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Two weeks ago, my partner informed me that she was going to throw an overnight “Mommies & Babies” party. I was welcome to attend, she stressed, but I was also free to go away for the weekend if I preferred. Normally I would then hop on a plane somewhere, but given the coronavirus situation I preferred to stay closer to home and meet up with baby-less friends for the first time in months…
Now that I am points-rich with Hilton Honors – having converted my stash of Flying Club miles – I decided to check out how the coronavirus situation is affecting Hilton Honors Gold members, at least at the Hilton in Barcelona. There was no problem booking a room using points…
Just to make sure, I looked at the linked hotel website. There was no mention of any hotel amenities and services being withdrawn or unavailable. The only message I could find – apart from the standard Hilton-wide COVID policy – was…
Naturally I assumed that “reservations for future dates are available” implied that the hotel was planning to open before my arrival date. I was certainly well aware that “local prevention efforts” no longer applied, as the Spanish government is no longer restricting any hotel’s ability to operate if it so chooses.
Nonetheless… two days later I received the following email from Hilton Honors.
Instead of the hotel or Hilton Honors reaching out to me to discuss alternative accommodation options – such as the more-expensive Hilton property close to the beach – my booking was unceremoniously cancelled.
The Bottom Line
I have seen a few other reports of similar situations. A particular hotel:
- Accepts whatever bookings people are willing to make
- Analyses whether it will have enough guests to actually be profitable to open
- Blames “local coronavirus policies” when it decides to remain closed awhile longer
I am not anti-corporation, nor do I expect that a travel business must remain open whilst operating at a loss, especially during an unprecedented pandemic. But I do expect that 4 or 5 star hotels:
- Confirm my reservation only when genuinely expecting to be operational
- Make an effort to find me alternative accommodation
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case, and I ended up at a Holiday Inn Express. 🙁
What about you? Have you tried to book travel recently, only to be told by your airline or hotel that, on second thoughts, they won’t be operating after all? Let us know in the comments section…