La Quinta Wants It Both Ways With Guaranteed Reservations

A La Quinta employee who’s asked to remain anonymous wrote in to complain about La Quinta’s room reservation policies. They “guarantee” a room by obligating you to pay full price for it even if you don’t show up, but they also reserve the right to overbook the hotel by 5 rooms and re-book your room at another La Quinta.

I’ve been working with the La Quinta hotel chain for a year or so now. A few months ago, a policy was put in place (at least in my hotel, which I would assume applies to all) that reservations cannot be made without a credit card. This is so we can charge the guest full room price as a “no-show” and “hold” their room for them until 5AM the following morning.

Well, this is all fine and dandy, but now a new policy is in place that allows central reservations (1800 call center) to overbook a hotel by 5 rooms even if the hotel is completely full. This is a horrible plan as it rips off people by making their “credit card guarantee” just another way to make La Quinta money, as it doesn’t “guarantee” anything as their rooms could be given away to one of the 5 overbooked guests if they arrives before you do. This is a first come first serve system, so yes, even if you booked six months in advance, and someone else was overbooked that day through central reservations, as long as they arrive before you, they could take your room and leave you without a room.

If this happens, La Quinta will pay for your stay at another La Quinta location, but who wants to drive 30 minutes/hours to another hotel if you booked months in advance!!! In the mighty words of As Penn and Teller would say, that is bullshit.

Comments

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  1. weave says:

    A good reason to use an American Express card for this. If they overbook you, they have to put you up in another local hotel regardless of whether they own it or not.

    On the FlyerTalk forums I’ve heard that other cards can offer this same guarantee, but they don’t come down as hard on the chain as AmEx does — and hence some claim on that forum that AmEx users are bumped less because of it.

    Now this may not apply to LQ if it’s strictly last-in basis. Since I often arrive to hotels very late, I’ll just make a mental note to avoid LQ.

  2. elangomatt says:

    @weave: I guess its a good thing I always use AMEX for hotels and stuff anyway then.

    How does a company even think they can get away with one of these issues? let alone both?!

  3. I wouldn’t stay in a La Quinta motel even if my life depended on it, so let them make all the asinine rules about booking they want. Just don’t use them, maybe they will get the idea.

  4. humphrmi says:

    La Quinta sucks anyway, for many many other reasons. I used to work for a “partner” of LQ and got a free rewards membership that I never wanted. Every month they would send me not less than six statement envelopes (even though I never had any activity) full of advertisements.

    The funny part was that LQ was this employer’s “preferred” hotel and they had all sorts of discounts and rebates through them … and still nobody ever stayed there. We just heard too many negative stories about them.

    I sometimes wonder if their own employees stay at other hotels… now with this story, I think I know the answer.

  5. kimsama says:

    Knowing this, is there any reason to ever book with them? I mean, barring if they were the only hotel in a given area?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  6. DeltaPurser says:

    Personally I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with LaQuinta. I’ve stayed with them maybe half a dozen times and have always had a clean room, which, in the end, is what I want.

    Overbooking is done by every single airline (except JetBlue, I guess), so this is basically the same… Just another way to guarantee revenue.

    Not saying it’s right, but I’m not too surprised…

  7. shanecrow99 says:

    You know what “La Quinta” means in Spanish? Next to Denny’s. lol

  8. Lucky225 says:

    I swear, why are people even reading the consumerist. It seems every time something’s posted, it’s the game of blame the op, or that company sucks in the first place anyway “who would even have booked there anyways”. Who cares what your opinion is of the company, the article is simply pointing out to those of us who may have booked at the La Quinta the details of their guarantee, which by the way might change these people’s minds in the first place. And I think the point of these articles is to embarrass the company into changing their ways to make it a better place for all of us. Consumerist does tons of articles on Bank of Opportunists, in my opinion people should stay away from them like the plague, but that doesn’t mean EVERY SINGLE FAULT shouldn’t be pointed out, because it should. It gives the consumer yet another reason to stay away, and it hurts their business, which may give them a change of heart to change some of their policies.

