Can Hotels Cancel Confirmed Reservations?

Can Hotels Cancel Confirmed Reservations?

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A reader emailed to ask what he’s entitled to when he had a confirmed reservation at a new hotel, but it didn’t open in time. It’s an interesting question, and one that I figured was worth addressing on a broader level, since there are several reasons you may not get the hotel room you paid for.

What can cause a hotel to cancel your reservation?

You probably assume that if you have a confirmed reservation at a hotel then you’re actually, you know, confirmed. Unfortunately it’s not always that straightforward, as occasionally you’ll find yourself in a situation where a hotel is unable to accommodate your reservation. The three most common reasons for this are as follows:

  • You’re booking a stay at a new hotel, and the opening is delayed (which happens constantly)
  • Much like with airlines, hotels may overbook, and there are situations where their projections don’t work out in their favor, and where they actually have to “walk” people
  • A hotel may decide they no longer wish to honor your reservation after selling you a room, either because of some huge event (a concert, sporting event, solar eclipse, etc.), or because a big party wants to buy out the whole hotel
New hotel openings are frequently delayed

Are there laws regulating hotels not honoring reservations?

When flights are oversold, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has some laws in place regarding the compensation that’s legally required, even if the airline and passenger can often come to a “voluntary” agreement. However, there’s no United States government organization that regulates hotels not honoring reservations in the same way.

That’s at least the case in the United States, though there may be other countries that have stricter laws for innkeepers.

When there aren’t laws explicitly regulating this kind of stuff, this just comes down to a contract dispute, meaning the only legal recourse you have is small claims court. However, realistically speaking that’s something a vast majority of us would never pursue, since it’s probably not worth the effort.

Unsurprisingly, the terms you agree to when booking a hotel are generally pretty one-sided. They talk about the penalties that apply to guests should they cancel outside the acceptable window, but say little about the obligation of hotels.

Hotel terms are typically pretty one-sided

What happens if a hotel “walks” you?

Major hotel chains have policies about walking guests (when there are more people trying to check in than rooms available). In general you can minimize your chances of being walked by:

  • Having status with a hotel chain, since they’ll typically walk guests with status last; furthermore, many hotel “preferred partner” programs have no-walk policies
  • Booking directly with a hotel chain, since they’re likely to walk third party bookings before those booking direct
  • Letting the hotel know if you plan on arriving late, since they’ll often walk people in the order they show up (in other words, if you’re only planning on arriving at 1AM, let the hotel know).

For example, Marriott publishes guidelines for this, called the “Ultimate Reservation Guarantee.” It’s available to all elite members, and clearly outlines the compensation guests can expect if a hotel walks them. I appreciate how publicly transparent Marriott makes this, while most other hotel chains only have internal (unpublished) policies.

With Marriott’s policy, you can expect to be accommodated at a nearby hotel, and compensation could vary from $100 on the low end, to $200 plus 140,000 Bonvoy points on the high end, depending on your status and the brand.

IHG has a guarantee that promises to provide you with a room and transportation to “another convenient and comparable hotel,” and the property will pay for the full cost of the first night’s lodging.

While the policy will differ by hotel, you should generally expect to be accommodated at a comparable hotel, and to get some sort of compensation beyond that. Just keep in mind that like with so many things in the travel space, you’ll likely have to advocate for yourself.

If you’re not happy with the resolution, ask for the manager on duty or general manager. And if the property isn’t able to help and you’re staying with a major global hotel group, contact corporate customer service. Lastly, you always have the avenue of a credit card dispute if you’re not getting what you paid for.

Most hotel groups have specific “walk” policies

What happens if your hotel reservation is canceled in advance?

For most hotel chains, internal guidelines about not honoring reservations are specific to walking guests. In other words, it only applies if the hotel walks you on the day of arrival, and not if your reservation is canceled on you in advance.

What happens if your reservation is canceled in advance, either because a new hotel doesn’t open on time, because a hotel decides not to honor your rate due to a major event in town, or because the hotel maybe closes due to a buy-out?

This situation is a bit trickier than being walked, since this is very much a negotiation process. Most hotel groups don’t have published policies surrounding this that hotels have to abide by, so unless you pursue the small claims court route (which most of us wouldn’t do), it’s just a function of being persistent and clear about your expectations.

