Hotels overbook, and when they do they have certain policies in place to compensate you – generally including covering the night for you somewhere else, so you have a place to stay at no cost – and if you have elite status with the chain you should expect an additional free night as compensation as well.
I’ve written in the past about Airbnb hosts cancelling reservations. Sometimes this happens because they think they can get more money re-selling on another platform (hotels do this too and it’s sketchy) . Other times the owner just doesn’t show up.
Homesharing sites, which are really just a marketplace for rooms, don’t do much to take care of you when owners cancel, although I’ve heard relative few complaints about HomeAway/Vrbo which is owned by Expedia. However, like anything in my experience when you’re dealing with an Expedia company when things go wrong they go really wrong.
A reader shared what happened when they rented through HomeAway in Paris — they showed up on the other side of the Atlantic, but the unit owner did not.
In May, I rented a property in Paris through HomeAway.com for two weeks in June; full payment was charged to my credit card. To make a long story short, the owner never showed up, and HomeAway customer service was not helpful with rebooking. In the end, I had to rent a string of hotel rooms at the last minute, in Paris in mid June, during the airshow and the women’s world cup.
HomeAway agreed to refund his prepayment for the place he didn’t get to stay in, but that was it. The reader thought HomeAway should pick up the extra expenses he incurred finding alternative accommodations.
I reached out to the company and that offered that “It is incredibly rare that a reservation isn’t honored. In this case, Vrbo has permanently removed this listing.”
And what should you do if an owner no shows? “Vrbo Customer Support should be [a customer’s] first call if something happens with their reservation, so Customer Support can find them a place to stay under the Book with Confidence Guarantee.”
But what about our reader? They he’s out of luck because he did his own rebooking so “is not eligible for reimbursement beyond the refund of his booking.” They had made him a rebooking offer that they say he declined.
Seems reasonable, right? Except according to the reader “the offer to help came three days after the cancellation” and he was in Paris and really couldn’t wait. Reading the Book With Confidence Guarantee doesn’t really promise anything, and that’s exactly what they delivered.