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My household confirmed up at our Marriott resort and it was closed

Editor’s observe: Readers and members of our Fb Lounge regularly write to us for assist when issues go mistaken with their travels. That is why The Factors Man has requested Michelle Sofa-Friedman to behave as our ombudsman and assist members of the TPG group out when potential.

When you’ve had a scenario the place one thing has gone mistaken along with your travels or one in every of your bank cards and you aren’t getting a response from the corporate accountable, Michelle will help you contact the corporate and doubtlessly attain a passable decision. She brings a long time of expertise advocating for customers to her work with TPG and has already helped readers get 1000’s of {dollars}’ value of restitution.

Want her assist? Write to ideas@thepointsguy.com along with your scenario and, within the instances the place she may be of assist, we are going to do our greatest to funnel your question to her.


Think about flying into Johannesburg, South Africa, after a two-week safari in Botswana. You have had an thrilling however dusty journey, and also you’re wanting ahead to all of the acquainted comforts of a Marriott resort. A sizzling bathe, a tasty dinner, a TV with a number of information and leisure choices, and a delicate mattress are in your close to future.

Or are they?

Johannesburg’s skyline. THEGIFT777/GETTY IMAGES

While you land, instantly, you are jolted into a unique actuality. The transit resort that Marriott confirmed for you is totally closed. Actually, airport workers inform you that it has been shuttered for over two years.

That is the terrible scenario that confronted Mike S. final month as his household returned from their dream safari. Even worse? When he referred to as Marriott to ask for emergency help, he was met with a recording alerting him that the resort was closed that gave no additional data.

Now Mike wish to know why Marriott despatched his household to a completely closed resort and deserted them there.

TPG needed to know, too, so we pursued his case. This is what we came upon.

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Planning an thrilling household journey

Over a 12 months in the past, as journey restrictions started to ease, Mike and his household made a plan to take an African safari this summer time.

Mike left all of the sophisticated elements of planning this journey to Pure Habitat Adventures. NHA, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, is understood for its experience in planning distinctive African safaris which are conservation-focused. The corporate’s mission assertion, “Conservation via Exploration,” appealed to this nature-loving household.

Quickly, the household was confirmed on a Botswana safari scheduled for June of this 12 months.

However there was one small element left Mike assumed he may simply handle himself.

The household would have a 27-hour layover in Johannesburg on their return journey from Botswana. They did not plan to spend extra time in South Africa, so Mike turned to Marriott to examine out there accommodations that will be conveniently situated close to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo Worldwide Airport (JNB).

“I logged into the Marriott web site and located the Protea Resort Transit – proper within the Johannesburg airport. It was excellent as a result of we would not must clear customs or depart the transit space. I booked two nights so we may keep till our night flight on the second day.”

As a Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite, Mike was happy he may earn factors throughout his keep. He shortly booked two rooms for his household and, inside minutes, obtained a affirmation from Marriott.

‘Your African Journey Awaits’

MARRIOTT.COM

Mike double-checked all the main points on the Marriott reservation, which introduced, “Your African Journey Awaits.”

Sadly, the kind of African journey ready for them at this Marriott resort wasn’t the great form — however they would not discover out till practically a 12 months later.

An disagreeable shock

Quick ahead to the summer time of 2022. The household was eagerly wanting ahead to their African safari.

“Earlier than we left, I reconfirmed all the main points of the journey – together with the Marriott resort on the Johannesburg airport,” Mike defined to me. “Actually, I obtained a reminder about our keep on the Protea Transit Resort whereas we had been on safari. There was no indication that something was buddies with that property.”

Believing all was so as, the household took off for Africa within the first week of June. Mike says he and his household had a beautiful time on their safari in Botswana.

“The safari was wonderful!” Mike referred to as again. “We had been sorry for the journey to finish.”

MIKE S./THE POINTS GUY

The household then began their lengthy journey again to California. They flew from Maun, Botswana, to Johannesburg — and that is the place this journey hit a snag.

“We had been drained, and it was a reduction to know that we did not must go anyplace once we landed,” Mike reported. “However once we instructed the lady at passport management that we had been staying within the airport’s transit space on the Protea, she gave us an incredulous look and mentioned that the resort had been closed since 2020.”

Shocked, Mike requested the officer what to do. The agent defined that the household would wish to clear customs and discover an alternate place to remain in Johannesburg. She feels the household via customs and needs them properly.

On the airport with no place to go

Because the household gathered their baggage, Mike referred to as the quantity on his Marriott affirmation hoping that this was all a mistake. It wasn’t.

This is what Mike says occurred subsequent:

“I referred to as the Marriott quantity, and there was a recording that mentioned the resort was closed. We ended up asking for recommendation on the misplaced baggage desk. They instructed us in regards to the Intercontinental simply outdoors the terminal exit and throughout the road.

“Even within the late afternoon, instantly discovering your self outdoors the airport in another country with no reservations or plans is upsetting.”

Strolling into the Intercontinental, the displaced and weary vacationers hoped for the resort had availability. It did – though the price of one evening on the Intercontinental was double what he had anticipated to pay on the Protea. Nonetheless, Mike fortunately paid it, and the disaster was over.

