 a night and we want you to pick up the difference in price because we did not have the luxury of booking an advanced low rate with them because we were locked into paying at your hotel. So I think your hotel should pick up the amount over $93.

CP: We can't do that, you will have to negotiate the price with them, all we can do is pay for the first night, after that it is your responsibility. If you don't like what we are offering you than you should find reservations elsewhere.

me: Then I need to speak with your supervisor.

CP: I am the manager.

me: I need to speak with your manager, maybe you need to call him on the phone if he is not there, but I need to speak with him right away.

CP: There is no one else here, I am the manager, there is no one else you can talk to.

me: Crown Plaza is a very large hotel chain and I am quite certain that there is someone higher than you and I want to talk to him.

CP: I will call my boss at home and have him call you on your cellphone.

me: Okay, if I don't hear from him very soon I will be at your front counter in 1 hour and will not be happy.

Rachael was pretty sure I had crossed the line and were would likely end up with nothing now. But 10 minutes later my phone rings and Avenis (the managers boss) from the CP calls me and says that he is very sorry for the problem we have encountered and he is going to book us at the Marriott as I requested and he is going to pay for both rooms for all 4 nights. He apologized profusely and all was good. We were super excited about having the whole thing for free, we never even asked for the first night free, we just wanted what we booked or something equivalent for the same price.

Another 20 minutes later Avenis calls back again and says we will be staying a the Courtyard by Marriott which is a nice hotel right next to a mall and has a pool. He assured us that we would be very happy there. (We have malls at home too, sorry that does not entice us in the least!)

me: Um, no, you said you were putting us at the Marriott, why are you changing it now?

Avenis: They can only accommodate you for 2 nights.

me: No, I spoke with them already and they have availability all 4 nights.

Avenis: Okay I will double check that and get back with you.

5 minutes later all is good and we are back at the Marriott.

I really hated throwing such a fit, but I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to having poolside rooms so that when Tony was napping I could sit at the pool. When I booked the reservation they made it clear that they would charge my card if I cancelled because they were giving me such a good deal. I found the rate on Orbitz and Crown Plaza has a disclaimer that they guarantee the lowest published fare, so they were not excited about giving it to us for that price but a guarantee is a guarantee.

Anyway it was a pretty dramatic last 2 hours of our drive and the kids that had been so good for the entire trip were falling apart rapidly. Once we arrived at the hotel we all changed into our swimsuits and went for a swim at the pool and ordered pizza. And I think we are staying at a better hotel than the Crown Plaza. This pool is half indoor half outdoor so we get the best of both. We were really torn as to what kind of pool we wanted, it's so hot in OKC that most hotels have indoor pools, but we really thought we would want to get some sun so we opted for the outdoor. Now we have both. The only drawback is that the rooms aren't poolside, so I am here in the room while Tony is napping. The room is free though, so I'm not complaining anymore.


Rachael said...

She did throw a good fit. If it'd been in person, I'd have died of embarrassment, but since it was over the phone, I egged her on and was her willing fit-throwing accomplice. I have to say we were both pretty shocked when we got our entire stay comped as a result of the fit. We NEVER asked for that, we just wanted the rooms we'd arranged at the price we arranged or something equivalent. That may just be some fit-throwing positive reinforcement we didn't expect. Watch out world.

Shannon said...

I think it is in our DNA and because it embarrass our spouses we let a lot of fit-throwing opportunities pass us by. Good Job! Oh, Francie will be so proud!!!!!!!!!

So, I got Mom's version first. Guess who's was better?

Have fun.

Belle of Madison said...

You go girl!!! I am way too timid to do anything like that.

Elle J said...

Way to go, Girls!! Enjoy your deserved vacation with the long drive and kiddos.

Francie said...

I can't believe no one told me about this and I had to find out by reading your blog! Yes! I'm so proud of you! Good for you for putting your foot down and making sure you get what you deserve, whether they paid for the entire week or not (which totally rocks!) at least you argued your point!
On another note, make sure you guys blog a lot all week so we know what's going on and add pictures too!

Tina in CT said...

You go girl! I would have done the same thing as I am no shrinking violet either. Enjoy the nice hotel and pool and know that it's FREE. Bummer that the rooms aren't poolside.

Natalie said...

I knew you had it in you, I just had never seen you pushed to that point.

PrincessGreen17 said...

WOW- I'm super impressed! I think I would have folded right away and just accepted the crap they were throwing at me, good for you! It certainly paid off. :)

Paula said...

I agree, you should have gotten the equivelent to what you had booked. I would probobly have just gone to the country inn though, I don't like confrontation.

MoscowMom said...

Wow!!!! You go, girl!!!!!! I'm so proud! They messed with the wrong woman. After that many hours in a car (no matter how "sweet" it may be), you were DANGEROUS!!