Waiting too long to book a reservation or traveling without arranging for accommodation means having to deal with fully booked hotels and very small chances of finding a vacant room. When refused accommodations, most people simply walk away to find someplace else to stay. The truth is that in a lot of cases, it is still possible to get rooms at hotels that are “sold out”. Here are a few key tricks and techniques to use:
Check online for free rooms
Look for an online reservation site or an online travel agent. Many hotels have a business partnership with these agencies. Once a hotel sells a block of rooms to their partner/s, it then lists these rooms as booked so the agencies can freely offer them to guests. This is why these rooms may appear booked on the hotel’s system but they may actually still be free on the agencies’ system. Do this step if you have already called and made inquiries at the hotel’s reservation desk. If the hotel can not offer a room, then check with their partners.
Get on the waiting list
Popular hotels get booked early, especially during holidays, weekends and special occasions. However, it is quite common for their guests to make cancellations at the last minute, effectively making the reserved rooms free for other guests to use. The catch is that they will have to be put on the waiting list. The waiting time itself can vary widely, depending on the availability of the rooms and on the number of people who are placed on the list, so expect to wait for a few hours, a full day or even a few days. However, people who have the time and the patience to make frequent followups may want to consider this option. If you need a room ASAP, this may not work for you.
Take advantage of your membership
If you are a delegate or participant to a seminar or conference in the same town or city, it is possible that hotels in the area may have reserved a number of rooms to cater to incoming guests. Ask around. Some will probably require proof of your participation but most will gladly accommodate you.
Another option is using your membership to an organization or group that partners with hotels regularly as part of its rewards program. Depending on the hotel and the current agreement with the organization, members can expect:
- discounted deals on hotel rooms
- special rates for long-term stays
- special bookings (quite useful if the hotel has declared itself fully booked)
- assistance in finding accommodations in other branches or sister hotels
Upgrade your stay
In many hotels, the standard and single rooms are usually the ones that get filled early. If you can, try booking a room that is more expensive than the more popular standard rooms. Most hotels will gladly upgrade your booking in order to fill the vacancy.
Nolan Terrence is a freelance journalist who has worked with many businesses to improve their publicity. In the last 2 years, Nolan has been writing about travel and hotels in Edmonton, and has had the chance to travel all across Canada. Nolan, more than others, has had to find his way into full hotels on several occasions.