Updated: Nov 7, 2022
You’ve booked your hotel, got the best “deal” you could, and feel good about your accomplishment. You may have paid in advance or elected to “pay upon arrival,” but either way, the booking is guaranteed, right? No, not necessarily.
Booking through online travel agencies may save a dollar or two, but many of them have, way down in their fine print, disclaimers that their services are not guaranteed. I read them fully every time, don’t you? No, almost nobody reads them because if you didn’t agree, you would not be able to book the room or service.
All hotels overbook if they can. For example, if you show up at 10:30 pm to get your guaranteed room and everybody else came in earlier that day, the hotel may not have any room available at all, besides the specific category you requested. Overbooking happens more often on weekends and holidays since that is when more people travel for leisure.
For some people, this situation is not all that bad. Most hotels will make arrangements to send you to another hotel that has space. The hotel term for that is “walk.” And in many cases, the hotel will refund your payment and pay for your stay in the other hotel. This procedure will not make most people the happiest, because they may have needed to stay with friends, family, or a conference in the original hotel. Still, it does make it easier to accept the situation if there is a refund.
So, how do you guarantee you have a room waiting for you when you arrive? To increase your odds, if possible, arrive by 3 pm and check-in with the registration desk. If you can’t be there that early, call them and let them know you are en-route and will arrive at a specific time. Still not a guarantee, but they may hold a room and not give it to the person that walks in without a reservation. Other options are to ask for a service, like flowers or champagne, to be left in the room before you arrive. The staff is less likely to give the room to someone else if they already have the service added.
Lastly, consider joining the hotel brand loyalty program. If they have noted that you are part of their reward program, they may keep your room until you arrive. And, of course, using a travel advisor that has ongoing relationships with hoteliers to advocate for you if any issues arise is one of the best things you can do! If you desire peace of mind, contact AJ! Clonts at 440-965-6868 or by email at email@example.com to book your hotel or custom vacation package.