Karma. It can happen. A client checks in and the resort doesn’t have a room available in the category booked. For that alone, we won’t dish out the karma.
However, when the resort lies to a client, and then throws the travel agent AND the wholesaler under bus, we dish the karma.
RIU Palace Peninsula – a client recently checked in at this resort only to be told there were no rooms available in their booked category (adult-only deluxe villa jacuzzi suite). Another couple checking in at the same time was told the same exact thing. The staff offered to put them in a deluxe villa jacuzzi suite in the main building (family friendly portion of the resort) for the night, and then move them the next day.
The clients asked for a complimentary mani/pedi for the wife, for the inconvenience, but were denied. What outraged the clients was that half an hour later after putting their luggage in their room, they were back in the lobby. That’s when they overhead another client ranting loudly about no adult-only villas being available. She was demanding a refund and was planning to go elsewhere. To my client’s disbelief they heard the manager advise the ranter that he’d have an adult-only villa ready for her in 30 minutes. So they were telling people at check-in that rooms in the adult-only villas were not available – but then turn around and “find” one for the ranter. Strike one, lying about room availability.
To add insult to injury, the next morning my clients are told by the general manager that their current room was “better” than what they originally booked, and advised them not to move. When they questioned him about the mian building room being better, because they specifically worked with their travel agent for adult-only area, the general manager informed them that their travel agent only cared about booking them and making money, and that he worked there thus knew the property better.
He insisted that the room in a building overrun by kids, next to construction and over a noisy karaoke bar, was better than being in a quieter adults – only villa. He then offered them complimentary massages (they don’t like massages) but still refused a mani/pedi as an alternative. The resort even rebuffed the wholesaler when they got involved, claiming that the main building room was an “upgrade” (yup, that’s what they called it) and as an upgrade no refund or adjustment was warranted.
Fortunately, the client does not hold me or the wholesaler responsible. They know that we both tried to intervene (while the clients were still at the RIU) and resolve the issue. They also did not appreciate the general manager throwing their travel agent under the bus. They’ll book with me again, and have no problems with the wholesaler in the future. However, RIU has lost ALL business from them in the future, at any property, not just this one. That’s karma.
Kudos. I have to dish some kudos to counter the bad taste of karma. Wild Dolphin Swims Hawaii earns the kudos this time. Their website does not mention that they work with travel agents, or pay commission. That was fine. I was putting together a FIT trip for a client (parents and two adult children). And the kids wanted a wild dolphin swim option (no captive dolphins accepted). Since this met their needs, I was willing to book it for them even if there was no commission for me (I was making a modest commission on their other sightseeing, travel insurance, and MLT flights & rental car). After booking three of the four family members I get an email from the owner asking where she can send my commission. Maybe she normally doesn’t work with travel agents, but I appreciate her willingness to do so, without even being asked! So kudos to Roberta at Wild Dolphin Swims Hawaii!
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel (www.shipsntripstravel.com) located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations (www.kickbuttvaations.com) she focuses on travel for young adults under 35. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.