Overbooking situation

By whplanet,

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I apologize if this has been covered previously, but nothing came up when I searched:

I've heard of complaints from people who've used Priceline and been refused at the lobby due to overbooking. In these complaints, Priceline offered a refund of price paid, but the customer ended up booking at a different hotel, often at much higher rates, in order to have a place to sleep.

What is Priceline's official policy and what have your experiences been?

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Just like airlines, hotels know a certain percentage of rooms will be 'no show' and they may overbook based upon the expected no show rate in order to maximize revenue... it can happen regardless of how you book. However, it happens infrequently (i can't recall the last time we heard such an incident on the board) which may also be a sign of the economy as hotels just simply don't typically sell-out as much as they used to.

Industry practice (although not a 'law' so your mileage may vary) is that the nite if free and the hotel will re-book you for that nite at a hotel of similar quality and provide cab fare (if needed) to the alternate property. The real problem arises if you're in town during an EXTREMELY busy event and all hotels in the immediate area are sold-out and the nearest available room is 25+ miles away.

Unless i was traveling during a time i expected to be VERY HIGH demand and all hotels in the area were sold-out, i wouldn't think twice about it. If a big concern of yours you could always book a 2nd room that is fully refundable up until late in the day of check-in. Assuming you arrive at the PRICELINE / HOTWIRE property before the cancellation time of your second reservation, make sure that everything is fine with your PRICELINE / HOTWIRE hotel, then cancel the back-up reservation.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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Thanks for the info. Of all the times I've used Priceline, it's only "almost" happened to me once. I arrived to the hotel early and got a room, but the manager was mentioning how they would have to turn many away because they were overbooked due to a college graduation that weekend.

It's disappointing to hear that there is no "law" on the books, unlike the airline industry.

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I could be wrong, but i don't think it's a law for the airlines either... but the airlines have a better system in place as they can keep 'upping the ante' in the form of a travel voucher for any passenger(s) willing to give up their seat and travel on a later flight (not really possible for hotels to do the same). I've seen a few episodes of Southwest Airline's TV show "Airline" where they're unable to get any passengers to volunteer to give up their seat and those who are not checked-in are simply unable to board.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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Airlines in the USA may involuntarily bump you to another flight as a result of overbooking, but they must compensate the passenger per regulation. The amount of compensation depends on the situation, but airlines prefer to find volunteers under their own terms to avoid the regulated penalties.


In general, European regulations are much more customer friendly.

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  • 5 months later...

Never happened in over 10 years of Priceline but just had this happen to me last week...overbooked hotel. At 11:00 pm (after 6 hrs of traveling) tried to check-in at our hotel only to be told they were overbooked. They gave me a voucher for another hotel nearby. This resort was not up to par (rated 3 star vs 4 star of original one), mold on shower curtain, ants in kitchen. We were 'allowed' to checkin the next day (pack up, move again)to the original hotel. I talked to Priceline for 25 minutes that morning and they made it sound like they'd take care of things, long story but I'm SOL for any reimbursement. Not their problem. I was told to call the hotel I was originally booked through. Oh, orignal hotel gave me a fruit basket--1 banana, apple & orange to compensate LOL.

Just thought I'd share...

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Just wanted to post an update. I am satisfied with my resolution with PRICELINE. After the third call to them, I received an email saying they would review my case and get back to me within 5-7 days. Today I received an email saying they were crediting my account for the 1st night plus taxes and fees. It hasn't been posted yet but I'm glad to have it resolved without spending too much more time disputing with cc.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Sorry to be weighing in on this in my first post, but something has to prompt a person to participate in a forum...

I've booked about a half dozen trips through PRICELINE. I've been doing so for a few months now since my uncle converted me from using another site and I must say, it always works great and I've gotten some great bargains and I am thankful and a happy user most of the time. Not here to bash.

