Big hotel chains face cancellations as more countries go into lock-down

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With the COVID-19 virus spreading and many countries moving into a lock-down phase, travellers are attempting to cancel reservations and get their money back. As hotel chains face increasing cancellation requests, they are moving towards more generous cancellation policies.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts is offering modification and cancellation waivers for guests traveling to, through or from China, Italy, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The time frame runs until the end of March, except for Italy, which covers the period up until the end of April.

As well as these countries, Hilton has expanded the waiver policy to include guests traveling between the United States and 26 European countries from March 13 to April 12, 2020.

The hotel chain is also allowing those with existing bookings to cancel or amend free of charge, 24-hours before arrival, up until the end of April. The same applies for new bookings for any future arrival date. 

The InterContinental Hotels Group is waiving cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9 and April 30, 2020. According to IHG, the health and wellbeing of their guests and employees is their highest priority, and said that they want to make sure the guests aren’t being penalised for changing their plans.

For bookings made via online travel agencies or other third parties, guests are to contact them directly, adding that it had “advised these companies of our cancellation policy and they should refer to their terms and conditions.”

The world’s biggest hotel company, Marriott, is currently waiving cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 31, 2020 for guests travelling to 26 territories and countries in the Asia-Pacific region , including China, India, Thailand and Australia, as well as Italy. There is also some flexibility regarding stays in Saudi Arabia depending on the country of origin.

“For all Marriott International hotels world-wide, we are implementing the following policies: For guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, we will allow full changes or cancellation without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020. Please note that any changes to existing reservations will be subject to availability and any rate differences,” Marriott said in a press statement.

“For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between today and April 30, 2020, we will allow the reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date.”

Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third-party travel professionals are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies.

According to Accor Hotels, guests traveling to or booking from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and South Korea will be able to “change or cancel a valid booking” up to the end of March 31. Accor doesn’t say whether there will be a cost involved and mentions a different process for flexible versus non-flexible rates.

According to the group, it has advised all its hotels to adopt flexible conditions in terms of cancellation or modifications for travelers to and from significantly impacted regions. Accor regularly updates this advice to hotels as the situation evolves.

Choice Hotels International said it offered “ flexible rates to our guests year-round” but that currently had penalty-free cancellations for two groups of customers; guests residing in China, South Korea, Japan and Italy with reservations at Choice Hotels in the United States and Canada and guests with reservations at Choice Hotels in China, Japan and Italy. The policy runs until the end of March.

Choice Hotels is also offering compensation in the form of Choice Privileges points for advance purchase rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Choice Hotels on or before March 10, 2020 for travel through April 30, 2020.

Hyatt is also  waiving cancellation fees for guests residing in Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Italy with reservations at Hyatt hotels globally, as well as guests with reservations at Hyatt hotels in Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Italy. The flexible policy runs until the end of March as well.

Hyatt is also offering compensation in the form of World of Hyatt points if guests with certain reservations decide not to travel. Both hotel groups also advise customers who booked via third parties to contact those companies directly.

According to Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, “Guests traveling to or from Greater China, South Korea or Italy with direct bookings for stays in any of our hotels through March 31 will have their cancellation or change penalties waived. We are also extending current Wyndham Rewards member status for all Gold, Platinum and Diamond members from our Greater China and Southeast Asia Pacific Rim regions through the end of 2021. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”