Tag: Formula One

Scammed by Orangewood Suites in Austin, Texas – No Formula One for us.

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???

MojoVation

My boss put a word in with a manager of an AcronymCo group over in Massachusetts, letting him know that I was interested in making the move back East, and to keep me in mind for any forthcoming openings. It barely registers as a preliminary step in our goal to move closer to my home state, but the thought of it generated in me a little bit of excitement nonetheless. I immediately hopped onto the internet and started researching towns close to the campus. Bedford caught my eye, but I pretty much immediately ruled it out entirely as a candidate for our future home. Holy hell, is that one exclusive little town. According to its Citi-Data, the median income for a family is $112,000, in a population of 13,800. The median family income for the town we live in now is $68,000, and we’ve got a population of 255,000.

Housing prices drop dramatically over the New Hampshire border (not to mention the non-existence of sales tax), and certain towns in and around Nashua are within a 50-minute drive to the AcronymCo plant, and a two-hour drive to Portland Maine/J’s Oysters/the Old Port/every place I hold dear in this life/HOMEHOMEHOME.

The upshot of all of this being that if I can’t actually be IN Maine, I’ll settle for being CLOSE TO Maine. 120 miles away beats 2,771 miles away, HANDS DOWN. Transferring to the Massachusetts AcronymCo has the added benefit of, you know, not having to JOB HUNT. Hello, tenure. Hello, sabbatical #3 in 2016.

Ih, we’ll see. It’s a long-ish shot. But stranger things, and longer shots, have happened.

———-

Bill and I are working on resurrecting our MojoVation (that’s mojo and motivation). Gradually over the last few years, we’ve let the upkeep of our home slide a little. And as that upkeep slid, so did our positive attitude about, well, pretty much everything. We’re always happier when we’re busy, when we’re productive, when we have projects that we can work on together. So in 2011 we’re going to address ALL THE THINGS. Painting things and drywall things and fixing things and maintenance things and whatnot things. Which will make us happier. Which will, in turn, motivate us. Which will, in turn, inspire us to do MORE WITH THE THINGS.

The upshot of all of that being that when we’re ready to make the Big Move, the house will be in good order to sell, or rent, or sit idle. And if the Big Move doesn’t happen (but OH it will!), we’ll still have a house that we’re happy with. And people can come over and we won’t relegate them to just a few rooms. And we’ll have a guest room in which to put up the people that we really like.

Like you.

———-

It’s January of the calendar, which means that I have begun considering vacation destinations for this year. August’s trip to MotoGP in Indianapolis is already arranged but for the flights, but that only covers a few days and I have a full 21 days to schedule. THAT is a happy lunchtime occupation, let me tell you. That we’re going to Maine is a given – I was going to try to go for my cousin’s baby shower, but my aunt just called me two days ago to say it was being held the last Sunday of THIS month, which is too short of a notice to give my boss. So! Bill and I are probably going to go in the first part of June, when the weather is nice but the tourists aren’t overwhelming and we can meet the baby in person. I have made it clear to my uncle that he has to sit down with me for a couple of solid days, while I scan all of our old family photographs. Someone has to be there to tell me who the hell all the people in them are.

And then I got to thinking… it’s only a five hour drive from Portland to Montreal, and Montreal has this little race that’s held in the first couple of weeks of June every year. You might have heard of it… Formula One? So I thought, how COOL would it be to fly into Portland, hang there for a day or two, drive up to Canada for three or four days for the race, then back down to Maine to finish our vacation? Fast on the heels of that tentative plan was a G-chat message to my good (and handily-located) friend Sherry, who not only LIVES in the Montreal area, but has also been to that F1 race and has all the inside deets!

I swear to God, I don’t know how any of us got anything done, let alone had any FRIENDS, before the Internet.

Anyway, no plans are set in stone yet, but usually once we have a thought like this, for a vacation that we can get very enthusiastic about, we tend to run with it. Case in point.

———-

So! I get to wrap this day up by going over to Discount Tire to get the two rear tires replaced on the truck. Bill had to rescue me from the AcronymCo parking lot a couple of days ago, when I discovered upon trying to leave for the day that the rear driver’s side tire was flat. I called him, he did his Man Thing involving jacks and cursing and whatnot, and I was on my way again in a little more than half an hour. Beat THAT, AAA! We took the tire to Discount Tire, where it was discovered that the hunk of metal was embedded to close to the sidewall to be able to fix. They placed an order for new tires, which came in today, and that’s what I’m doing after work instead of drinking BEER. THEN we have to drop the truck off early tomorrow morning at the dealership for some scheduled maintenance, which may interfere with our plans to go up to Prescott for the day. Though if we can secure a rental car we might be okay.

Ain’t it grand to be a grown-up? $450 bucks that we didn’t anticipate having to spend and there goes my new flash. Thanks a lot, LIFE.

So, you guys have any grandiose plans for the weekend? Dish!