Mariott & Hilton hotel chains have announced changes, effective January 1st.
The airlines have, for years, charged additional fees for cancelling and making changes to flights, and it now appears that hotel chains are beginning to follow suit. Effective January 1, 2015, two major hotel chains will be charging cancellation fees on late cancellations or unused hotel reservations.
Which hotel chains are changing their cancellation policies?
Both Marriott & Hilton chains have announced changes, effective January 1st, to their cancellation policies. Business travelers have long been used to being able to cancel their hotel reservations up until 6pm on day of arrival. This will no longer be an option at these hotels.
Your reservation must be canceled by 11:59pm on the day prior to arrival or a penalty of one night’s room rate will automatically be applied to the credit card submitted at time of booking. Note that some hotels may have even more restrictive policies in place.
Although many hotels already impose cancellation penalties, look for even more to follow the lead of these two major chains. One company which won’t be charging cancellation fees – or indeed, any extra fees at all – is the brand-new Virgin Hotels, which is opening its first hotel in Chicago, in January.
Why the change in policy?
The hotel chains explain that cancellations by business travelers have been consistently rising and that by charging a late-cancellation penalty, they are trying to minimize cancellations on rooms that they won’t be able to resell.
What are the benefits to you, the traveler?
By limiting same-day cancellations, the hotel chains believe that they will free up additional room inventory for those looking for last-minute travel accommodations.
How can I avoid paying the cancellation fee?
If you know that your travel plans are changing, let the hotel or your UNIGLOBE agent know as soon as possible. As with any policy, there may be exceptions on a case-by-case basis: room cancellations due to flight disruptions or bad weather may be enough for some properties to forgive the penalty. Expect to be able to provide proof of the cancelled flight.