CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Sheraton Read House general manager Jen Prpich says when large events like the Ironman athletic competition come to Chattanooga, rooms are usually booked at area hotels through a system called passkey. She says this was the arrangement with the organization, but word may not have gotten to all the athletes. Then something in the reservation system went haywire after a block of rooms was set aside.
"What we realized happened was when we entered it into our system it also opened up reservations for Ironman, giving those away instead of setting them aside for the Ironman group that booked viaPasskey," explains Prpich.
Anyone who booked a room any other way but through Passkey was out of luck at first, but the Read House says it has made every attempt to make up for the glitch.
"As of right now we've secured over 100 room reservations. We've secured those rooms within a 10 mile radius," says Prpich.
The Ironman competition draws thousands of athletes from around the nation to The Scenic City, generating millions of dollars in revenue.
Bret Elliott is one the athletes who found out he had been booted to another hotel.
"Monday morning I get an email between meetings telling me my reservation's been canceled," says Elliott.
He says he tried to book his room last September using Passkey, but the page hadn't been set up yet. So he booked it directly with the hotel as he had done in the past .He's been participating in Ironman contests for four years but never in Chattanooga, so he's unfamiliar with the area. The Read House, located downtown and near the event, found him another room at a comparable price. But Elliott's concerned about the new room being nine miles from the city.
"If it were just me it wouldn't be that big of a deal, except I'm worried about being able to get there and secure parking for race day," adds Elliott.
He's with a group of around 50 athletes from Virginia and they have a lot of large equipment to haul. Elliott says, as of Thursday, at least one person in his group hasn't heard from the hotel about a new place to stay.
"He hasn't heard a thing. He has not heard one thing from them," says Elliott.
Prpich, who hadn't spoken directly to Elliott, says she believes she found rooms for everyone who lost one at the Read House and is doing everything she can to make the situation right. She adds that she's horrified at the error and she's taking steps to uphold hotel's reputation and prevent this problem in the future.
"It should have never happened and certainly we have put things in place to make sure it doesn't happen again," says Prpich.