Being walked (meaning that the hotel is completely sold out and they have no more rooms available to check you into) is one of those annoying things that may happen during your travels, but they can be quite lucrative from a compensation point of view.
Hotel loyalty program elite members should be the last one walked or shouldn’t be walked at all. Marriott is the only chain that I know that have published a very clear compensation requirement that the walked guest is eligible for (read more here and one recent CC case here).
This time a LoyaltyLobby reader was walked from a confirmed reservation at the Holiday Inn & Suites Oakville @ Bronte that is based in Ontario, Canada. You can access hotel’s website here.
Here’s the email from the reader:
I found your article about IHG’s European policies regarding walking of guests, I’m just wondering if you’ve found the policies to be pretty similar in North America/Canada? I won’t bore you with details (unless you want them for future reference), but basically got walked from a corporate suite to a basic room at another hotel – and original Holiday Inn clerk made it sound like they were still going to bill me for the original room. I’m a platinum member who booked 12 days ago, yet was told I was walked because I was “last person to show up…”
Here’s my reply to the reader:
You can find the IHG document about being walked from LoyaltyLobby. Basically, they should NEVER walk an elite guest. There is no geographical difference to the procedure.
You should get a refund for the first night, the hotel should pay for your night at the other hotel + issue you enough points for a free night stay at the same category IHG hotel.
If the hotel is not willing to work with you, open a file with the IHG Care. Let me know how it goes.
I wrote a piece last year what the IHG affiliated hotel should do in case they are overbooked and they walk you based on the IHG document available on the open internet. You can access that piece here.
Here’s the follow up from the reader:
Yes the original front desk clerk must have mis-spoke saying I was going to be billed. Got email from hotel the next morning saying room in new place taken care of (so no charges whatsoever) and offered 10K points. I explained issues, asked for 25K (knowing 20K was free night at that hotel). They came back offering 20K and said that was max they could do.
The bonus points were in my account later that night
It was Holiday Inn & Suites Oakville @ Bronte (Oakville, Ontario, Canada).
This just again demonstrates that you must be aware of what you are entitled to with these programs. Some may easily give you all what they are required and some may require some coaching by the guest. I am glad that the reader reached an amicable solution with the hotel in question.
Hotels have become more aggressive as of late to try bringing in all the possible revenue and they have started to engage similar overselling practices as airlines in anticipation that not all the guests will show up. Most of the time these work well, but problems arise when the hotel is getting full and there are no no-shows. Hotels must then start strategically walk guests.
Remember that you can always drop me an email about problems and compensation issues that you have had with travel providers. I always feature one case on very Sunday.