A little bed problem on my Booking.com reservation

Dorothy Dittmar reserves a room in Paris with two twin beds. But then the hotel backs out of the deal. Does she deserve a refund?

Question: I recently made a reservation for a studio apartment at Adagio Paris Bercy Village using Booking.com. I requested twin beds for my sister and me.

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There was no mention of beds on my confirmation from Booking.com. I sent emails to Booking.com and to the hotel. A Booking.com manager responded that he couldn’t guarantee twin beds and that it “depends on availability.”

There was no mention of “availability” in the booking information. Booking.com has offered to request a cancellation without penalty. I do not understand how a request can seemingly be granted and then “depend on availability.” I want confirmation that a twin-bed room will be available at check-in. Can you help? — Dorothy Dittmar, Tucson, Arizona

Answer: If Booking.com promised you twin beds, then it should have delivered twin beds. End of story.

But did it? I visited the site to make a dummy reservation at Adagio Paris Bercy Village. When you click on the studio, it clearly says: “Please note that the double bed in this studio is a fold-down bed in the living area. Two twin beds are available upon request.” So you would have needed to get a written assurance from the property or from Booking.com that your studio came with twin beds.

If I read the property description, I probably would not come away with the impression that I’d get two twin beds. But you say you had a confirmation that you would — and hey, I’m your advocate.

Based on the correspondence you’ve sent me, it appears as if Booking.com was willing to help cancel your reservation, but that you would have to pay a fee. You might have appealed this to an executive at Booking.com (http://elliott.org/company-contacts/booking-com/) or at Priceline Group, which owns Booking.com (http://elliott.org/company-contacts/priceline/).

Cases like yours underscore the importance of reading your product description and confirmation carefully. If you have any questions, get the answers in writing, not by phone. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a room with a wrong-size bed.

In the end, I believe you were left with the impression that you would get twin beds, and leaving you with the right impression is the company’s responsibility. I contacted Booking.com on your behalf. Booking.com contacted the hotel, which agreed to a refund with no cancellation fee. Enjoy Paris.

 

16 thoughts on “A little bed problem on my Booking.com reservation

  1. The key words here are… “She requested.” I do not see it mentioned that the request was ever confirmed. Though, it may have been in emails that were not quite do in the story. So, she made a reservation and said she wanted twin beds, the hotel told her it depended on availability. Seems pretty cut and dried. Had it been me, I would have verified the available ty BEFORE making a reservation with a cancellation penalty.

    Stil, while clearly not an attempt to defraud anyone, the statement about availability of the twin beds could be taken to mean: just ask and your wish will always be granted. In any case, the hotel did the right thing and refunded her money.

  2. If it says “…Two twin beds are available upon request.” Then she should have been provided with two twin beds. If it said that they were available by request and subject to availability that is a different story.

    Words have meanings and it is important for sellers of travel to understand what they are offering.

    1. It does say exactly that (at least today):

      Please note that the double bed in this studio is a fold-down bed in the living area. 2 twin beds are available upon request.

  3. I just went to Booking.com’s page for the hotel; they clearly mark the bed option as “Bed Preference” during the booking process; I totally read that as there being no guarantees of bed type.

    On the next screen, they clearly have “Bed Preference (If available)” listed next to where you check the one you want. I don’t know how they could make it any MORE obvious.

    So, unless Booking.com changed the booking page in response to this case, she just didn’t pay enough attention during the booking process. Yes, the confirmation should acknowledge the request was made, but there’s nothing wrong with the booking process at all.

    1. Actually, if you click on the Studio room, the detailed description in fact says:

      Please note that the double bed in this studio is a fold-down bed in the living area. 2 twin beds are available upon request.

      So unless something has changed, if she requested the 2 twin beds as prescribed, then she should have received them.

      1. The booking process itself makes it pretty clear it’s contingent on availability. Obviously the hotel is not going to have an infinite supply of rooms with twin beds vs. double.

        1. This is how you would make it clear that something is contingent on availability [the following info is also from the same booking.com details:]
          “A baby kit (cot, high chair) is available on request according to availability”

          This is absolutely NOT how you would make it clear:
          “2 twin beds are available upon request.”

  4. I’m glad this one got resolved. The real take home message is that if you need a guaranteed room or bed type, book directly with the hotel

  5. If I see “available upon request” when making a reservation, I figure “if I request it, I’ll get it.” Not “we’ll see what we can do once you check in and it’s too late to change anything.” They should have said “limited twin beds, subject to availability” if that’s what they meant. They make it sound like they’ll accomodate a request. Period.

      1. Please show us where the word “available” appears in the listing except with respect to parking or children’s cots or wifi.

        1. Just go through the booking process yourself. The “If Available” next to the bed type is right there where you supply your name, email address, arrival time, etc.

          It’s correct it’s not in the listing, but it IS in the booking engine, which you have to go through to actually get a room.

  6. You can request a non-smoking room, but it seems that most hotels won’t actually guarantee it…so I’m not surprised that an unconfirmed request for two beds is also not guaranteed. It’s nice that they refunded, hopefully someone will see fit to describe on the web site what a request actually means.

  7. I have been through this issue and an opaque site will always say they cannot guarantee two beds. To avoid the problem the booking needs to be done directly on the hotel’s website.

  8. When I traveled cross country with my father, I quickly learned that I needed to say we were a party of three when booking hotel rooms via opaque sites or directly with hotel. That way I almost always got two beds (pull out couch in Topeka but it was a (rundown) suite so, whatever). Worth any extra fee.

  9. I stopped using “booking.com” about 3 years ago when I discovered that they were actually an Advertising Agency, being paid a fee from Hotel/Motel owners, etc., to promote their properties. Booking.com will do nothing at all to assist. You are essentially on your own once they have your money.

    There are many sites that will assist, including “Agoda” & especially “bnbair.com”, which I have used frequently when a hotel of my favoured brand is not available and/or too expensive.

    With “booking.com”, it is really “buyer beware”!

    Safe travel & Happy Holidays….GV

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