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What are your biggest travel pain points? Traffic on the road? Are flights delayed at the airport? Rainy days on your beach vacation?
How To Get A Hotel Room Without Id
Maybe it’s your fault. You procrastinate. Or maybe you’re traveling to a destination during peak season. Whatever the reason, it’s very frustrating when you try to book a hotel and get a “no rooms available” booking message.
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But you don’t have to give up and move on. If the resort is sold out you still have a chance to get a hotel room. With these tips and tricks from hotel managers and travel professionals (plus a little luck), you can win the room you want!
If you keep trying, you may be rewarded with a comfortable hotel room. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf
Do you like me? As soon as the calendar in my office circulates, I choose holidays. That’s how I make the most of my free time. By extending the 3-day weekend, I can extend my vacation time. My co-workers complain behind my back, but that’s a privilege I get as a senior staff member.
I know how to book my flights at least 3 months in advance to get the best deal on airline tickets. Hotel rooms are where I most fail to plan my annual vacation. For some reason I tend to put off booking a room.
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That’s not much of a problem when visiting a destination like New York or Los Angeles that has dozens of great hotels. But when traveling somewhere off the beaten path, with one resort that is the perfect place to stay, it can be very disappointing to find that there are no rooms available. More than once, I’ve been in a less than ideal position because of this.
Sound familiar? Then read how I managed to book a hotel that was sold out in the past so you can avoid booking failures in the future.
The last time I was in a sellout situation, I booked a family trip to California for Christmas vacation. We – a party of 7 – planned to attend the Rose Bowl parade and game in Pasadena on New Year’s Day and wanted to extend our vacation with a few days spent exploring the vineyards of Temecula.
After doing my research, I had a list of three wineries that met our needs – large rooms, a pool, and an on-site restaurant. I then tried to book my first choice hotel. No rooms available. It happened again with the second and third hotels. Aaaargh!!
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If you get a “no availability” message when you try to book a hotel room online, it’s time to go to school and pick up the phone.
Family travel blogger Sarah Pittard says, “I do this all the time… I call the hotel directly – not 1-800 – and explain why we want to stay, etc. We can get a room 85% of the time. Ask the manager, not the booking person.
Sarah also advises that most hotels keep a waiting list. “Ask them to write down your name, number and email even if it’s full. Book another hotel that has a one-day or 24-hour cancellation policy, then call the hotel of your choice until you can cancel the other one.
That’s what I did in Temecula. At first I was afraid the manager of South Coast Winery & Resort would put me on the “Top 10 Phone Pests” list, but she was still happy to hear from me and saddened every time she said they hadn’t yet. Any room is available.
Sandman Signature Toronto Airport Hotel
Meanwhile, I booked the nearest Ponte Vineyard Inn. It seemed like an excellent choice for us, except that the new pool was still under construction.
I reached out to Pierre-Alex Maillard, general manager of San Juan’s Serafina Beach Hotel, to get some insider tips. He recommends calling or emailing the hotel directly. “It’s the best way to determine real-time room availability, and there may be special credits or benefits offered only for direct bookings.”
Pierre-Alex notes that you’re more likely to win a room due to a last-minute cancellation at a drive-thru hotel chain than at a destination resort. Quick sales are another way to access rooms at desirable properties; Pierre-Alex is recommended by industry leader Secret Escapes.
What a nice surprise! When all you need is a room, you finally get a corner apartment and a gorgeous view! Photo credit: Dana Zucker
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“Condition counts,” says luxury traveler Dana Zucker. For example, “If you’re a Hilton Diamond member, you can always reserve a room at any of their properties around the world 48 hours before your arrival date,” says Dana. “We’ve never had a problem getting a room with a Hilton ticket when the hotel says it’s full online.”
Frequent traveler Nasreen Stump says it’s good to note that “dates of unusual demand” are generally excluded. “If it’s prom weekend, the Olympics or some other business time, the warranty is void.”
Maintaining status in multiple loyalty programs increases your chances of finding a room. Dana notes that it’s convenient now that Starwood, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton have combined into one rewards program, Marriott Bonvoy. Concierge services and personal banking programs offered by credit cards such as American Express Platinum are another resource.
“Keep your doormen’s phone numbers handy,” says Dana. “Like I can work magic.” One of her best results: a corner suite in Alaska during a sold-out cruise season.
West Hotel, Cần Thơ
Open Hotel Alert is an app that helps you get a room in a sold-out hotel. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf
If you don’t have time to keep calling and checking availability, register your interest on the free Open Hotel Alerts website.
Enter your travel dates and a list of hotels in the area will appear – available and sold out. Select the one you like, enter the desired contact method (text message, email or both) and Open Hotel Alert will contact you if a room is available at that facility.
The free service is linked to Booking.com; The company receives a commission if you book your room through the booking site.
How To Get A Room At A Sold Out Hotel
Another way to use the Internet to your advantage is a simple Google search. Enter the name of your hotel and Google will open various booking platforms such as Priceline, Expedia or Hotels.com. These booking platforms may have one or two rooms even when the hotel’s website does not show availability.
If your efforts fall short, Hotel Tonight should be able to find you a last-minute hotel in the area, even if it’s not your first, second, or third choice.
If you’ve already called the hotel manager to make the “Top 10 Phone Pests” list, announce your hotel status, brandish your top credit cards, and add your name to every waiting list, here are some more tips for securing that coveted room:
When all else fails, try looking really sad. Nasreen says: “Appearing at the check-in desk, asking about cancellations, it seems to work poorly.”
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Rooms at South Coast Winery and Resort never became available so we stayed at the Ponte Vineyard Inn. And it got better. Better than good.
The weather was actually cooler than we expected so we didn’t even miss the pool. The rooms were perfect for our large family and the view of the vineyard was unbeatable. Why pay a lot for a place to sleep? Here are some money saving tips for hotels.
This means if you change your mind about your trip and need a refund for a non-refundable hotel room, you may be in luck.
Sometimes you don’t even have a choice. Consider what happened to Liam Goodman. He booked a hotel room in New York at the last minute without paying a refund through Priceline. When the facility ran out of rooms and forced him to stay at another hotel, Priceline did not refund his money.
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“Priceline says I never got in and I never did,” says Goodman, a photographer in Beacon, New York.
Non-refundable – or prepaid – hotel rooms seem to be more common. The deal is simple: pay for the hotel room in advance and get a small discount. Unlike airline tickets, there is no refund if you change your mind within 24 hours of booking.
If you’re stuck in one of these non-refundable hotel rooms, don’t worry. Of course there are ways to get your money back. But perhaps the best strategy is to avoid those tricky hotel reservations.
Goodman wishes he had. He could have avoided the trouble by asking his original hotel to “walk” to a comparable property, a common hotel industry practice. Instead, he contacted Priceline for help — and was rebuffed. I asked Priceline about his case. The company checked its records and found that he did not appear
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