When we book a hotel room, we think twice about the price, and we make sure to settle for the room that fit us the most.
But during that time, we never think that something might happen that will make us cancel our reservations at the very last minute, and due to the hotel policy, we will have to pay for the cancellation fees that we didn’t expect.
Emergencies happen and many things could occur that would lead us to cancel our plans at the very last minute. The disappointment of not going to the trip we longed for will double when we have to pay money for a room we never got to see in the first place. But, did you know that we can save ourselves (and wallets) from paying these fees?
We understand that the hotel policy says that we have to pay if we canceled 24 hours (or 48h) before the day of our reservations, but the hotel also has a lot of secrets, if we used them, we will be saved from the fees, and we are about to spell them out for you. So just relax, and don’t worry about your money anymore.
Book directly through the hotel
©Vail Mountain Lodge
We have all developed this habit of looking and booking hotels on third-party websites like Expedia to guarantee the best prices, which is not a bad idea, but if you needed a last-minute cancellation, then that’s when you will have to pay the fees, and there will be no way out of it for you.
That’s if they didn’t take your money already, which will be hard to restore. So make sure to book through the hotel directly, and try to build a relationship with the employee you are talking to. That way, they will put you in a better favor when you ask for the cancellation.
Ask for the manager
One of the most important steps to save yourself from paying the money is getting the right person to talk to you on the phone. The reason is the person on the front desk or whoever answers you may not have the authority to overlook the cancellation fees. After all, the manager is the one with the final say.
So instead of wasting your time convincing an employee, ask for the manager and talk to him/her about everything. You will have a really good chance to convince him/her, especially if the reason for your cancellation is a very serious emergency. As long as you know how to talk to the manager, you will get what you want.
Give a good reason
As we mentioned before, you will have a really good chance of getting rid of the fees if your reason was a serious emergency. However, you don’t really have to lie because it is obvious that you really had an issue to cancel.
So once you have the manager, be honest, they are humans after all and they will understand. You really don’t have to say that you have a funeral when really, you just couldn’t find a good babysitter for your kids, you changed the destination or you found a cheaper hotel. It is all about what you choose to say and how you decide to say it!
Don’t act dumb
There are many people who try to act stupid when the employee tells them there is a cancellation fee on the room they are not going to use. They start saying that they didn’t know about this and they don’t agree with it, etc. That behavior will not get you anywhere!
When the employee tells you about the fees, you should say that you understand the policy and then politely request them to make a one-time exception in order to show them that you are not willing to disobey their rules.
If you kept on acting “dumb”, the employee will be a lot more stubborn and will never consider making the exception for you.
Show your loyalty
©Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel
Like any other company or store, hotels value their loyal clients because, without them, they wouldn’t have a consistent business.
So if you happen to tell them you are a frequent guest but now due to the “current events” of the cancellation fees you will be considering another hotel from now on, you will leave them no better choice but to help you with whatever you need.
Hotels do their best to not lose their repeated business, regardless of any reason. However, do your best to not seem mean or rude while saying it. After all, a polite tongue will get you wherever you want.
Mention your gold status
This is not going to be a good time to be modest if you have a premier credit card and a VIP status. Both the manager and the employees will not do anything that would upset you.
According to Mokshta Chauhan, a hotelier, hotels consider their loyalty card members a big deal out of those Platinum and Diamond elite statuses, and in order to make these members valued, freeing them from saving the cancellation fees.
So if you are, indeed, one of the members, then you shouldn’t hesitate a second to mention it. You should understand your value to the hotel and the fact that they are ready to do what it takes to keep you satisfied.
Allow social media to be in your favor
Hotels are totally aware of the power of their guests’ reviews on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Google Maps, Instagram, and any other website. Their main goal is to keep their ratings up for as long as possible.
So if the hotel is not being accommodated, you can threaten to leave a bad review. Or, you can use your power of leaving a good review to take advantage and get rid of the cancellation fee.
Your good words on the review will be considered as a great thank-you to the hotel’s staff and management. If this trick helped, don’t hesitate a second to write the good review for them, they will be waiting for it!
Game the system
©We Welcome Work
If you don’t want to risk it all and play a game with the system, you can simply ask to postpone your reservation to a week later because your meeting schedule or your “plans” have changed. After two days, you can call again and cancel the re-booked room, which will still be way before the 24h (or 48h) cancellation cutoff, and voila!
This method has an over 90% chance of working, but it is not recommended to be used unless the hotel is known to be extremely strict.
Having to cancel at the very last minute can occur to the best of us, but as long as you are being polite and smart with the way you request for an exception to not pay the cancellation fees, you are guaranteed to save your money.