What To Do When You Can't Cancel Your Hotel Reservation

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You may have come across this problem yourself: you book a hotel room for an awesome event that you are going to with a friend in advance to get the cheaper option. It could be a concert or a sporting event. It's far in advance because you want to secure your spot and get that deal. Now, closer to the event something comes up and you can no longer go. The only problem is that the hotel reservation is non-refundable and your cannot cancel it. Instead of being out of the money and just not going to be able to go you can sell your unwanted and non-refundable hotel room.

Forbes reported that Every day in the U.S. alone, more than 221,000 hotel rooms are cancelled and paid for, resulting in a market which sees $8.6 billion wasted annually on non-refundable hotel room cancellations.

You're not along, according to forest 220,000 hotel rooms go unused annually in the US alone. These are large and very unfortunate figures when it comes to hotels going to waste. When someone doesn't show up to the hotel because they cannot cancel their booking and no one takes over the booking not just the hotel is affected. It also affects the industry around the hotel such as restaurants, tourism, tours and transportation.  

Why Are Hotel Rooms Non-Refundable

Hotel rooms are non-refundable to save themselves from losing out on money when people change their mind or an unforeseen circumstance comes up and they can no longer their hotel room. If they didn't charge for cancellations people would be cancelling all the time and re-booking. Instead of cancelling, having the name changed on the booking is a great alternative. If the owner of the hotel reservation wants to take it upon themselves to sell the booking and change the name they should be able to. There will always be someone who is looking for the exact booking that is being sold.

Sell Your Hotel Reservation By Changing The Name

Changing the name on a booking can be done straight through you and the travel provider. Almost 80% of bookings are transferrable, with almost all hotel reservations being able to be transferred. Listing a room on TransferTravel.com is easy and simple. Once you find a buyer you can make arrangements for secure payment and name changes. We suggest paying part of the cost first, changing the name and providing proof of the booking and then taking the rest of the payment.

What About Airbnb And Homeshares?

When you sign up to be a host on AirBnB you can choose between three policies regarding how guests can receive a refund upon cancellation; Flexible, Moderate and Strict. If you opt ‘Flexible’ booking it means that your guest can cancel up until the day prior to arrival to receive a full refund (except fees). Listing your accommodation as ‘Moderate’ means that a guest has 5 days prior to arrival to receive a full refund, again, minus the fees. The ‘Strict’ option allows the guest 1 week prior to arrival to receive a 50% refund. Terms & conditions do apply to each of the policies that each host applies to their listing.

AirBnB also offers the ‘Extenuating Circumstances Policy’, if guests provide a valid circumstance, this policy can override the Host’s cancellation policy.

Some of the valid extenuating circumstances include:

– Unexpected death or serious illness of a host, guest or immediate family member

    • Serious injury that directly restricts a guest’s ability to travel or a host’s ability to host


    • Natural disasters/Weather incidents


    • Travel restrictions


    • Endemic diseases


    • Property damage

*The full list can be found on AirBnB’s cancellations page on their website. 

Despite all of the above, we all know life happens and breaking up with your boyfriend doesn’t quite qualify as a natural disaster and no, tonsillitis isn’t an endemic disease. The only thing you can do is hope and pray that you are within your timescale to cancel and that your Host has marked your stay as Flexible.

If you have missed the timescale and money loss is looming do not fear, transfertravel.com is a peer-to-peer travel marketplace that allows you to list your unwanted bookings to an audience of international buyers looking for last minute options.

Contacting Your Travel Provider 

We always suggest that you contact your travel provider and ask them about your cancellation policy. Speak with the front desk of the hotel instead of someone in accounts or a third party travel provider. Explain your situation calmly and be ready to provide your booking reference number and dates. 

So if you can't cancel your hotel room, don't worry you can sell it to someone looking for a great deal!


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Posted 5 April 2017

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