It’s a pretty common practice to let a hotel know if you’re celebrating a special occasion. But is it wrong for the hotel to ask for proof of said occasion?
Hotel asks for proof of wedding anniversary
While reading the FlyerTalk thread about the Waldorf Astoria Maldives, I stumbled upon an interesting recent post that I thought would be fun to discuss. User Fly613 wrote the following about a pre-stay correspondence with the hotel:
In their welcome email the hotel asked if I’m celebrating any special occasion. I wrote back that I’ll be celebrating my wedding anniversary (which is true).
They wrote back: May we please have the copy of wedding certificate to verify anniversary amenities.
I had never heard of a hotel asking for proof in this way, so I asked Ford if he had ever received this request for any reservations he made for clients. He said he’s had it a few times, specifically for stays in the Maldives and Thailand, but not since the start of the pandemic. He said that in the situations where hotels asked for proof, they went above and beyond to actually make the stay special. For example, in one case they offered a couples massage for a honeymoon.
Why I think this is potentially reasonable
On the one hand, it seems lame to ask for proof of a special occasion. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. A few thoughts:
- There’s no denying that lying about a special occasion is a very common practice among hotel guests, either because they’re looking for an upgrade or freebies
- Usually I’d think it’s fine to ask for verification if the hotel actually intends to do something special, above and beyond what other guests get; that being said, I think it needs to be significant
- At luxury hotels (especially ones charging $2,000+ per night, like the Waldorf Astoria), a welcome amenity for all guests is standard, and it could often consist of something like a bottle of champagne and something to eat, so if you’re going to ask for verification, the hotel needs to do something beyond that
- I think one wrinkle in all this is that due to the pandemic, lots of people are celebrating special occasions not on actual birthdays, honeymoons, etc., but rather on other dates, given lockdowns and all kinds of other restrictions, so I find this to be somewhat inappropriate right now
So yeah, my take is that in the long run it’s fine to ask for verification, but if a hotel asks for verification, there needs to be something actually special offered to guests. I don’t think a cake is sufficient. However, if it’s an expensive bottle of champagne that other hotel guests don’t get, or a massage or free dinner, then I think that’s reasonable.
Those are my two cents, at least.
Lots of people celebrate milestones when traveling, and it’s not unusual for hotels to do something special for guests in that situation. I guess a lot of people lie about special occasions as well, so it’s interesting that at least one luxury hotel is currently asking guests for proof of this.
I don’t think this is unreasonable under normal circumstances if the hotel has the intent to do something material (beyond just a cake, or something similar). That being said, I think in the coronavirus era it’s a bit unreasonable, since many people are celebrating special occasions on a different timeline than before.
Have you ever had a hotel ask for verification of a special occasion? What do you make of this practice?