August 28, 2008 by esarsea
As you might gather from my recent post about Las Vegas, Mary-Anne and I enjoy casinos and resort hotels. Even if it’s only a short overnight trip or quick weekend getaway, we always find something restorative in getting away. One of our favorite times is New Year’s Eve. It’s a combination holiday for us, as we were married on New Year’s Eve of 1999. We got married in Vegas at 10pm, and then went out on The Strip with all the crazies and watched the big countdown to Y2K and the new millennium.
Earlier this Summer on one such weekend getaway, we stayed at the new Tulalip Casino Resort located North of Seattle on Interstate 5. The hotel is operated by Summit Hotels & Resorts, which is part of the Preferred Hotel Group. The room was very nice, and we decided that we would celebrate our anniversary and New Year’s there this year.
We attempted to make reservations for New Year’s at that time, but were told that they were not accepting New Year’s reservations. The front desk explained that they had not determined what packages would be available yet, and how much they would be charging. They took our name and number, put us on the waiting list, and promised to call when they got it figured out.
I got the call yesterday. The going rate for the rooms will be $270 plus tax. No packages, nothing included but the room. Although I felt the rate was a bit on the high side, it was after all our anniversary and New Year’s Eve – and the wife really wanted to stay there again. I told the reservations agent to go ahead and put me down for a room. I pulled out my wallet and credit card to give her a number to guarantee the reservation, and that’s when she told me my card would be charged now – in full – for the room and tax.
“Excuse me?” I said.
The reservations agent repeated herself. They were going to charge me in full now, for the room we would be staying in 4 months later. I told her I had never heard of such a thing. I went on to say that I understood giving my credit card number to guarantee the reservation, and that I would fully expect my card to be charged if I never showed up – or if I was forced to cancel my reservation without adequate advance notice. The agent quipped, “It’s just the way we’re doing it. Do you want the room?”
“No thanks. We’ll stay elsewhere.”
It’s not about the money, but it’s about the money. They’re not using my money, for free, for 4 months. If they are successful in selling out their hotel for New Year’s this far in advance, they will be the beneficiary of a 4-month $100,000 interest-free loan, funded by their “valued customers.”
We’re making other arrangements, and I encourage other to do the same.