Unexpected hero app turns around terrifying travel trouble

Unexpected hero app turns around terrifying travel trouble

How Marriott's technical glitch strands a traveler sending his family away into the night

by Kurt Knutsson

Meet Bill, a seasoned traveler from the Sarasota, Florida area, whose globetrotting tales could fill volumes. But today’s story isn’t about exotic destinations or close shaves at foreign airports; it’s about a reservation gone awry within the bustling city of Buffalo, New York.

Weeks before his trip, Bill, meticulous as ever, had booked a room at a Marriott-branded hotel in neighboring Amherst. He’d received all the confirmations — texts, emails, and even the reassuring green check mark on the Marriott Bonvoy app. His room was booked, he was checked-in on the app, and his mind was at ease.

Credit: Marriott

 

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Arriving for a 4-night stay

Fast forward to a chilly 58-degree evening in Buffalo, the city was alive with the energy of a much-anticipated NFL football game. Fans from near and far had flocked to the city, filling up every nook and cranny. But Bill wasn’t worried; he had his confirmed reservation, or so he thought.

Upon arriving at the Marriott-branded Reikart Hotel with a smile and his reservation details in hand, Bill was met with an apologetic but firm “no room at the inn.” Despite his confirmed reservation, made well in advance, there was no record of his booking. A glitch in Marriott’s technology had failed to communicate his reservation to the hotel in neighboring Amherst, leaving him stranded.

Credit: Marriott

 

MORE: NEW ONLINE TRAVEL TOOL MAKES IT EASIER TO USE POINTS INSTEAD OF PAYING FOR HOTEL SAYS

 

When you are turned away holding a confirmed hotel reservation

Seeking assistance from Marriott’s corporate hotline yielded nothing but frustration. Marriott corporate confirmed he indeed had a reservation, but locally the hotel’s system clearly showed there was no reservation. On that critical night in Buffalo, they offered no viable solutions to this frequent loyal guest.

“We were given no lodging options… and basically after about an hour of trying to come to a resolution we were sent into the night to fend for ourselves,” said Bill of his being inhospitably turned away where he held a confirmed reservation for his 4-night repeat stay. Bill was stranded, a seasoned traveler without a bed.

Credit: Marriott

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How to turnaround travel trouble with apps

Optimistic and unfazed, Bill and his travel posse pulled up the Marriott Bonvoy app for a solution. No luck – Sold out. Then they tried the HotelTonight app, known for its last-minute bookings? Not a room in sight. But Bill’s travel-savvy didn’t stop there.

Out of dwindling choices his partner waiting in the car turned to Airbnb, an unlikely beacon of hope for stranded souls, and there it was — an instant booking available for a charming guest home just a mile away.

Unexpected solution everyone should know about

He secured the booking with lightning speed and messaged the host, who had just received a cancellation. Serendipity was on Bill’s side. From a traveler without a room to a guest in a cozy house nearby, Bill’s fortunes had turned.

Bill’s ordeal is more than a tale of technological mishaps; it’s a testament to the power of alternative platforms like Airbnb. When traditional systems failed him, Airbnb unexpectedly rose to the occasion, not just as a platform for vacation planning but as a lifeline for stranded travelers with the ‘Instant Book’ feature.

Credit: Airbnb

 

MORE: 10 WAYS TO TRAVEL LIKE A PRO FOR A WORRY-FREE TRIP  

 

From Marriott’s failure to Airbnb’s success

We reached out to Mariott’s corporate offices as did Bill having written a detailed letter to their CEO.  A Marriott spokesperson offered us this short statement,

We take customer feedback seriously and work directly with guests to resolve any concerns.

Shortly after our inquiry, Bill received a response from Marriott acknowledging the technical snafu and offering to pay for one of his 4 nights for the Airbnb he had found to rescue him from the menacing Marriott meltdown.

So, if you ever find yourself in a situation like Bill’s, remember that there might just be a charming guest home waiting to welcome you in a jam, all thanks to the unsung last-minute hero of modern travel: Airbnb.

Pro tip: Download crucial travel apps like Airbnb and HotelTonight in advance of your trip and pre-populate an account with your credit card in case you need to act quickly like Bill to rescue yourself when others do nothing to solve their promise of a roof over your head.

 

Kurt’s key takeaways

Bill’s story is a reminder that even the best-laid plans can go astray, and in those moments, the flexibility and reliability of platforms like Airbnb aren’t just a convenient source for hotel alternatives; they’re crucial in a pinch.

How do you plan your trips and what are some of the essential apps or tools you use to ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 


   

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5 comments

CatWoman November 19, 2023 - 7:13 am

Marriot should have paid for all 4 nights.

Reply

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