How to Cancel a Hotel Reservation

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Canceling a hotel reservation can sometimes be tricky. But with the right steps, you can easily cancel your booking without hassle or charges. This article will explain the process of canceling a reservation with any hotel.

How to Cancel a Hotel Reservation

When to Cancel Your Hotel Reservation

There are many reasons you may need to cancel your hotel reservation. Common reasons include:

  • Changing travel plans
  • Finding a cheaper rate somewhere else
  • Family emergency
  • Illness/injury

Before canceling, make sure the hotel’s cancellation policy works with your situation. Most have a deadline for canceling without penalty.

Understanding Cancellation Policies

Hotels have different cancellation policies, so check yours before canceling. Common policies include:

  • 24-Hour: Cancel by 6 pm hotel time, the day before check-in
  • 48-Hour: Cancel by 6 pm hotel time, 2 days before check-in
  • One Week: Cancel by 6 pm hotel time, 1 week before check-in

Some policies are stricter during peak seasons or holidays.

If you miss the cancellation deadline, the hotel may charge your credit card a fee equal to one night’s room rate.

How to Cancel Your Reservation

Cancelling takes 5 quick steps:

  1. Check your confirmation
  2. Call the hotel
  3. Get a cancellation number
  4. Follow up in writing
  5. Check for refund

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Check Your Confirmation

Find your reservation confirmation, which should have:

  • Reservation number
  • Hotel address & phone
  • Check-in/check-out dates
  • Cancellation policy & deadlines

You’ll need this info to cancel properly.

  1. Call the Hotel

Call the front desk or reservations line for the hotel during business hours. Tell them:

  • Your full name
  • Reservation number
  • Date of check-in

Explain you need to cancel your upcoming reservation. The agent can then cancel it on their end.

  1. Get a Cancellation Number

Before hanging up, obtain a cancellation number from the hotel employee. This shows proof you canceled properly over the phone.

Important: If they don’t offer one automatically, you need to explicitly request it!

  1. Follow Up in Writing

It’s wise to follow up your call with a written cancellation notice. This way you have both a call and written record of canceling correctly.

Email the hotel confirming:

  • Your full name
  • Reservation number
  • Check-in date

Note you called on [Date] to cancel the reservation and received cancellation number [__]. State that you no longer need the room and have canceled per policy.

Keep this email as back-up documentation.

  1. Check for a Refund

If you prepaid any portion of your stay, call the hotel after 5-7 business days to ask about a refund. The funds go back to the original payment method. Timeframe depends on their accounting department.

What If I Miss the Deadline?

If you miss the cancellation deadline, call the hotel immediately. Politely explain why you need to cancel late and ask if they can waive the fee due to your special situation. If unwilling to budge on their policy, ask about rebooking your reservation for a future date rather than an outright cancellation. While there’s no guarantee, being polite and friendly goes a long way.

Third-Party Reservations

If you used Expedia, or another third-party site, the same overall cancellation process applies. You’ll just need to call them instead of the hotel itself. Make sure to cancel both on the website and phone.

Review all cancellation deadlines closely. Some third-party sites have shorter time limits, so don’t miss them. If past the cutoff date, you may be subject to entire room charges, not just one night.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the hotel’s cancellation policy
  • Call the hotel asap to cancel
  • Get a cancellation number during your call
  • Follow up in email or writing
  • If prepaying, ask about refund timeframe
  • Act fast if past cancellation deadline
  • Third-party sites may have shorter deadlines

Canceling your hotel stay does not need to be complicated if done right. Know the cancellation policies, move quickly and have documentation to protect you. With these key steps, you can easily remove an unwanted reservation.

Jennifer Tuffen
Jennifer Tuffen

I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.