Every hotel chain has a cancellation policy – terms outlining when guests may cancel their reservations with no penalty. As the hospitality industry responds to ever increasing technology and booking options, revenue managers seek to alleviate inventory challenges. This has resulted in hotel chains updating their cancellation policies, passing on stricter penalties to the individual traveler.
Marriott International has implemented a new cancellation policy as of June 15, 2017 requiring guests to cancel their room reservation 48-hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee. This new policy applies to all hotels within the Marriott portfolio in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, with the exception of Design Hotels and Marriott Vacations Worldwide.
This change will give an opportunity for the hotel to sell their inventory to buyers looking for last minute booking opportunities.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton Hotels & Resorts quickly followed suit by updating their own cancellation policy. Beginning July 31, 2017, Hilton implemented their own 48-hour cancellation policy for all Hilton-managed hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Franchised hotels managed by other companies will defer to the local manager on whether or not to enforce the revised policy.
InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) also moved to revise their cancellation policies, changing from more lenient terms by region to a stricter 24-hour cancellation policy. IHG has cited greater consistency for both guests and owners as the main reason for this change. The new policy which started going into effect at the end of July does not affect the company’s Kimpton brand which already upholds a 48 hour cancellation policy.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation continues to leave the policy in the hands of the individual hotels and what works for their respective markets. Generally, they have already moved to a 48-hour or more policy.
Overview of Cancellation Policies by Brand
The chart below compares hotel brands’ cancellation policies for the U.S. and Canada:
Previous Policy: 24 Hours
New Policy: 48 Hours
Previous Policy: 24 Hours
New Policy: 24 Hours
Previous Policy: Same Day
New Policy: 24 Hours (except for Kimpton Hotels)
Previous Policy: 24+ Hours (pending hotel)
New Policy: No Changes
What does this mean for travelers?
Cancellation policies vary by hotel chain/brand, rate type, and event so guests should always check the cancellation policy at the time of booking. Cancellation information should be provided before confirming your stay.
Companies with corporate contracts should verify whether or not the new terms and conditions apply to their own negotiated rates. Corporate travel departments must also notify travelers of any changes so that employees are not vulnerable to penalties that could apply.