Lewes Forum thread

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The Crown, double booking again ...

On 18 Apr 2015 at 5:17pm Another b and b lady wrote:
We've had two more people desperately trying to find somewhere to stay this week. Both booked into the Crown. First couple took one look and walked out. Second couple just arrived on foot (walking South Downs Way) and have found that the room they booked some weeks ago, is already taken/not available - whatever. They will have paid via Booking.com and will no doubt have to fight to get their money back. This is soooo bad for this Town's image. Can LDC, County Council, Town Council, Trading Standards - somebody do something about the Crown and it's terrible reputation? (And no, we can't have them either and no doubt all the Town b and b's will be full.)
On 18 Apr 2015 at 5:30pm Postie wrote:
I had to go in there this week , I was shocked , that's all I want to say ,
On 18 Apr 2015 at 6:07pm the kronic wrote:
And don't you just love to see those vibrant Lewesian characters hanging out of the front door in various stages of alcohlic stupor whilst covering the pavement in dog ends.
On 18 Apr 2015 at 6:11pm Geoffrey Paddle wrote:
Just one look at Trip Advisor would have warned them.
On 18 Apr 2015 at 6:19pm B&B Landlady wrote:
Wow. Yes, I had someone too, looking for a room who had been let down by the Crown. I guess the sun's out so people have have down from London to enjoy the weather and have wandered in there offering full price. (The booking agents take a hefty slice in commission, so they'd much rather have a full price guest)

Whatever the reason, I'm amazed that any of the OTAs (Online Travel Agents) will deal with her any more. They must be absolutely buried in complaints, as I know this happens on a regular basis.

