The Road to RAK is a Turbulent One

Expectations are the lead cause of most arguments; when one expects a certain action and does not receive it, it sets off a series of unfortunate events that end up exaggerated and leave the initial party discombobulated.

Indeed, expectations are rarely as expected

A group of friends and I decided to venture upon a 21K race taking place in Ras Al Khaimah tomorrow. We had begun the initial planning for hotels, flights etc at the beginning of February, seeing as how we had delayed, there was plenty of turbulence to go through; the main one being hotel booking.

The hotels close to the race were all fully booked (online), the only hotel with an available room was 30Km away. I used www.booking.com to reserve 2 rooms at Acaci Hotel in RAK.

Seeing as how I do not have a credit card and instead opt to use my prepaid internet shopping card for online purchases, the hotel refused my booking after it was made. The reason being there was no “balance” in the card. At the time of booking I had left an amount to cover the cost of the rooms, immediately after it was ok’d I removed it. So they (booking.com) sent me the following e-mail:

We have been contacted by Acacia Hotel. It seems that the credit card details you supplied are invalid.

What to do:

Log in to My Booking to amend booking details. You can find your log-in details in your confirmation email.

You can also contact Acacia Hotel for further assistance.

Important: Please do this within 24 hours to ensure the hotel does not attempt to charge your card or cancel your reservation.

You still have a reservation at this hotel unless you receive a cancellation email.

Pay close attention to that last line; meaning unless otherwise informed, your booking is confirmed.

I sent the hotel an email requesting my booking to be confirmed, but they never replied.

Later, a friend of mine was able to find lodging at a hotel closer to the race (2K from the race, a very brisk distance indeed!) so we went with that, and I forgot all about my booking with Acacia.

Yesterday I had a shock when I was checking my email and booking.com was sending me a reminder, I went to the website to cancel the booking only to find out I was too late, cancellation now would entail a fee of half a night per room, two rooms meaning one full night. What a waste I thought, then I went into a tirade against myself of not checking in time, and this being a lesson learnt, and how I was irresponsible etc.

The first clear thought that came to mind was to pass the blame. I attempted to recontact the hotel and inform them that they had never replied, and that I was under the impression the booking was automatically cancelled.

I sent them two emails and received not a single reply.

I then emailed booking.com and their response was my breath of fresh air:

Thank you for choosing Booking.com.

Please note your booking has now been cancelled without charge. The hotel agreed to do this because the credit card you provided had not been accepted by them.

You will receive a cancellation email shortly. The hotel will not attempt to charge your card.

We apologise for any confusion caused.

Till now I have yet to hear from the hotel.

The problem was expectations; I was expecting them to send me a cancellation, they were expecting me to update my credit card details, in the end, neither one of us did anything the other expected!

Booking.com have earned my highest respect; their response was prompt, within 15 minutes of my query.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this story which is still ongoing; now that we have fixed the hotel, the problem arises with the airline itself!

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