New 24 Hour Cancellation Policy In Effect With InterContinental Hotels Group

Starting today, Friday, August 4, 2017, a new cancellation policy by InterContinental Hotels Group is now in effect in the United States with which guests must cancel their reservations no sooner than 24 hours prior to the beginning of their scheduled stays to avoid a penalty.

New 24 Hour Cancellation Policy In Effect With InterContinental Hotels Group

This policy comes on the heels of a cancellation policy of 48 hours now in effect within both the Hilton portfolio and the Marriott portfolio of hotel and resort properties worldwide.

Prior to today, guests were able to cancel their reservations up to as late as 6:00 in the evening on the day they check in for their stays.

The new policy of canceling a reservation no sooner than 24 hours with hotel and resort properties of InterContinental Hotels Group went into effect on Friday, July 28, 2017 in Europe; and it will eventually will be phased in region by region until it is in effect worldwide — with the exception of China, where many of the hotel and resort properties will retain the same-day cancellation policy.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants — which InterContinental Hotels Group acquired for $430 million almost three years ago — currently already has a cancellation policy of no fewer than 48 hours and will be unaffected.

Summary

As I originally wrote in this article pertaining to a similar cancellation policy by Marriott International, Incorporated which became effective as of Thursday, June 15, 2017, my experience with hotel properties is that if I ever needed to cancel a reservation beyond the deadline — which is highly unusual for me — I have never had to pay a penalty. I usually had a good reason — such as a canceled or delayed flight — and the representative had always been understanding and accommodating. That is not to say that that would be the scenario moving forward nor would I consistently expect that level of service; but as long as lodging companies empower their employees with the ability to implement logical decisions, I generally do not expect this “unwritten policy” to change.

Due primarily to the aforementioned reasoning, I initially believed that the policy of cancellation by 6:00 in the evening local time of the hotel property on the day before arrival was justified and not unreasonable to the consumer — especially if employees of the lodging company are empowered to override this policy on a case-by-case basis as necessary. If most guests will know to cancel two days prior to arrival, that suggests to me that any abuse of the policy moving forward will be few and far between, which to me further suggests that pleading for leniency will likely continue to be successful — especially if you are a regular customer of the lodging company or hotel property…

…but as to whether or not this revised policy is indeed unfriendly to customers: due to varying reasons, many people will agree; while few may believe otherwise — but at least the official policy of InterContinental Hotels Group is 24 hours more lenient than much of its competition.

The Holiday Inn Amsterdam Schiphol is shown during the days when a reservation can be canceled as late as 6:00 in the evening on the day of checking into the hotel property. Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

9 thoughts on “New 24 Hour Cancellation Policy In Effect With InterContinental Hotels Group”

  1. Robbo says:

    I don’t see what the problem is! Why should the hotel be penalized because I don’t have my shit together, or little Johnny got sick or my flight is late? Take out travel insurance and you pay your own way.

  2. evan says:

    I appreciate this might be transatlantic misunderstanding on my part but do you mean “no later” than 24 hours beforehand? i.e. one must cancel the day before the booking starts?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Yes, evan.

      I apologize if the article was not clear enough.

  3. Gene says:

    @ Brian — I’m not sure this “new” policy changes much. Some negotiated rates (e.g., certain corporate rates) have contractual cancellation policies, and based on my very limited search, this change does not appear to impact those rates. Furthermore, many, if not most, rates bookable through IHG.com already had a 24-cancellation policy. Finally, there is a way to get around most cancellation policies on IHG.com bookings, but I won’t discuss that here. If you are interested in knowing more for your own reference, you can email me.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I appreciate the offer pertaining to getting around cancellation policies, Gene — and no, I would not post them here as well…

      …but as you said, this “new” policy does not change much. From what I understand, it is to protect revenue — that is, have people stop gaming the system by constantly canceling at the last minute, which puts hotels in a bind because they either cannot sell the room for the night or must “dump” it at a rate on which they lose money — rather than a way to increase revenue.

      If the lodging companies were too strict with these policies, then more guests would likely be more compelled to purchase room rates in advance, which cost less and can potentially cannibalize the point of booking a refundable rate.

      Assuming that the right balance is struck, the stricter cancellation policies could potentially benefit both lodging companies and guests.

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