Major players in the hotel industry have been following the lead of the airlines in creating new kinds of fees that their customers must pay, above and beyond the nightly room rate. And now Hilton is experimenting with a significant expansion of its existing cancellation fee policy.
It used to be that hotel guests with changing travel plans could cancel their hotel reservation almost up until the time of arrival with no penalty. Earlier this year, Hilton and Marriott created a stir when they started to impose a new fee equal to the cost of one night’s stay if a cancellation was made less than 24 hours before arrival.
And now Hilton has started to market-test a new $50 fee for those who cancel at any time after they make a reservation (unless they wait until less than 24 hours before arrival — then the existing one night’s room rate fee still applies).
Members of Hilton’s HHonors program are exempt from the new test fees. (For now at least.)
Hilton officials told Skift.com that the test is being conducted only at 20 U.S. properties in the Hilton, DoubleTree and Embassy Suites brands. The properties were not identified.
The Hilton officials said that in spite of the one-night fee imposed earlier this year, they are still seeing what they consider to be unacceptable levels of cancellations during a period of record hotel occupancy levels. The test will help them determine if a tougher penalty will make a significant dent in those cancellation numbers.
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