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Guest Reservationsmisleading advertising

A Jan 29, 2020
This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer
Review updated:

The paid search results and url extensions for this business are extremely misleading. When searching on Google for a hotel by name, their results displays as [hotelname].guestreservations.com. In this case, I was searching for the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel. Their site displayed on the search result as kimptontryonpark.guestreservations.com - so it was clearly meant to look like the official reservation page for that hotel. When you click through to view the rooms available, the url redirects to guestreservations.com/kimpton-tryon-park-hotel/booking. Yes, there is a notice that they are an independent travel network - but it is a light gray font, and it is below the large, prominent availability search window. Again, when you click to view the available rooms, the page header is meant to look like the official hotel header, and if your eye skips over the same light gray disclosure statement (which it is designed to do), you will not realize that you are not on the direct hotel site. When you click "Book Now" the next page has a red countdown timer that only allows 10 minutes to hold the rate, which creates a sense of urgency and gives the strong impression that the shopper does not have enough time to search around for alternatives. The "Tax recovery charges and service fees" are listed and seemed high, but are not broken out to advise the shopper that much of it is a service fee that goes to the reseller - not to the hotel. In fact, the base rate for the room is lower than on the hotel website (I checked afterwards, when I realized what had happened), but the additional fees jack up the price so that you end up paying more than if you had booked directly. I did not realize that I had booked through a 3rd party until I saw that the confirmation email came from [email protected] I then went back to Google and repeated my search, only to find that the official hotel website is tryonparkhotel.com, not kimptontryonpark.com. As soon as I realized my error - within minutes of completing the transaction, I called guestreservations.com, and they insisted the reservation was non-refundable because that is the hotel's policy and they have to abide by it. They then refused to allow me to speak with a manager. I then called Kimpton and explained the situation, and asked if I could keep the room but cancel the existing reservation and rebook through them directly. They said that the reservation is made using the 3rd party's credit card, so they would need to request the refund and then, in theory, the 3rd party could refund me. I lodged a formal complaint with IHG requesting that they terminate their reseller agreement with guestreservations.com, but I doubt anything will come of that. All in all, I strongly feel that this company uses purposely misleading advertising and carefully crafted loopholes in disclosure regulations in order to scam customers by tricking them into accepting higher fees than if they had booked directly through the hotel.

Date of the incident was today - 01/29/2020. Reservation# R1857040429. My desired outcome is a refund of the extra $48.85 I paid for this room vs. booking direct with the hotel.

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Responses

  • Fr
    frances mckee Feb 09, 2020
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hello, I have had the same problem. I had searched for a hotel in Piraeus and when a hotel with the same name popped up I presumed it was from my previous search. However this was for a hotel in Athens ( with the same name )and as soon as I had paid I realised my mistake. I contacted the hotel directly but they have told me that no reservation has been made. I have paid over £100 and cannot seem to recover it. It was a genuine mistake that I thought I could rectify in minutes but has now dragging on since the 26th January
    I feel that I have been scammed and have tried to get a refund.

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