A seemingly harmless franchise fight between the owners of the Quality Inn Vancouver Hotel and Quality Inn (the brand) has spiralled out of control into a giant consumer mess for travelers who booked rooms for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and got left high and dry.
On October 16, the 100 room airport hotel – formerly known as the Blue Boy Motor Hotel – lost the right to be a part of the Quality Inn brand.
Consumers who made reservations at the hotel months ago through Choice Hotels International – the parent company which owns the Quality Inn brand – were informed that their reservations were no longer valid.
A consumer who booked a room for $79 now faces the prospect of booking similar rooms at shockingly high prices. The hotel owner is offering to rebook the same room for $500. Choice is offering to rebook at one of its other Vancouver hotels for $395 a night.
In short, anyone who booked a room at the hotel through Choice now has to fork over an additional $300 over, if they want a room for the Olympics.
A Choice Hotels spokesman told the Vancouver Sun that “Choice Hotels cannot force a hotel that no longer holds a franchise to honour the room rates guaranteed by its booking agents.”
That may be true, but the question now is, can these consumers force Choice to honor the room rates? There’s already talk of a class-action lawsuit. And it doesn’t make Vancouver look so good either. If this escalates into a full-fledged media uproar, then Choice will have to give in quickly to contain the damage.
Photo by Andy Miah