Hotels, resorts and inns typically charge a fee if you cancel your reservations within a certain time period, typically between 24 and 48 hours before the check-in date. Each hotel has its own policy that specifies when a fee is charged and how much you will pay. If you're subject to a fee based on the policy, you have the option of negotiating with the hotel to get the fee waived. Understanding how to approach the hotel with your request increases the chances of avoiding the cancellation costs.

Read the hotel's cancellation policy to ensure that you understand how they typically handle cancelled reservations. Determine if your cancellation is subject to the fee based on how the policy is written.

Call the hotel to ask for a refund or ask to waive the fee. Explain why you were unable to keep your reservations. This is more effective if you have a valid excuse, such as illness or inclement weather that prevented travel.

Request to speak with a manager if the person answering the phone is unable to authorize the refund or waive the fees. In some cases, only the managers have this authority, but you may have to ask to speak to someone higher on the chain.

Ask if you're able to book a room for another date to avoid paying the fee. The hotel doesn't lose out on the business and you don't lose your money without actually staying at the hotel. This is only an option if you're able to reschedule your travel plans in the near future.

Talk to the manager about reducing the fees if he refuses to waive them completely. Even though you'll still have to pay something, you won't be out as much money.