A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question regarding a situation that they have with a former Accor hotel (Mercure Krabi Deevana) that was reflagged on November 1.
Most of the hotels affiliated with chains such as Accor, Hilton or IHG are not owned by them. These chains just have an affiliation agreement for few years after which the contract can be terminated.
An owner of an hotel may feel that they are not receiving the benefits being affiliated with an international brand due to the costs involved or maybe they would need to do some costly refurbishments to the property to keep it up to the mandated brand standards.
Consumers that book a prepaid reservation only to find out that the property has left the chain are usually losers. You won’t earn point or stay/night credits on the hotel loyalty program under which you booked it and often the property will not honor any possible elite benefits.
Here’s an email from the reader:
I was hoping you could provide some advice on the following email. A few months back we booked the mercure in Krabi largely based on the fact that my husband is platinum status with Accor and we wanted to keep this status for the following year.
We received the email below from the Mercure Krabi telling us from November 1st they would become Mercure Plaza and we would not be entitled to any points from Accor. We booked direct through the Accor website as a non refundable because we believed we would be staying at an Accor hotel and get credited for the stay.
The new owners of the hotel refuse to issue us with a refund and Accor refuse to help so we’re wondering where we stand on this?
Without the points we would never have booked this particular hotel and we just feel like the terms of sale have substantially changed.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Email from the property announcing the change:
On 27 Oct 2014 19:26, “MERCURE Krabi Deevana RVN” <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear Loyalty Guest,
Firstly, we thank you very much for your reservation at our hotel.
We are pleased to inform you that our hotel will be rebranded to Deevana Plaza, therefore the hotel’s name will be changed from Mercure Krabi Deevana to be Deevana Plaza Krabi, effective 1st November 2014.
– Your existing reservation will be maintained as same as the original confirmation.
– Regarding to your Loyalty LeClub Member which is under Mercure Brand, will not be validated at our new brands Deevana Plaza. However instead of earning Le Club points we are delighted to offer you the complimentary daily breakfast for 2 persons while you are with us.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information you may require and we are looking forward to welcome you to our Deevana Plaza Krabi at that time.
Revenue & Distribution Manager
Email from the reader asking to cancel:
Thank you for letting me know. I have 2 upcoming bookings. The first from the 5th Nov to the 8th Nov and the second from the 12th Nov to the 13th Nov. I booked these largely due to my status with leclub and since it won’t be recognised and I won’t get credit for the stay, could you please cancel both of those stays and give me a full refund?
Email from the property:
Thank you for your email, in this case please be informed that we have confirmed you free daily breakfast for 2 persons as a compensate of your Le Club Point while your reservation is still recognize as a VIP guest as per your Le Club Platinum member and we would upgrade your reservation on both period to a Deluxe room with free of charge. However your reservation is still nonrefundable as per the original condition under Advance Purchase offer.
Please do not hesitate to let me know if I may be of any further assistance.
The reader made the non-refundable reservation at this property due to its affiliation with Le Club Accorhotels and receiving the stay/night credits associated with the stay.
The hotel has agreed to provide breakfast and the upgrade.
It was property’s decision to leave the Le Club Accorhotels or they weren’t willing to keep up with the brand standards.
They should understand that some of their guests have booked the stay due to their affiliation with the Accor and should have budgeted that some want to cancel non-refundable reservations.
My advice for the reader is to contact their credit card company and open a dispute for “significantly not as described”.
The reservation was booked under the assumption that they would get all the benefits associated with the Le Club Accorhotels including points and night credits. Accor has been running very lucrative promotions as of late and not getting points for the stays is a huge hindrance.
Hotels should learn that if they switch flags or go independent not all guests that have booked prepaid and non-refundable reservations will be happy and should act accordingly.
The hotel has ended its affiliation with Accor, that is a major change under which the stay was booked and thus the guest will likely win a credit card dispute.
The fact that Accor is not willing to provide any customer support on a situation like this is disappointing. Nothing would have prevented them to acknowledge the situation and provide courtesy points and night credits.