"Walking a guest" is the hotel industry's term for what happens when a hotel is overbooked and there is no room available for guests who have a reservation. Unexpected maintenance issues, sudden demand for rooms and a hotel's desire to protect itself against guest no-shows contribute to this problem. You can reduce the likelihood it will happen to you by arriving early and confirming your reservation the day you are scheduled to arrive, rather than getting an ugly wake up call at check-in that you have nowhere to stay.
Read below for options for checking a hotel reservation, finding the hotel’s cancellation policy and receiving reservation confirmation.
Check Your Reservation by Phone
Calling your hotel to confirm your reservation is an easy way to make sure they are expecting you. Telephone the hotel directly. Do not contact any online travel sites, even if you used them to make the reservation. Websites like Booking.com are great for your debit card and not spending too much on a room reservation, but not so much for customer service. Give the reservation agent your name, arrival date and confirmation number if you have one.
While on the phone, you can request they send you an email confirming your check-in time, check-out dates and confirm your length of stay. Even if you already know these details, having your online booking delivered in writing by the hotel will be an extra layer of security in case you get there and they are “overbooked”.
Check Your Reservation Online
Some hotels will allow you to check, modify and cancel your reservations online under the “my reservations” tab. For example, you can visit Best Western's website and provide your name and confirmation number to check a reservation. Hotels will often make it easy for you to access reservations online when you belong to their loyalty or rewards program.
Booking a hotel room online usually means you will provide a form of payment up front like a credit card as well, solidifying that you are a paying guest and deserve a hotel stay. Booking online also automatically results in a confirmation email. Even if you book online through Booking.com or Expedia, you will receive at email that confirms you are ready to check-in!
If you are weary of the hotel you have chosen being overbooked for the time of your stay, check their FAQs for cancellation policies and overflow contingencies. It is important to know what you are committing to with your reservation and that information can almost always be found on the hotel website.
Don’t be too scared though. Most of the time you will arrive to the front desk and they will be ready for you to stay on your first night! Check-out times are usually flexible upon request as well, so don’t be afraid to ask.