As you likely already know, Club Carlson just launched a terrific promotion where if you stay one night at a Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, or Park Inn you can earn 44,000 – 50,000 bonus points. I am a huge fan of this promo, and even hosted an #antislumberparty Twitter party for those who wanted to stay up until midnight to register right when the promo started. However, I am very much not a fan of an anti-customer stance they have taken regarding reservations made before the promotion started.
Last week on their official Facebook page, Club Carlson was asked this question -
Will the reservation made before May 15 but check in/out during the Big Night Giveaway promotion period, is that eligible for this promotion?
The Club Carlson said -
We don’t want to give away too much information, but to answer your question, yes.
Thankfully Infamous DX saved the screen shot below showing the initial response.
That seems pretty darn clear to me, and given that it was information provided by Club Carlson, it certainly seemed official enough for some to go ahead and make reservations. As you can see below, after a little while (before the promo launched, and the full terms and conditions were released), that post from Club Carlson on their Facebook page disappeared. Not a good sign.
Then, when the promo launched, the terms and conditions stated that “Promotion is not valid on existing reservations and is subject to availability.” Clearly it was not a good situation that Club Carlson had stated one thing on Facebook and another in the official terms, but I know many of us had hopes they would do the right thing and make exceptions for those who made reservations based on the info they received on the Facebook page. In my view, at the very least they should allow people the opportunity to cancel those reservations without penalty regardless or the regular rate rules.
In some ways, this brings up a bigger question – can you trust a company’s “official” social media presence? The Club Carlson Facebook page has over 47,000 “likes”, so that is a bunch of people to misinform. I totally understand that mistakes happen, and that this could very well have just been one employee (or heck, even intern) who made an honest mistake. I actually even feel bad for whoever it was that posted that misinformation. However, in my opinion, it is a company’s job to do the right thing when that happens – especially when that error causes people to spend money that they otherwise may not have. Many family budgets are tight these days, and the thought that someone could have locked in a non-refundable rate for the purposes of this promo only to have that reservation not count, makes me pretty angry.
To be clear, I did not make a reservation before the promo launched, so this post is in no way about my own needs in regards to this promo. I just don’t think it is right to only post about how great the promo is, and ignore the fact that this issue is being poorly handled. I know several folks including Deals We Like, Infamous DX, and myself have been Tweeting and posting on Facebook to try to convince Club Carlson to make exceptions for some folks who made reservations based on the info they were provided by Club Carlson. We have all been met with a polite and firm “no”. Deals We Like even has a similar post to this one on her site today. I’m sure posting about this will get me taken off the “Club Carlson Christmas Fruitcake List”, but like I said, if you are going to post the good, in my mind you gotta post the bad. I still hold out a shred of hope that Club Carlson will reverse their position and make exceptions for those who believed what was posted on Facebook. I mean, if you can’t trust a company’s official social media presence, what is the point of even having that presence?