I have come to the realization that on-line travel services such as Expedia are only valuable for finding hotel names in a given area and comparing airfares but NOT for booking trips. My most recent headache was trying to get a refund from a hotel that was booked through Expedia, which took many phone calls and significant pain to start the refund process. The refund process so far has been so painful it is my opinion that Expedia doesn’t truly care about customer service.
Storyline: My clients were booked at a New York City hotel called The Milford Plaza. I later found out that in the NY Hotel Industry this place is called the “Mildew Plaza”. So for later reference here is the word association:
Milford Plaza, NYC = Mildew Plaza, NYC
When my clients checked after dinner and tired from a long day they found urine stains on the bed sheets and hair on the bed covers. When they called the front desk they were told someone would be up immediately. Two hours later the sheets were changed but they had to make 3 additional calls to the front desk.
Needless to say they did not get a good sleep. The following morning they left for a day of shopping and asked for a room change. When they came back to the new room there were no towels in the bathroom. After repeated calls, they were told that 200 people were ahead of them to get towels and they could not guarantee they would get to them on that day. This lack of service, lack of towels and a very noisy radiator made this one of the most horrendous hotel experiences I have ever heard about in NYC.
Booking directly using a good credit card like American Express or Visa Gold you could checkout early and if the hotel didn’t refund your money, the credit card would stick up for you. In my opinion, Expedia adds no value. Why? Because in my experience the agents will not stick up for you. It would appear that they are trained to put the burden of proof on the customer.
The run-around I had to put up with on the phone just to pull up their reservation was amazing. You see, Expedia can not lookup a reservation by the guest name who is booked at the hotel; who would have guessed? Since the reservation was booked by my travel department, I needed to know their personal account number or the e-mail address that booked the reservation. On a Saturday morning, good luck getting this information from a closed large corporate office!
It would appear that the hotels don’t really like dealing with Expedia since Expedia beats them up for low rates. The hotels in turn give Expedia customers no slack. The hotel response was indifferent and Expedia’s was worse. The customer service agent actually said that she would like to believe me but would have to call the hotel desk to verify my claims. One hour later, the hotel was in denial and no resolution was made.
Another word association:
Expedia = Headaches
Next time you want to travel, use on-line travel services to shop for rates and then book direct. Do not use Expedia for travel plans that may have to change. Their inflexibility is beyond belief. You end up losing your money and your patience. Call a good travel agent!
A Great Travel Agent
If you want an A+ professional travel agent, contact Ted Friedli at Excel Travel: www.exceltravel.com