Generally speaking:

  • At a minimum you should expect lodging at a comparable property over the same dates
  • If the replacement hotel isn’t better, personally I’d also push for some compensation beyond that, since presumably you selected a hotel for a reason; this could include bonus points, a hotel credit, etc.
  • Perhaps otherwise you may be happy with a future hotel stay, in which case I’d expect at least one or two nights to be complimentary, or the rate to be reduced

In general you should expect to have more leverage in a situation where the hotel agrees to a buy-out, rather than a situation where a hotel’s opening is delayed. If you are going to book a hotel pre-opening, keep in mind that hotels are notorious for opening later than expected, so this is really common.

Meanwhile a buy-out is being done because the hotel is trying to maximize profits at the expense of guests with confirmed reservations, so confirmed guests should be treated accordingly.

Lastly, if a hotel decides to cancel your reservation simply because they think they can now charge more, that’s totally unacceptable. That’s the point at which I’d reach out to corporate customer service immediately, or even the local news.

Hotels canceling a confirmed reservation is a negotiation process

Bottom line

It can be frustrating when you confirm a hotel reservation in advance, only to have the hotel cancel it on you closer to your arrival. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and the lack of consumer protections generally in place can leave consumers without much leverage (aside from going to small claims court, which most people won’t do).

You can expect that major hotel groups will have policies in place for walking guests, which are generally pretty fair. However, at times you may be stuck advocating for yourself in order to have these policies honored.

What’s much trickier is when hotel stays are canceled on you in advance. I’d expect the hotel to go the extra mile in the event that they have a buy-out that causes a cancelation, while unfortunately with delayed openings many hotels aren’t particularly generous.

Just keep in mind that this is typically a negotiation, so persistence pays off if you feel that a hotel’s resolution isn’t fair.

If you’ve had a hotel reservation canceled (either in advance or day of), what was your experience like?

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  1. Max D. Guest

    Over the many years I have worked in the travel/tourism industry, I have had some very interesting and often rather hilarious experiences dealing with hotels. And I should point out, I've never been employed by a hotel.

    One of the best was back in 2010 during the Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver, CANADA. I was working for a local DMC and had been assigned to care for one of the major sponsors of the...

    Over the many years I have worked in the travel/tourism industry, I have had some very interesting and often rather hilarious experiences dealing with hotels. And I should point out, I've never been employed by a hotel.

    One of the best was back in 2010 during the Winter Olympics being held in Vancouver, CANADA. I was working for a local DMC and had been assigned to care for one of the major sponsors of the event who were being accommodated in a brand new hotel on the waterfront and although nearing completion, it was far from finished. In fact, I learned from a former two time Olympic gold medalist from the former East Germany (DDR) that the floor she was on had no carpets in the halls and the bathrooms had not yet been finished. Only two of the six elevators were available for the mix of "VIP" guests and myriad of international broadcasters and other celebrities staying there as the others were still being used by contractors. Fortunately, no one seemed to be overly bothered by the "inconveniences" and everyone managed to have a good time. After all, who wouldn't when you're attending the Olympics at someone else's expense. By the way, this particular hotel will always be remembered by me when one evening a former Governor of California was refused entrance to the hotel for not wanting to show his ID and yelled at the security team, "Don't you know who I am? I'm ____ the former Governor of Califrnia!" To which the security personnel replied, "Yes, but we need to see your security pass."

    Another experience which comes to mind was the time my tour group was booked to stay in a four star luxury hotel which overlooked a lake. Prior to the start of this particular trip, guests were advised there had been a change and we would all be staying at an "upgraded" property. Shortly after our arrival at the hotel on the day in question, my phone rang and it was one of the guests complaining they didn't have a room with a view of the lake. My explanation that there was no lake to have a room with a view from at this particular property didn't suffice. Not long after, I had a call from the front desk supervisor asking me to come down to the desk to sort out one of my guests. On my arrival, here they were having a near ballistic fit over the fact they didn't have a room with a view of the lake. Fortunately, several complimentary drinks later we managed to calm them down and enjoyed the remainder of our two night stay at this property.

    On another occasion while on a two night stay in Victoria, BC, CANADA and staying at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, a colleague came to me in tears after one of her guests was on a rampage about not having a view of the harbor even after being upgraded by the hotel. As such, I had been assigned what was referred to as a "parlor" room which actually was part of the suite where many of Britain's royalty had stayed on their visits to Victoria. The room was large and had a rather small balcony with a commanding view of the harbor, a sofa bed and a very small bathroom. I told my colleague I would be happy to exchange rooms with her guest if this might help and she proceeded to bring her guest to my room to have a look. To our surprise, the guest was delighted with arrangement and moved from her upgraded suite to this parlor room. And I ended up in a beautiful suite on the top floor of the Empress Hotel albeit with no view of the harbor.

