when things go wrong ...

question emailed to me by Quora.com

I receive questions several times a day from Quora.com. Perhaps it's because I have answered such questions in the past, and readers have "upvoted" the answers I provided. I pass on most questions — ones for which there either is no answer or ones when a simple google search would suffice. I appreciate this opportunity, because it gives me insight into what the general public is thinking on the subject of travel.

I did answer the question quoted above. It addresses one of life's basic realities: sometimes things go wrong! Your flight is cancelled, and you're stuck somewhere thousands of miles from where you want to be. Your hotel can't find your reservation. There's a disagreement about the rate you booked. The room you get is tiny, nothing like the photo on the website. The toilet doesn't work. The bathtub is dirty. The front desk agent speaks rudely to you. And on, and on...

Things sometimes go very wrong. That's life, life happens, and nothing can prevent the occasional mishap. So the real question becomes ... when things go wrong, whom do you want on your side? If you have a grievance, to whom can you go to solve that problem. And thus my answer to Manojit Saha's question ... how can I complain? My answer...
You just did complain, and in doing so, you have illustrated the downside of using an OTA (online travel agency) to book hotels. Such companies use an automated process to process bookings and have minimal staff for customer service. 
What could you have done instead? Had you booked on the hotel’s own website, you could have phoned the hotel and spoken directly to the manager on duty to address your issue. Or you could have used a flesh-and-blood travel advisor to make the reservation in which case she or he would have been your advocate. 
You get what you pay for and, in this instance, you made the choice to use an OTA not set up for customer care.

Here's another thing about OTA's. They seldom offer the best value.

Here's a comparative analysis of two identical bookings for a Deluxe room at Le Meurice in Paris for 9JUN-12JUN.

Goibibo is advertising a total charge of 4050€ = 1350€ nightly. For this amount, you get a hotel room. Period.

If you want a much better value, book Le Meurice through a Dorchester Collection Diamond Club agency. You'll save hundreds of euros on your hotel stay...
  • Guaranteed upgrade at booking from a Superior room (1200€) per night into that Deluxe Room, saving you 150€ per night
  • Daily complimentary full breakfast for two.
  • 100€ in bonus cash toward incidental expenses (or take it off your bill)
  • Full, premium internet (not the low bandwidth you get for free)

And should anything go wrong? You won't have to contact a customer service center in India to solve your problem. I personally know the General Manager of Le Meurice, and if there is an issue, a simple phone call will get the matter investigated and a resolution made.

copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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