Tonight I had my first bad experience with overbooking which led to customer service issues. I booked a PRICELINE EXPRESS deal that ended up being the Howard Johnson in Jackson, Tenn., for my wife who's on an overnighter that is work related. Great rate, easy to book, same as always, but on arrival, she was told there were no rooms. She asked if they had the booking confirmation and the clerk said, "It doesn't matter. There are no rooms. We're full. I have nothing." She has a business meeting in the morning early, it's 9:30 p.m. (she went late because inclement weather left a likelihood of the event being canceled; it wasn't and she found out around 7 p.m. so she made the drive). Now she's in tears.

I called Priceline customer service and this is where I have a real complaint. Confirmed my booking. Explained my problem. Put on hold. Transferred to Customer Care. Explained my problem. Put on hold. Am told they're finding her a new room. It's the Quality Inn; it costs more but they'll eat the difference. "Great, go for it." I was put back on hold. Finally after 40 minutes passes on this hold (48 minutes total) -- hold music still playing on my speaker phone, I called Priceline back on my daughter's phone. So one line is on hold and has been forever and the other is calling in. Same process on the new call. It takes about 10 minutes to get to customer care. She takes over the call and urges me to hang up my other line. It shows 57 minutes on the call. She goes on to confirm that they overbooked the original hotel and they'll have to find a new room -- so now I am back where I was 40 minutes ago.

The rep says she'll call me back when my wife is booked for a new place. So after 57 minutes on one line and about 25 on the other (10 or so minutes of overlap) the error hasn't been corrected and I am supposed to sit and wait for a call. More importantly, my wife who now has a business meeting in eight hours has to keep sitting in her car waiting in the parking lot. Bottom line is they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't take another hour. By now, the clock is at 1 hour, 20 minutes since I called to report the problem originally. I cut my losses, canceled and requested a full refund and told my wife to find her own hotel. Sorry. Not worth all of that. I wonder if the "hold til they cancel" was by design since they were going to have to pay the difference. Probably just bad customer service, but you have to wonder...

Will I use Priceline again? For me, yes. No way my wife will let me book for her again, though. I don't blame her. The product -- Express Deals and Name Your Own Price -- are great. But customer service was awful. And yes, they do overbook as late as Feb. 4, 2014 and they didn't fix it after having plenty of time to make that call and secure that reservation at the other hotel. My wife walked in and had a room in 10 minutes at the same hotel they'd told me they were going to book for her 75 minutes earlier.

Anyway, I hate to use this post to complain, but this is an honest report. The good news is it ended well (assuming that refund gets kicked back like it should), so it could have been worse.

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I booked a PRICELINE EXPRESS deal that ended up being the Howard Johnson in Jackson, Tenn.

Thanks for your post and sharing your experience.

If you haven't yet, please start by reading your messages.

Then, can you please add your win to this purchase to the board as a NEW TOPIC so that others will be aware of your win when searching the topic titles on the board and in the Priceline and Hotwire Calendar of Wins and Priceline Maps.

In your post please include the star rating, city, zone, hotel name, room rate per nite, dates of your stay (and if you recall, the amenities PRICELINE EXPRESS associated with this property)... you can still view all of this information by going to PRICELINE and clicking the MY PROFILE >> MY TRIPS link near the top right of their home page.


Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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Would love to do so... Unfortunately, Jackson, TN isn't an available city code. There is no choice for that city that I can find. If that gets fixed, I'll get the info posted. For those curious, it was a 2 star/HoJo Inn, Express Deal, $33, thru Priceline for Feb. 4-5, 2014. Obviously it was overbooked and they sent my wife to Quality Inn where after one hour, the clerk reported to my wife that Priceline still had not made that reservation, so we canceled and took care of it ourselves. I love Priceline, but warning: if you hit an overbooked hotel, don't count on their customer service department in Bangladesh (or somewhere in that region of the world) to fix it. I talked to two operators and timed myself out after nearly 90 minutes.

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