COVID-19 Cancellation Policies

cancellationIn these times of COVID-19 uncertainty, planners are becoming more reluctant to commit to long-term hotel contracts due to the chance of cancellation. Despite this industry-wide anxiety, hotel chains are trying to meet planners halfway, offering contracts with cancelation policies to make it easier for a planner to sign on the dotted line.

Before COVID-19, hotel chains maintained strict cancellation policies for groups that typically included financial penalties for canceling a group booking. Groups booked large blocks of guest and meeting rooms often years in advance, and a cancelation could cost a hotel a small fortune in lost revenue that included guest and meeting rooms, food and beverage, audiovisual, and other sources of revenue within a property. If a group canceled such a booking, they paid literally and figuratively. But since COVID-19 turned the meetings and events industry around and upside down, they’ve had to rethink and revise these policies to encourage already skittish planners and organizations to book a meeting or event when the future is so uncertain. But it’s very much in the hotel’s best interest to make the booking process less intimidating and financially devastating to an organization.

A few hotel chains are meeting their groups halfway, accepting some of the risk upfront and helping groups take tiny steps towards booking their group business.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has committed to working with its group and meetings clients on a case-by-case basis with respect to cancellations. IHG will continue to monitor and review this ever-changing situation in a highly dynamic market. IHG Hotels are actively working with groups and meetings organizers to accommodate the needs of each group, including rescheduling and moving event dates to facilitate group business.

IHG has also introduced a policy enabling customers at most hotels to cancel without penalty if they give at least 24 hours’ notice. In many cases, cancellation fees for existing and new domestic group bookings could be waived, although each booking and its cancelation penalties are subject to a number of variables, including whether or not the booking can be maintained but held at a different time, or in a different location.

Radisson Hotels (RHG)

Until August 31, (or the end date of national government-imposed restrictions on gatherings), at any RHG hotel worldwide (subject to local regulations and variations applicable to the hotel legal entity), business groups and meetings and events will allow free room reservation changes (subject to availability and/or any rate differences) and free cancellations up to 24 hours before arrival date, if the meeting/event cannot be rebooked to a later date. If a deposit has been paid for an existing reservation, customers will receive a credit for the full amount (less already incurred costs) for the customer to use for their reservation at the same property until June 30, 2021, or a date required by local regulations. If you are unable to redeem, they will refund you after your credit has expired.

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