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What is a Hotel Guarantee?

By Troy Holmes
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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When hotel guests reserve rooms, they can often get a guarantee that their rooms will be available, even if they arrive late. This type of hotel guarantee, also known as a "guaranteed-no-show" is an agreement between the hotel and customer that a room will be reserved and held until the customer arrives. In this agreement, the hotel holds the room and the customer's credit card will be charged regardless of they stay in the room.

One caveat in the room guarantee policy is that the hotel may actually choose to sell the room to more than one guest. If the hotel sells the room and the guest does show up, the hotel is responsible for paying for another room. The hotel will attempt to accommodate guests by locating another room at a comparable hotel within the area.

Over the last decade, the hotel industry has expanded the hotel guarantee agreement to include more features. Many hotel chains offer a guarantee on room type and room preference. This type of guarantee ensures the customer he will receive a specific room type with particular amenities. This includes smoking preference, bed types, and the features such as jacuzzi tubs and floor preference.

Within the hotel industry there are thousands of hotel chains and brands. The hotel guarantee process is typically used by large chains to gain competitive advantage by providing better customer service. The more the hotel can guarantee the more likely a customer will try that brand.

There are multiple ways to make a reservation for a hotel. These include using travel agencies, customers service centers, and Internet websites. Many hotels over a best-available-rate guarantee. This hotel guarantee ensures a customer the quoted rate is the best available rate. Because hotel rates change throughout the day, the best rate guarantee is based on a specific date and time.

Many hotels now offer a satisfaction guarantee. This is a broad-based guarantee based on general conditions of the hotel guest experience. The 100 percent satisfaction guarantee is typically based on room quality, customer service, and the general surroundings of the hotel. If the customer is not completely satisfied, he is refunded the cost of the entire stay.

Customer service is the primary method for obtaining competitive advantage in the hotel industry. Hampton Inn® hotels was one of the first hotel chains to offer a satisfaction hotel guarantee. They have operated this policy for more then a decade. Now many other chains offer the satisfaction program as well.

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Discussion Comments

By Speechie — On Sep 13, 2011

I love that hotels guarantee not only a room, but a room to your preference. I recently did not state a preference of smoking versus non-smoking when I reserved a hotel room through one of those mega travel booking website, and found out that when you do not state a preference then you will typically get a smoking room.

And boy had that room been smoked in! When we politely requested a non-smoking room in exchange, we were given a new room and politely told that if we do not state a preference, this will likely happen again.

I'm sure it goes both ways for smokers or non-smokers it is nice that our preferences be met via reservation!

By KaBoom — On Sep 12, 2011

@Azuza - I see what you're saying and I agree. However, not all hotels operate that way. Some hotels will give your room up if you are late for your reservation!

I actually had this happen to me quite awhile ago and it was not a pleasant experience. We had driven about 5 hours and spent much of it in traffic. By the time we were there, we were tired and ready to lay down, only to have the hotel say "sorry, we gave your room away." Needless to say, now I only patronize hotels that guarantee availability of the room.

By Azuza — On Sep 11, 2011

I don't understand why a hotel would not guarantee the room you reserved would be available to you? Isn't that the whole point of making a reservation? I mean, it's not the hotel is doing you a favor or something, you're paying them for their services!

In my opinion, this type of guarantee should go without saying! I don't travel often though, so I could be totally off base.

By drtroubles — On Sep 11, 2011

If you want the best hotel rates guaranteed you should talk to a local travel agent. While I know online deals look great, you would be surprised at what local travel dealers can get for you. Last week my friend and I were on a business trip and managed to get a bargain hotel.

The hotel we stayed at had some great hotel guarantees. Basically, if they didn't have your room at the lowest rate, and you could find a comparable hotel cheaper they would beat it, plus toss in an upgrade. Let's just say that we did, and had a lovely stay in one of their suites.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 11, 2011

There are so many hotel guarantees out there that you really need to shop around before you book your tickets. Online hotel searches are the best way to make sure you get your hotel discounted. Generally if you book online you are looking to save around 20% and up to 80% off. Especially during off season.

Last year my husband and I went to a popular beach spot and managed to find that even the cheapest hotels guaranteed our room choice and gave up plenty of additional extras for booking with them. Don't be afraid of asking for a courtesy room upgrade either. You never know when you'll get lucky.

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