Hotels Under Investigation for Cancelling Rooms Booked at Regular Rates, Claiming Mistake

Two years ago I wrote about a Hilton claiming its usual rate was a mistake rate for a special event date. They cancelled a reader’s reservation because they could sell the same night for more money to someone else.

I’m actually sympathetic to travel providers, and think there are times they should be able to cancel a mistake fare or rate.

Typically, though, we think of a mistake rate as a ‘fat finger’ fare, hitting the wrong key or leaving out a digit. Or perhaps a currency conversion error — for instance Hilton honored a rate at the Hilton Moorea where $1000 a night overwater villas with meals went for ~ $100 because prices were listed in Congolese Francs (CDF) instead of French Pacific Francs (CFP).

That’s different, it seems to me, from a hotel loading their usual rates and then deciding not to honor a booking because they realize later they can sell the room for more to someone else.

On August 21 just after 10:15am Pacific time a total solar eclipse will turn[..] out the lights over much of Central Oregon. And the State of Oregon is investigating several hotels for cancelling legitimate bookings now that they see room rates skyrocketing.

Here’s the path the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. in 38 years will take:

There’s only one property showing up with pricing on Kayak for Bend, Oregon the night before the eclipse.

(One week earlier and one week later the property is going for $245.)

No pricing shows up there for Salem.

Here’s the story of a nearby Motel 6:

“…the rate was high ($275 a night), but the hotel is ideally located for the solar eclipse, so i was fine with paying the rate. i just got a call from Amanda at the motel saying they are overbooked and they have canceled my reservation,” he wrote.

The hotel claims a glitch allowed Expedia to oversell the hotel. Equally plausible is that they oversold the hotel at higher rates and are cancelling lower rate bookings.

Here’s the story of the Stafford Inn:

“…had a room booked for the eclipse on August 21, 2017, and the manager emailed to say they were cancelling it because of new ownership. this is not true because the new owners took over in 2014, not just now. now they are offering up the room for $600 a night instead of the $160 it was confirmed for.”

In the case of the Hilton near Duke two years ago, I suggested filing complaints and lawsuits, because Hilton corporate wouldn’t help.

Here the Oregon Department of Justice is already investigating 9 hotels.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This capitalism. The hotel shoulld be allowed to do whatever they want, like canceling the reservation, and the patron should be allowed to do whatever they want, like beating up Amanda.

    What business is it of ours or the government, how they handle this matter between themselves.

  2. @Credit : in your “spirit” of completely laissez faire capitalism, we should email your boss to fire you instantly with no reason then offer to re-hire you at 1/3rd your previous salary.

  3. @henry LAX

    Pretty sure @Credit was being sarcastic.

    The “Free Market” only works when there are firm and established rules.

  4. Booked my room for August 20-21 at the MCI Marriott – the hotel itself will experience I miniute of totality. We’ll aee if they keep my reservation

  5. Booked my room for August 20-21 at the MCI Marriott – the hotel itself will experience I miniute of totality. We’ll see if they keep my reservation

  6. There are a lot of good news stories coming out of Oregon, too. For example, there’s a children’s book about the eclipse written by an Oregonian, Nancy Coffelt, who lives in the path of totality in Baker City, Oregon. Really great book helping educate families about the eclipse, that will get kids interested in science. The book is called The Big Eclipse.

  7. Just happened to me. IHG BreakPoints 5k room in Anaheim, CA changed to a different date, without my input. Called and got it restored with a manual 10k “bonus” to allow the 15k rebooking of the original room.

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