  9. humphrmi says:

    @DeltaPurser: I just want to point out that there is a difference between airline overbooking and hotel overbooking.

    Airlines are predominantly located at airports; big buildings with other airlines and lots of airplanes. When one is full, they put you on another one. It may be inconvenient, but at least you won’t find yourself in, say, Chicago with an airline desk clerk saying “Sorry, all the flight out of O’Hare are full, you’ll have to drive to Mitchell Field in Milwaukee.”

    I’m just saying…

  10. I wouldn’t mind this policy at, say, a Courtyard Marriott. I know that 99% of them are at safe locations and the quality rarely varies. La Quinta, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Same with Comfort inn, etc.

  11. @Lucky225: Wait… you mean, the Consumerist is supposed to be informative? But everyone ’round here knows everything already! ;-)

    In all honesty, I don’t know how the editors endure the know-it-alls. I give props to them for continuing to try to help the seemingly few of us who can admit they don’t have all the answers. Keep it up, Consumerist!

  12. Lucky225 says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee (AKA!):

    I swear, every time they make a post, I think to myself ‘okay, no one’s going to blame this consumer or be FOR this merchant’ but without fail, they find someway to convince themselves of why this is OKAY. I think some of these ‘consumerists’ might have an interest in protecting the face of said merchant/industry. :P

  13. kimsama says:

    @Lucky225: Many many people come here to see who is implementing anti-consumer policies so that they know which companies to avoid, myself included.

    The continual comments on every thread about how annoying the other comments are happen just as often as blaming the op and hating on the company. Toughen up and appreciate the insightful posts, and ignore the useless ones, because you yourself are guilty of your own condemnation — adding nothing to the conversation about La Quinta. If you had mentioned that you weren’t going to book with LQ after reading this, you would have at least contributed to the intuited reason that this post exists (to encourage LQ to change their policy through publicizing their horrid policies), but you didn’t.

  14. madanthony says:

    @Lucky225:

    While I think the “that’s what you get for shopping at X” comments are stupid, I think part of it is that the companies that are criticized for having poor customer service are companies that have a history of poor customer service, so it’s not exactly a shock that someone has had an incident of poor customer service or that they have introduced a bad policy.

    Furthermore, lots of the companies where this comes are companies that have built their business on sacrificing customer service in exchange for lower prices (LaQuinta, Wal-Mart, ect) so it’s not a shock that they would have poor service.

  15. HotelGuy says:

    The poster obviously doesn’t know how this works. To begin with, all hotels have the option to overbook, as well as doing it and by how much is the decision of the management. I’ve run hotels where I overbooked by 30-35 rooms per night (at the airport) or ones where I never did, because there were never cancellations (near a college campus). This is a revenue management decision and is usually played by the numbers, based on as much history as we can find. Managing hotel room inventory is more art than science and it is very hard to do well. But, if for some reason someone screws up, the way the law works (in most states) is that you have to provide equal or better accommodations at the closest hotel you can find (I once sent someone from Boston to New Haven CT on a college graduation weekend) usually provide or pay for transportation as well as a long distance phone call. I’ve never heard of a chain, LaQunita included, that only “walks” customers to other affiliated hotels. It is preferable to do so, but never a requirement.

    As for the AmEx claim, it’s fiction. With the exception of AmEx platinum holders at the Starwood Family of hotels (Sheraton, Westin, W, Luxury Collection, aloft, Four Points, Le Meridian, St. Regis) who automatically get gold level status in the rewards program, it doesn’t matter what card you pay with. If there’s another card that comes with that status that AmEx offers (HHonors and SPG, I think), it’s the same deal. However I’ve walked people with AmEx black cards, Diners, JCB and good ole’ Mastercard and Visa. As for chargebacks, AmEx is harder to navigate with the process, but is as fair as Visa or Master. AmEx has no specific policy that requires you to relocate a guest to a local hotel in any merchant guide that I’ve seen.

