A hotel no-show happens when someone makes a reservation but then does not check in and does not cancel ahead of time. This can really mess things up for hotels.

They hold rooms and turn others away, expecting a guest who never shows. Naturally, many hotels charge fees in this situation – usually around one night’s room rate. We’ll explain more below, but first, what counts as a no-show?

What is Considered a Hotel No Show?

A guest is a no-show when they simply don’t arrive at a hotel they have booked. It’s different from a cancellation, where the person lets the hotel know ahead of time they won’t make it. Standard hotel policies consider it a no-show if there’s no warning – you’ve basically stood them up.

Hotels typically have a narrow window where they still expect you – probably 18-24 hours max. After that, if they hear nothing and you haven’t claimed your room, welcome to no-show land!

Are There Usually Fees for No-Show Hotel Reservations?

Yes – hotels often charge a penalty fee for unused reservations when guests are no-shows. These fees serve to cover at least part of the room rate they lost out on. Exact amounts vary but frequently fall around $50 for budget properties up to $200-300 for high-end resorts or suites.

No-shows throw off room availability and staff planning, so fees help make up for some lost revenue. Large suites or rooms during peak season can cost more per night too, so their no-show rates reflect that.

What Are Some Common Situations That Lead to No-Show Hotel Fees?

With everyone’s busy, changing schedules these days, it’s easy for a hotel booking to slip through the cracks. Some common culprits include:
  • Forgetting about a reservation completely
  • Important flight delays or outright cancellations
  • A sudden change of plans due to work or family
  • Not updating the hotel if plans shift
Essentially, the main problem comes from failing to communicate changes with the hotel before cutoff times. Unless they hear from you, they assume you’re a go.

Can You Get Hotel No Show Fees Waived?

Luckily, many hotels understand stuff happens and will consider waiving fees case by case. Still, they have policies in place, so expect to provide documentation supporting why you couldn’t make it. Things like proof of hospitalization, flight cancellation, family emergency, etc can help in getting those pesky fees removed. Also, being a member of loyalty programs gives you a better shot.

What Happens If You Need to Cancel a Hotel Reservation?

Make sure you know hotel cancellation policies, which should include:
  • Exact cutoffs when cancellations are no longer refunded
  • How far in advance you need to notify them
  • Whether they charge just a one-time fee or start adding daily
  • Steps for actually canceling properly
Reputable hotel chains tend to have 24 hours before arrival as a cutoff, then charge one-night rates afterward. Independent hotels can vary more – some are looser while others are quite strict well before check-in. Always get cancellations confirmed too.

Hotel No-Show FAQs

Do no-show fees still apply for prepaid reservations?

It usually differs as it will be based on the hotel’s policy that’s attached to the booking report.

Are fees charged instantly or later?

This differs as well, but expect to see them instantly once considered a no-show. Some properties merely reserve the right to charge if cards decline at booking.

Can hotels charge additional amounts after the initial fee?

Very rarely, unless policies indicate they bill for each night missed instead of one penalty rate. But the industry standard is a single 1-night fee.

Key Takeaways

No-shows typically only happen around 2% of the time, but still cost hotels lost revenue. With good communication though, they are avoidable.

To avoid problematic hotel no-shows, remember to cancel properly as soon as plans go sideways. Reach out quickly, ask about waivers if applicable, and triple-check check everything is properly canceled. Adjustments can often be made if there’s adequate notice. Also, join loyalty programs when possible for better standing.

If you’re looking for a hotel with exceptional service and value in downtown Chicago, consider Hotel Chicago West Loop. Our warm, welcoming, and art-centric property has earned high praise as one of the top affordable hotels in the Windy City.