Hilton Hotels and Resorts (Hilton) and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) hotel chains followed Marriott International (Marriott)’s lead and changed their cancellation policy for all new standard rates reservations for hotels in US and Canada.
Hilton And InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)
Marriott adopted a 48-hour cancellation policy for all new standard rate (can also be known as best available rate) hotel reservations after June 15, 2017 that do not fall under corporate, convention and promotional rates  (Related News). Cancellation within this period would incur an additional cost. Hilton and IHG followed suit with changes that are in effect on July 31, 2017 for the first and immediately for the latter.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the new Hilton cancellation policy will be in effect for all hotels the company owns. Operators of hotels managed by third party companies will be free to decide on the policy past July 31, 2017.
The affected brands for both chains include:
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
- Canopy by Hilton
- Curio Collection by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Embassy Suites by Hilton
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hampton by Hilton
- Tru by Hilton
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Home2 Suites by Hilton and
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Candlewood Suites
- Crowne Plaza
- Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- Holiday Inn Express
- Hotel Indigo
- Staybridge Suites
- Even Hotels
 – non-standard rates (i.e. resorts, advance purchase, etc) may have stricter cancellation policy or are non-cancellable.
What It Means To Travellers?
It is important for travellers who are used to the less restricted cancellation policy from these hotel chains to check the terms and conditions of new reservations before committing to the booking. Otherwise, cancellations outside of the new policies may result in additional charges and fees. Companies with corporate contracts with the hotel chains should verify whether the new terms and conditions are applicable to the negotiated rates. Corporate travel departments should communicate any changes to employees so that they would not be on the hook for penalties.
The following is a comparison of major hotel chains’ cancellation policies for US and Canada hotels. These chains operate all in airport hotels in the region or have closer affiliations with airlines:
Cancellation Policy Comparison for US and Canada Hotels
* – Kimpton Hotels already as a more restrictive 48 hour cancellation policy
Note that the policy changes from the top three chains are in line with the hotel industry standard of 24-48 hour cancellation times. Many AirBnb bookings have the same policy. While selected United Airlines and Delta Air Lines elite members have late check out privileges within the Marriott chain, there are currently no benefits offered to give them an exemption on the new cancellation policy.
The most affected travellers are those who have many bookings concurrent due to uncertain scheduling. If they are forced to cancel the bookings earlier than they can confirm their schedules, these travellers could risk making a reservation at a much higher price later on or not being able to find a room at all.
What It Means To Hotel Operators
Hotel chains update their cancellation policy to improve certainty of revenue generation, capacity analysis and third party marketing from the booking:
- For revenue generation, the closer the cancellation policy to the check in date, the higher the risk that the booking could be cancelled and would lead to unearned revenue.
- While historical analysis would allow for insights into capacity management, traveller behaviors are not the same when it comes to reasons why they are cancelling reservations close to the check in date. This could impact long term capacity planning for the hotel and potentially services being offered
- Many hotels sell through third party online travel retailers such as expedia.com or booking.com. With a stricter cancellation policy in place, hotels can offer the unreserved inventory sooner to these sites as last minute specials.