    As for the general practice, many hotels have removed their 4pm/6pm complimentary holds because these have a much higher level of no-shows than any other. They also create lots of problems if they don’t call or show and we cancel the room to sell to someone else. Hotels want to properly manage inventory to avoid issues such as a walk situation. I always gave my front desk staff a $100 per person bonus for a “Perfect Sell” which meant that every room was sold with no overbooking. It’s quite the incentive to make sure a bad situation doesn’t happen. At the end of the day, it’s about creating a good experience and trying (sometimes with failure) to make everyone happy.

  16. Lambasted says:

    @Lucky225: So unless we agree with the post and give a thumbs-down to company, we should have no opinion of our own? Why have a comments section at all if we’re only suppose read the post and nod in agreement in lockstep formation.

    I’m sorry but I happen to like thinking for myself and hearing viewpoints of others besides just the opinion or experience of one original poster. Not every situation griped about is a problem for everyone. Not every complaint is an accurate reflection of that company. The only way to get a more comprehensive view is if people share their own thoughts and experiences.

  17. Lucky225 says:

    @kimsama:

    Well I can agree with you on that, at risk of sounding like the other commenters, I wouldn’t stay at th La Quinta in the first place — but I did find the article informative and something I might share with someone who “god forbid” might be thinking about staying at LQ.

    @madanthony:

    While I agree with you, it would be nice if these people shared WHY “who would stay the LQ anyways?” or their particular experience with the hotel aside from the “These are the hotels you find next to a Denny’s.”

  18. Lucky225 says:

    @Lambasted:

    I have no problem with that, but when people just say to stay away from it BECAUSE it’s the La Quinta (as if to suggest that I should already know to stay away from that hotel) without providing information on why it’s such a bad hotel, to me it seems like they’re just putting their 2 cents in about the types of consumers who would stay there in the first place, as opposed to why you shouldn’t stay there.

  19. Kajj says:

    @madanthony: But the arrogant Consumerist posters assume that everyone on earth has the same priorities and access to the same information. I already knew La Quinta was a shitty motel, but if I were in a situation where I needed a shitty motel I would have been just as likely to choose it as any other, basing my decisions on real-world factors like price and distance to the airport or whatever. There are many factors that can lead a person to patronize a less-than-perfect establishment, especially when awful customer service is so widespread in every industry.

    Suppose there was some kind of emergency where La Quinta was the only option, so I booked there and got bumped. If I wanted to write into Consumerist about my bad experience, I’d have to decide between writing a hundred words justifiying my situation and swearing up and down that I’d never patronize a non-approved company normally, or watch the page fill up with commenters baselessly speculating that I was fat, rude, ill-educated, naive, a single mother (horrors!), and deserving of every rotten thing the company did to me.

    It’s not okay, especially when I think about how Consumerist posters must treat others in real life.

  20. sosonono says:

    All hotels overbook. I work for a major resort and we overbook almost every weekend. People don’t show, people check out early…etc. No one should be shocked to hear this.

  21. KyleOrton says:

    @HotelGuy: Since you have experience in this area, what about the OPs specific comment that they want it both ways? Isn’t charging for the room in the event of a no show enough in terms of revenue management? If I make a reservation with a credit card and understand that I’ll be charged no matter what, I expect the room to be there no matter what.

    Neither policy on its own is completely unreasonable, but both is anti-consumer.

  22. HotelGuy says:

    @Kyle Orton: In a perfect world, that exactly how it’s supposed to work. However, many customers do everything they can to get out of a no show charge. I’ve had customers chargeback, report the card stolen, yell, scream, rant and rave to avoid the charge. However, a hotel room is a commodity that has an expiration date. If the room isn’t sold and generates no revenue, we can’t go back and resell it. Trust me, if I could hold people to no show charges, then I would never overbook!

