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TPG Readers Share Their Hotel Overbooking Stories, and What You Should Do If it Happens to You

Oct. 24, 2017
6 min read
TPG Readers Share Their Hotel Overbooking Stories, and What You Should Do If it Happens to You
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Overbooking isn't a problem just for airlines. As TPG himself found out on Monday night at the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport, where an overbooked property nearly got him walked from the hotel, the issue also affects hotels — and guests who pay for their stays, but risk having nowhere to sleep.

Eventually TPG was given a room, albeit a very dirty one, and compensated with free breakfast, an upgrade on an upcoming stay and a refund for his one-night stay. But we were curious to hear from you, our readers, about what you've gotten when getting walked from a property. So, we asked members of the TPG Lounge to share their experiences with overbooking and what they've received from the hotel as compensation. Here are some of our favorite responses:

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What to Do If Your Hotel Is Overbooked

As you can see, no one chain is the only offender when it comes to overbooking — and it happens more often than you might think. Of course, no one wants it to happen to them, but sometimes it's inevitable, especially if you're traveling when there's a lot going on at your destination. So, what exactly can you do if you're being "walked" by a hotel? It really depends.

We reached out to each of the major hotel chains — Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and SPG — to find out what each of their particular policies are. We have still yet to hear back from Hilton, Hyatt and SPG, however, Marriott got back to us with its overbooking policy.

A spokesman for the chain said that in the event of a sold-out situation, the guest is transferred to a nearby hotel and given a room of equal or greater value and that night’s stay is comped.

Each chain's policy is different, and it could even differ based on what property you're at. As TPG always says, it never hurts to ask, and you might be able to receive more compensation than what's offered. As you can see in the TPG Lounge reader stories, some experienced bonus points, additional cash and more in order to compensate for being walked from a hotel. At the very least, you should push for being walked to a different, comparable hotel and the cost of your stay being comped.

Reader Brandon, a Hyatt Globalist member, emailed us about his experience getting walked from the Park Hyatt in New York last month, which highlights an important aspect: you can always negotiate, whatever the hotel's stated policy may be. "They initially offered me 10,000 points" by way of compensation, he told us. "I said no, I want 60,000. We then negotiated on them sending me a car to take me to the Taj (they didn’t want to do this at first), also told them I wanted room service and they need to pay for it as well as put their card down on my room." The hotel agreed to all but the 60,000 points, Brandon wrote us, and ended up refunding him 30,000 points for the initial booking, plus 30,000 more as compensation.

How to Avoid Being Walked

There are some ways to help avoid getting walked by a hotel. First, if you know you're going to be a late arrival, call the property and let them know. If it gets to be too late and you're still not there, it's entirely possible for them to think of you as a no-show and potentially give away your room. Also, if you can help it, avoid late arrivals if at all possible. In some cases, it's the luck of the draw — if you're the last, unlucky soul to arrive, you could be the one getting walked.

While it didn't work out in TPG's favor this time, if you have elite status with a hotel chain, you're typically guaranteed a room on a paid stay. For example, with Marriott, Platinum members are guaranteed a room for any paid stay as long as you make a reservation at least 48 prior to arrival. SPG Platinum, Hilton Diamond and Hyatt Globalist members are also guaranteed this same benefit.

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While booking through the hotel itself can often save you money, it can also give you a leg up when it comes to overbooked situations. Hotel managers can see when a stay was booked through the chain directly rather than a third party like Expedia, Orbitz or HotelTonight. If you book through the chain directly, managers will likely be more willing to save you a room than someone who booked through an OTA.

At the end of the day, no one wants to be walked on their paid hotel stay. But unfortunately, it does happen. Hotel policies don't always protect you from being walked, but there are some things you can do about it. At the very least, you should asked to be transferred to a comparable hotel and for your stay to be comped. As TPG always says, it never hurts to ask — you never know what you could be entitled to.

Featured image by Mark Ballogg