If you are one of the many people who use travel-related mobile apps, like Expedia or Priceline, you will want to pay attention to some important changes that may affect your ability to score those awesome last-minute deals. It seems two of the world’s largest hotel chains are starting off the new year with some hefty changes to their reservation cancellation policies. Could fluctuations in your travel plans end up costing you money?
Until now, the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains have allowed guests to cancel reservations even as late as the evening of their scheduled check-in date, without penalty. Not anymore. As of the first of this new year, guests must cancel their reservations by midnight the night before they are scheduled to stay. Late cancellations will result in a fee equal to the cost of one night’s stay. Other hotel chains are also expected to follow suit this year.
The New York Times reports that the changes have been prompted by an emerging trend that sees folks booking hotel rooms online and then cancelling their reservations last minute, when they find a better deal via popular hospitality-based mobile apps and websites. Time suggests that business travelers are likely to be the most-impacted by the policy changes. Apparently, the strict cancellation rules do not provide such people with the flexibility they often need when traveling for work.
Last-minute deal seekers seem to have saved big bucks from the fine-free cancellation policies of yesteryear. As you can imagine, this has likely been felt by these hospitality masters. This news is the latest in similar corporate policy changes taking place across the board, which many report may be an attempt to thwart profit losses prompted by consumers finding creative (or even sneaky) ways to spare expenses wherever possible. For example, NJ.com reported recently (via Bloomberg News) on a New York man being sued by United Airlines and Orbitz Worldwide for a website he created that helps travelers save money on airfare using a “hidden city” technique.
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