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To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

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Dublin
posts: 3
reviews: 1
To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

I am writing this review for a number of reasons –

1. Warn couples looking for a wedding venue to be VERY careful if you are considering the Ramada in Ballina

2. to vent my own pure frustration at the Management’s lack of courtesy and respect for my sister when planning her wedding

The story is as follows. My sister and her Fiancé booked the Ramada hotel as their venue last year in October. They ended up paying a deposit of €2,000, which was well over the minimum requirement of €600 as they wanted to pay off some of the total value in advance. They were delighted with their choice until they attended her Fiancé’s Christmas party in the Ramada in December. The service was appalling and those she knew attending the party laughed at the service (Fawlty towers would win Customer service awards in comparison to the service that night. These are the words of others, not my sister incase you think I am biased). She was so upset that night that she spoke to the Event manager on duty and again the following morning. They decided immediately to cancel the wedding in the Ramada as they felt they could not depend on the service and they were not about to jeopardise their special day on a promise from the Manager that had supervised the previous night.

This is really where the drama and months of empty promises began as the Event manager from that night said that there would be no problem in getting their deposit back. They met with him and the Assistant Manager on another occasion and they advised them that they would have to get sign off from the Director(s) to pay back the deposit but that they could see no problem. This line has been used numerous times when calls were answered by Management. I (Bride’s sister) then took over the conversations as my sister was getting too stressed out. I was promised that the situation would be reviewed at a Director’s meeting on February 18th. The General Manager was courteous and answered my calls but then passed me over to the Director – Eugene Cawley. Mr Cawley refused to answer my calls for 2 days and when I eventually got through to him, he acted as if he had no idea what I was on about and was extremely rude and dismissive on the phone, not what you would expect from a Director of a Ramada hotel.

In summary, he refused to return any of my sister’s deposit, as they cancelled within 12 months of the wedding and they are not willing to return the extra €1,400 that they paid to the hotel.

I am not writing this in the hope that I will get my sister’s money back, I feel it is necessary to let others out there know what they are dealing with.

Cavan
Destination Expert
for County Cavan
posts: 4,079
reviews: 37
1. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

That is a lot of money and you should really go after it. If I were you I would contact the hotel and tell them that you intend airing your grieviences on national radio, this would have a lot more affect than just telling us your story. Lots of people that I know check out their venue beforehand and get referals from other couples before parting with any money. I doubt if Trip Advisor can really help you here.

Ontario
posts: 447
reviews: 56
2. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

A really distressing story, and sorry to hear of it.

Contrary to Cavan, I would urge you to use the resources of Tripadvisor to continue this publicity. For starters, if this same information were posted under the Tripadvisor review of Ballina hotels, where there are already reviews of the Ramada, it would turn up in Google searches with terms such as "wedding ramada ballina." And, of course, anyone wanting reviews if the hotel, or checking it out for their own wedding plans, would find it there. This adverse publicity would be especially effective because they are promoting the place as a wedding venue.

If you were to do that, with the promise of using other forums to tell your story, my bet would be that a refund and apologies would be forthcoming very soon.

Best of luck, to you and to your sister and her fiance,

Bill

Cavan
Destination Expert
for County Cavan
posts: 4,079
reviews: 37
3. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

Sorry can't agree with the above because most people who use these rural hotels certainly do not use Trip Advisor, whereas if you go on the radio everyone in the country will know. It is worth noting also that according to the Irish Hotels Federation 64% of Irelands tourism comes from the domestic market, so if you want to make an impact you talk to the domestic audience.

I would certainly threaten them with the radio first followed with the Sunday World newspaper.

Hollywood, ca
posts: 1,228
4. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

What did the contract say about the deposit? Did it say it was non-refundable? Did it give specific criteria for getting the deposit back, or specific dates by which the event had to be canceled? It's not automatically refundable just because your sister was dissatisfied with someone else's event.

Ramada is a huge international chain, you can always write, call or email corporate headquarters.

Cavan
Destination Expert
for County Cavan
posts: 4,079
reviews: 37
5. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

Surely the issue here is where the hotel promised to repay the money and then later renaged on their offer. Also if the hotel director was rude and dismissive there is little point in writing to corporate head office because it gets refered back onto the directors desk again. In situations like this you have to use the media for maximum effect because it could threaten to damage any future wedding bookings which are the lifeblood of the local hotel industry. Hotels hate negative publicity in cases like this and they don't like reporters trying to create a story either, it could destroy them.

Hollywood, ca
posts: 1,228
6. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

It sounds to me like the only people who promised to pay the money back were people who didn't have the authority to make the promise in the first place. The people making the promise said it would be up to the Directors. The Directors are the only ones with the authority to make the decision and they said no.

It's not nice that she felt the manager was rude to her, but the issue is a contract dispute. The bride and groom signed a contract, want to cancel the contract and want their money back. Whether they are entitled to any of the money depends on what the contract says about whether the deposit is refundable. Without knowing what the contract said, it's impossible to know how much of the money should or could be returned.

The major hotel chains like Ramada do care a great deal about their reputation. They can yank the hotel's right to use to Ramada name if the hotel isn't meeting the standards Ramada expects from them. If they truly have Fawlty Towers style special event service, corporate would want to know.

Hollywood, ca
posts: 1,228
7. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

That said, 1400 is a lot of money and I would certainly make every effort to get it back too! I think you should keep trying.

Ontario
posts: 447
reviews: 56
8. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

There are four reviews of the Ballina Ramada on Tripadvisor, all of them from within Ireland. One is about a wedding held there. The oldest one, from last June, is quite damning. I'd add these comments to the reviews already posted as an indication of an intention to continue to use the media. I'm not saying don't use radio and newspaper, but posting these comments could be a very sigjnificant first step.

See tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g211864-d657091…

Ramada is, as one post points out, an international chain. Would I, as an international traveller stay at the Ballina Ramada after reading of this couple's experience? Not on your life.

The worst part of the deposit question, it seems to me, is that this couple voluntarily gave a deposit of €1,400 more than the minimum required deposit of €600 in order to pay down some of the wedding costs in advance. And now the hotel is refusing to repay that voluntary €1,400 additional portion of the deposit too. That's quite a windfall for the Ballina Ramada–in return for what? They should not be allowed to get away with this.

meath
posts: 147
reviews: 4
9. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

I hope by this stage your sister has received her money. I was going to book 5 rooms in the hotel for a group of friends.Your post really put me off as I can't stand poor customer service particulary in hotels where we are paying dearly to be there. think our group will take our business elsewhere

Dublin
posts: 3
reviews: 1
10. Re: To be wed - don't choose the Ramada in Ballina

Thanks to everyone for their constructive feedback. There was some development with the hotel once a radio station contacted them about the issue. I was advised that the issue was being looked at locally and at head office. This all sounded very positive but that was 6 weeks ago and the Manager I was in contact with has since left the hotel and no one has picked it up again. WE are once again going to go back to the radio stations and press as we have given up on getting the money back but we would like to get the word out there on how this hotel treats people. Snoopy, thank you for your support too.

I didn't reply before now as I was advised that this blog had been removed for content issues.

Thanks again everyone.