  23. kimsama says:

    @Lucky225: Well I do have to say, you stand out from most commenters by being thoughtful and reasonable when faced with criticism ^_^

  24. @Lucky225: Yeah, but should Consumerist stop posting about Walmart, because a good majority of readers wouldn’t shop there anyways? Sure, I’d stop reading if every post was about somewhere noone here would shop at, but that’s usually not the case.

    Besides, as Kajj mentions, sometimes LQ is the only option (other than a super 8, lets not even start about that). I’d rather know about idiotic policies so I know in advance how to prevent bad situations.

  25. Lucky225 says:

    @HRHKingFriday:

    No, I think you missed the points of my comments. I think articles like this ARE needed. (Hence why I stated here
    @Lucky225 about Consumerist posting about Bank of Opportunists every other day, most people know to stay away from that bank, but the articles are informative and give yet another reason to stay away. My problem was not with the article, but with the commenters who say the OP should have known better then to go to La Quinta. I mean, I know better then to go to Wal*Mart, but unfortunately there’s no convincing my wife otherwise. So if my wife has a problem there and sends in a post to consumerist, it gets kind of annoying when every other comment would be ‘Why did she go to Wal*Mart in the first place?’ Which is basically blame the consumer, not the merchant.

  26. @Lucky225: Oh, so its OK for consumerist to post these types of articles, but not for people to post their reactions? I mean, if you want to talk about superfluous comments, I think this whole off-topic thread fits the bill as well.

  27. Lucky225 says:

    @HRHKingFriday:

    Fair enough =)

  28. ChuckECheese says:

    @Lambasted: and @Lucky225 and others:
    Like you, I adore a wide variety of opinions. However, I think Lucky’s complaint has to do with a certain debasement of the standards of conversation. It is widely discussed in the intertubez that the pathos of some comments is too abrasive, even abusive. Women are attacked with sexual epithets, people are threatened and cursed. Just yesterday somebody called an OP here a vulgar name for no other reason than her post was accepted for publication on this website. There are certain irrelevancies that add nothing to a conversation, like:

    –Saying that the post itself is trivial, irrelevant or meaningless, a waste of time.
    –Troll-like screeds attacking the poster for their troubles.
    –Accusing the OP of bad faith with no evidence to support it.
    –Ad hominem/feminam attacks.

    Consider whether you would tolerate such conversation, and the people who say such things, in person (while sober).

    The Consumerist is great, and I’m sure the bloggers have better things to do than to moderate all the time.

  29. delphi_ote says:

    I think there are enough hotels in the world that I can safely avoid ever staying at a La Quinta. Thanks for the tip!

  30. ByeBye says:

    @Big Flicker: You and me both, BROTHER!

    Sorry, had a Terry “Hulk” Hogan moment there.

  31. The Bambino says:

    Standard hotel policy. Everywhere. Even the big, fancy ones. Has been for years. True story.

  32. The Bambino says:

    @HotelGuy:

    Oh, and damn!!!
    $100 for a perfect sell. We used to get $10. And this was recently, too. Can I come work for you? LOL

  33. witeowl says:

    @The Bambino: I believe you’re right. Years ago, a hotel manager wanted me to commiserate with him about his “unreasonable” customers. They had the “audacity” to think that their reservations were a guarantee. Imagine! They showed up at 8 pm and were shocked that their pre-paid reserved rooms had been rebooked. The nerve! They were angry to find out that they’d have to go to a nearby hotel rather than stay at their expected destination. Whiners!

    When I asked about the check-in-by time, he agreed that it was much later, something like 11 pm, and then went on to say that a reservation is NOT a guarantee. As if we consumers should know that.

    Well, maybe we should. Then we can act with proper outrage.

  34. nonzenze says:

    BTW guys, if airlines didn’t overbook, they’d have to raise ticket prices by at least 7% to make up the difference. Just saying.

  35. benh57 says:

    If the ‘check-in-time’ is 11pm and my room isn’t there at 8pm i’d be mighty pissed.

    Next Up: “Guaranteed” fees. for an extra $50-100, your room won’t be overbooked and will actually be guaranteed.