Still, the Premier Inn should sort this out. the White Hart will have to clean up its act too, if they want to compete.
On 19 Apr 2015 at 2:26am Local wrote:
We have three Council's worth of Councillors. You would think one of them might lift a finger to protect our towns tourism industry.
On 19 Apr 2015 at 7:09pm cliffecat wrote:
why would anyone want to stay there, tourists please look at trip advisor, the owner is nasty and its a dump !
On 19 Apr 2015 at 10:59pm NF wrote:
Roll on Premier Inn!
On 20 Apr 2015 at 7:19am KKK wrote:
Well said NF
On 20 Apr 2015 at 11:21am Action needed wrote:
Visitors should be advised to make a complaint through Environmental Services at Lewes District Council and ask for an inspection of the reported mould and conditions in the kitchen - there have been complaints about both on Trip Advisor - ehealth@lewes.gov.uk - unless there is a formal complaint there is nothing LDC or any of the Councillors can do. Being featured on the Hotel Inspector did nothing to make them mend their ways.
On 20 Apr 2015 at 12:36pm Local Resident wrote:
Are you telling me that not one complaint has reached one
Councillor ? I also don't remember seeing written anywhere that a Councillor cannot raise concerns about an issue unless a formal complaint has been made. That would be a nonsense. All a Councillor needs to do is convey the concern of the people they represent, if such concern has been expressed. Obviously each Council can only consider issues for which they have a responsibility. Of course , given how public the complaints about this business are, there is nothing stopping a Councillor making their own complaint having visited this public building themselves. How hard would that be? If it was actually OK, then the staff deserve the support of a Councillor. This is exactly the kind of issue that a Councillor should be involved in, and it shouldn't need members of the public explaining to them why. A good Councillor could even find some helpful solutions such as correcting some of the inaccurate planning advice that the Crown is claiming it has been given.
On 20 Apr 2015 at 12:51pm Action needed wrote:
Environmental Health needs a formal complaint before they can go into a building and investigate. If you want councillors to know, you have to tell them. All those posting here should speak to their elected representatives and get them to follow this up. Most of the people complaining are visitors to the town and the place gives a bad and lasting impression. Luckily, they are usually redirected by the Tourist Information Service to some of the other excellent B&Bs in the town.
Complainants can ring 01273 484354 (LDC Environmental Health) or email ehealth@lewes.gov.uk and precipitate a complaint if they wish.
On 20 Apr 2015 at 5:35pm Another B And b lady wrote:
Very helpful advice Action needed. It's not just the environmental issues but the double booking that is annoying tourist visitors. Guests make bookings via booking.com who collect the money. Booking.com charge for this service. It seems that pre-bookers are bumped if walk-ups arrive who will be worth more - no commission.
I suppose Trading Standards are the people to complain to. Trouble is, most visitors want to get one with their holidays and forget the beastly Crown. Most won't bother to follow up and who can blaim them. I will consider speaking to my local councillor, but not sure what action they can take.
On 21 Apr 2015 at 7:28pm Action needed wrote:
The points you make, AB&bL, are exactly why I have suggested the environmental route. It's the only way Lewes people can challenge the establishment. Trading standards are powerless without a string of complaints. I suppose one could try the BBC Watchdog approach. I am sure lots of B&B providers who have put up those experiencing double booking could club together and make a complaint. I just think it's easier, and probably more effective, to go down the Environmental Route. The place can be closed down - or challenged - on the basis of a single inspection! Worth a thought!
On 21 Apr 2015 at 10:41pm Intheknow wrote:
Environmental health have been out, Councillors, LDC, ESCC, Enterprise Inns are informed, police, licensing officer, etc etc, this premises has issues caused by the landlady who needs more than professional help!!
On 22 Apr 2015 at 1:52pm Town Flyer wrote:
It is the customer that pays the commission, not the hotel (as far as I understand it), so there wouldn't be a 'walk in' who is more lucrative. I recently stayed in a hotel which I booked and paid for through Booking.com, and the hotelier advised me that the room would have been cheaper had I booked directly with them as I wouldn't have had to pay the booking.com commission..
On 22 Apr 2015 at 2:40pm Another. And b lady wrote:
Yes, of course you're correct but, why does the Crown double book all the time? It also means that people who have booked thru Booking.com have to try and get their money back from them. I have had to email booking.com on behalf of one couple to say that they had paid and stayed with me. They didn't bother to let me know the outcome annoyingly. The Tourist Office are compiling a huge dossier and will present it to Trading Standards again soon, but so far, TS have not taken any action.
On 22 Apr 2015 at 2:57pm B&B Landlady wrote:
The OTAs take a hefty commission - I think it's 15% but it probably varies. The OTAs also make it a condition of their commercial relationship that the accommodation will not be offered more cheaply through other means. So it costs Karen 15% of the accommodation price to accept a booking via an OTA, and that in turn means that a walk-in is worth 15% more to her. At her rates that's about 10 a night, so not inconsiderable. It's pretty much immaterial who pays the commission: it makes the room 15% more expensive either way!

I suppose that having an OTA fill your rooms during the week is useful if you have lots of vacancies, but it's going to be a different matter at weekends when demand is high. She's been doing it for years without apparently suffering any comeback from the OTAs so until they refuse to deal with her once and for all I guess she'll go on doing it.

In normal circumstances the market would take care of this. However the truth is that there isn't enough hotel type accommodation in Lewes, and the B&Bs are pretty well always full (I know mine is). That means that even something as frankly appalling as this place will stagger on until visitors have somewhere else to go.

What grounds would TS use to close it down? Environmental Health *could* close it down, but I think it has to be on the verge of poisoning its customers for that to happen!
On 27 Apr 2015 at 1:29am mickyboy wrote:
Lewes thank goodness has a vibrant B & B business It's needs as much promotion as possible, it puts Lewes in good light which is more than can be said, for various reasons of ALL the hotels in Lewes. meanwhile it has to be agreed that no commercial premises with a load of fag smoking patrons or staff, drunk or sober hanging about the door way is good for business, Maybe Gordon Ramseys Hotel Hell could come to lewes

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