Why it's important to keep tabs on your hotel bookings
Many travelers know that it's important to routinely check your flight reservations to avoid surprises. An airline could have changed your seat, aircraft or departure time without letting you know.
What you might not realize, however, is that it's equally important to keep an eye on your upcoming hotel bookings. I recently experienced this when a hotel changed my nightly rate after I booked.
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I recently had a reservation for the Hilton Playa del Carmen in Mexico. I booked my stay through the hotel and the reservation immediately showed up on my Hilton Honors account. I also had a confirmation email that listed the details of my stay. This was a flexible booking, so my card wouldn't be charged until check-in, but my rate was locked in.
A few days later, I went back to my account to reconfirm my reservation details and noticed the rate listed was over $100 higher than I had originally booked. I didn't make changes to my stay, so my first instinct was to see if anything else had changed, like the dates, room type or the number of guests — but they didn't. The only thing that changed was the rate.
My next step was to call Hilton's reservations line.
The representative was as confused as I was, because they saw my original stay details and that I didn't request any changes. Upon further investigation, they discovered that the property adjusted the rate from its end.
The agent from Hilton corporate didn't have the power to revert the change but was ultimately able to create a new reservation with the original rate. But that's not the point. The problem is that the hotel changed my booking without notifying me. In this case, not routinely checking my reservation details could have been quite costly.
Related: Walked from a hotel? Here's how much compensation you're owed
It's not just the rate that could change either. For example, I've had hotels change my room type before without letting me know.
This is generally a good thing: When a hotel changes your room type, it's usually upgrading you. But as I also experienced, it could be because the hotel is quietly downgrading you to a less desirable room type.
The Hilton Playa del Carmen tried moving me back to a lower category room after I was automatically upgraded to a larger room due to my elite status. Hilton has confirmed that hotels cannot rescind upgrades once confirmed and communicated to guests. If I hadn't kept tabs on this reservation, I might have never noticed that I was upgraded and later downgraded.
Related: Tips to get the hotel room upgrades you deserve
Finally, a hotel might cancel your reservation altogether without notifying you. This was a major issue earlier in the pandemic when many hotels closed their doors but is still common with brand-new properties that aren't ready to open yet.
Again, hotels should notify you if they cancel your reservation, but you should do your due diligence to be sure.
Related: What to do if your hotel shuts down during — or right before — your stay
When you book a room at a hotel, you agree to pay a published rate in exchange for the stated accommodations.
Like any business, hotels should honor that agreement. However, there are times when they might need to make changes, such as if there was a mistake rate or if the hotel isn't operating.
Hotels are expected to notify guests of such changes, but they don't always do so. It's important to track your reservations to catch modifications before it is too late to do something about them. Printing or saving your confirmations can go a long way toward resolving surprise changes.