  36. @Kajj: “a single mother (horrors!),”

    Actually, they’d probably object that your single motherhood had nothing to do with the story, and is this just a blatant plea for sympathy based on emotion rather than fact?

    @ChuckECheese: Well said. There’s a huge difference between someone who says “Well, staying at La Quinta was your first problem”(not that that’s not funny sometimes — SOMEtimes) and someone who says, “I generally stay away from La Quinta for X, Y, and Z reasons.” Or even when the OP DID contribute to their own troubles, there’s a difference between “Poster’s fault!” and “While the poster obviously ought to have not shouted obscenities at the call center employee, the response was problematic because ….”

    It’s not so much the “blame the victim” or “corporations always evil” mentalities (other than in a few trolls!) as it’s the thoughtless Greek chorus of one-note statements with no reasoning behind them, or folks who are obviously and clearly incapable of holding two thoughts at the same time, such as “Poster’s behavior less-than-exemplary” and “Corporation response still bad.”

  37. humphrmi says:

    I see two arguments forming here, one is for pre-paid hotel rooms and one is for credit-card guaranteed rooms.

    I will agree that all hotels have been overbooking and sometimes bumping even credit-card guaranteed rooms.

    But when you talk about pre-paid rooms, the hotel has not only a guarantee of payment, but the payment itself. There is no reasonable explanation why they should have to give the room to someone else in order to reduce costs – they’ve already been paid for the room, and whether I arrive at 3PM, 8PM, or midnight, that room should be waiting for me, because they have already been paid and get to keep the money even if the room sits vacant.

  38. Kajj says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I’m not a single mother. I’m not even a mother. I just object to the way women with children have been discussed on this site in the past. Read any story about airline travel to see what I mean. Unlike you, apparently, I am capable of sympathizing with people whose circumstances and life choices aren’t identical to mine.

  39. Lucky225 says:

    @humphrmi:

    Generally credit-card guaranteed rooms charge you regardless of weather or not you show up unless you call 24-72 hours(depending on hotel policy) in advance. However, the room is NOT guaranteed if you don’t show up before check-in time. The argument here is that La Quinta’s Policy guarantees you the room even if you are late, but they can’t keep that guarantee if they overbook by 5 people. Whereas at other hotels the room is not necessarily guaranteed if you don’t show up on time.

  40. humphrmi says:

    @Lucky225: I’ll admit I don’t know what La Quinta does as far as guaranteed rooms, I’m talking about when a hotel has the money for your stay before the day of your arrival.

  41. strathmeyer says:

    @Big Flicker:
    @humphrmi:
    …and other La Quinta haters.

    Yeah, it’s cheap. You know what I need to sleep at night? A bed and a TV. Now, I’m off to find a Motel 6.

  42. dweebster says:

    Interesting article, I’ve never known this sort of BS was going on behind the scenes at hotels. And, I’ve stayed a few times at La Quinta myself and thought they were fairly decent.

    If I surrender my card number and agree that they will charge me the full price of the room if I don’t cancel by “x” hours prior and/or don’t show up, they had better damn well have the room available whenever I am able to drag my sorry ass to that hotel. Flat tires happen, flights are delayed, etc – by accepting payment in that way LaQuinta would be selling MY property (the room) by giving the room they will be charging me for to another person and then ALSO taking THEIR money.

    Not sure what legal exemptions the Hotel Industry has purchased if they can agree to a contract to sell a room to one person, turn around and also sell that same room to another person… Seems like fraud to me. If I put down money and agreed to buy a specific model car on a dealer’s lot and when I showed up they told me someone else who wanted it came in earlier that day and they sold it to them…. AND I’d have to drive to another dealer of THEIR choice in order to buy a similar car…

    If I roll in as agreed and the hotel sold my room to someone else too – they better find me a frickin’ presidential suite nearby – and FAST!

  43. @Kajj: That was a joke, dude. Every time it’s mentioned in an article that someone’s a single mother, the hoards emerge to demand why it’s relevant that she’s a single mother.

