PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s not a stretch to say the world’s eyes will be on the Oregon sky when the full solar eclipse marches across North America August 21.
Stargazers quickly booked campsites and hotels across the path of the full eclipse.
Carolyn Westerback of Gresham thought she was ahead of the game when she booked rooms at the Liberty Inn in Lincoln City last August 20. But now she’s just left in the dark.
“I made my reservation on August 20 because I could make the reservation a year in advance, because the eclipse itself is August 21,” she told KOIN 6 News.
She looked on Expedia and “found a hotel that was reasonably priced and still had rooms available.” Westerback said she booked 2 rooms for 2 nights — a King for $129 per night and a double Queen for $169 per night.
She invited friends from Minnesota and Colorado to join her family. She called the hotel a few weeks ago to ask about adding a rollaway bed.
“When I called the hotel to ask if I could get a rollaway for my room, they informed me that they had no reservation (for me),” she told KOIN 6 News.
She told hotel staff she made the reservation through Expedia. They told her she had to deal with Expedia directly on this issue.
A manager at the Liberty Inn in Lincoln City told KOIN 6 News that any reservation made through a 3rd-party, such as Expedia, is an issue with Expedia.
The hotel “said that my reservation was non-existent, that they didn’t have my name anywhere in the system,” Westerback said. “But when Expedia called, they (the hotel staff) told Expedia the reservation had been canceled.”
“I had never canceled my reservation,” Westerback said. “That got me suspicious because it was a different story than ‘We don’t have you in our system.'”
“We have teams actively investigating what occurred with this booking at the Liberty Inn. This involves direct communication with the hotel to find a solution.” — Expedia spokesperson, March 21, 2017
Expedia, she said, told her they would find some options but she kept getting disconnected. She then emailed them and asked for a call back.
“That was 2 weeks ago and I haven’t heard back.”
She looked at the Liberty Inn Facebook page and found 2 other people who had run into the similar problem. She said she also found “at least 3 other people” with a similar issue when she checked TripAdvisor.
“If I hadn’t called in for a rollaway, I would have never known that they had canceled my reservation or that they didn’t have my reservation,” she told KOIN 6 News.
“I just don’t want that to happen to anyone else.”
She said she understands that when the demand for hotel space went up for the eclipse, rooms went up in price.
An Expedia listing for the dates Westerback booked now shows rooms at the Liberty Inn cost $1000 per night.
“I think it’s kind of opportunistic but I think it’s really short-sighted because my family, we go out to the beach all year long, all throughout the year,” she said.
“It kind of puts a bad stain on Oregon tourism a bit for people coming in from out of town.”
Ultimately, Carolyn Westerback believes the hotel is at fault.
“I believe they were dishonest. I believe that if they’re going to sign on to be a partner with Expedia, then Expedia has standards and rules they need to follow.”
She’s not thrilled with Expedia, either, even though she’s been using them for years.
“No one (from the hotel) offered to help me,” she said. “Basically they just passed it off to Expedia. I have not heard back from Expedia.”
When KOIN 6 News contacted Expedia, a spokesperson said, “We have teams actively investigating what occurred with this booking at the Liberty Inn. This involves direct communication with the hotel to find a solution.”
The Better Business Bureau suggested always calling to confirm the reservation with the actual hotel after booking your stay. If you have a complaint, you can file a report with the Oregon Attorney General’s office.
Westerback said the money was never charged to her account and there are other rooms available, but they’re too expensive.
“We’re going to make lemonade out of it and find a nice patch of grass somewhere and get our telescope out and we’ll have fun no matter what.”