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Cancelling hotel reservations

We paid for four extra nights at the first hotel in Salzburg on our RS tour to add extra days before the tour started. Now our RS tour is canceled, and Booking.com says our entire payment is nonrefundable. I understand that this is what I agreed to when I made the reservation (although I didn't have too much choice since RS chose the hotel), but I'm wondering if most hotels are offering refunds in the same vein as RS and the airlines, or are they standing by their pre-Covid policies? Has anyone else either lost all of their money or received a refund despite making a non-refundable payment?

Posted by
1268 posts

although I didn't have too much choice since RS chose the hotel

You could have booked directly with the hotel instead of going through Booking.com

but I'm wondering if most hotels are offering refunds in the same vein
as RS and the airlines, or are they standing by their pre-Covid
policies?

Many are, but if you have booked through Booking.com you have to deal with them and not with the hotel.

Posted by
2992 posts

What from I have read from the different postings from people, refunds are all over the map. Some hotels are being quite generous and refunding non-refundable fees. Other hotels are sticking with the original agreement that people made with them.

I've had to cancel reservations for two trips so far. My experience is that some cancellations I get refunds and other cancellations I am just out the money. I don't bear any ill will for those who abide by the agreement I had when I made the reservation. I think it is always okay to ask for a refund, but not okay to get upset that you don't get one.

I will say that those who have been generous with refunds are far more likely to get any future business from me. I'm sorry your trip had to be cancelled and that it is costing you money. Never feels very good, does it?

Posted by
20718 posts

From what I am reading, it is unchartered territory. Only thing you can do is ask. My guess is that they will know that the Steves' group has cancelled. Some have been offering credit instead of cash so you may have to make some concession also.

Posted by
18 posts

We did try to book through the hotel, but they didn't have a reservation system on their website, and when we called, they said we had to use Bookings.com to reserve. I think we're going to ask if we can have a "voucher" for next summer and hope that RS chooses the same hotel. I agree with everything you said, Carol. If it were just one night's stay, I'd just let them keep my money because they probably need it. It's quite a lot of money, though.

Posted by
1571 posts

We had 1 non-refundable, post RS tour hotel night. The hotel originally offered a generous 3 year voucher. After some very pleasant email negotiations (very pleasant!) they have agreed to a refund in principal, but in practicality are not offering refunds at this time due to the need to conserve cash to pay their employees. Understandable. The voucher terms we agreed to are for a "future stay for us, our family or our friends." They were obviously trying to be very flexible, and quite generous, especially given our non-refundable booking. And we do hope to reschedule our tour!

We dealt with the hotel directly to book and also to negotiate the voucher terms.

Posted by
974 posts

I always do refundable hotel bookings even though the cost is higher. This is a form of travel insurance, since we don’t purchase a regular policy.

Posted by
1571 posts

We have encountered the problem of calling a hotel directly and being redirected to booking.com. In fact, a cousin runs a B&B on Korcula and you must go through booking.com. She told us it is because they are so small she doesn’t have the resourses to have her own reservation system. We have encountered this in Dubrovnik also. Even when we stay with her, we go through booking.com. We don’t expect a free room cause this is their livelyhood. That said, we always pay the higher rate and only get cancellable rooms, no matter where we visit, no matter if we go through the hotel directly or through booking.com. Even during “normal” times, things happen.

Posted by
2847 posts

I think we're going to ask if we can have a "voucher" for next summer

You don't say when your reservation was made and when it was for, but if you come within the time frame of the emergency French law for cancellations, you're entitled to a voucher good for 18 months.

Posted by
1271 posts

My experience so far with cancellations is to be patient. If they won't budge, then don't cancel and try to wait them out. If the hotel ends up cancelling all reservations then Booking.com eon't have met its obligation and will have to refund or provide a voucher for future travel.

Posted by
4509 posts

There are several things at play here, which are confusing some people in their responses.

Many hotels work with 3rd party agents, like Booking.com, to manage their reservation system. So please do not give out the "always book direct" advice.

You chose a non-refundable reservation, which are a common offering for a lower price. The terms on these are quite strict: they are NOT refundable. You take a risk of losing your money if you cannot go, in exchange for a lower price on the reservation. It has nothing to do with RS or the tour. It was your choice to make that type of reservation. Having said that, you might not have paid close attention to the terms and just chose the lowest rate shown. And some people buy trip insurance to cover them if they cannot go.

We are in unprecedented times. Hotels are under closure rules and borders are closed. So most hotels have offered refunds or vouchers even for non-refundable reservations. There are also government mandates for refunds due to the pandemic. But the timing is key, and you do not say when your reservation is for or if it falls under the timelines of the government mandates. Find out specifically what rules apply (either on your own or with followup information here).

It is also possible that the hotel may still be closed by the time of your reservation. If that is the case, you would be entitled to a refund as they will have canceled on you. You could wait until closer to the time of your visit, and then see what happens and go from there.

Because Booking.com was the 3rd party reservation system, you will have to do everything through them. That will make it potentially more complicated for you, but that is one reason some hotels use them, to avoid the hassles of managing reservations and cancellations.

Best of luck and I hope you can reschedule your trip.

Posted by
18 posts

Just to clear up some points: This hotel was chosen by RS as the first stop on the tour, only booked rooms through Booking.com, and only offered non-refundable reservations.

I am happy to report that the hotel readily agreed to fully refunding our money. We hope to book the same trip next summer and promised them that we would stay at their hotel for our pre-stay even if the RS tour books a different hotel. We sent an e-mail thanking them for their flexibility.

Posted by
2992 posts

Nancy, I am glad that this worked out for you. Thanks for coming back and letting us know.

Posted by
42 posts

I would also like to report success on this front as well. I was booked on the (now cancelled) Aug. 2 RS Scandinavia tour, and had paid for non-refundable extra nights at the final tour hotel in Bergen Norway. That hotel is currently closed and will reopen June 15, but I discovered that due to the Norwegian government prohibiting foreign visitors until Aug. 20 (just starting to allow exceptions for Denmark in June, and possibly other Scandinavian countries [except Sweden I would surmise] in July), they would be revising their usual cancellation policy and giving refunds to those affected by this government edict. I emailed the hotel company last week, and within 48 hours received a reply that they would be giving me a full refund back to my credit card - Yay!