    I also object to the way women and parents are excoriated by certain commenters, hence the joke. Your last comment is way unnecessarily harsh and presumptive, even if I HADN’T been joking.

  44. humphrmi says:

    @strathmeyer: Holiday Inn is cheap too. But La Quinta sucks.

  45. dweebster says:

    @humphrmi: Ugh, Holiday Inn. The “Express” locations have usually impressed me, but the last several times I’ve given standard Holiday Inns another shot I’m ALWAYS sorry I didn’t just sleep in my car. Awful, awful, awful – should all be torn down.

  46. Lucky225 says:

    @dweebster:

    Yea I was almost kicked out of a motel once (from guests who figured out where we were by calling all the hotels in the area asking if we were staying there, when we specifically told the clerk not to let anyone know we were here.) The guests refused to leave, and the manager said we weren’t allowed to have guests and that he was going to kick us out without refund (when we paid for a week in full.) Seems odd when you PREPAY for a hotel that they have the right to kick you out like that without a refund, yet if the same thing happened in an apartment complex they’ed have to give you so many days and an eviction notice. Hotels suck.

  47. Kajj says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Sorry, it read like a personal attack. I retract the jibe, and award you bonus points for use of the word “excoriated.”

  48. newcastle says:

    I haven’t got a problem with them. Of course I don’t need a mint on my pillow or turn down service to help me sleep at night. And besides my dog often travels with me, and it is one of the only chains I’ve found that allows dogs.

  49. Buran says:

    @Lucky225: That’s strange. Why would anyone call random hotels looking for people?

  50. ChuckECheese says:

    @Buran: parties. drugs. beer. extra shower caps. little soaps.

  51. dasinmd says:

    Wow, I was really surprised to read this on a professional-blog… I don’t work in the hotel business, but a family member does (not for La Quinta), and all hotels do this to try to ensure no vacancies. Furthermore, if the author had done a bit of fact checking, they’d note that La Quinta’s policy is really no different than any other hotel (and no, I’m not associated with La Quinta; I wouldn’t stay in one)… Just surprised the author posted this.

    [www.lq.com]

    “Will my credit card be charged if I don’t cancel and I don’t show up?…To avoid being charged, reservations must be canceled in accordance with the cancellation policy outlined by the hotel…”

  52. TheCheez says:

    I just completed a fairly long road trip across the US over 15 days. After being disappointed with the trash that is the <$100/night hotel business we started going to only La Quinta because they had consistently decent rooms and pretty good staff. Not only that but none of them charged for our dog.

  53. @Kajj: Yeah, I probably should have quoted longer and been funnier. :)

    We, incidentally, have always had very good experiences w/ Super 8 when looking at cheap motels. You can’t get extra pillows at most of them, the amenities and furnishings are VERY basic, but they’re clean and quiet. And since they cater more to long-haul truckers, they handle weird check-in/check-out times well, as I discovered when I got food poisoning mid-cross-country-road-trip. Tons of them take pets. And they allow a fair amount of local control, so a lot of them have some real personality in the lobby, and interesting one-off amenities — we stayed at one with a MASSIVE collection of old VHSs in the lobby and VCRs in every room. Cheap, easy, really great after a long drive.

  54. Well, we haven’t had a bad experience the handful of times we stayed at a La Quinta. We like them because they allow pets, ad we almost always travel with our Boxer. We’ve also never had an overboking problem, probably because we call the motel and let them know if we’re going to be delayed or later than the expected arrival.

  55. Lucky225 says:

    @Buran:

    Because they knew we were in the area and trying to harass us.

  56. Rachael says:

    @dasinmd:
    All hotels do this AND I recognize that, without this practice in place we might pay more as consumers.

    But that doesn’t mean we have zero right to be outraged when a “reservation” means nothing. I had a friend who used to work the phone lines for Super 8 and she’d repeatedly complain to me about the “stupid customers” who dared to think their reservation, well, MEANT something.

