Kicked out of my hotel on a holiday weekend

When a family of four doesn’t get the hotel room it reserves, mayhem ensues.

Question: We are a couple from Brazil who was visiting Florida with our two children over the holiday weekend. Our trip was great, until a dispute with the Hampton Inn & Suites Sanibel Gateway ruined everything.

The room was booked in advance and paid in full through Priceline. We had contacted the hotel prior to arrival to confirm that we would have two double beds, since we have two children, ages 2 and 4. The Director of Sales confirmed our accommodations, after having some trouble finding the reservation.

On the night of arrival, we walked up to the reception desk around 6:15 p.m. The employee on duty, Nicole, was working alone. She informed us that the hotel was overbooked and that she had booked another hotel for us for one night. The following night we would have to return to the Hampton Inn and stay there the second night.

Given that we were on vacation with two young children, we didn’t agree to that offer. We agreed to move to another hotel, but for two nights, not for one. We explained that we had plans during the day, and it would be very inconvenient to switch hotels.

The receptionist did not agree and became very rude and aggressive in tone. In her own words, she was “very frustrated” and had “no time to deal with this now,” adding, “I knew this would happen!” She told us we’d better accept what she had to offer, or leave. She would cancel our reservation in the Hampton Inn, and we could find a hotel on our own if we wanted to. We were “only a third party reservation” as she said, because our reservation was made through Priceline.

We are hotel owners ourselves and have dealt with these situations in our 25 years in the business. We kept calm and asked to speak with the responsible manager or with the director of sales with whom we had contact before. Unfortunately, at that moment, she paid no attention to us anymore because she turned her attention to the pizza delivery guy, who came in to bring pizza for her dinner. She attended to him and brought her pizza into the back office. Only then did she come back to attend to us.

She refused to contact the Director of Sales as we requested. Instead, she called another manager and handed us the phone angrily. When my wife explained what we suggested to Nicole, the manager asked to be returned to Nicole. When she hung up, she immediately called the police, saying we were disturbing the peace. I told her that was very unprofessional because we wanted to solve the problem she created. She told us that there was no problem anymore because she canceled our reservation and she would no longer provide another hotel. Then she asked us to leave.

I was escorted out by a police officer in front of all guests, and after a conversation with the officer, I was handed a trespass warning.

After three hours of looking for a hotel in the area without any luck, we had only one option left. We called some friends in Coral Springs, on the east coast of Florida, and drove there. We crossed the Everglades at night with two small kids, driving 120 miles without a cell phone or Internet connection, and we stayed two nights with our friends.

The worst of all is that the Hampton Inn chose to kick a family with two small children to the curb. It is outrageous. Hampton Inn has our contact details and could have notified us of the overbooking in advance. We did not cause any trouble, nor harm anyone. We did not scream or raise our voices. We did not insult anyone or call any names. We simply asked them to do the right thing. For that, we had to pay an absurd price. We want to be compensated fairly and honestly for all the troubles we had to go through. Our three-week vacation ended very badly, and our memories of Florida are quite negative. We did not get to visit the west coast of Florida as we had planned due to this incident. Can you help? — Sandrijn van Hoof, Maragogi, Brazil

Answer: We hate to hear that you were forced out of the hotel because of an overbooking situation. As you well know, this can happen during peak season, and hotels typically make efforts to accommodate confirmed guests in nearby hotels.

Given your family situation, it is understandable that you would seek to be accommodated for both nights at the alternate lodging. While reasonable, this is not always possible.

Unfortunately, the front desk employee, perhaps with consent from her manager, made an unwarranted call to the police. These desperate tactics are sometimes used to diffuse a situation, though of course the opposite effect is achieved, tipping the power imbalance in favor of the hotel.

That was uncalled for, unprofessional and simply wrong. And yes, you should get an apology and compensation, or at a bare minimum, an explanation for this unsettling event, which would ruin anyone’s trip.

You started by writing to the Hampton Inn director of sales, who simply offered you 50,000 HHonors points, but no apology. As you aptly note, 50,000 points doesn’t even cover two nights in that same hotel during peak season.

You responded that you didn’t think Hampton Inn was taking this seriously, especially when you had not yet received a refund from Priceline.

That was the last you heard from the Hampton Inn.

When you spoke with Priceline, customer service shared some background on your booking. The agent told you that the price you paid was low for the property during peak season — but that should not have mattered. When you confirmed your accommodations with the Hampton Inn director of sales, it took him three days to locate your reservation. Not surprisingly, when the hotel was overbooked, you drew the short straw.

Our team contacted Priceline, which refunded your money and offered you a coupon for five percent off your next booking. That was dissatisfying, though, because you really sought acknowledgment from Hampton Inn that their employees treated you and your family poorly.

It’s a painful reality that a customer service situation gone bad could mar the entire state of Florida. The unsettling display by the front desk staff, tacitly approved by hotel management, only solidifies your impression that customer service is a foreign concept in America.

Is American hospitality a thing of the past?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
About the Author
A writer and natural advocate, Jessica joined our consumer advocacy effort following a decade of work on behalf of air crash victims at one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' law firms. She has lived in Europe and Asia, but now calls Charleston, S.C. home.
Posted in The Travel Troubleshooter Tagged , , ,

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.