Travel Troubleshooter

Travel Troubleshooter: Miami booking goes south

Q: In March, my family and I had a reservation at 1818 Meridian House in Miami through Booking.com. When we arrived at the hotel, a manager told us that we had no reservation. It then took 30 minutes to establish that the hotel had contacted Booking.com the previous day to cancel our reservation because of an air-conditioning problem.

Booking.com sent me an email when we were already in midair, simply informing me of my “modified” booking.

The manager of the property was extremely unhelpful and even verbally aggressive.

We contacted Booking.com, but it was impossible to find accommodations in the area at the price we wanted.

I decided to go door to door in the South Beach area to find a hotel with an available room. We finally found a place nearby, which cost us twice the amount of what we had budgeted.

To add insult to injury, 1818 Meridian House refused to find a parcel, with a confirmed delivery signed for by the hotel staff, that contained $200 worth of children’s clothes. The hotel refused to deal with it, saying that we were never customers and that they do not receive parcels for people who are not guests.

Can you help us?

Asako Saegusa, Tokyo

A: When your initial reservation was canceled by 1818 Meridian House, your online travel agent should have helped you find alternate reservations at a comparable rate.

Timing is everything. If the hotel was oversold, then it would have been on 1818 Meridian House to “walk” you to a competitor and pay for your first night’s accommodation, as is the industry practice. But based on your account and the correspondence, it looks as if the hotel notified Booking.com shortly before your arrival. That means it’s on Booking.com to help you.

In the end, this looked like an unfortunate series of events.

I contacted Booking.com. A representative reached out to the 1818 Meridian House on your behalf, and a hotel manager there confirmed that they had received your package but lost it. The hotel offered to reimburse you for the full value of the lost package, and Booking.com will reimburse you for your additional hotel expenses.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine.Email him at celliott@ngs.org.

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