NBC 5 Responds to two North Texas consumers who say their plans for a star-studded weekend in Frisco are in flux.
They learned their confirmed hotel reservations changed.
Read on for what happened and what you should know when you book.
RESERVATIONS MOVED TO ANOTHER HOTEL
When the Academy of Country Music Awards announced its May 11, 2023 show would head to the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Chad Thompson of McKinney said he and his wife booked a room, steps away, at the Omni Frisco Hotel.
“We thought, wow, that could be a great night out,” said Thompson.
The Thompson’s friend, Crystal Cunningham, booked a room for her and her husband too.
“It was just going to be a fun time to get away. It’s not every day that a really cool country music awards or a big award show comes to the Dallas Fort Worth area,” Cunningham said.
Four months later, Thompson and Cunningham say the Omni changed their reservations, citing “unforeseen circumstances.”
The Omni offered to move their reservations to the Omni PGA Frisco resort, currently under construction, with an opening set for spring.
“The award show is in May, at the beginning of May. We’re worried that the hotel might not even be open at that point just because of you never know what could happen,” Thompson told NBC 5 Responds.
The Omni PGA Frisco resort is also about ten miles from the hotel the consumers originally booked – next to the Ford Center.
“We wanted to be right there on the property, right there on site,” said Cunningham. “Makes it all easier. Anybody that’s gone to something where there’s a ton of people knows the in and the out is not the fun part of the night.”
The consumers aren’t out any money but said they couldn’t get answers about why their “confirmed” reservations changed.
Omni Hotels & Resorts told NBC 5 Responds by email, “To provide clarification, the Academy of Country Music (ACM) had a contract to book the hotel, and somehow announced the location before the contract was finalized, creating the overbooking situation. Due to security concerns/ requirements, and with deference to the safety of the ACM performers, the hotel will not be allowed to host anyone not affiliated with the ACMs.”
The Academy of Country Music told NBC 5, by phone, the Omni was aware of its intent to book the entire hotel.
For the night of the ACM Awards, the Omni said it’s offering guests a free cocktail reception and round-trip transportation to the Omni Frisco Hotel.
WHY ARE GUESTS “WALKED?”
“It is no fun to walk a guest,” said Dr. Kim Williams, Chair for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at the University of North Texas.
Dr. Williams explained, generally, “walking” a guest or telling a guest with a reservation they don’t have room for them can happen for several reasons. That includes the hotel overbooking guests or underestimating the number of guests that would cancel.
Sometimes, rooms that were supposed to be blocked were sold.
“Now, I have more reservations than I could actually fulfill. It could just be human error and that’s it, just a mistake,” said Dr. Williams.
The Texas Hotel and Lodging Association explains a hotel room reservation is essentially a contract between the guest and the hotel. If a hotel breaks the contract, the guest is entitled to be made whole, which usually means going to another hotel while the original hotel covers any room rate differences.
Williams said if you’re traveling during a busy season, you may reduce your chances of being walked if you’re a frequent guest or a member of the hotel’s loyalty program. You may also reduce your risk of being walked if you’ve booked directly with the hotel rather than a third party – like a travel website.
If you are walked, some hotels will pay for a night’s stay or offer points.
Dr. Williams said there may be room for negotiation, “They may offer a massage at a property, they may pay for your meals at a property. So, it just really depends.”
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