Via Travel Update, it looks like Marriott will be changing their global hotel cancellation policy as of January 1, 2015.
According to the new policy, you’ll have until 11:59PM the day prior to arrival to cancel your room without penalty. Interestingly it seems as if Marriott is somewhat forcing this policy on their hotels:
Marriott expects that “most hotels will want to follow the new policy,” according to the email. Marriott, in fact, is telling franchised hotels that if they want to opt out of the new policy and continue offering a “day of arrival” cancellation deadline, they must request permission to do so.
So is this good news or bad news? Well, it probably depends on the property:
- It’s bad news for hotels that currently let you cancel until the afternoon/evening day of arrival to avoid penalty
- It’s good news for hotels that require you to cancel at least one day prior to arrival to avoid penalty
Via Travel Update, it seems like this will be bad news if you’re staying at ~75% of properties, while it will be good news if you’re staying at ~25% of properties:
In response to Travel Update’s questions to Marriott about the policy change, Marriott spokeswoman Felicia Farrar McLemore said that about 25% “of our managed hotels in the Americas have a cancellation policy that is more aggressive than 6pm day of arrival.” So in many markets, she said, the new policy will put Marriott “in line with our competitors.”
I pulled up the cancellation policy at three of Marriott’s properties near LAX for the night of January 17, 2015.
The Renaissance LAX lets you cancel until 4PM day of arrival:
The Marriott LAX lets you cancel until 6PM day of arrival:
Meanwhile the Courtyard LAX lets you cancel until one day prior to arrival:
As someone that has a tendency to plan hotel stays really last minute, I find this to be rather frustrating… though I also get it.
If a guest cancels the evening of arrival it’s really tough to resell that room, while if they cancel the evening before there’s at least a chance of reselling the room. I’m curious to see if Marriott makes exceptions for:
- Airport hotels, where I think a day of arrival cancellation policy is only fair in many cases (and airport hotels also oversell by a lot, so I doubt there’s much lost revenue)
- Corporate rates (for big corporate customers of the hotel chain, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to negotiate a more generous cancellation policy into the contract)
What do you think about this change — good or bad news?