Getting “Walked” from a Hyatt Property in NYC
Hotels are like airlines; they sometimes overbook reservations knowing that some people won’t show up. With airlines, sometimes everyone does show up and there aren’t enough seats on the plane. Typically they will ask for volunteers to take a later flight in exchange for a credit for a future flight or will “bump” someone if they don’t get enough volunteers. With hotels, when there aren’t enough rooms, typically they will “walk” a guest — meaning they book a room at a nearby property.
Hotels aren’t as regulated as airlines, so there isn’t a standard for what happens if you show up and they don’t have a room despite your reservation. Hotel brands have their own policies. Hyatt, for example, says that if a hotel is overbooked, they will get you a room at a comparable hotel, pay for your transportation to the hotel, and pay for a phone call.
Since starting SingleFlyer, I have visited over 150 unique hotel properties, including well over 50 Hyatt properties. I have had never been walked by a hotel until this Thanksgiving in New York City.
I booked my first night in the city at the Gild Hall – a Thompson Hotel with the plan to move the next day to the Park Hyatt. I used a Hyatt Category 1-4 Free Night certificate and was looking forward to my first Thompson stay even if it was a lower end Thompson.
I arrived at JFK and took the subway in and found my way to the hotel. There were some other guests coming and going in the lobby. I went to the front desk and they told me that unfortunately my room had flooded and they would would be calling me an Uber to take me to their sister property – Hotel 50 Bowery. They explained it was just down the street and made a big deal about how they were taking care of the cost of the room and the Uber (even though I had already paid for a room at their property). I asked if it was also a Thompson and the staff said that it was (it isn’t). She gave me an envelope to give to the front desk at Hotel 50 Bowery and asked that I have a seat and wait for the Uber.
The couple that arrived just after me also had a flood in their room and would be walked to the other property. I didn’t see any signs of flooding in the building (though there was a broken elevator and the repair person arrived as I was waiting for the Uber). I found it interesting that the flood must have just occurred since I received no communication from the hotel prior to my arrival at 11:30pm. Or it is possible that the hotel had overbooked on the holiday weekend thinking that with Covid there would be cancelations.
I spoke to another staff person and explained my surprise and disappointment that they were not able to honor my reservation. I did play the “elite” card, mentioning it was surprising that they hadn’t figured out a better solution for a Globalist. She offered to credit me with enough points for another stay which I agreed was generous.
The Uber came and took myself and the other couple to Hotel 50 Bowery. I handed the front desk my envelope and they acted surprised. I heard one ask the other if they had known that Gild Hall was sending over guests. He said no. They asked me to have a seat while they figured things out. They ended up getting a room for me but it was apparent that they didn’t have my Globalist status noted when I asked about breakfast. I ended up with the worst room in the property (small, lowest floor room with strange window and no view).
I understand that disasters like a flood can happen and maybe that is what happened here. Though I seriously doubt they were being honest — I think they had overbooked and weren’t proactive with figuring out a solution. They probably hoped I wouldn’t show up and when I did (and anyone after me), they sent us to another property. The manager and staff could have called over to the other property to let them know I was coming and make sure I had a great experience at the hotel. But they didn’t.
The manager did follow up with me via email and did deposit 15,000 World of Hyatt points in to my account so in the end I feel that I came out ahead. However, the points were not proactively offered and it took me explaining my frustration to receive them.
Since then, I have read about Gild Hall online and overall it doesn’t have the best track record. It will be interesting to see if it remains a Hyatt or is reflagged. My experience at the property fell short of what I expect from Hyatt.