My mother and I are scheduled to attend the Silver Linings Convention in Davao City next week. This is a homecoming of breast cancer victims and survivors to be held at Grand Regal Hotel. Because of this, I called Grand Regal Hotel to make a reservation for two rooms. Unfortunately, the reservations agent told me there weren’t any more rooms available for the days I booked, understandably, because a lot of attendees to the convention would be staying there. So, I tried to look for other nearby hotels, until I chanced on surfing the net for any online bookings. When I searched Grand Regal Hotel, the ads of Agoda.com came out and seeing that they had two rooms of my choice available [which they claim as a promo price], I proceeded to book but halfway through, I became conscious of the fact that there might be problems to it, so I decided to just book one room. While booking, I already made prepaid payments via my credit card. Immediately thereafter, I received an email from Agoda, sending me my hotel voucher, and telling me it was confirmed. Happy that it went well, I proceeded to search again for other online booking agents and HotelsOne.com appeared after Agoda. As with Agoda, HotelsOne also boasts of two vacant rooms for the same price. Feeling lucky, I proceeded to book one room using another credit card. The same with Agoda, I also received an instant email from HotelsOne, advising me of my confirmed booking. I thought I could already rest easy.
However, being the worrier that I am, I called Grand Regal Hotel two days after, to ask if my two bookings were indeed confirmed. To my dismay, the reservation agent told me there has been no advise from neither Agoda nor HotelsOne of any sort. The said agent advised me to follow up again, as it may just be delayed. I let another two days pass, and then made a follow up, only to be told the same answer.
Getting alarmed, I called the customer service of Agoda.com, the nearest of which is Singapore [there was also Hong Kong, but I doubt I can understand the accent of the customer service agent, lol]. I did not wait long on the line, and a customer service agent promptly took my call. Relaying to her what happened, she put me on hold, saying she will personally call Grand Regal Hotel and check. Eight minutes after, she got back and informed me that the hotel has not checked their emails yet, which explains why the booking wasn’t taken. She further said the reservations officer who can access the email, was not around, and that she will just email me once it is confirmed. This somehow put me at ease.
Another two days went by until I received an email from Agoda, notifying me that my booking is already confirmed by the hotel. To be sure, I then called the hotel and indeed, my reservation under Agoda was already confirmed. Thinking of my other booking from HotelsOne, I asked if it was already okay as well. I was told that it was only Agoda for one room, although they also received an email from Expedia.com, about a room reservation on my name, and not HotelsOne. I was further told that the hotel only has a contract with Agoda and Blue Horizons; and not with Expedia nor HotelsOne and therefore, they could not honor any booking under them for they don’t know where to collect the payment.
Getting stressed, I called the customer service of HotelsOne all the way to the USA. Like what Agoda did, the agent put me on hold and saying he will contact the hotel first and put me on hold. Nine minutes after, he told me my booking was confirmed and even gave me a confirmation number. I was happy to hear it and immediately called the hotel, asking for the person whom the HotelsOne agent talked too. Eric, the guy who spoke to the agent, told me it was indeed confirmed, but since I’m so meticulous, I asked him if that reservation was under HotelsOne. To my horror, he said, no, it’s under Agoda. I got irritated with him, asking him how he could confirm it when it was HotelsOne who was calling. He said he didn’t know about the double reservation and thought it was just one. So, I asked to speak to the reservations officer, who told me the same thing. She suggested I just make another reservation to secure my stay, especially that it was really no use to insist on the Expedia or HotelsOne reservation because they wouldn’t honor it as they have no contract with either of them. I asked them how their hotel was listed on their sites, and she said it’s like a scam since the hotel has no existing agreement with the said companies. She even told me there were several cases the same as mine.
I was looking at the cancellation policy of HotelsOne tonight and luckily I was able to see that there was a condition there that if I make a cancellation after 12AM of September 7, which was only a few hours away, I could not claim any refund at all. I hurriedly canceled my booking and was conflicted on whether to call HotelsOne again and ask for the refund policy, or just leave it be and just wait, because I really don’t want to incur any more long distance calls. Just to give them the benefit of a doubt and also for my peace of mind, I ended calling again. I waited several minutes, though not so long, and the agent told me I could get my refund within thirty days from today.
This has been a learning experience for me. Since I have never been scammed in my internet purchases, I guess I was just too trusting. It’s not bad to use the internet for its convenience, but next time, I will make sure to ask the hotel first if they honor bookings for the said companies. At all costs, I don’t think I’ll be making online bookings anytime soon. It’s just so much a hassle with all the calls I had to make.
Now, let me see if I indeed get a refund within one month.
Oh, and before I forget, don’t believe those lowest rates claimed by the booking agents. The price I paid via Agoda and HotelsOne is the regular rate on the hotel — well, I didn’t really care because I was mainly just concerned to get a room, and not because it was cheaper.
update: in fairness to hotelsone, i got my refund within one month after I made the booking.it was credited back to my credit card.