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You’ve booked your hotel reservation, you paid the amount of points or cash required, and received a confirmation of your booking. You arrive at the hotel, only to be told that there are no rooms available.

Just like airlines, hotels can overbook their rooms, resulting in a case of too many guests and not enough rooms. This is known in the hospitality industry as “walking a guest.”

Unlike being bumped from a flight, there are few government regulations in place for dealing with an overbooked hotel beyond contract law. Read on to find out why this happens and how to avoid getting “walked” all over.

Hotel Reception Bell

Why Would My Reservation Not Be Honored?

There are some reasons why overbooking could happen:

  • Guests may end up staying more nights than they originally planned
  • Scheduling mishaps
  • Major events in the area (like the Superbowl or a convention)
  • An unexpected maintenance issue taking rooms out of service

My Reservation Was Refused. What Are My Rights?

If you find yourself getting “walked,” the hotel should relocate you to a comparable alternative property. They should also cover the cost of transportation to the new hotel.

Check the reviews of the new hotel before agreeing to it. If it’s not satisfactory, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the hotel to find a workable solution.

How To Avoid Getting “Walked.”

Book directly through the hotel when possible. This is especially important if you’re traveling during a peak time. If you see a lower price on a third party website, most hotels offer a price match, so it’s worth calling to see if they’ll match the lower rate.

Think you’ll be checking in late? Call the hotel the day before (or as much in advance as you can) to give them a heads-up. Ask them to hold your reservation for you, and get the name of the person with whom you spoke.

Here are a few more tips to avoid being turned away from the hotel.

  • Read the Terms and Conditions of the confirmation you receive from your booking
  • If you booked with a 3rd party service (such as Hotels.com or Expedia), make sure you have a confirmation number from the hotel itself, not only the booking site
  • Join the loyalty program of that hotel
  • Call the hotel a day before your check-in to confirm your booking

Taking Further Action

Not satisfied with the solution offered by the hotel? Ask to speak with the General Manager. If they aren’t able to help, you should write a letter to the owner of the hotel detailing the situation.

Occasionally, there will be situations like what Travis at One Mile at a Time saw, where the guy next to him was asked if he would voluntarily give up his hotel room at check-in. The compensation you’ll receive varies based on the hotel and their policies, and may be a combination of upgrades or points.

Flowers and Champagne

So it may be worth it if the hotel’s willing to give you a decent amount of points or perks for your trouble. Have you ever been “walked” from your hotel? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Hotel Denied Your Reservation? Here’s What To Do And Why
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