Marriott Residence Inn- Woodlands - Ironman Texas Disaster!

Ever "Get Walked" from a hotel?   Apparently it's the new industry standard on how to treat guests that make reservations months in advance.  The following are the details/ excerpt from communications with Marriott Corporate and the Woodlands Township regarding my reservations for the hotel we had planned on staying at for Ironman Texas. 


Marriott Residence Inn - Woodlands, TX
I made reservations at the Marriott Residence Inn The Woodlands/Market Street on June 24, 2010 for a block of 4 rooms. I was notified two days ago that the hotel is "overbooked" and that they will be moving my reservation to a hotel that is of lower class (industry practice called "Walking Down") and about 10 minutes away from the current hotel.

My reservations were guaranteed with a credit card - therefore the overbooking would qualify as a breach of contract and that the process of walking my reservations to a hotel of a lower class will stand with most authorities as a constitution of fraud and misrepresentation and is protected legally in Texas under the Deceptive Trade Practices and in article 17.46(9) advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.

It seems that the reservations that were made before the Residence Inn at The Woodlands/ Market Street was notified of the set date of the Ironman Texas Triathlon (and therefore increased the price in the rooms) are being walked.  And, there is no doubt that the Fairfield Inn's pricing for their rooms will be at an increased price due to the event.  So, technically we are being asked to accept reservations for a downgraded hotel with increased pricing- and since we are now less than nine weeks away from the event, options for lodging are limited. 

It is also become apparent- in discussion with others that had also booked at this hotel-  that the individuals being bumped from their rooms are those that had multiple rooms reserved, rather than the order in which the reservations were made.  No doubt that it is easier from a corporate standpoint to deal with a single contact for four rooms than to deal with four individuals with single rooms.  My reservations for the Residence Inn at The Woodlands/Market Street were made nine months in advance and before the Ironman Texas registration had even opened for registration. 

This hotel was booked for the convenient access to the Ironman run course as the family members that are attending with me will have both a toddler and an infant and were expecting to have access to the rooms throughout the day for the kids to have naps, as you know, the event lasts upwards of 17 hours.  The additional drive and difficulty in accessing the hotel with race day closures is beyond frustrating and adds additional stress to me, as a competitor, as well as to my family.

I understand that this is not just affecting me, as I was told by the General Manager that they overbooked by 20 rooms.

I have expressed my disappointment in this situation to Marriott Residence Inn and Marriott Corporate, but as my first impression, as a patron to the Woodlands Township, I am incredibly frustrated.  While Marriott Corporate has offered to provide assistance in offsetting one night of our stay - as a minimum corporate policy gesture - the fact is that the town and the organizations that represent it are very much a part of the overall experience of an event of this magnitude.




Note: Please know that this isn't an issue that will ruin my race and I understand that things can't always be controlled- I am frustrated for the inconveniences that this will present to my family on race day.  And, I'm publishing this so that others that may be in the same situation might find it.  I am not at all pleased on how the General Manager handled the situation, which is why I elevated the concern to Marriott's Corporate Communications department.  I included the Woodlands Township Chairman in the e-mail and the contact for Ironman Texas, so that they were privy to the situation, as if I were the race director or in the position of hosting this many people for an event, I would want to know as well- and not just an issue "swept under the rug."  So, thank you social media for my platform. Back to training.



Big Daddy Diesel said...

Oh wow, I am interested to see the response you get from corporate. That just sucks, being proactive got you the short end of the deal

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Oh that just makes my blood boil. You were proactive and booke WAY in advance. No excuse for them to do that - none at all. I sure hope you get a better response from corporate. You send them a message to let them know you don't mess with soon to be IM'ers b/c we don't back down easily. In the meantime, upward and onward for you on your new, fast ride.

Christi said...

That makes me so mad! I am so sorry that you have to deal with this issue when you should be focusing on just training!

Shawna said...

As you always seem to do Shannon, you are handling this with grace. There is truly no exucse for this type of inconvenience, and I would be very unhappy, but like you said, it wont ruin your race. Stay focused and keep calm.

Dennis said...

