The Westin Hotels have been giving me acid reflux.
This February, I am going to a conference that I am really excited about: The public media conference.
Naturally, I’m not the only one who is excited about it, so the conference is booking quite fast. This means that the conference hotel filled up before I got a chance to book a room. So I booked a room at the next nearest hotel: A Westin.
No sooner did I book it, I started to get information about a preconference workshop I wanted to attend. I tried calling them about this and basically, no one wanted to talk to me about extending my stay. That is right- I wanted to stay an extra day (get it, pay them more money and their mantra was “if you booked it online- we can’t change anything.”
Orly? So now God is their webmaster and reservations made through HIM are immutable- written with a pen of lava and the parchment of the heavens. Whatever.
A few days later, I see that they charged the entire visit to my card. The whole damn stay- and the conference is 3 months away. I call them to ask about their policy and they send me to some schlub in accounting who tells me if I don’t like it, I never have to stay at a Westin again.
So today, I learn that the hotel was added to our conference block at a discounted rate. Normal humans would probably have stayed away and not bothered to ask for the discounted rate. But I did. And once again, I was told since I made the reservations online, “they” could not change the reservation (but they did offer to cancel my reservation- for which I would be charged the full amount. Gee- thanks!) After all, this ultimately does not come out of my pocket. But whatever…
So the conversation went like this:
Me: “Let me clarify- this is Westin Hotels, yes?
Phone: Yes ma’am.
Me: I see from your website that you are in the hospitality business.
Me: If you are in the hospitality business, why are your policies so completely inhospitable.
Phone: Ma’am, if you would like to speak to someone about this, I can give you a number to call.
Me: I don’t want to speak to someone about this. I want someone to do something about this. Can I have the number to call to have someone do something?
Phone: Here is the number to customer service. 1-800…
Me: R-U-N-A-R-O-U-N-D (hang up)
…anyway- in the end I did get my discount. All is well that ends well, but man, Westin has some big ball.