The group flew residence the following day, and Mike set off on a brand new mission. He needed to search out out why Marriott had booked, confirmed, and reconfirmed his household at a resort that had been closed for over two years — that means it had been closed properly earlier than he had even made his reserving.

He additionally needed Marriott to reimburse him for the costly, last-minute rooms he was compelled to e book on the Intercontinental.

However as a substitute of a proof or apology, he obtained a stunning electronic mail from Marriott.

‘Inform Us About Your Keep’

Just a few days after Mike felt his grievance to Marriott, he discovered a message from the corporate ready for him in his electronic mail inbox. He assumed it might be a mea culpa from Bonvoy for his terrible expertise. Nevertheless it wasn’t an apology.

Extremely, it was simply an automated message soliciting a evaluate of the household’s keep on the Protea Resort Transit. The survey made it clear that Marriott wasn’t even conscious the property was closed for enterprise. Oddly, it was signed by the supervisor of the closed resort.

MARRIOTT.COM

Not surprisingly, Mike wouldn’t suggest this resort to a good friend or enterprise affiliate.

When a follow-up request for a evaluate arrived a number of days later with no acknowledgment that anybody at Marriott supposed to reply to his grievance, Mike reached out to TPG for assist.

Asking Marriott for a proof

Once I obtained Mike’s plea for assist, I shared his amazement at simply what number of errors Marriott made right here.

“Marriott gave me such unhealthy customer support — confirming, reconfirming after which ignoring my emails,” Mike complained. “I simply thought it may be value sharing this with TPG.”

It had value the household practically $400 additional to go to the Intercontinental. Mike hoped that Marriott would reimburse him for that sudden expense.

I reached out to our government contact at Marriott and defined the household’s disagreeable expertise.

80,000 Marriott factors — and an apology

The following day, Mike emailed with the excellent news. Marriott had referred to as him and delivered the apology he had been hoping for and extra — 80,000 Bonvoy factors. This is what we heard from Mike in an electronic mail:

“Hey, Michelle!

Marriott apologized [over the phone]which was good, and [the corporate representative] defined a number of issues:

  1. Marriott would not know what occurred, however they’re wanting into it and can be sure that there are not any different reservations of their system to the closed Protea Transit resort.
  2. My case was closed by a Marriott customer support agent with no response to me. And my grievance wouldn’t have been addressed if not in your outreach. They’re additionally wanting into why the agent did that.
  3. Marriott credited my account with 80,000 factors to make up for this example.

Thanks once more! I’ve used my 80,000 factors for 2 nights at an Autograph Assortment resort that will have in any other case gone for $500+ per evening. 🙂. Mike S.”

The Protea Transit Resort on the Johannesburg airport now shows a message on-line that it’s closed. And the Autograph Assortment resort that Mike simply booked? No worries. We have confirmed it’s open for enterprise.

TPG hopes you get pleasure from your keep, Mike!

Guarantee this does not occur to you

Mike had no method of understanding that Marriott was repeatedly giving him inaccurate details about his confirmed reservation. His consideration was centered on the extra sophisticated elements of his household’s dream trip to Africa. Paradoxically, this unique journey hit no snags till the very half he assumed was a no brainer.

Though Mike made a number of errors in his journey planning, there are some classes in his expertise. This is how to make sure you do not find yourself in a far-off land booked at a completely closed resort.

  • Have a look at evaluations: Relying on the situation, resort high quality can differ drastically, even with a trusted model like Marriott. In case you are self-booking your lodging, do not overlook revealed evaluations. Not solely will you get an concept of ​​what to anticipate once you arrive, but when there’s an abrupt finish to the evaluations, you may wish to work out why. Within the case of this resort, there have been a collection of 1 and 2-star evaluations — then nothing — for the reason that fall of 2019. We now know why.
  • All the time verify straight with the resort: When you e book a property via the model’s centralized reservation system (or via a third-party reserving agent), at all times observe up with the resort straight. Many resorts will preemptively ship you a separate affirmation after the entrance desk receives your reservation. However should you do not obtain that sort of affirmation, make certain to name or electronic mail the resort and request it. Rigorously evaluate your reservation to make certain that the main points are appropriate.
  • Reconfirm your reservation: Earlier than beginning your journey, it is at all times a good suggestion to reconfirm straight with the property. That is true now greater than ever. Sadly, many airways, cruise traces and accommodations didn’t survive the pandemic. Chatting with somebody on the resort shortly earlier than you arrive will will let you double-check its viability and in addition verify any particular requests you may need.
  • Use knowledgeable journey advisor: Utilizing a journey advisor will help assure that you simply will not end up midway world wide with no place to remain. These professionals delight themselves on guaranteeing they carry on prime of the always altering world of journey. And if one thing goes mistaken along with your reservation throughout your journey, knowledgeable journey advisor will make certain to repair the issue. You’ll find an ASTA-certified agent right here — one that focuses on your vacation spot and mode of journey.

Backside line

It is not typically that you will examine vacationers being despatched to completely closed accommodations, however this isn’t an remoted case. There have been others, so it is value taking steps to guard your upcoming travels towards comparable hiccups.

When you or somebody you recognize had an identical expertise and the property or model ignored your plea for help, ship your story to Suggestions@ThePointsGuy.com. I will be completely happy to research and provide help to, too.

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