“Thing don’t always go as planned. Once we accept this, we become better in dealing with this thing called life.”
We are heavy users of Viator, and have used it intensively in recent overseas trips. On average, we reserve three tours every trip, and schedule tours every other day. This makes sure we get to explore the place extensively, while having enough time to rest and relax in between tours.
On a recent trip to Hawaii, we reserved for this tour called “Kaneohe Bay Kayak and Snorkel Tour to Coconut Island” organized by Holokai Kayak & Snorkel Adventure. We made the reservations while we were still in Tokyo to make sure we had a slot. Upon arriving in Hawaii, we called the operator to finalize the meeting time and place. We were supposed to meet at the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach at 09:20. We also received instructions on how to identify the bus − look for a small bus with a dominantly blue and green outer paint.
We arrived at the hotel fifteen minutes before the scheduled time to make sure we didn’t miss the bus. About 09:15, we did see a small bus with a dominantly blue and green outer paint. It dropped by a hotel on the other block, and just turned at a corner not even passing by the hotel, so we thought maybe that’s for a different group.
09:20 passed by and there were no signs of the bus. We kept on waiting and at 09:30, we decided to call the operator. The lady who picked up the phone assured us we didn’t miss the bus, and that she would call the driver to make sure to pick us up. One hour later at 10:30, we were still waiting for the bus. We called again and the lady informed us the bus was already on the way back to the kayak site … without us. She suggested we reschedule for a different day, but already dissatisfied after waiting for more than an hour, we just cancelled the tour making sure we get a full refund.
A week later, I checked with my credit card company, and was a little surprised we still didn’t have the refund. I guess we didn’t discuss in detail how I would get the refund, and I assumed (wrongly) I would just get the refund through my credit card. I emailed the operator directly and Andy, the general manager, replied apologizing for the confusion, while explaining that since we reserved the activity through Viator, we would need to contact Viator directly for the refund.
I first checked the website if there are details on how to apply for a refund. Luckily, looks like I just needed to click on a “refund” button next to my booking. I’m guessing this would trigger Viator to contact the operator, to confirm the details, and process the refund accordingly. A week later, I got the refund in my credit card statement, and Viator showed the tour as “Cancelled”, with total price paid as zero.
I emailed Andy to update him with the status, and thanked him for the professional way he handled this case. Kudos to Viator as well for making the refunding process as smooth as possible, at least for my case.
I still wish we were able to join the tour.
Maybe next time.