Why do hotels overbook?

Why do hotels overbook?

*Updated April 2015

The reasons hotels overbook their guests is similar to why airlines overbook their flights. There is an added wild card to the hotel business because they have “walk up” guests and people who decide to stay longer or shorter than their booked stays (usually without any financial penalty). Hotel bookings typically have less stringent cancellation policies than airline tickets; people can usually cancel 24 hours prior to their booking without being charged.

As a result, sometimes hotels find themselves with too many reservations and not enough rooms. Hotels work together in these situations and will transfer guests to an alternative property with no extra charge.

If you booked a vacation package with a tour operator that is TICO-certified, we at tripcentral.ca are usually advised in advance and as soon as we’re notified, we call our clients. Unfortunately, we have no control over these circumstances and understand that it can cause extreme grief, especially in situations where you are set on a specific hotel or are split from your travel partners.

These situations are random, and the hotel often alternates tour operators and clients when relocating, so as not to ruin relationships with just one company. This can happen with any tour operator that you book with. It is the hotel’s overbooking, not Transat Holidays, tripcentral.ca, or Sunwing, for example.

In these cases, the hotel must offer an alternative stay at a hotel with equal or greater value – this usually means somewhere with the same star rating, in a similar location, and offering similar services. The tour operator works out the rates internally to pay the other hotel. However, if you booked your stay independently of a tour operator, not as a package, and the hotel has overbooked, they will likely try to find you another room but they do not have to offer you an alternative.

Rarely will you find yourself going to a different hotel when you have pre-booked a package, and even rarer would be that you didn’t find out until you arrived in destination. If ever you are in a situation of hotel overbooking, it is best to contact tripcentral.ca customer service directly at 1-800-665-4981.