Oct012008

LHW 1928 Sale – Computer Says No

LHW 1928 Sale – Computer Says No

Carol Beer, the sketch character played by David Walliams on the TV show Little Britain, couldn’t have done a better job inflaming the angry passion of would-be luxury hotel travelers attempting to get a good hotel deal.

Carol Beer’s primary response dealing with customers awaiting a reply to whatever request has been made is to type away on her computer keyboard and then look up to the customer and say,

“Computer says no…”

 

Thousands of would-be customers for Leading Hotels of the World felt that same sense of frustration when trying to log on to the LHW 1928 sale this morning. 

My computer was up and running by 4:45am here in Monterey, California.  At 5:00 am I started loading the page www.lhw.com/1928 and over the next 80 minutes I made over 500 attempts to get into the website.

The most common message I received was,

“Sorry!  Due to the overwhelming number of consumers currently trying to access this promotion, your request is being delayed momentarily.  Please be patient, don’t get discouraged, and retry in a few seconds by clicking here, or by going back to www.lhw.com/1928.”

The “clicking here” link did nothing.  So I went back to www.lhw.com/1928… about 500 times.  Sometimes I would receive the message above immediately and other times my hopes grew as the browser kept spinning and gave longer periods of hope that a real connection for the LHW 1928 sale was going to happen.  Alas, the “Sorry!”message would ultimately appear.

 

After twenty minutes the LHW message was altered slightly to include a phone number at the end of the same message shown above.

“More information is available by dialing 1-800-643-8881 within the USA & Canada.  Elsewhere please use 1-407-681-6134.”

Dialing the number led to either a busy signal or a disconnect.

At 6:13 am California time, 73 minutes into the 80 minute promotion I received this message,

“Due to the overwhelming number of consumers currently trying to access this promotion, we regret to inform you that due to technical difficulties beyond our control the 1928 promotion has been suspended indefinitely.”

 

I was periodically checking FlyerTalk throughout the 80 minute promotion period and several members there reported other messages in addition to the ones I received; some claiming all the rooms had been sold.  I was amazed at how rapidly the FlyerTalk  LHW 1928 thread was growing (link goes to page 19 of thread with posts just minutes before sale started).  There were four to five posts appearing every minute on the FlyerTalk thread and everyone had the same response of “Computer says no.” 

Aside from one lucky poster who claimed to have secured two nights in Chicago right near the beginning of the promotion I did not see another successful poster out of the hundreds who posted on FlyerTalk during this morning.  This thread went from 268 posts to nearly 700 posts within three hours.  That may be a FlyerTalk record for rapid posting.

I am sure there will be updates to this post as the fall-out from this botched promotion is heard from the voices of would-be customers who feel duped by the LHW 1928 promotion.

 

Update: LHW 1928 hotel sale promotion (9:15am California time, October 1)

This post appeared on the FlyerTalk LHW thread about 10 minutes ago from Marshall Calder, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Leading Hotels of the World,

“I am the senior vice president of marketing for the Leading Hotels of the World.There has been much spoken about our $19.28 promotion today. With this in mind, I wish to update those with an interest in this promotion, but first offer our sincercerest apology for the failure of our website.

Depsite every effort to ensure that our website could accommodate a large spike in traffic, it ultimately failed.

To remedy the situation, we are contacting every registrant to offer them another chance to participate in the promotion via e-mail. As was our original intent, the inventory will be available on a first come first serve basis.

We have over 6,000 rooms designated to the $19.28promotion. Over 150,000 persons have registered for the promotion and it is our intent to offer everyone one of them an equal opportunity to secure the $19.28 rate via our back-up plan.

I also wish to confirm that the e-mails of all registrants will be deleted at the conclusion of the promotion and shall not be used for any other purpose.

Regards,

Marshall Calder”

 

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About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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