I recently wrote a post for Forbes titled “How to Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees.” It’s about what you’d think it’s about, with advice tailored to the specific cancellation policies of many major hotel brands. At a reader’s suggestion (Mike told me he “got bit” by Marriott Courtyard for cancelling less than two days out), I thought I’d make it today’s tip.
As I write in the Forbes piece: “Disappearing are the days when you can cancel a hotel reservation before 6 p.m. of the evening you are scheduled to arrive. More and more hotels are requiring reservations to be canceled 24 to 72 hours before check-in time to prevent a cancellation fee from being assessed, normally the cost of the first night’s stay. This is to help stem last-minute cancellations as more reservations are made online and fewer guest ‘walk-in’ at 9 p.m. asking if rooms are still available.”
In general, make sure you know the hotel’s/resort’s cancellation policy at the time of booking. Some reservations may be nonrefundable as soon as you book (look out for that), and those that are refundable or partly refundable (most bookings) will have their terms spelled out somewhere. If you’re not sure what to expect, you can always call the hotel/resort and ask. For a more specific breakdown of brand policies, read my story here.
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