Taylor Swift tour sparks ’Bad Blood' with Marriott and Hilton over weddings
Two brides-to-be outside Boston say a Taylor Swift concert next spring has them feeling anything but a “Love Story” with their respective hotels.
Instead, it sounds like a case of hotel owners attempting to ditch the brides at the altar in pursuit of much higher room rates.
This all began when Taylor Swift announced “The Eras Tour” last week. The concert tour runs from next March through early August and makes a two-night stop in May at Gillette Stadium outside Boston. Hotels near the stadium appeared to do the math on how much they could charge concertgoers instead of existing business on the books.
Christina Leonard, a bride-to-be with a room block at a Home2 Suites by Hilton two minutes from the stadium, told Boston’s WBZ-TV the hotel initially canceled her reservations. Leonard had booked 10 rooms for $169 a night prior to the Swift concert announcement but received an email canceling the room block after the tour was revealed.
A manager later told her over the phone the hotel could charge as much as $1,000 a night with the Swift concert going on down the street, Leonard said.
Hotels aren’t as liable as airlines for canceled reservations, and there’s a general sense hotel booking guidelines tend to protect the property in the event a guest cancels and not the other way around. What protections do exist for guests generally only kick in if the hotel denies you entry at check-in — not canceling a room months in advance.
A Hilton spokesperson told TPG “the Home2 Suites by Hilton Walpole Foxboro is an independently owned and operated property and I cannot speak on the hotel’s behalf” before referring TPG directly to the hotel’s general manager. He did not respond in time for publication.
It should be noted that, while hotels are often independently owned and operated from the major brands, companies like Hilton do issue brand standards that dictate what owners can and can’t do while operating a hotel under various brand flags like Home2 Suites.
But Leonard’s story has a happy ending of sorts: The Home2 Suites offered to reinstate her room block after news broke of the cancellation and even offered the bride and groom a free stay for their wedding weekend.
But that’s not the only case of a hotel in the area looking to cash in on Swiftie frenzy.
Another bride-to-be says the Renaissance Boston Patriot Place Hotel, located within a shopping and entertainment complex next to the stadium, wants to jack up her hotel rates in light of the concert.
Arianna Stevenson is slated to have her wedding at the Renaissance next May on one of the nights Swift is performing at the stadium next door. She signed a contract with rates at $250 a night, but there was a clause in the contract stipulating a special event could send the rates flying. It certainly did, as the hotel now wants to charge $750 a night — a figure Stevenson says may cause her to cancel her wedding if she can’t find more affordable options nearby.
Given what the manager at the Home2 Suites — typically a more affordable brand than Renaissance — thinks he can charge, it’s hard to fathom too many hotel rooms in the area being easy on the wallet the night of Stevenson’s wedding.
An attorney told WBZ there are consumer protection laws in Massachusetts that allow a person to ready their finances in a reasonable amount of time to pay the new cost, but it doesn’t appear as though there is anything preventing the Renaissance owner from tripling the price on the original rate.
Marriott didn’t respond to TPG’s request for comment.
Perhaps it decided to “Shake It Off” and just enjoy being able to sell out its hotel at much steeper costs.