The Worst Case Scenario of Booking a Hotel Room Reservation Early?

During the spate of sales with discounted hotel room rates which have been highlighted here at The Gate in recent days, more often than not, one requirement is that you pay for the reservation at the time of booking it; and no refunds, cancellations, modifications or adjustments to the reservation is permitted without a penalty — or at all…

The Worst Case Scenario of Booking a Hotel Room Reservation Early?

…but what if you checked on a hotel reservation which you booked months ago and found that rooms are being sold at less than half of the room rate which you paid, as has apparently happened to FlyerTalk member ringingup? “Even suites would be 40% cheaper than my rate.”

One of the reasons why lodging chains grant a discount to you when you book a hotel room early is so that they have your money free of interest to use between the time you pay for booking the reservation in advance and the time you check in for your stay, which could be weeks or months. This contributes to positive cash flow for the company — a metric of the financial health of a company which is arguably as important as profitability.

In other words, the lodging company is “paying” you for the use of your money in the form of a discount to entice you to completely pay for your reservation in advance…

…but there are times where this practice can backfire on the consumer. For example, let us say that you purchased your room reservation in advance for a stay during the summer  for $150.00 per night during a winter sale and the room normally retails for $200.00 per night. You have just saved yourself $50.00 per night; and you may feel like you shrewdly scored a deal…

…until that same room is on sale for a room rate of $125.00 during a spring sale. Suddenly saving $50.00 per night does not seem so great when you could have waited and saved an additional $25.00 per night.

What Do You Do If This Happens to You?

You agreed to the strict terms and conditions of the winter sale, which were clearly highlighted in bold red italic type in capital letters. The rules are clear: there is nothing you can do about resolving this issue…


Well, calling and asking to get the new discount certainly never hurts. What is the worst that could happen — the representative of the company denies your request by saying “no”?

If the representative says no, politely thank him or her and call again later, placing the same request with a different representative.


Remember these two mantras of life: hang up and call again, and you do not get if you do not ask — but also keep your expectations low in case your request is denied.

I have always said that it never hurts to ask for what you want, as usually the worst that can happen is that the person you ask will deny your request. It also usually never hurts to ask someone else who can grant you your request, as usually the worst that can happen is that the person you ask will deny your request. How many times you should “hang up and call again” is based on your feel of the nature of your request — there is no specific and definitive rule to follow — so you will know when you are experiencing the situation.

If someone wants something from me, they have a better chance of me complying with their request than if they never asked me in the first place. I can be pretty good at anticipating what someone else wants; but I am not a mind reader.

The way I see it is this: you almost always have a significantly better chance of getting what you want simply by asking and pursuing the answer for which you are seeking than by not asking at all.

After all, you never know just how successful you can be potentially with having your requests fulfilled…

…and although I rarely ask requests similar to the specific one in this article, my personal experience suggests that my request is granted more often than not — regardless of whether or not I had elite level status at the time of the request. Companies tend to give customer service representatives some leeway in granting a request — which may not be a part of company policy or conflicts with the rules which govern the source of the request…

…but of course, the company does not want to condition customers to think that they can bypass the rules every time there is an issue or a conflict; so as to lend some good will and not lose a customer, you are told “I will grant you a one-time exception” and usually have the issue resolved in your favor. Some companies do tend to firmly adhere to their policies and rules and deny a request no matter what if it is granted a second time.

Although the issue is not considered resolved for ringingup at the time this article was written, “I called the property and someone from the front desk kindly upgraded to a studio suite and suggested I call back tomorrow to speak with the revenue manager.”

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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