There. That ought to hit some search engines.

Waaaay back in June of last year, when it was first announced that there would be a Formula One track built in Austin Texas (the Circuit of the Americas), Bill and I jumped on making plans right away. There were two tentative dates that the race would be held in 2012 – one in June and one in November. To be safe, I wanted to make hotel reservations for BOTH dates, since I knew that demand on hotel rooms in the area far exceeds the supply, and that rates would skyrocket once dates were solidified. I did some research and found that Orangewood Suites in Austin, Texas had the room rates and location that we wanted for our trip. Our total for a two bedroom/two bathroom loft for four nights was $420. I called the hotel directly. The front desk person told me they don’t make phone reservations that far in advance, but that I was welcome to make on-line reservations. So, I did, through their website. I got e-mail confirmations right away for the room I wanted, the rate I wanted, and knew I could keep one and cancel the other once the race dates were confirmed.

At the beginning of the year, the date for the race was confirmed for November. On March 1st, I went on-line and canceled the June reservation, and immediately received an e-mail confirmation of the cancellation. I then actually called the hotel in person, just to absolutely confirm that the November reservation was still untouched, confirmed on the books. I was told we were all set.

Ten days later, on March 11th, I received an e-mail that my November reservation was CANCELED.

Obviously, I had not canceled the reservations myself. I hadn’t even been on-line in their reservation tool since making the June cancellation, for which I immediately received a confirmation, ten days before. So I immediately, like two minutes after getting the cancellation email, called Orangewood Suites to tell them that some mistake had been made.

Thus began an epic saga.

The front desk representative couldn’t reinstate a reservation, since it was made on-line by a separate system, to which they didn’t have access. So I asked for a manager. I was told that she was out, and had “flexible hours”, but I was welcome to leave a voicemail message. So I did.

I didn’t hear anything back for several days, so I called again. Same story. Another voicemail. A few days later, I called AGAIN. This time I asked for an e-mail address before I was sent to voicemail again. The manager finally responded to the email, and said that the reservation couldn’t be reinstated, because it was not made “at the Property level”. I called her right away (she had her cell number in her email signature) – I insisted that I didn’t cancel the reservations, and that there must have been some issue with their system. She said would investigate the issue.

A few days later I sent another email to follow up, and was told, “We do not have a designated person in charge of GDS (on-line) Bookings. Once the rates and inventory are loaded for the entire year everything else is automatically controlled. We have no control on GDS Bookings.” Which told me nothing. There HAS TO be someone in charge of these “GDS bookings” and I was getting stonewalled. I called the manager again, and she said there was nothing she could do, she’d escalated as far as she could and was told there was no issue with their system that would have caused the cancellation. She would not reinstate my reservation but I was welcome to re-book.

Yeah. Sure. To the tune of OVER SIX TIMES the room rate ($662.50 PER NIGHT, as opposed to $420 total for FOUR NIGHTS). I was not able to re-book at the room rates I’d originally had. As you can imagine, I very vehemently protested, and insisted that I speak to someone higher up the management chain. She refused to give me any contact information – outright REFUSED – and told me she would give my information to another guy, who would “be in touch”.

That was back on March 28th.

Since then I have sent several more e-mails, and left several more voicemail messages, and have gotten absolutely no response.

It’s obvious to me that Orangewood Suites did not want to honor their original, AFFORDABLE rate, and decided to scam us out of our room so they could charge six times the amount and take advantage of the supply/demand situation they find themselves in for the Formula One race. I am absolutely disgusted, and am now warning all of you guys, and anyone else who (hopefully) comes across this post, to NOT support Orangewood Suites with your business.

http://www.orangewoodsuites.com/
935 La Posada Drive
Austin, Texas 78752
(512) 459-3335

I’m going to contact the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and even see what I can do to get their AAA rating removed or reduced.

You’d better believe I’m going to tag and SEO the HELL out of this entry. Hotels that aren’t already booked solid are charging exorbidant rates. So, we’re not going to Formula One after all. And we’re mightily disappointed, especially considering how much effort we put in to be over-prepared for the trip.

What the hell ever happened to Customer Service? Why can’t people just do the right thing???