    Being a tour/trip director/manager has both its "perks" and its "downsides". On many occasions, I have ended up in far superior rooms to my guests for the simple reason accommodating guests in the same room type is imperative in order to maintain consistency. On the other hand, there have been a number of occasions, particularly in Jasper, Alberta where I along with my colleagues have been "walked" to another hotel from the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for the simple reason there has been "no room at the inn." Often a "bonus" for us while at the same time being a "pain" you know where.

    These are just a few of the many "experiences" I've had dealing with hotels over the years which have provided me with great anecdotes for my family, friends and colleagues. And I haven't even mentioned some of the many episodes dealing with suppliers, coach companies and coach drivers I've experienced over the years the vast majority of which have been very positive interactions.

    Have a nice day and if staying in a hotel tonight, here's hoping you'll have a nice stay.

  2. Caroline Ash Guest

    Hotel Nuvo in Miami canceled our reservation three days before our arrival. I called Expedia and was told the hotel canceled the reservation. I called hotel Nuvo and was told Expedia canceled the reservation. I later found out that hotel Nuvo tried to charge my credit card that had no funds …( I use it to hold reservations) I received no courtesy email or phone call that there was a problem with the credit card,...

    Hotel Nuvo in Miami canceled our reservation three days before our arrival. I called Expedia and was told the hotel canceled the reservation. I called hotel Nuvo and was told Expedia canceled the reservation. I later found out that hotel Nuvo tried to charge my credit card that had no funds …( I use it to hold reservations) I received no courtesy email or phone call that there was a problem with the credit card, they just canceled my year long reservation!!
    Based on Expedia‘s website and hotel Nuvo’s website a customer is not charge until they check in at the property. Nuvo representative said that was not true, all customers are charged a one night stay three days before their arrival. This was a lie, nowhere, even now on Nuvo’s website does it say “one night will be charge before customer arrives.” I found out the reason why this happened (why my reservation was canceled). The Flowerpower cruise was booked that week. Therefore, Hotel Nuvo wanted to get a higher price for my stay that was $714 (3 nights in presidential suite ) I ended up paying $1450 at another hotel because I had to find a room at the last minute in Miami where my Cruise was leaving from. Expedia did give me a credit for $150 but Hotel Nuvo wouldn’t acknowledge their wrong doing. I was just given the run around. Yes, I did contact the Better Business Bureau and filed a complaint about the horrible incident with documentation, still hotel Nuvo would not comply!!! The experience was horrible. Shows how horrible greed can almost ruin a year long planned vacation. I do not recommend hotel Nuvo Miami.

    Question: What would you have done? I was in tears and I had to take out a travel loan for $500 that I am still paying back. Thank you.

  3. Dennis Doherty Guest

    While away for the afternoon, and without permission or notice, I had a Geneva NY hotel * GO INTO OUR ROOM AND MOVE OUR STUFF TO AN INFERIOR ROOM *. They refunded our money and we left. Imagine.

  4. Barbara Freda Guest

    My daughter, her wife and our entire family (about 27 people) were walked on Saturday due to the place being sold. The hotel had taken full payment three months ago.

    We are left with no rooms, higher charges and only my daughter has gotten her refund as of this moment. Some of our party have to get the refund in order to pay for another room.

    We were referred to another property management...

    My daughter, her wife and our entire family (about 27 people) were walked on Saturday due to the place being sold. The hotel had taken full payment three months ago.

    We are left with no rooms, higher charges and only my daughter has gotten her refund as of this moment. Some of our party have to get the refund in order to pay for another room.

    We were referred to another property management company, but that has proved useless.

    The hotel that closed and booted us was the Windrose in Savannah. The property management company is Lucky Savannah. Wedding is June 24, w rehearsal June 23, and people are coming from all over including Germany, UK and Canada.

    I don’t want to go to small claims, but I will if I have to.

    I also may contact the local media.

