A LoyaltyLobby reader contacted me a couple of weeks ago with a problem that he was having with HotelTravel.com & Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. The reader had booked three rooms for several nights over New Year’s Eve.
A few weeks later, he received an email from HotelTravel.com regarding changes to his booking. The reservation would no longer be fully flexible and now there would be a mandatory New Year’s Eve Gala (read buffet) costing $250 per person.
HotelTravel.com and Anantara would cancel the booking if the reader would not accept these new terms and the gala dinner.
I would be absolutely furious in a situation like this. You make your other bookings and then suddenly the property tries to jack up the price of the accommodations by $1,500 for a NYE buffet.
Facebook Complaint On HotelTravel.com’s Page
Reply From HotelTravel.com:
Your booking has been brought to my attention by my colleagues to review, however before I proceed, I would like to apologise for the distress caused to you by what has transpired with your booking.
Upon learning of this issue, I immediately contacted our Market Manager to negotiate with them to have the surcharge for the compulsory dinner waived, especially as this was not mentioned before confirmation.
I am now very pleased to inform you that despite what they had initially told us, the Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa have now agreed to waive the surcharge for the compulsory dinner. Thus should you wish to accept or reject the gala dinner invitation, you will not be charged for it.
With regards to the cancellation policy, unfortunately we were not able to have the original honoured as this is a peak period, and as such the new cancellation policy below will need to be applied should you wish to proceed.
New cancellation policy
Policy: FREE CANCELLATION! If cancelled before 28th Nov. 2013 (GMT + 07:00), you will receive a full refund. If cancelled on or after 28th Nov. 2013 (GMT + 07:00), you will be charged your full booking amount.
I do hope that despite the trouble caused to you, you will accept our sincere apologies as well as the above renegotiated offer.
Thank you for your understanding and I do look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
It never ceases to amaze me that, when hotel makes a “mistake” and forgets to include mandatory NYE gala buffet from the rate description that is $250 per person, they think that it is ok just go back and amend them all?
The attitude on the original response/chat from the HotelTravel.com was not acceptable. They should have stood by the rates that they had displayed on their own website.
Sometimes you need to go public on issues like these and posts the company’s Facebook and/or Twitter feed. I suggested the reader to contact the Attorney General of the state their family member lives in the US and file an official complaint.
I am glad, however, that both the HotelTravel.com and the Anantara resort decided to waive the gala dinner fee. I don’t like, however, that they were not willing to keep the original cancellation policy of their reservation.
There is drama every year with these sudden gala dinners that properties have forgot to tell their guests about. If the information is not included at the time the booking was made, there is no way that they can legally get around with requests of having to pay an extra $250 for a dinner buffet.