With cruise lines and theme parks closing down operations and airlines cutting back their services to varying degrees in an effort to stem the international spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, hotel operators similarly find themselves faced with and almost-unprecedented dilemma.
Most have made adjustments to their standard cancellation and booking policies to provide clientele with greater flexibility and, therefore, peace-of-mind. They’ve also had to act swiftly to implement new, more frequent and COVID-19-targeted sanitation practices, along with providing additional training for staff members at all of their properties.
If you’re planning a hotel stay during the next couple of months and are curious about your rebooking or cancellation options, or how your hotel is working to mitigate the risk of infection, here’s a breakdown of some alterations being made by major hotel brands.
*Note: Guests seeking to modify or cancel reservations with any hotel brand who booked through a third party (i.e., travel agent or online booking platform) are advised to contact their reservation provider directly for information on its specific policies.
Brands include: Adagio, Banyan Tree, Fairmont, Hyde, Ibis, Mondrian, Raffles, SLS, SO/, Sofitel and more.
—Guests traveling to or from Greater China (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and South Korea through March 31, 2020, may change or cancel a valid booking without penalty.
—Guests traveling to Italy through April 3, 2020, will be able to change or cancel a valid booking at no charge.
—Guests coming from Italy who booked prior to March 9 for arrival through April 3, 2020, may postpone their stays through December 31, 2020.
Guests who booked directly with Accor via the website, app or call center should follow the applicable instructions outlined in the company’s online statement.
As announced in an online statement issued in response to concerns over COVID-19, Four Seasons will be waiving cancellation fees through April 15, 2020, for:
—Guests bound for any Four Seasons property in the Asia Pacific region and Europe (excluding the U.K.) and guests traveling from Europe (excluding the U.K.), Iran, South Korea, and Greater China (this includes Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) to any Four Seasons hotel or resort globally.
A full list of European countries considered to be included under this umbrella is available on the CDC website.
Brands include: Canopy by Hilton, Conrad, Curio Collection, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Home2 Suites, Homewood, LXR, Motto, Tapestry Collection, Tempo, Tru, Waldorf Astoria
—Existing reservations scheduled for check-in prior to April 30, 2020 (including those described as non-cancellable or “Advanced Purchase”), may be changed or canceled up to 24 hours before a guest’s scheduled arrival without incurring a penalty.
—New reservations that are booked through April 30, 2020 (even those described as non-cancellable or “Advanced Purchase”), for any future arrival date may be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before a guest’s scheduled arrival.
—Reservations booked for regions affected by government-issued travel restrictions are eligible for change-fee waivers or even full refunds. See Hilton’s official statement for region-specific details.
To make adjustments booked through the Hilton website, app or call center, contact the Hilton Guest Assistance team corresponding to your region.
Hilton’s announcement also details the additional measures and enhanced hygiene protocols being practiced at its properties in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Hilton Honors points’ expiration will be paused for all those set to expire between now and May 31, 2020. Updates to the requirement for earning tier status will be forthcoming, as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
Brands include: Alila, Andaz, Destination Hotels, Exhale, Grand Hyatt, Joie de Vivre, Miraval, Thompson Hotels and The Unbound Collection.
(Updated March 13, 2020)
—Existing reservations (including Advance Purchase Rate reservations) for travel through April 30, 2020, can be changed or canceled up to 24 hours prior to a guest’s scheduled arrival time.
—New reservations made through April 30, 2020, for any future arrival date may also be altered or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours prior to scheduled check-in (including Advance Purchase Rate reservations).
—Exceptions to this policy are in place for Advance Purchase Rate non-refundable reservations made directly with Hyatt on or before March 8, 2020, for arrivals prior to June 30, 2020. See Hyatt’s online statement for details.
The various ways in which Hyatt hotels are enhancing their cleanliness and sanitation standards in response to the COVID-19 outbreak are detailed in its online statement.
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG):
Brands include: Avid, Atwell Suites, Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Kimpton, Regent, Six Senses and Staybridge Suites.
(Updated March 12, 2020)
—For all new and existing bookings at all IHG hotels worldwide, cancellation fees will be waived for stays through April 30, 2020.
—“For bookings beyond April 30, 2020, we want to remind you of the flexibility already built into our rates and packages that allow our guests to amend travel plans as necessary. Our Best Flexible Rate allows our guests to change or cancel their reservations one to two days prior to arrival. Changing the date on any reservations through our Best Flexible Rate may result in different pricing, but there is no fee for making changes,” IHG wrote.
“We provide our hotels with best practices and guidelines, and have supplemented these resources with additional COVID-19 cleanliness specific guidance, training and information, consistent with our own high standards,” IHG assured in its statement.
IHG Rewards Club members will also find some conciliatory measures being implemented to help compensate for the disruption caused to their earnings status by the coronavirus situation outlined on its website.
Brands include: Aloft, Delta Hotels, Edition, Element, Fairfield, Four Points, JW Marriott, Le Meridien, Renaissance Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Springhill Suites, St. Regis, W Hotels, Westin, Moxy.
(Updated March 13, 2020)
—New and existing reservations at Marriott International hotels worldwide, for any future arrival date, including those with pre-paid rates that are typically more restrictive, can be canceled or changed up to 24 hours prior to arrival without paying a penalty charge, provided that the change is made by April 30, 2020.*
*Some exclusions may apply, including periods with special-event restrictions or peak-demand weekends, and Design Hotels are excluded from this policy. Guests should note that any changes made to their reservations will be subject to future availability and rate discrepancies.
Marriott International’s CEO has also released a personal message, which details the elevated precautionary measures and protocols being enacted by the company in response to the global COVID-19 outbreak and addressing customers’ apprehensions about traveling—or venturing away from home at all—in the current climate. Further details about Marriott’s enhanced hygiene practices, implemented to keep pace with the coronavirus threat, are outlined in an online statement.
Marriott Bonvoy members will also find updates to the loyalty program and an extension of expiration dates as part of the company’s response to the coronavirus situation on its website.
Brands include: Days Inn, Dolce, Hawthorn, Howard Johnson, La Quinta, Microtel, Ramada, Super 8 and Travelodge.
—Guests traveling to or from Greater China, South Korea or Italy for stays in any Wyndham hotel through March 31, 2020, will have cancellation and change penalties waived.
—Guests who are prevented from traveling to their booked hotel, due to applicable laws or government-imposed restrictions, will also have their cancellation and change fees waived. —For existing direct bookings, all global Wyndham properties are required to accommodate non-cancellable rate reservation change requests, provided that such requests are received at least 48 hours prior to the guests’ scheduled arrival.
Its direct-booking cancellation policies being among the industry’s most flexible, thousands of Wyndham hotels already honor no-fee cancellation requests up to as late as 6:00 p.m. on the scheduled day of arrival.
All Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Wyndham Rewards members from the Greater China and Southeast Asia Pacific Rim regions will also have their status extended through the end of 2021, Wyndham said.
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