  5. Austin787 New Member

    I witnessed an involuntary hotel cancellation several years ago. I was staying at Blooms Hotel in Dublin, Ireland and sitting in the lobby near the check in desk. A family with an infant arrived around 10pm. The clerk working the desk informed them their reservation was cancelled because of a problem with their credit card and the hotel was unable to contact them. Hotel was fully booked so no more rooms available. The clerk was...

    I witnessed an involuntary hotel cancellation several years ago. I was staying at Blooms Hotel in Dublin, Ireland and sitting in the lobby near the check in desk. A family with an infant arrived around 10pm. The clerk working the desk informed them their reservation was cancelled because of a problem with their credit card and the hotel was unable to contact them. Hotel was fully booked so no more rooms available. The clerk was apologetic but there was nothing he could do beyond giving them the wifi code so they could search for another hotel.

  6. William Guest

    I was walked by the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood for my birthday weekend when the hotel was booked by some Hollywood/entertainment firm for their Oscar’s party weekend. It turned out to be the best experience because they gave me a choice of the local Four Seasons as well as the then-Viceroy L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills which is an all-suite hotel. The Viceroy L’Ermitage in turn upgraded me to a gigantic suite. Best upgrade ever!

  7. Rupert Guest

    Love your blog, but it is terrible advice "that you can't do much short of small claims court" . As you correctly state, these situations fall under contract law. The situation in all these scenarios is absolutely clear: you have a binding agreement for accommodation and if the hotel cancels, you have a right to comparable accommodation.
    While most call centers will try to avoid providing what they owe, they all KNOW the law,...

    Love your blog, but it is terrible advice "that you can't do much short of small claims court" . As you correctly state, these situations fall under contract law. The situation in all these scenarios is absolutely clear: you have a binding agreement for accommodation and if the hotel cancels, you have a right to comparable accommodation.
    While most call centers will try to avoid providing what they owe, they all KNOW the law, they know they'd loose in small claims court (and would suffer from the publicity that may come with it) and will follow the rules, if you stay firm.
    Clearly state what you want and that you know the law. Escalate as necessary ( use Cris Elliott's customer advocacy contact info) until you get what's owed to you.
    While it sometimes takes a few emails, not once in 20+ years did I have to go to small claims court to get what I'm owed...

    1. Steve Guest

      I agree that this article would be better if it discussed contract rights in more detail. Can a hotel cancel your room? Of course they can since there is no one to stop them. But are you entitled to damages if they do so? Almost certainly, yes? If you aren't able to agree on a resolution how do you settle the matter? By going to court. If you convince the judge (and it's going to...

      I agree that this article would be better if it discussed contract rights in more detail. Can a hotel cancel your room? Of course they can since there is no one to stop them. But are you entitled to damages if they do so? Almost certainly, yes? If you aren't able to agree on a resolution how do you settle the matter? By going to court. If you convince the judge (and it's going to be a judge in small claims court, not a jury), then the hotel is ordered to pay you whatever the judge decides.

      That's not so hard and if more people did it then the hotels would be a lot less likely to blow off their obligations because they'd know doing so was going to cost them $$$.

  8. Annette E. Kussmaul Guest

    This *just* happened to me. The involved hotel was the Holiday Inn 6th Avenue/Chelsea in New York City. Apparently, they cancelled my reservation several days before check-in (probably just after the cancellation deadline). I was NOT aware/not notified, and didn't realize the reservation had disappeared from the app. When I tried to check in, the clerk told me, "We have no record of that reservation." Then, after further review, she reported, "It was cancelled because...

    This *just* happened to me. The involved hotel was the Holiday Inn 6th Avenue/Chelsea in New York City. Apparently, they cancelled my reservation several days before check-in (probably just after the cancellation deadline). I was NOT aware/not notified, and didn't realize the reservation had disappeared from the app. When I tried to check in, the clerk told me, "We have no record of that reservation." Then, after further review, she reported, "It was cancelled because there was a problem with your credit card." No one had emailed/called/notified about that! I was informed the hotel was sold out and she couldn't help me secure a room elsewhere. (Seriously, NO HELP WHATSOEVER!) I was very stressed, imagining I'd be walking the streets dragging my suitcase. I did find lodging with Marriott. And when I checked the IHG app, I have 2 active, in-date credit cards on file. I will be sending a complaint to IHG Customer Care.

