Hotel no-show procedure – can hotels charge your credit card for no-shows?
Sometimes plans change while traveling and you end up having to forfeit a hotel reservation you made. When things don’t go as planned, it’s important to contact the hotel you planned to stay at to avoid incurring hotel fees without using their services. Hotels are becoming increasingly strict in their cancellation policies, which means you should be aware of these policies before booking a hotel.
How hotel cancellation policies work
Currently, hotels can create their policies in any way they want without being restricted or directed by any agency. This has made it quite an uneven field, meaning that every hotel is different from another. Hotel policies differ, so it’s wise to read their fine print before booking. While some hotels will not let you cancel until the night before your arrival, they are becoming less common. Many hotels now require up to 72 hours notice or more when you want to cancel reservations. If you do not meet the specified time, you can be charged from at least one night for each room you have booked, to being charged for the entire period you were supposed to stay. While these hotel fees seem absurd to say the least, hotels still have the right to maintain the fees. So it comes down to you covering your flanks. Here’s how to do that.
Read the fine print
This point cannot be stressed enough. Reading the fine print of hotel policies will help you understand what fees apply and to what extent. This will help you plan ahead for any no-shows. If you cannot handle the fees provided, it is best to find another hotel to accommodate you. Knowing what the hotel requires can also give you some change to negotiate ahead of time. If you can get them to compromise before you don’t show up, then you can save on penalties.
Contact the hotel
When you suspect that you may be a no-show, you should familiarize yourself with the cancellation procedure before making the reservation. Talking to the hotel is a good way to get the right information even after reading the policy on their website. Once you’ve noted the procedure, you’re well-armed to reject any charges if you’ve done the cancellation the right way and followed the right procedure.
Have tangible evidence
When canceling, remember to have proof that you really canceled your reservation. You may be issued a cancellation number if you do so over the phone. If you use email to cancel the reservation, you have proof. However, phone calls are more suitable for dealing with such problems as they cannot be refuted. One can always say they never saw the email.
There are times when you have taken the correct steps to cancel and your credit card is still being charged. During these periods, you must contact the hotel with information about your cancellation, as well as a request to credit your account with the amount withheld. If this is not done, then you can always appeal to your credit card company.
Other ways to cover yourself
As mentioned earlier, if you feel that a hotel’s policies are too onerous, you can always look for another hotel that is more suitable for your needs. Note that the only way to avoid being charged no-show fees is to follow their cancellation procedure. Unless you do that, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Another way to cover yourself from these hotel fees is to have a travel insurance policy. This is useful in many ways.
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