They renamed the hotel and canceled my reservation


Liz Egland thinks she has a reservation at a Holiday Inn. But she’s wrong. The hotel has canceled her reservation and wants her to pay more than double to get it back. Is it allowed to do that?

Question: I made a reservation at the Comfort Inn in Troutdale, Ore., this fall, and received a confirmation number. At that time I was told that the hotel was in the process of being sold and would become a Holiday Inn Express and the reservation would be honored.

Last month, I got a call from the Comfort Inn that the sale had gone through and to contact the Holiday Inn Express Troutdale directly to verify my existing reservation. When I made this call, they indicated they no longer had a reservation for me, so they will not be honoring the contract I had with the Comfort Inn.

I asked to speak to a manager and was transferred to the voicemail of the general manager. He called me back and indicated they no longer have a room for me, and the Comfort Inn should be putting us up somewhere else nearby, which would not be near the area where we are attending an activity those nights, so we might as well stay at home each night. He also said that the Holiday Inn Express summer rates are now over $200 per night. I had made a reservation at $90 a night.

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Is this legal and or ethical? Do we have any recourse? — Liz Egland, Portland, Ore.

Answer: The hotel should have honored your reservation. That’s the ethical thing to do, especially given the fact that they knew the Comfort Inn would be reflagged as a Holiday Inn Express before your stay.

Hotels are regulated by your state, so you would have to consult Oregon’s lodging statutes and review its applicable contract rules to determine if the hotel broke the law by canceling your reservation. But you don’t really need a lawyer to tell you this is wrong, do you?

By the way, there are scenarios under which a hotel might modify an existing reservation. Let’s say you booked a room at a run-down property before it was sold, and between the time you made the reservation and your stay, it was purchased and the new owners gutted the property and gave it a top-to-bottom facelift. The resulting product would be priced higher, and I can see why a property might either cancel the reservation or modify it, asking you to pay a new, higher room rate.

That doesn’t seem to be the case here. You could have taken your grievance a step farther, reaching out to Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn through their corporate websites. They could have applied some pressure on their hotels to do the right thing, which would be to either rebook you at a hotel close to your event or honor your existing reservation.

I contacted Holiday Inn on your behalf. The hotel’s general manager called you and offered to honor your reservation at $10 above the original price, which you agreed to.

Should hotels be allowed to cancel their reservations when they're reflagged?

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83 thoughts on “They renamed the hotel and canceled my reservation

  1. 90 vs 200 wow that is a big difference but i guess that is par for the course.

    in my husband’s hometown (very small, pretty much a truck stop) there is a Comfort inn ACROSS THE STREET from a holiday inn express. When i was sick of staying at his parents house i looked n to staying at one of those hotels.

    the one with a pool was 99 dollars a night the one with out a pool was 59.
    now according to holiday inn express’s site the ONLY location in Troutdale, Oregon has “Indoor heated pool ”

    if the original comfort in did not have that then i can see why the price would go up.

    I am glad holiday inn did the right thing and offered the OP a chance to pay a little more to keep his reservation (instead of forcing him to go further away.)

  2. “The hotel’s general manager called you and offered to honor your reservation at $10 above the original price”.
    How petty! All of the good-will that Holiday Inn might have got from Chris’ posting of the results of his efforts goes up in smoke. This incompetent General Manager appears to be one of those people who have to achieve some sort of victory in every situation.

    1. Totally agree. Really, if you’re going to cave in the name of goodwill, why squabble over $10.00? It destroys more goodwill then you gained by waiving the $100.00 differential. The smart thing to do is reply with, “Upon further review, it appears we made a mistake and will, of course, honor your existing reservation. We will review our procedures to makes sure such mistakes don’t occur again” and leave it at that.

    2. So true. What possible good is $10 extra to them in an isolated instance like this? Penny wise and pound foolish.

  3. This is a tough one, considering the difference in price is so great. I can see where the new owners are coming from and I think it would depend on how far out the reservation was. One month away? Honor. Three months away? Offer a reduced rate. Six months away? Cancel.

    1. Anticipated occupancy would come into play. If the six months away reservation is when the hotel is going to be mostly empty, it would be silly to outright cancel without at least contacting the person.

