How Hotels.com Totally Screwed Up Our Reservation In Barcelona

hotels.comOver President’s Week break, the Michael W Travels family headed to Barcelona and Andorra. 

While originally planning the trip, we booked a five night stay at a small hotel from Hotels.com. As we started doing more research, plans changed so we ended up having to change our hotel reservation.

Here’s a brief description of what took place

We had planned to visit Andorra on a Three Countries In One Day tour but after doing a bit more reading, it didn’t seem like a great idea. The idea of sitting on a bus for many hours while making various, quick stops with two little kids didn’t sound like fun. Also, the price of around $150 per person seemed a bit steep.

We decided that the better option for us was to rent a car, travel at our own pace and spend one night in Andorra rather than make the 2.5-3 hour drive both ways in one day.

Due to this change in plans, we had no need to spend money on a hotel night in Barcelona when we wouldn’t be there.

Making the Hotels.com booking change

We hoped to be able to cancel the middle night of our stay while keeping the first two and last two nights. This ended up being a bit complicated.

The only modifications the Hotels.com website allows you to make is to cancel a reservation. In order to make the appropriate changes I would have to call.

After a lengthy phone call, the rep had to just cancel our original reservation. He then let me know that the final two nights would no longer be available. This wasn’t really a big deal to us but we did have him rebook our first two nights which we had asked to keep.

I got a new confirmation with the same number as the original booking and didn’t think more about it until we arrived early in the morning.

How did Hotels.com screw up?

We arrived off of our overnight flight and went directly to the hotel, arriving at 8:00 AM. We had a hard time finding the door at first. Then we couldn’t find a way in! There was no buzzer or any way to let them know we were downstairs.

After trying to call the property without success a woman showed up and told us “one moment”.

We brought our things up two flights of stairs and were asked if we had a reservation. The woman told us that they only had one or two booking checking in. (I guess my family showing up wasn’t something they knew about?)

I showed my reservation and it was nowhere to be found!

Then the woman had her husband come over and start looking. He eventually found paperwork for our cancelled reservation and said that we hadn’t rebooked anything!

I explained how we did and we had already paid for the room! I was then told that Hotels.com (or Expedia) still had the money.

Then, the news got worse. They had a room for us for the first night but not for the second.

What to do, what to do…

I was pissed, I was tired and I just wanted to leave our bags and go visit a site across the street! However, this wasn’t meant to be.

After some arguing due to our misunderstanding, the owner and I tried to get to the bottom of the issue. In the end, it turns out that Hotels.com sent me a confirmation for rebooking our two night stay but failed to send the info to the hotel!

The owner explained what happened to Hotels.com and they asked if we wanted to stay for the one night and then book a different place which I declined. I figured we’d just stay at the same property we’d be going to at the end of our trip.

The rep offered to book that room at no additional fee, paying for it with the money they already took from me. I accepted and then it took an additional 25 minutes or so for the reservation to be transferred to our new room.

Final Thoughts:

After close to two hours at the first hotel and a 10€ cab ride later, we made it to our new accommodations. It was nice that our room was ready when we arrived, no need for a luggage room!

In the end, things worked out but Hotels.com was a royal pain. They screwed up big time and we got barely an apology. What about paying for our taxi ride to our replacement hotel! Yeah right, I’ll keep waiting on that to happen.

7 thoughts on “How Hotels.com Totally Screwed Up Our Reservation In Barcelona

  1. Where were you trying to stay Michael? I have just booked a room with Hotels.com for a upcoming trip to Barcelona and may want to change it so we are in a better location that is closer to the historic center and walking distance to many of the attractions (Minus the beach). I just don’t want to run into this same experience.

  2. Why not just book same day reservations or the night before ? Not busy in BCN this time of year anyways. Or anywhere in Spain. Thats what i do now. Have not noticed a huge increase or decrease in prices. Also once you start losing money on reservations that you can not cancel i think that makes up the difference in the cost.

  3. I had a booking.com reservation for a 7 night stay, called the hotel the day before and was told no reservation and no rooms. Booking.com, over 3 hours of phone calls the night before, offered to book another hotel and give us a $100 credit. Even though now the day of, prices for hotels were 100% higher than 2 months before, when we booked our original hotel. Got burned by booking.com 2 years ago on a promotional discount they didn’t honor (with a screenshot) I won’t be using booking.com again.

  4. Dustin Evans- I wouldn’t wait until the day or two before when traveling on a tight schedule. Also, Barcelona is definitely not empty at the moment! I’ve never lost on a reservation that we couldn’t cancel.

    Mark- Sorry to hear this, that’s awful! The first hotel said they trust Booking.com over Hotels.com/ Expedia. It’s hard to know who you can rely on!

  5. And this is precisely the reason I book direct with the provider. The less intermediaries the less chance there is for something to get messed up. Booking direct allows me to enjoy the perks of my loyalty status, a single point of contact to deal with when things go wrong (rather than the hotel and the intermediary blaming each other) and when the hotel overbooks being walked to a comparable property rather than me having to waste time energy and money. The potential savings for using an intermediary is hardly worth the hassle when things go sideways.

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