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Hotel Rip Off

November 8th, 2007

Last year, after we completed the Business Building Workshop we began looking for another hotel to hold the event. We were happy with the hotel we used, but felt that a larger meeting room would serve us better.

After searching for several weeks for a location that was convenient to food options so that attendees do not need to rent a car, we found a location that I thought would be perfect: The Comfort Suites on N. Texas Ave in Webster, Texas.

We went in on March 13, 2007 and spoke with Sales Manager Gina Garcia and negotiated a room rate that was LESS than what we were paying at the previous hotel.

We called a few months later, on May 11, 2007 just to touch base and make sure we were still on. We were told that Gina no longer works there but that Usman had our information on the computer and we were set to go.

But as we came down to the wire, and it became time for guests to begin registering for their hotel accommodations, suddenly the new manager (Jennifer) claimed she couldn’t find any records of our reservations. Out of the kindness of her heart she was willing to accommodate us at an increased room fee, but would not be honoring the negotiated price.

“Why not?” I asked

“This is the rate. If you want it, you can have it.”

“You don’t care that we had an agreement with you and two of your previous managers for a set rate for a very important event?”

“This is the rate” she repeated “If you want it, you can have it.”

“You mean that you are going to loose 120 room nights over $10 per room?”

“That’s what I’m prepared to do, yes.”

“Okay, because that’s what you just did.”

I refuse to do business with someone I can’t trust. So now we are back at the original hotel, paying what we would have paid with Jennifer, but instead we are dealing with someone with integrity.

The truth is I would be willing to pay MORE per room to know I’m dealing with someone with integrity.

20 rooms, times 6 nights, times $90 per room is $10,800. That should get me a free meeting room but I negotiate a lower room fee for my attendees instead so I end up paying $350 per day for the meeting room which is another $2,100 they lost.

So, Jennifer (as if she cares enough about what her customers think to actually read this), in an effort to get an extra $1,200 you instead lost $13,000 and you lost a customer for life.

Between work, vacation, and attending conferences I spend over $7,000 a year staying in hotels. I can assure you I will NEVER stay at a Comfort Suites or any of their related franchises (Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban, EconoLodge, or Rodeway Inn). Jennifer has not only lost $13,000 for her employer at THAT branch, but in my mind she has damaged the reputation of the chain as a whole and will continue to lose them money long after she has been fired.


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