  4. I’m probably going to be one of the few people here that say that the hotel is well within it’s rights to NOT honor existing contracts. BUT, it should be incumbent upon the new owners to reach out to all the contracts/reservations that they are not honoring and inform the customers of the decision.
    If the customer had not taken it upon himself to reach back out to Holiday Inn Express to confirm his reservation, what would’ve happened?
    Also, this should be a cautionary tale for folks booking rooms with Hotels that are being reflagged… Don’t Do It…

  5. Couple issues here I’d like clarification on. First, is a reservation actually a contract? I noticed the OP refer to the reservation as such. Chris also. But is it really a contract?

    Second, what changed at the property to cause the price to jump from $90 to $200/night? Sounds like they would have to have done some major renovation to justify that big of a jump. Or is this an example of Holiday Inn Express just over inflating room prices?

    1. I feel the $90 was just Comfort trying to fill some rooms and make what it could before the sale and if the new owner got stuck with lowball room rates, they didn’t care. Maybe $200 is a more accurate price for the area. Maybe Holiday Inn did do major renovations on the property, I know they normally do when taking over a place.

      1. I’m trying to follow that logic. How does it help comfort inn to lowball some rooms that wouldn’t be occupied until after the sale? Particularly as the new owners have audited the books and are aware of the liabilities prior to the negotiations concluding?

  6. Unless there’s a bankruptcy, a re-flagging should not trigger a reservation cancellation. Outstanding reservations at discount prices is something the purchaser should be taking into account when deciding on a price for the property.

  7. I voted yes. If the property has been sold I do not believe that they have any obligation to honor reservations that were made with the previous owners unless that was part of the sale agreement.

    In this case the OP should have received a refund if she had already paid and it should have been up to Comfort Inn to accommodate her. A big red flag should have gone up when she made the reservation and was told the property was being sold. The Comfort Inn clerk that took her reservation had no business speaking on behalf of Holiday Inn. She should have confirmed with teh Holiday Inn that the reservation would be honored.

    1. Normally when a business is sold, the new owners assume all liabilities unless its just an asset sale

    2. In some states if someone purchases residential property, they are legally allowed to evict under standard rental terms even if there’s a lease. Some people buy a rented out single family home and want to move in quickly.

      Not sure how it would work for a hotel though. Hotels are in the business of lodging people.

      1. Those provisions generally require that the purchased property be a single family residence (curiously duplexes may qualify) and that the owner intends to reside in that property. A hotel would be wholly outside of that purview.

  8. It should be like buying a house with a lien on it, IMO. The new owner assumes the ‘debt’. You can’t buy a home with a bunch of liens from the water company attached to it and expect them to forgive the debt just because you bought the house. The buyer and seller can’t just modify the terms of the sale to say “The debt to the water company is hereby nullified.”

    In this case, the ‘debt’ includes guests who have made reservation to stay there at a known price. The sale contract should not be able to nullify it.

    1. Interesting article in the link.

      So the hotels regularly over book. That seems normal for every type of company in the travel industry. When you show up late you get stuck somewhere else at a comparable, but not necessarily equal, property. I guess that’s better than sleeping in your car.

      So if the reservation is not a contract, what gives the hotel the right to charge you for the night when you don’t show up? Every reservation you “guarantee” with a credit card states you will be charged if you don’t show up, and you are. I don’t know of any hotel you can make a reservation with and not provide a credit card. If the hotel is overbooked and you don’t show up and they charge you anyway, that means they are getting paid twice for an occupied room. Isn’t that violating some law?

      1. The words “guarantee” and “credit card” do not appear in the scenario. This seems to be a plain-jane reservation. She made the reservation and got a confirmation number. That’s it. We can’t assume anything more. Nothing appears guaranteed. No contract, no charge for no-show, and no guarantee of anything really.

        1. Since credit card guarantee is standard practice for hotels in the US, maybe I just made a bad assumption. But try and make a reservation at any hotel and see how far you get without providing a credit card.

        2. That’s not accurate. When interpreting a contract, the correct method is to use industry standard unless you have information to the contrary. It is rare to be able to reserve a hotel room in the US, and particularly at a high end property, without a credit card. Therefore we must assume her reservation was made with a credit card until we are told otherwise.