    1. Caro Guest

      Do it and best wishes, thank you for sharing‍♀️

  9. Kris Guest

    I've been walked several times over the last 20 years of extensive professional travel, and I'd generally say compensation has been generous and professional, even if it sometimes have required insisting a bit. But, what I really don't get is that even the global chains have walked me, while I've had top loyalty status - why they do that (prioritizing random non-loyal guests) is completely beyond me...

    1. Tom Guest

      Kris, status helps but not always. I got walked by Hilton despite having Diamond status. My theory was that I was using HH points and a non-status guest was paying (a lot of) cash.

      Hilton put me up in an equivalent hotel a short walk away and gave me some food and drink credits, so did not complain. This was in London.

  10. DMES Guest

    And don't forget the Florida motels and hotels that quote one price so you send a deposit and they confirm your dates and deposit. Six months later you arrive by air or whatever and arrive at your confirmed hotel only to find the daily rate has been changed. No email, no phone call. Pay up 40 per cent more, don't like it? "Find someplace else, all our rates have gone up". No more Florida B.S for me.

  11. chief Guest

    I prepaid a few years ago for a confirmed triple at the Meridian in Paris across from the Concord Lafayette. We arrived in mid-afternoon for checkin on the reserved date. Front desk told us our reservation had been cancelled because they thought we were not coming; then switched to the hotel was overbooked. No resolution or alternative hotel was offered. After my loudly yelling for 30 minutes or so and waving my proof of payment,...

    I prepaid a few years ago for a confirmed triple at the Meridian in Paris across from the Concord Lafayette. We arrived in mid-afternoon for checkin on the reserved date. Front desk told us our reservation had been cancelled because they thought we were not coming; then switched to the hotel was overbooked. No resolution or alternative hotel was offered. After my loudly yelling for 30 minutes or so and waving my proof of payment, the Meridian offered to drag in a little stowaway bed for my daughter and gave us a room with a small single bed. Very small room for three people for two night stay. I was so mad at the Meridian and crappy rude front desk staff. Have never again stayed at a Meridien hotel. Wish I had a nazi uniform to wear and go back to parade around the lobby throwing air salutes stop piss them off.

    1. Daniel Guest

      Wow… can’t figure out which seems more nuts… that situation or you

  12. DEE Guest

    Did not know our reservation was cancelled till we arrived at the ocean front resort -club hotel.(where we were members).We were told the people in our room extended their stay and they cannot be forced to leave?? SO they booked us at the Marriott at the Mayo Clinic!!! We are both in healthcare and spend our days in hospitals so did not want to stay there! TOLD NO OTHER OPTIONS?? We both complained and they...

    Did not know our reservation was cancelled till we arrived at the ocean front resort -club hotel.(where we were members).We were told the people in our room extended their stay and they cannot be forced to leave?? SO they booked us at the Marriott at the Mayo Clinic!!! We are both in healthcare and spend our days in hospitals so did not want to stay there! TOLD NO OTHER OPTIONS?? We both complained and they would not ind us a better hotel or??? So we headed north and after 2 hours found a hotel in Savannah!I wrote a formal registered letter of complaint and received a 2 day stay free!

  13. Azamaraal Diamond

    Walked twice. First time on arrival in Istanbul our BW chain hotel apologized for not having a room because the roof top pool had flooded many rooms. We were walked to a new property that had just opened and was a huge step ahead of the BW. They were interested in Western guest experiences and desires so we were treated to some events that they were planning to offer, to evaluate our reaction. I think...

    Walked twice. First time on arrival in Istanbul our BW chain hotel apologized for not having a room because the roof top pool had flooded many rooms. We were walked to a new property that had just opened and was a huge step ahead of the BW. They were interested in Western guest experiences and desires so we were treated to some events that they were planning to offer, to evaluate our reaction. I think we won on that one.

    Second time was in Hanoi . We were staying in the Garden Inn on a split stay with a final stay at the Hilton. On arriving back at the HGI we were told we were being walked to the Hilton thus losing a "stay" in my quest to retain Diamond status. I had to use the Flyer Talk Hilton 'lurker' to get compensation ($100) but never received the stay credit.

  14. Dara Guest

    We just returned from a trip to Europe and two of our five hotels cancelled or the hotel changed our reservation. A hotel in Salzburg cancelled our reservation two weeks prior and offered us a hotel at a sister hotel that was not comparable. I think it was because we booked via Agoda and had a low price. We found a different property. For the second, I have status with Hilton and booked connecting rooms...

