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Booking a "just in case" Covid hotel?

I was just wondering if anyone has booked a cancellable hotel in advance, for the possibility of testing positive before leaving and finding themselves in the situation where they have to stay in Paris to quarantine. I'm thinking of doing this for our trip in May/June. I will be travelling with my husband and two daughters. I think it would be stressful to test positive and then have to scramble to find a hotel. Thoughts?

Posted by
5184 posts

Here is my only concern with this strategy. It removes a room from inventory without a clear plan to actually use it. If I were the hotel owner, I'm not sure how I would feel about people reserving several days of rooms that they have no intention of using. While you have it reserved, it can't be sold to another customer.

Posted by
13555 posts

Your are correct Carol. Hopefully the hotels have taken this into account in offering their cancelation policy? Of course there is another post on another thread that makes the statement that tourism will be way down this year; so there should be plenty of rooms (i sort of think hotels are in for a pretty good year, but we will see). Oh, and what if they know you are positive and want you out? (I asked). Well, if there are plenty of rooms, why would you do it? Good question.

If its a hotel just before to the return to the US with the current one day prior for the test requirement, most wont make the free cancelation cut off anyway.

Posted by
454 posts

When we came back from Switzerland and Austria this past Fall we spent 3 days in Paris at the end of our trip before returning there directly to the US. This was when you could do a test to return to the US within 3 days, and we did this right when we got to Paris. So we had 3 nights booked with a hotel and a room that had a small fridge, microwave and hot plate. We asked the hotel prior to booking if we could extend 7 days if we had to quarantine and they were fine with it ONLY because we would know right away when we got there if we tested positive so they already had us for three nights as it was. You might think through and talk to your hotel where you will be at the end. It’s a bit unfortunate the US reduced the time from 3 days to 1 but perhaps when you go it will be back to three.

Posted by
174 posts

I've found a hotel that allows cancellation the day you are supposed to check in. But I do feel bad about removing a hotel from the inventory when I probably won't use it, as Carol said. I'll have to think about it, I guess. Thanks for everyone's input.

Posted by
11253 posts

I guess many of you stay in different hotels than I do. Almost every hotel I stay in has a cancellation policy of either one or two days before arrival.

Do any of you read the cancellation policies? In my recent European trip, both before and during Covid, I stayed in 11 hotels. Not one was anywhere near full. Plenty of rooms. Making a contingency plan will not cause the hotel to turn people away. Unless it's a teeny, tiny hotel with just a few rooms.

Posted by
13555 posts

The hotel I am double booked at knows I am doing it as I asked if they would throw me out for being positive. They would have never known, but I am honest. My next country has a 72 hour test window which works with their cancelation policy (48 hour). I told them if I tested positive I would hang a sign on the door to the pool; "Quarantine Area", get comfortable and live the life. They weren't amused.

Posted by
113 posts

I am traveling next week (staying in an apartment) and rather than making “just in case” hotel reservations, I have noted a handful of possible places to move to in the event we test positive and need to remain longer. With that list in hand, I will be able to quickly book another place if need be.

Posted by
174 posts

Thanks everyone. I think I will go ahead and book the hotel.

Posted by
8405 posts

Something about this rubs me wrong. No matter how much inventory is available in a city, you are hamstringing a business from someone who may well intend to actually stay in the room. If everyone starts doing this, it will become difficult for people to book rooms. I question the ethics.

Posted by
65 posts

I will add to the discussion that I think the best plan would be have several hotels in mind and list them wherever you normally keep trip notes. This avoids tying up inventory but pretty much insures that you could quickly find a place to quarantine if necessary.

My upcoming trip (May-June) starts in Paris and ends in Vienna. I've chosen an aparthotel in Vienna where I could extend my stay. It has 2 sofas, a kitchenette and washer/dryer in the studio room. Getting meals and groceries delivered there would be very easy. If necessary, I could launder sheets and towels as well.

Posted by
13555 posts

Bets, I sort of agree. I have a clear conscience because I called the reception desk to ask if they ever fill up and explained why. They suggested the second booking. Nice folks Київ. Готель «Хрещатик»

Posted by
492 posts

Just the throw out a counterpoint to some of what I've seen, I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with booking a room because you're honestly intending to use it if the situation arises where you must. There's nothing underhanded about that, and in fact hotels often have it built in to their pricing structure some folks are less committed and less certain to actually stay than others.

Mind you, if it's a small B&B or a little boutique hotel with very limited rooms that's one thing. But if you're booking your backup room at a large chain (especially something like, say, a Residence Inn or other such place with a kitchenette and longer stays in mind) their rates all interact with one another. People with flexible bookings are on the hook for a higher rate if and when they show up; folks who've committed with a prepaid reservation lose out on flexibility but make up for that with savings; some large hotel chains will even adjust the inventory that is shown with all this in mind (only a certain number of a particular room type can be booked on a flexible rate, while reserving the rest for prepaid; no package deals or significant discounts on a particular room type because they never have a problem charging full flexible rates for it; flexible rates take in to account a certain percentage of those guests will cancel, but they more than make up for it with the inflated prices the other flexible reservation guests pay, on top of the money already in hand from prepaid reservations).

You as the consumer gamble, as does the hotel - if you end up having to stay and pay a flexible rate to do so, the hotel is probably going to make tons more off you than they would many of their other guests; if you don't need the room and have to cancel, and demand is so high and inventory is so low your booking put them so close to being full, the last minute rate they can slap on your newly available room would be pure gravy for them if someone booked it. If your booking put them so close to being full that it really did push other potential guests out, they're probably doing just fine. In fact, many hotels don't even shoot for 100% occupancy - if your hotel is full all the time, it means your rates are too low. Occupancy of around 80% if often preferred, because it means they're charging so much they can't sell every room but all the people who are staying there are paying high enough rates for the hotel to profit the most.

If you truly have every intention of staying at that hotel if and when the need to do so arises - even if it's not certain it ever will - yours is just one among the many flexible reservation bookings they'll have at any given moment and deal with all the time.

Now if you're finding some super discounted flexible rate through some third party booking engine, maybe that would put the hotel out if you canceled. Or if you're worried about how much more a flexible rate is, that's valid. If you really want a clear conscience, book the higher flexible rate at a hotel, while also booking yourself some trip delay insurance. That way, if you are stuck having to pay those higher flexible rates (and the hotel won out on selling a room at inflated prices to someone), at least you can pass the bill on to your insurance company - who has it built in to the premiums all their customers paid a tiny percentage will file a claim, while the rest are pure profit.