Published On: Sun, Jun 18th, 2017

Marriott Changes Cancellation Policy to 48 Hours

PHOTO: Marriott Hotels has rolled out a new, tougher cancellation policy requiring at leat two days notice. (photo via Flickr/Jose Carlos Cortizo Perez)

Back in 2015, TravelPulse’s Pat Clarke reported that Marriott Hotels, along with Hilton International, were toughening their cancellation policies.

At the time, the two global hoteliers were making the revolutionary move to dial back travelers’ ability to make same-day cancellations with no penalty. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, customers who couldn’t give at least 24-hours notice for a room cancellation would be charged the equivalent of one night’s room rate.

It’s a formula that has apparently worked out for Marriott. This week, various news outlets are reporting that the world’s largest hotel company has once again toughened its cancellation policy. Effective immediately, travelers will be required to cancel at least 48 hours in advance of their stay to avoid fees and penalties.

The policy is being rolled out at all Marriott properties in the Americas. With Marriott’s recent merger with Starwood, the new policy will also take effect at all Starwood-branded properties.

According to a report at the Travel Skills blog, the new cancellation policy, which took effect June 15, 2017, reads:

“Marriott International is implementing a cancellation policy at hotels in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands except for Design Hotels. The revised policy allows us to make rooms available to guests that would have otherwise gone unoccupied due to a last-minute cancellation.”

“The change: While cancellation policies vary by hotel, hotels whose policy is to allow guests to cancel their room reservations on the day before arrival without incurring a fee are faced with a significant number of unsold rooms due to last minute cancellations. Guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation by midnight 48 hours prior to arrival to avoid a fee. This will allow hotels a better chance to make the rooms available to guests seeking last-minute accommodations.”

“Because cancellation policies vary by hotel and for certain events and rates, customers should always check the cancellation policy that applies at the time of booking. Cancellation information is provided to guests prior to finalizing a reservation on”

READ MORE: The Numbers Behind Marriott’s Historic 2016

The Travel Skills article suggest that the revised cancellation policy could be an attempt by Marriott to reduce the numbers of people who book a room and then cancel it at the last minute if they find it cheaper rates at a last-minute deals website.

But it could also very well be another salvo in the hotel industry’s concerted efforts to encourage direct bookings by cutting benefits to people booking with online travel agents. An initiative which, obviously, also has ramifications for traditional retail travel agents.

On Marriott’s own web page entitled, “It pays to book on,” one of the benefits of booking direct is listed as “Change Your Mind.”

While the fine print on the page reads, “Cancellation charges apply if a reservation is changed or canceled after the deadline identified in the rate rules,” the subtext suggests guests booking direct will be awarded some flexibility when it comes to last-minute changes.

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In 2016, when Marriott first shifted its policy in 2016, a number of Travel Skills readers expressed their displeasure with the then new policy, although a few indicated that they were able to leverage loyalty status to avoid paying cancellation fees. Time will only tell how if the same applies for the new policy.

Travelers with existing reservations are subject to the terms or their original agreement and are not bound by the new cancellation policy.

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