          1. If I were complaining about the cancellation of my reservation after a flag change, I would certainly stake my claim first and foremost on my “GUARANTEED” reservation. I see no such verbiage in Liz’s complaint. I am not going to assume anything here. She makes no such claim.

          2. I am not going to assume anything here.
            Sure you are.
            hat the fundamental nature of contracts. If contracts were not written that way, they would each be 200 pages long.

      2. That’s not exactly correct. You do have a contract with the hotel. Buy you must read the fine print which explains that being walked is part of the contract that you have with the hotel.

        As far as being double paid, it’s not against the law, but you may have a civil action against the hotel.

        1. Buy you must read the fine print which explains that being walked is part of the contract

          Which hotel has this fine print?

          I’ve been walked several times, and it’s been independently conveyed to me (verbally) by multiple people from completely different hotels and OTAs that the industry-standard required compensation is one free night (plus transportation to/from the new location if you need it). But I’ve never been able to find any written policies about this.

          Actually, Marriott does sort of have a written policy for Platinum members (the “Ultimate Reservation Guarantee”). But even there, they generically refer to “compensation” without spelling out what that means.

          1. That’s actually not what I stated. But your misunderstanding is understandable. I stated that each hotel has a policy regarding being walked. Being walked just means that they find another hotel for you. As far as compensation, that’s a different but obviously highly correlated issue.
            As far as Marriott goes, it spells out the walking policy in detail for Gold and Platinum members.
            If you can find the contract which is incorporated by reference into your reservation,( not an easy feat) you will actually find the hotel’s obligations in a situation where they are unable to provide you with a room even though you have a reservation.
            This contract is separate from the loyalty program (e.g Starwood v SPG)

          2. My question wasn’t only about compensation. Which hotel have you ever come across that has something in writing “which explains that being walked is part of the contract?” Where did you find it?

            When I’ve been walked, I’ve asked to be pointed to written policies, and I’ve always been told that they don’t exist (other than the case of Marriott’s Ultimate Reservation Guarantee, which is for elite members).

            I’m looking at a future Marriott reservation confirmation right now. I see nothing in the confirmation or in any of the embedded links about being walked — other than the elite program guarantee.

            For Holiday Inn or Hilton or every single other hotel chain or OTA I have ever booked a reservation with, I’ve never come across any such written policy anywhere. And I’ve made an effort to look for such a policy….

        2. Hey Carver, I have to agree with Michael_K on the fine print thing. I’m looking at some reservations I just made with a variety of lodgings for a trip I hope to take late next month and all the T & Cs available to me run along the lines that I understand that I have to pay for a night’s lodging if I don’t notify the hotel/motel by a set time on a set date that I won’t be coming.

          Since I’ve had to stare down managers and ask them to either provide my confirmed reservation or walk me, where can I find something in print to back me up?


          1. You won’t find the fine print on your reservation. Its incorporated by reference, a perfectly legal but somewhat disingenuous as few would know to look). I had to obtain this contract as I helped a corporate client against Hilton about 8 years ago.

            PS. This contract is not online and it’s separate from the online T&C

          2. Carver, would you be able share what the “incorporated by reference” reference looks like? I’ve pasted the full text of a future reservation confirmation below, with personal info redacted. Thanks!

            Reservation for xxx

            Confirmation Number: xxx
            Check-in: xxx
            Check-out: xxx

            Modify or Cancel reservation

            View hotel website
            Maps & Transportation
            Reservation Confirmation
            Dear xxx,
            We are pleased to confirm your reservation with xxx by Marriott. Below is a summary of your booking and room information. Enjoy your stay at xxx — warm, welcoming, affordable. Whenever you travel, keep us in mind because it’s always a great day at xxxx

            Planning Your Trip
            See what’s happening in xxx during your stay
            Check out some of xxx’s top attractions
            Book with Hertz: Save up to 35% and Earn 500 Rewards Points
            Book Cars, Tours & More – get great rates on local tours and attractions

            Reservation Details
            Confirmation Number: xxx
            Your hotel: xxx
            Check-in: xxx
            Check-out: xxx
            Room type: xxx
            Number of rooms: x
            Guests per room: x
            Guest name: xxx
            Reservation confirmed: xxx
            Guarantee method: Credit card guarantee, Master Card
            Special request(s): xxx
            Summary of Room Charges Cost per night per room (USD)
            Regular rate
            Estimated government taxes and fees xxx
            Total for stay (for all rooms) xxx
            Complimentary on-site parking
            Changes in taxes or fees implemented after booking will affect the total room price.
            You may modify or cancel your reservation online (see details below), or call 1-800-228-2800 in the US and Canada. Elsewhere, call our worldwide telephone numbers.

