Hotel power outage: "walk" guests or leave them to fend for themselves?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by traveltoomuch, Mar 29, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Questions: if I guest arrives during a power outage and the hotel can't check the guest in, should they "walk" the guest, paying for the night elsewhere? Or is this reasonably beyond the control of the hotel, relieving them of all obligation (other than, perhaps, a refund)? If the hotel has no estimated restore time for the power, how long is it reasonable to ask a guest to wait for power restoration before walking the guest? And, as a guest, how long it is reasonable to wait before walking oneself?

    As you might imagine, this happened to me recently. The hotel flatly refused to walk me. I'm wanting to get a sanity-check before I push it further.

    There are many things a hotel could do to manage the risk: have a generator, have a UPS for the check-in computers, have manual override keys to let guests into rooms, etc. This thread isn't about those - this particular hotel already failed to do those.
     
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  2. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    I think it would depend on the quality level of the hotel. I cannot imagine a Ritz-Carlton, W-A, or any of the upper level hotels ($250/night and higher) not having a plan in place for such instances.

    Days Inn and Motel 6, not so much.

    And I would not expect it for Bed and Breakfasts or privately owned and run lodging either. (Although Alyeska might, but where would they walk you to?)
     
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  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Depends on the details, which are missing.
     
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  4. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Wingate by Wyndham near a sizable US airport. Many alternate properties around, several in walking distance. Rooms are readily available at some nearby properties, but it's generally a high-occupancy night, and some properties are at 100%. Guest with a prepaid, non-refundable, one-night reservation arrives at 1030pm.

    Several other properties in the area are without power. Several report (when I called around looking for rooms) that they had been without power earlier, but it is now restored. Several report no loss of power. In other words, this is localized but not property-specific.

    No estimated restoration time (at least none shared with me). One person working the desk. One person (owner) supposedly working on restoration. Hotel's computers and phones are down; the one person on the desk has only her cell phone.

    Any other details you want?
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So... did they offer to refund your reservation, or did they tell you to wait?

    If they cannot provide the service you paid for (a room), I would expect a refund. But I would not expect them to pay for your room at another hotel (definition of "walk") as it apparently wasn't their fault that the power was out. Not sure what the standard is for Wingate-style hotels with regards to backup generators. I suspect it's not common to have them.
     
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  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    They offered a refund, and they asked me to wait. I waited for a while before giving up and finding another place that would actually give me a room.

    Thanks for the datapoint!

    As for generators: I think I've seen them outside of Hyatt Places and similar mid-market brands, but I don't know that it's a standard. I would a expect at least a UPS to keep the property management system up and running.
     
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  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I wouldn't consider a hotel that only has a UPS for the front desk computers "inhabitable" during a power outage. If there were alternative options at reasonable cost, I would move elsewhere.
     
  8. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    What was the cost of the replacement room and what was your booking channel? I'd lean towards wanting to be put in a room of some sort, but refund or wait is a reasonable starting point, especially when the hotel is incommunicado anyway. I wouldn't automatically expect an employee to use their personal cell phone to arrange for a rebooking for me. How long had the power been out? Do you have any loyalty toward the property or chain?
     
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  9. BuckleandBoots

    BuckleandBoots Silver Member

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    Given the details, outage beyond their control and offer of a refund, it seems that they did a decent job checking the box. I'm not sure I'd want to check into a hotel for a one night reservation that didn't have power and didn't have any idea when it would be restored.
     
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  10. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I'd expect any reputable hotel to either inform the guest ahead of time, walk them, or give them a room and comp the night.

    I've been at hotels that lost power during my stay due to weather. One stay, I arrived during a severe rainstorm; the area around the hotel I had reserved was so flooded my taxi couldn't get in; we drove around for hours and finally found a place that he could get to and had a room. I was on the 30-something floor. The hotel lost power shortly after I'd checked in. I walked down and back up a few times, and propped my door open so I could get some light from the emergency generator powered hall light and see enough to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Another stay the area was hit by a hurricane so lost power; I'd been upgraded to the top floor which was another great workout :)
     
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  11. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    Once, during a stay near airport prior to early morning flight, the power went out in the morning as I was getting dressed. It was so early that it was still pitch dark outside, so I had to prop open door to get light from hallway. Had it happened a half hour earlier, the alarm clock would not have worked, and I would have missed my flight. That taught me to always have a back-up alarm of some sort.
     
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  12. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    After one experience long ago of an alarm in the hotel's clock-radio not going off due to a power outage, I've always carried an alarm clock of my own, either mechanical or battery-powered (and if battery-powered, I change batteries often).
     
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  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    My smartphone works quite well for that purpose.
     
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  14. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    I am not a "morning person." A colleague and I had a 8 AM flight from PEK after a conference. Since I value my sleep, I decided to check out of the in-town conference hotel the night before and go to an airport hotel. I set the alarm and left it on "buzzer." Next thing I know, the phone is ringing: it's the bell desk telling me the shuttle was ready for me. The alarm was emitting a faint, pleasant "meep, meep" noise.

    (If it wasn't for the airport VIP service that was included in the hotel package I would have missed my flight. I managed to catch the next shuttle an hour later; the "airport butler" met the shuttle and escorted me through the diplomatic immigration and security lines, explaining the situation in Mandarin. He also called the gate to let them know we were running through the airport. We reached the gate while they were still boarding business class.)
     

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