    “Idiots! A reservation doesn’t guarantee a room!”
    “Do you TELL them that?”
    “It’s in the fine print.”
    “Do you TELL THEM THAT?”
    “Not my fault if they’re too stupid to read. A reservation just means they’re down on the list for a room but not that it’s saved for them.”

    Great. So how come a customer never gets to say this?

    “Oh gosh, sorry Super 8- I know I had a reservation with you but a reservation doesn’t really guarantee that I’m going to show up, so I don’t feel like I should have to pay.”

    People forget that something doesn’t need to be considered an acceptable business practice merely because it’s a customary thing.

  57. SayAhh says:

    This story reminds me of that Seinfeld episode:

    Car Agent: I know why we have reservations.

    Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to TAKE the reservation, you just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

  58. DoktorGoku says:

    I actually stayed in one over the weekend, in Orlando. It was one of the most positive hotel experiences I’ve ever had, even moreso over the Ritz-Carlton. Everything was clean, well-managed, and efficient, the bed was comfortable, and the maids paid attention to the “do-not-disturb” sign.

  59. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    having worked in a business-class-near-the-airport hotel for several years, i have to admit it pays to be a regular and get to know the people working at the front desk. this assumes that the people at the front desk have a memory longer than that of a mayfly.

    fortunately, most of my coworkers weren’t idiots and actually cared. if we noticed that it was starting to get late and we were filling up with walk ins, we’d look for reservations from our regulars and do the unthinkable -CALL the phone number associated with their reservation to make sure they were coming or see if they needed to cancel.

    on the rare occasions that they had booked for the wrong day or gotten held up and weren’t actually coming, we fixed it with no penalty.

    but if they said they were on the way, we’d go ahead and check them in right then, before they arrived.

    if you are going to be staying at a hotel more than a couple of times a year it really can pay to spend 5 minutes at the desk chatting with the staff so they remember you. of course, chatting doesn’t mean complaining about the service or amenities because that’s just not going to help win them over to your side

  60. bonzombiekitty says:

    If the hotel never allows you to cancel a booking of your room for a full or partial refund (say, half the price of the room), i.e. 24 hours before check-in, then I would agree that there’s no reason to overbook.

    However, if you can cancel your booking for even a partial refund, then I can see why they would still overbook. Say a hotel fully books for a certain day a month before. If they get people to pre-pay then there’s less of a chance that a given person will cancel a booking. But someone still might cancel their booking within that month. So they can overbook some.

    I think what we need to know is:

    1. Does La Quinta allow you to cancel a “guaranteed” booked room for at least a partial refund?
    2. How often does the hotel actually have to send customers to another location?
    3. Is this 5 room overbook a policy for the entire chain? 5 rooms seems like a small amount for the chain as a whole, as I’ve heard of hotels over booking by 20+ rooms before.

  61. WestonLubooian says:

    I think there’s a problem with letting Central Reservations overbook. The
    hotel itself knows what the market is like and how likely it is that people
    will cancel last minute or not show up. I also wonder if there are any
    restrictions in place for events? Like Superbowl, when all the hotels in the
    area are sold out. Would they be allowed to overbook then? It really should
    be left up to the hotel’s discretion. If they overbook and end up oversold,
    the hotel should know who to walk, ie. 1 night stays, non-pre-paid,
    non-frequent stayers whether through programs, like HHonors, or a local
    business who does tons of business with that hotel. As an HHonors Diamond
    member, I’ve only been walked once, and they gave me cash + the free room!
    Of course, not all of us have the option of racking up enough stays to
    qualify for some reward perks, but another option would be to call the hotel
    and ask that you not be walked because of X and Y reason. I’m sure most
    places will accommodate.

    As far as La Quinta is concerned, they are nice hotels. Some aren’t in the
    best areas, but their rooms are clean and their breakfast is ok. I just
    prefer Hilton brands mainly because of the choice. When a group of us are
    traveling, it is nice to stay at a place that has a good breakfast. I am
    definitely a breakfast person and I do like the option of not spending time
    and money outside of the hotel for things other than donuts.