    We just returned from a trip to Europe and two of our five hotels cancelled or the hotel changed our reservation. A hotel in Salzburg cancelled our reservation two weeks prior and offered us a hotel at a sister hotel that was not comparable. I think it was because we booked via Agoda and had a low price. We found a different property. For the second, I have status with Hilton and booked connecting rooms (4 guests total) with Hilton in Munich directly. A week before the trip our room was suddenly changed to one king room. Hilton provided no notice. I called three times - no one could explain what happened, other than they were sold out. I was reassured our connecting rooms would be there for check in. When we arrived they were not on record. Luckily I bought a print out of the original reservation, had names of who committed they’d honor the reservation, and we checked in early. We were ultimately provided the connecting rooms but the process took a lot of energy on my part.

  15. platy Guest

    Many thanks for this article.

    I have had some frustrations dealing with the local Marriott reservations manager at the Gritti Palace/ Danieli / JW in Venice about a booking in Gritti for September (hotel supposedly booked out for private function).

    I'll spare your readers the sordid details (unless they are interested), suffice to say you were right to favour the St Regis over the Gritti and it's probably a very good thing that Danieli will...

    Many thanks for this article.

    I have had some frustrations dealing with the local Marriott reservations manager at the Gritti Palace/ Danieli / JW in Venice about a booking in Gritti for September (hotel supposedly booked out for private function).

    I'll spare your readers the sordid details (unless they are interested), suffice to say you were right to favour the St Regis over the Gritti and it's probably a very good thing that Danieli will exit to Four Seasons.

    Your information will be most useful in escalating the issue.

  16. Christian Guest

    I had a reservation at the LM Angkor in Siem Reap a couple of years back and the hotel emailed me about a month beforehand to inform me that they weren’t going to honor my booking but instead send me to a worse hotel. I thought that the Marriott guarantee applied so I told them that if they wanted me out they needed to put me in the Park Hyatt. They decided against that and left my reservation alone. My wife and I had a great stay.

  17. JS Guest

    Surprisingly, it seems that not even the European Union has any sort of regulation on hotel cancellations, even when there are strict policies regarding compensation and assistance in the case of airline delays and cancellations.

  18. globetrotter Guest

    It is an unwritten rule and unspoken standard practice that hotels will bump you if you don't check in by 10 PM or fail to communicate with them of your late arrival time, despite the fact that you have a reservation. Hotels will rent the room to the first walk in guest who is able, ready and willing to pay on the spot instead of holding the room for late check-in that may lead to...

    It is an unwritten rule and unspoken standard practice that hotels will bump you if you don't check in by 10 PM or fail to communicate with them of your late arrival time, despite the fact that you have a reservation. Hotels will rent the room to the first walk in guest who is able, ready and willing to pay on the spot instead of holding the room for late check-in that may lead to a charge back dispute/ claim for a no-show. Hotels also have to deal with the hassles of speculative bookings that may result in loss of revenue, due to the inability to re-rent the rooms in a short time-frame. In the post-Covid era, small claims cases have no court reporters and the plaintiff have no legal recourse to appeal. Serving a lawsuit to a chain hotel or a LLC business is another beast to slay. If you win, you will wait multiple months to receive the court ruling before collecting the judgment on your own.Thus, it is not a viable option for anyone to pursue. There are "No show" guests vindictive enough to post a derogatory review out of spite, despite the fact that they did not stay at the property. Lastly, those who are bumped must ask themselves " What is my damage?" Huge inconvenience. Absolutely. But there is no suffering and damage awarded in small claims cases. How can anyone possibly know and prove that hotels bump them in order to rake in higher room rent from other guests? When you make late reservation for the same night, the system may not be updated to reflect the current inventory so call the hotel to ensure they have vacancy to accommodate your reservation.

    1. Samo Guest

      I suppose it depends on region of the world, but here in Europe I arrive past 10 PM all the time (quite often past midnight) and I have never ever experienced hotel cancelling my reservation. Definitely not a standard practice, even on busy days.

    2. Creditcrunch Diamond

      When on business our TMC always caveats the booking confirmation with instructions to contact the hotel directly if we are going to arrive after 10pm, I’ve been doing that for years now as best practice and avoid a no room available scenario.

    3. Blaz Guest

      Here's the weird bit then... often when you book, you either prepay or you use your credit card to guarantee your room. So how can they justify on-selling your room when you have already paid for it? Seems to me that they want their cake and eat it too.

