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DOH! Online hotel booking errors 101

DOH! Online hotel booking errors 101

Not just one error today, but TWO!

I had a frenzy of flight and hotel bookings today as a result of the Double Status Credits bonanza with Qantas at the moment. Remember that you have until one minute to midnight (AEDT) tonight to Register and make your booking.

I made one booking using Qantas hotels booking website, and one on the IHG website. In both cases, I duplicated the transactions!

Qantas Hotels

With Qantas hotels, after about a 5 minutes on hold to their call centre, I got to explain my dilemma, and it was patiently explained to me that they would register my problem, and apply (at the discretion of the hotel) for a waiver on the duplicate charge. They promised to get back to me within 48 hours.

So how did it happen? Well, I tried to book, and I got the ‘wheel of death’ – actually the progress bar of death – for over an hour, and so gave up on the transaction. I saw a transaction come through on my Amex App – but the amount was similar to another booking I had made so I didn’t take any notice. The confirmation emails came through within a minute of each other, although there was an hour between the transaction times on the confirmation details.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG)

My experience with IHG was much different.

Their call centre had difficulty recognising it as an error, and even when they did, refused to reimburse the $ amount – as when you do a points-plus-cash purchase with them for a booking, you are notionally buying points, and not paying cash.

I transferred a couple of layers of call centre, not to mention a few different departments (“Oh, cash plus points – you need to speak to Loyalty, I’ll put you through”) I’ve taken up that dispute with my credit card company to cancel the transaction. In this case, I had double-clicked on the booking icon – as it was not clear to me that the initial transaction had gone through. The bookings reflect this, with less than a minute between confirmations.

The call centre did cancel one of the reservations, however. We will have to see about getting that money back instead of a points credit – go Amex!

Computer says ‘no’

I am an experienced computer user – in fact, my profession necessitates me having a ‘Platinum’ level of proficiency. So If I can make these errors, through bad interface design, and bad website functionality  – alright, and maybe multi-tasking really badly, then, what hope has the general public?

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