Overbooking

The Los Angeles Times offers tips to travelers who are “bumped” whether or on airlines, rental cars or hotel rooms. Overbooked hotel rooms are the bane of the industry except few are willing to not do it.

The reasons for the practice are manifold ranging from the obvious no-show loss to a desire to have the cake and eat it to – many hotels bill for no-shows and sell out the no-show rooms with self-imposed “cut-off” times beginning as early 11 pm. Airlines, arguably, the originators of the notion, do it for similar reasons. While the latter’s “compensation” ranges from a few hundred dollars to a round trip domestic ticket, the hotel industry usually offers taxi fare plus a room at a comparable (or better) hotel.

The foregoing assumes the availability of one in high occupancy cities such as New York. In the frenetic months of October and November (the main busy season for NYC) , guests may find themselves (re-)crossing either the East or Hudson river to lodging establishments outside of the Big Apple. After a schlepp across continents that can be disconcerting to say the least. But as the article notes, most hotels have an accommodating compensation policy with some throwing in a range of extra freebies. What is noteworthy is that customers pay far more attention to their reservation at airlines, hotels and car-rentals than restaurants. Food establishments lose as much as 10% of their business due to the cavalier attitude of customers who make a booking and do not show up. That despite a growing, if still small, trend towards collecting credit card data for restaurant reservations.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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