  19. BookLvr Gold

    Thanks for bringing up this important topic. I would be in favor of consumer protection laws that make these "reservation" contracts far less one sided. It is inequitable that when a customer has to cancel a reservation at (many) chain hotels--even if it is for reasons entirely outside the customer's control, like a flight being canceled or a member of the party being hospitalized--the customer still has to pay the first night, but when a...

    Thanks for bringing up this important topic. I would be in favor of consumer protection laws that make these "reservation" contracts far less one sided. It is inequitable that when a customer has to cancel a reservation at (many) chain hotels--even if it is for reasons entirely outside the customer's control, like a flight being canceled or a member of the party being hospitalized--the customer still has to pay the first night, but when a hotel cancels the a reservation at the very last second, there are often no guarantees. Both the chain hotel and rental car industries seem to work this way.

    I'm not asking for more consumer rights than rights for the business. I'm asking for the same rights. If a reservation means I owe them money no matter what if I cancel with fewer than 24 hours warning (which is fair enough), then the hotel should owe me a room at their establishment unless they give me more than 24 hours warning.

    We got walked at the Sheraton Tysons Corner in Vienna, VA several years ago. (This hotel has since been permanently closed). The only reason we had booked at this particular hotel was that my daughter had a dance competition there. She was maybe 14-15 years old at the time. Some of her teammates were in a dance which was competing between 7:00-7:30 AM on Saturday, though her first number was not until after 11 AM. I had thought I would be able to stay in my pajamas while she took the elevator down to watch them; I would go down later to watch her. Instead, I was up and driving a car to the venue before 7:00 AM. Thanks, Sheraton.

    On paper, what Sheraton offered us was pretty good. We were walked for the first night, moved back into the Sheraton for the second night, were comped for both nights, and got some food gift cards, so they were in essence paying US by the time all was said and done. Nonetheless, as a working parent, an extra hour of sleep may actually be worth more to me than hotel credits for food.

    What's even more outrageous is that this happened to multiple people that weekend, and that when I talked with other members of the team, still other people had experience the same thing at a previous competition. In other words, this hotel's mathematical formula for no shows was clearly WAY off.

    The car rental industry also seems to believe the word "reservation" means "we would be happy to rent you a car if we happen to have one on the lot when you arrive," which is not what most customers think this word means. My favorite story of a smart move by a customer in this situation involves my Dad, Mom, and sister. The car rental agency had WAAAAY overbooked and had no cars for multiple customers with reservations. After waiting for multiple hours for returns to come in and realizing that they were not in fact going to be able to drive on from the airport to the Florida Keys that night, my Dad somehow got the rental car agent to give him a huge van so he could drive to a local hotel. The next day, he called the car rental agency. Still no cars. My Dad politely but firmly informed them that if they didn't find him a car by lunch, he would be driving the car agency's van down to the Keys, because he already had missed one day of his long weekend vacation and he surely wasn't going to miss two. They found him a car!

    1. Mantis Guest

      I couldn't make it past your first sentence, because a government solution is not a solution, it's just an opportunity to make everything more expensive for customers, business owners, and taxpayers. Contract law covers the issue well enough.

    2. AC Guest

      Agree completely with you. Frankly she isn't reasonable as they handled it and put her in a comparable hotel. Also, while this is about hotels the same issue applies to rental cars and you don't see people as adamant about that. If you prepaid for a room (or car) you definitely are due your money back but if there is no pre-payment your "reservation" is really a best efforts claim.

      Bottom line is the contracts...

      Agree completely with you. Frankly she isn't reasonable as they handled it and put her in a comparable hotel. Also, while this is about hotels the same issue applies to rental cars and you don't see people as adamant about that. If you prepaid for a room (or car) you definitely are due your money back but if there is no pre-payment your "reservation" is really a best efforts claim.

      Bottom line is the contracts (even airline contracts which do have certain consumer protections) support the business as they should. People need to just deal with the fact that things don't always go smoothly for them

  20. OCTinPHL Gold

    I’ve been “walked” twice, and in by times, wound up coming out ahead (in terms of room, compensation, or both). Most recently (summer 2019), I had a 2 night stay booked at the Hilton Financial District in San Fran. I forgot to check in on the App, and when I showed up around midnight, my room had been given away. They told me the would accommodate me at the Hilton Union Square and would pay...

