The Knuckleheads of the Day award Part Two
Erik and Kerry Kisa should be heading to the final game of the ACC tournament in downtown Tampa today after spending the night within walking distance of the Forum at the Tampa Marriott Waterside. But after a year of planning, they're not going anywhere.How do you overbook a hotel by a total of 59 rooms? Between computer reservations and the use of simple math, the hotel should have known they had a problem and someone royally screwed up. I've travelled quite a bit, over a dozen countries and all 50 states. My father was also in the hotel/motel business. That was in the days before computers, and I'm sure Dad was smart enough not to take reservations for rooms he didn't have. Mr. Offenhauser on the other hand fails miserably at that job, which makes him and The Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina today's second Knucklehead winners of the Day.
Erik is a University of Virginia alumnus. Kerry went to the University of North Carolina. The couple from Virginia Beach, Va., have attended the tournament every year for the past five years. That's why they made their reservations almost a year ago at the hotel closest to the ACC tournament.
"That's why we booked [that hotel]. The most fun is outside of the game, being at Fanfest and being part of the whole experience," Kerry Kisa said.
So you can understand their anger at having their reservation canceled eight days before the tournament began. A hotel representative called them with the bad news.
The resident manager of the hotel, David Offenhauser, sent an e-mail offering his apologies, explaining, "Unfortunately we have found ourselves in an oversold situation and we have no choice but to relocate some of our guests." Fifty-nine other reservations were offered relocation, too.
The alternative hotel is the Sheraton Suites on Cypress Street in Tampa, about five miles away from the Forum. Instead of walking, the Kisas would have had to rent a car and deal with the hassles of the commute, not to mention the extra expense and time of downtown parking.
Kisa said she and her husband declined and canceled their plans for Tampa.
"We said no way. That defeats the purpose," she said. "The bottom line was proximity."
Calls and e-mails to Marriott's corporate offices were referred to management at the Tampa Marriott Waterside property. When asked how this situation can happen to consumers with confirmed reservations, Offenhauser said in an e-mail that the hotel "made a decision to be proactive and contact guests ahead of time and let them know they were being relocated before they came to Tampa for their ease and comfort."
He invited me to follow up with a phone call or e-mail, which I did. My questions: At what point did the hotel realize it was oversold? How often does this happen? Which guests now occupy the Kisas' room? And how can consumers protect themselves from being bumped from their reservations?
Four voicemails and an e-mail later, Offenhauser responded in an e-mail, "We do not pre-assign sleeping rooms. Rooms are assigned based on availability when the guest checks in."
Linked to- Basil, Bright & Early, Cao, DragonLady, Faultline, Jo, Mark My Words, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Third World County,