There are several unanswered questions here:

- Is it the multiple-room reservations or the pre-announcement reservations that are really getting bumped?
- If the former, it's a cynical PR move because they're hoping it's just 1 person complaining, posting to blogs, etc, instead of 2, 3, or 4 for each bump.
- If it's the latter, then it's a blatant attempt increase profits by bumping those that booked at a lower rate before the official announcement was made.
- Why is this just being addressed now? I know from others that tried to book rooms that this hotel was sold out before the end of June. Why didn't they IMMEDIATELY attempt to rectify this before all of the other hotels nearby also filled?
- How far away from the race site is the hotel they're proposing? Are they going to provide transportation on race morning? I'm not talking about a continuous shuttle, but it would be reasonable to expect a one-time run from the alternate hotel to the site, or at least the Residence Inn itself. Those of us that booked there did so because it was a reasonable walk for race morning.

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

Hi Dennis,
The hotel they proposed is approximately 10 minutes away - which may not seem like a lot, but with race day closures, it's anyone's guess how difficult it will be for my family and friends to get to and from the venue throughout the day, deal with parking issues, etc. We booked the original hotel as it was in walking distance.

As far as the other questions, I would like to know the answers to them myself.

Lucas R. Tucker said...

This made ME mad, I am glad you are keeping your wits about you and focusing on preparing for the race.

Unknown said...

It is a bunch of crap. I'm booked at the same hotel and luckily have not received any notice yet? I remember when we all booked b/c it was around the same time and they had no idea that IM was even coming? Very poor business practice by this GM.

Michael said...

That is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard!! I certainly hope they do something to make up for it. I have a Marriott reservation for the Hyvee Triathlon in September and I also made my reservation a long time ago - and the race isn't until Sept - makes me wonder if I'll end up with the same issue. Hope not! Good attitude to not let it affect your race......but it still sucks!

Anonymous said...

Heard about what going on and that sucks. I'd be pissed as well. To ease your mind a bit I live and work in The Woodlands and thus know it well and am also racing. Knowing what I know about the bike and run counter layouts I think it's highly unlikely that your family will have any issues with road closures. They should be able to get to and from the mall area without much trouble from the north side, i.e. the direction they'll be coming from when they come from the Fairfield. Mike

Unknown said...

How frustrating! PLEASE keep us updated on your response! And it doesn't matter if the hotel was right next door, you have the right to be frustrated!!!

TX Runner Mom said...

Ugh, how irritating! Sorry that you got the "walk down", that just seems like a really bad practice!

Anonymous said...

After reading your frustations I would like to say just one thing...if you don't want those rooms, I would LOVE to take them off your hands!!! I am coming in to watch my daughter run and we are driving 30 miles out of the way to get there. You are lucky to have rooms 10 minutes away! I can't get rooms anywhere in the area.

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

Dear Anonymous,
I'm sorry that you are unable to find rooms within 10 minutes of the race venue less than 2 weeks out from the event. After booking my reservations almost a YEAR in advance and then being bumped to a different hotel a few weeks prior-especially when I already was confirmed at one so close to the venue, it is very frustrating.

Your daughter had to have registered by the end of July last year when the race sold out, no? Apparently being proactive and planning well in advance doesn't always work out that well, either. I wish your daughter the best of luck at the race.

Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me at the Residence Inn on Lake Front Drive. I called yesterday just to make sure it was comfirmed event hough I had the email saying it was. When I call they said I had been bumped to the Marriot Courtyard next door. Normally it would not be a huge issue except we wanted the kitchentte to prepare our own food. I was told that Marriott Platinum members take precedence and they can bump anybody to make sure they have a room. It is 2 weeks before the race and I was never notified. SO I would have shown up that day with my ice chest full of food and nowhere to put it. AND I also had made my reservations a year a go!! While I am thankful to still have a hotel within walking distance that is a ridiculous policy they have. When I talked to corportate they just told me "Thats the way it is. It is just an unfortunate situation."

Anonymous said...

The same thing haapento me at the hilton next door to that hotel you are talking about, the girl on the phone told me they are oversold by 40 rooms two days ago, and would only keep one of my 3 rooms i booked back in june too.when i asked her how something like that could happen she said everybody knew about the race before the hotels did and they could not put up rooms for the racers fast enough and the higher up hilton people booked reservations and pushed they rest of us out, gee thanks! now I am leaving some of my family home because there is no room for them to come along. there was abviously a problem with the people in charge who were organizing this because they should have been looking after our intersts (the racers and set up special rooms for us within walking distance) since it is because of us spending the money in their community that they are profiting off of. mind over matter, race on! steve

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