At times plans get to change during travel and you end up having to forfeit a hotel booking you had made. When things do not go as planned, it is important that you contact the hotel you had planned to stay in, in order to avoid being charged hotel charges without utilizing their services. Hotels have been getting stricter in their cancellation policies, which means that you need to be aware of these policies before booking a hotel.
How Hotel Cancellation Policies Work
Hotels are currently able to create their policies in whichever way they dim fit, without being restricted or guided by any agency. This has made it a rather uneven playing field meaning every hotel is different from another. Hotels vary in their policy making, making it wise to read through their fine print before booking. While some hotels give you up till the evening before your arrival to cancel, these are becoming fewer. Many hotels are now asking for as much as 72 hours prior notice or more when you wish to cancel reservations. If you do not comply to the stipulated time set, then you can be charged from as little as a one night charge for every room you had booked, to being charged for the entire period that you were meant to stay. While these hotel charges seem preposterous in the least, hotels are still in their rights to uphold the charges. So it boils down to you to cover your flanks. Here's how to do that.
Read the Fine Print
This point can not be insisted enough. Reading the fine print of the hotel's policies will help you know the charges they apply and to what extent. This will help you plan ahead to any eventuality of being a no show. If you can not be able to handle the stipulated charges, then the best thing is to look for another hotel that will accommodate you. Knowing what the hotel requires can also give you a bargaining chip to negotiate beforehand. If you can get them to compromise before your no show, then you can be able to save on penalties.
Contact the Hotel
When you have an inkling that you might be a no show, you should ascertain the procedure for cancellation before making the booking. Talking to the hotel is a good way of getting the proper information even after reading the policy from their online site. Once you have the procedure noted, you are well armed to refute any charges if you made the cancellation in the right manner and followed the right procedure.
Have Tangible Evidence
When making a cancellation, be sure to have evidence that you indeed cancelled your booking. You could be issued with a cancellation number if you do it over the phone. If you use email to cancel the booking, you have your evidence. Phone calls are however better placed to handle such issues as they can not be refuted. One can always say they never saw the email.
There are times when you have taken the right steps to cancel and your credit card still gets charged. In these times, you should contact the hotel with your cancellation information as well as a request to credit your account with the deducted amount. If this is not done, then you can always appeal with your credit card company.
Other Ways to Cover Yourself
As mentioned earlier, if you feel that a hotel's policies are too prohibitive, you can always look for another hotel more fitting to your needs. Keep in mind that the only way to not get charged no show fees is to follow their procedure for cancellation. Short of doing this, you will only have yourself to blame. Another way to cover yourself from these hotel charges is to have a travel insurance policy. This is beneficial in many ways.