guest post by Sherry Gray
You plan and save for your perfect vacation, pack, get on a plane and arrive at your destination…only to find there’s no room at the inn. The hotel room you booked months in advance is not waiting for you and now you’re in a strange city with your luggage at your feet and nowhere for your family to sleep. Sounds like a nightmare…and it happens more often than you might imagine.
The good news is that the hotel doesn’t want bad press, so the management will do everything it can to help you find a room elsewhere.
The bad news is that elsewhere might not meet your needs or desires. This is especially true if you had not planned to rent a car and no hotels have available rooms within walking distance of your intended destination. If special arrangements have to be made, ask the hotel to pick up the tab. You can also pressure them to upgrade your room for free. Don’t give up, just stand your ground until they cough up a solution. Hey, you never know. Maybe there are no rooms in the entire city, but the presidential suite is available. It could happen.
Hotels overbook because rooms are like a perishable commodity. If the day goes by and the guest doesn’t show, the sale opportunity is lost and they can’t get that revenue back. If they book two guests for the same room and only one shows, they get to keep the no-show reservation fee as a bonus, so they make extra money on that room for the night. If two guests show up for the same room, they still get the room money…and in most cases they just have to make a few phone calls to find a room at another hotel. Most of the time, overbooking is a winning situation for them. Occasionally, problems arise and they wind up paying a little compensation, but most guests who have to be moved are too confused, anxious and angry to press for inconvenience perks, so they break even.
Stuff happens, and in some cases you’ll be bumped from your room no matter what you do. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re not one of the travelers who gets booted.