Target 7: Blacksburg hotel cancels dozens of reservations days before Virginia Tech graduation – WDBJ

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – Some parents are scrambling to find a place to stay for their child’s college graduation from Virginia Tech after they say a bed and breakfast canceled their reservations at the last minute. While some have received refunds, others are still out thousands of dollars.

Nearly 30 families have reached out to Target 7, saying they booked a room at Clay Corner Inn but were told just days before check in they won’t be able to stay. Parents said they made reservations a year ago and paid in advance, but then they learned a dozen other families booked the exact same room.

Target 7 found out Clay Corner Inn has a history of canceling reservations at the last minute, leaving families frustrated and without a place to stay.

The bed and breakfast with an attached restaurant is within walking distance to downtown Blacksburg and campus, making it an ideal spot for graduation weekend. That’s why Tammie Hayden was excited when she secured a suite form the hotel’s waiting list for graduation weekend.

“Finding somewhere to stay, not only for graduation, but even for football games is huge,” Hayden said. “It’s frustrating to think you have nowhere to stay.”

Hayden grew suspicious when there was no written confirmation of her reservation and had to pay over Venmo. She explained she kept receiving excuses for a family emergency every time she confronted the manager.

“My heart went out to him, I felt bad,” Hayden said. “I guess I was sort of scammed. I believed him, and I feel like such a fool now.”

Other parents shared similar stories.

Helen Hershner is still waiting for her refund from Homecoming 2023 when her room was canceled a few days before the big game. She had paid for her 2024 graduation weekend room before Homecoming 2023 even happened. She has not received a refund for either weekend.

“[The cancelation email for Homecoming] said we’ve overbooked and you no longer have a room,” Hershner said. “I emailed back saying I’ve paid for this room in June, here’s all the receipts I paid via Venmo, you have all the information, and still really no response. At that time, the message was that [the inn manager] Josh and his family were having a personal emergency.”

Brooke Rowley explained the same thing happened to her a year ago, a last minute cancelation for graduation weekend with no clear reason why.

“I kept getting excuses. There was a death in the family, there was a medical emergency, they had software issues, they had changed companies. Because of this new software system, they were unable to reimburse me. It was thousands of dollars,” Rowley said. “What I ended up having to do is refute the charges with my credit card company.”

The hotel’s website lists multiple travel awards and high reviews. Yet the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia told Target 7 they have received several complaints about the inn and it’s not accredited.

The inn is a member of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s president told Target 7 all parties are encouraged to contact the Better Business Bureau regarding any complaints of any business.

In one email to a customer about this canceling this weekend, the inn manager said he is closing his lease with the property owner because he is struggling to make rent payments.

Target 7 has reached out to Clay Corner Inn numerous times but has not heard back.

A list of lodging possibilities in the Montgomery and surrounding areas can be found here.

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