As many others on this site, I am a lifetime platinum member and have therefore booked MANY reservations. For quite some time I have seen 24-hour cancelation policies (and occasionally up to 3 days) on the most popular properties. I have accepted such with the thought that they can get away with it because people are willing to take the minimal risk of a last-minute change in order to stay in that hotel or resort. However, I have noted over the last few months that every property I have checked (not just reserved, but CHECKED) has now implemented a 24-hour cancelation policy. I have been traveling by car a good bit lately, and I am dismayed that I have to lock in on exactly where I want to stop in order to assure myself a room at a Marriott.
Marriott is making it HARD for me to be loyal. I can see some amount of logic to resorts and higher end hotels requiring at least 24 hours cancelation notice, but I do not see any reason why that should be the standard for Courtyards, Fairfields, etc. I don't pretend that Marriott will change their policy because I complained here (if they even read these posts), but I'm curious if others feel the same.
When policy changes have a strong profitability component, I try to understand. Certainly, when I negotiate and schedule a planning meeting with a client and they cancel less than 24 hours before the meeting, we charge them. True of businesses that negotiate and manufacture a tangible product as well. In fact, most businesses have a cancellation policy. C
My travel pattern for work is normally to the same location for the week, so I am generally not surprised and needing to cancel unless I have issues with my outbound flights. But I can understand where you are coming from.
I'm sure there as a financial driver underpinning this decision. Folks do not always cancel when they are not going to make it, they book multiple properties, etc. and this leaves the property perhaps unable to sell the room to someone who actually shows up, along with other considerations.
Now there is a financial incentive when booking, the hotel can count on either the guest showing up, or getting compensated for the room regardless. It makes business sense, whether or not it is liked by consumers.
Hilton has the exact same policy.
If you wish to cancel, please do so 1 day prior to arrival to avoid cancellation penalties."
I have had an occasion within the last few months due to flood warnings along a route we'd have been taking to reach the Marriott property so we decided to cancel the trip a few hours before we were to arrive AND I'd already used the mobile app to check-in. I called the hotel and spoke with the front desk associate, explained situation and she told me she would check with the manager and call me back. In about 10 minutes or so she called and told me they will not charge me for the night stay.
Sometimes a simple phone call explaining the reason for needing to cancel goes a long way.
The 24-hour cancellation policy has certainly decreased my number of Marriott stays in 2015 and 2016, so much so that I dropped from platinum to mere gold for 2016. I, too, often travel by car and appreciated the flexibility of cancelling before 6pm on day of arrival based on whether I wanted to keep driving or stop sooner than anticipated. Now, rather than booking a stopping point in advance, I now just alter my start time so that I can drive most trips in a single day.
I'm sure this policy has resulted in fewer cancellations for Marriott properties, but has it really helped the bottom line? I'd be surprised if it has.