Is this Holiday Inn hotel erronously getting into breach of privacy zone??

File this in the weird section. A couple of weeks ago, I checked into the Holiday Inn at Terminal 5, Heathrow. I was going to be there just for the night before taking a flight to Mumbai the next morning. And I ran into a weird situation.

Holiday Inn T5 Heathrow

Holiday Inn T5 Heathrow

I arrived for check-in, and handed over our passports to have us checked in. The agent looked up everything and asked for a credit card to guarantee. She went on to make a hold. The rate quoted to me was correct. They also took our passports to make a copy. All ok, till they hand me a form to complete. Now, usually, when I book direct with IHG, I get a pre-filled form and I just need to sign, given all my details are already populated from the reservation system.

I was surprised so I asked, and I was told I had made a reservation through an agent. I vehemently disagreed, at which point, two or three people looked into the reservation and scratched their head. As if I’d suddenly grown a tail or something. I gave them the exact booking reference from the IHG app, and suddenly all was okay again.

To me it came across as if they were checking me into someone else’s room, who had a first name as mine. This was not completely improbable, except I happen to have a very uncommon last name, and hence no one ever mixes up my reservations on the pretext of your name is too common. 

Some sort of a manager was looking into the reservation, and he eventually located me, and he asked if I was also coming back in a few weeks. Given that I was not, I said no to him again.

A few keyboard taps later, these confused souls did check me in, and then check me out the next day, and then my points from the stay posted a few days later, and I thought that was the end of it.

But it was not. It appears to me, I am now supposed to be staying at that hotel, tonight, as I write this from my couch at home. I discovered this a few days ago, when a new reservation mysteriously appeared into my account.

The Mystery Reservation

The Mystery Reservation

I tried opening it, and cancelling it, to no avail.

IHG Website

IHG Website

I contacted IHG on Twitter, who told me they’d take this offline with me on email.

And on email, all they told me was they could not do anything about this, and that the hotel would contact me to take care of this.


IHG Email

IHG Email

And then the hotel did nothing about it…like, except send me this automatic reminder-cum-welcome email. Like, really?

IHG Welcome Email

IHG Welcome Email

Err, I hope the other guy who was really supposed to be there got a room tonight at least!

I’m highly surprised a company such as IHG survives with such useless franchises existing in the chain. Just imagine the amount of such stupidity they must be dealing with on a daily basis. Or just passing along saying they can’t deal with it.

As for me, do you think this is the place where I should start thinking lawsuit for breach of privacy? EU does govern such information strictly after all. 

What are your thoughts about what really happened here?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Why is everything about lawsuits?
    Work with them some more… Help them help you to untangle this mess and get an explanation. Also keep all correspondence handy, just in case.
    They may have a glitch or a new employee on the system.
    I used to be in the hospitality industry. They are there to help you. They want to help you.
    Also, like a prior poster stated, reach out via twitter again.

  2. A lawsuit would likely fail because you would have difficulty obtaining evidence. You should respond on Twitter that the IHG rep was not helpful, and that IHG needs to give you a generous amount of points for the inconvenience.

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