    I’ve been “walked” twice, and in by times, wound up coming out ahead (in terms of room, compensation, or both). Most recently (summer 2019), I had a 2 night stay booked at the Hilton Financial District in San Fran. I forgot to check in on the App, and when I showed up around midnight, my room had been given away. They told me the would accommodate me at the Hilton Union Square and would pay for my taxi. When I showed up at Union Square, they told me the other Hilton had called ahead, and that I was getting the last room they had. They then pulled out a contract they asked me to review and sign - stating I would not hold any parties in my room. I was then taken to the Presidential Suite - a 2 story, 3 bedroom, 5 bathroom suite with a baby grand piano and 2 balconies. I had previously thought the Union Square Hilton a bit dated (it is), but this suite was spectacular. Best Hilton upgrade ever.

    1. OCTinPHL Gold

      That should be “and *both* times wound up…”

    2. TranceXplant Member

      Not specifically about being walked, but your comment reminds me of a surprisingly great upgrade I received many years ago at the Crillon in Paris.

      My family had booked connecting rooms, but there weren't any remaining when we arrived. So they offered us the closest available thing: a giant suite. Not only that, but a giant suite on a floor that had been blocked off for the king of Morocco and his entourage (I assume...

      Not specifically about being walked, but your comment reminds me of a surprisingly great upgrade I received many years ago at the Crillon in Paris.

      My family had booked connecting rooms, but there weren't any remaining when we arrived. So they offered us the closest available thing: a giant suite. Not only that, but a giant suite on a floor that had been blocked off for the king of Morocco and his entourage (I assume he okayed it). So we ended up spending a week in far more luxury than anticipated, while frequently chatting with a king and his bodyguards in the private elevator assigned to that level. It was quite an experience.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      And maybe the King of Morocco complained that his blocked off floor reservation wasn't honored and he had to share his private elevator with some chatty commoner all week long.
      It was a terrible experience for him.

  21. Donna Diamond

    Back in 2005 when Pope John Paul died my reservation in Rome cancelled immediately (notified by email and refunded) two days before check in with no substitution offered. I ended up staying in what was at the time a vacation-type rental in the outskirts of the city and riding the metro in to work. I’ve been walked a few times and requested and received compensation. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did a...

    Back in 2005 when Pope John Paul died my reservation in Rome cancelled immediately (notified by email and refunded) two days before check in with no substitution offered. I ended up staying in what was at the time a vacation-type rental in the outskirts of the city and riding the metro in to work. I’ve been walked a few times and requested and received compensation. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did a decade or more ago. Not sure if that’s because reservation systems have become more sophisticated preventing overbooking or if I’m just staying in better quality properties now.

  22. Reno Joe Guest

    In the end, the hotel chains will support the property owner. Everyone needs to understand that. And, if someone remains in such a system and it happens to them, one should not complain. What's the solution? There are hotels that will do right by their guests -- you just have to find them.

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TranceXplant Member

Not specifically about being walked, but your comment reminds me of a surprisingly great upgrade I received many years ago at the Crillon in Paris. My family had booked connecting rooms, but there weren't any remaining when we arrived. So they offered us the closest available thing: a giant suite. Not only that, but a giant suite on a floor that had been blocked off for the king of Morocco and his entourage (I assume he okayed it). So we ended up spending a week in far more luxury than anticipated, while frequently chatting with a king and his bodyguards in the private elevator assigned to that level. It was quite an experience.

2
OCTinPHL Gold

I’ve been “walked” twice, and in by times, wound up coming out ahead (in terms of room, compensation, or both). Most recently (summer 2019), I had a 2 night stay booked at the Hilton Financial District in San Fran. I forgot to check in on the App, and when I showed up around midnight, my room had been given away. They told me the would accommodate me at the Hilton Union Square and would pay for my taxi. When I showed up at Union Square, they told me the other Hilton had called ahead, and that I was getting the last room they had. They then pulled out a contract they asked me to review and sign - stating I would not hold any parties in my room. I was then taken to the Presidential Suite - a 2 story, 3 bedroom, 5 bathroom suite with a baby grand piano and 2 balconies. I had previously thought the Union Square Hilton a bit dated (it is), but this suite was spectacular. Best Hilton upgrade ever.

2
JS Guest

Surprisingly, it seems that not even the European Union has any sort of regulation on hotel cancellations, even when there are strict policies regarding compensation and assistance in the case of airline delays and cancellations.

1
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