            Contact us if you have questions about your reservation.

            Canceling Your Reservation
            You may cancel your reservation for no charge until 06:00 PM hotel time on xxx
            Please note that we will assess a fee of xxx if you must cancel after this deadline.
            If you have made a prepayment, we will retain all or part of your prepayment. If not, we will charge your credit card.
            Modifying Your Reservation
            Please note that a change in the length or dates of your reservation may result in a rate change.
            Rewards Account Information

            Your Rewards level: xxx
            Your Rewards number: xxx
            As a xxx member, you can enjoy the following benefits during your stay (may vary by hotel):

            Travel Alerts
            All rates at this hotel include complimentary breakfast and in-room high speed internet access
            Download the Marriott Mobile App. The Perfect Travel CompanionTM
            Please Note: All Marriott hotels in the USA and Canada, are committed to a smoke-free policy.
            Learn more
            The Responsible Tourist and Traveler
            A practical guide to help you make your trip an enriching experience
            Look No Further
            You’ve received the best possible rate – guaranteed.
            Privacy, Authenticity and Opting Out
            Your privacy is important to us. Please visit our Privacy Statement for full details.
            This email confirmation is an auto-generated message. Replies to automated messages are not monitored. Our Internet Customer Care team is available to assist you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Contact Internet Customer Care.
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            Confirmation Authenticity
            We’re sending you this confirmation notice electronically for your convenience. Marriott keeps an official record of all electronic reservations. We honor our official record only and will disregard any alterations to this confirmation that may have been made after we sent it to you.
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            Terms of Use::Internet Privacy Statement
            ©1996-2013 Marriott International, Inc. All rights reserved. Marriott proprietary information.

          3. For reservations made via the website(s)

            Marriott: By using this website you are accepting all the terms and conditions set forth below.

            Starwood: The offer of such goods and/or services
            is conditioned on the user’s (“User(‘s)” or “You(r)”)
            acceptance of the terms and conditions and notices set forth herein and on
            other pages of the Site (collectively the “Terms”).

          4. The excerpts you quote link to the general website terms… which I don’t believe mention any possibility of getting walked—


            Starwood mentions overbooking only in the context that they are not responsible for errors (such as overbooking) by third parties suppliers that are outside of their control. For their own properties, they only say that room type is not guaranteed.

            Marriott makes no mention of over-booking whatsoever outside of their elite loyalty terms.

          5. I was responding specifically to your questions about incorporation by reference. The point being that your reservation papers do not form the entire contract between you and the hotel.

          6. So where is the rest of the contract between the guest and the hotel if not on the web page that’s actually linked to that reference?

            I’ve checked the sorts of references you cite for several different hotels and OTA’s and I don’t see any with terms that explain overbooking and/or getting walked. You wrote “this contract is not online” so I thought maybe there are references to addresses or phone numbers for requesting additional details. But I don’t see that either. When I’ve called general customer service I’ve been told there are no written policies that customers are privy to.

          7. Numerous places. Everything from the $200 smoking charge listed on the folio slip to the placard on the wall stating no guests after 10pm. All are part of the policies that you must abide by and are part of your contract.

          8. If the hotel is overbooked and won’t let me stay, I’ll never see a folio slip or a placard on the wall.

            When you wrote:

            you must read the fine print which explains that being walked is part of the contract that you have with the hotel.

            I thought that meant that you’ve seen such fine print (re: being walked) for one or more hotels and may be able to point out where or how I might find it. If you can do that, I would be grateful. And other readers might be interested too. Thanks.

    2. Good article, as someone who has been walked, I know how much it sucks. And it only happened to me a few times, and only when I wasn’t traveling for business. I do what one of the people in the article said, when I know I am going to be late, I call ahead and tell them. So far that has always worked.

      I felt for the family in the article until they said this:

      “They assured us the Hilton was just as nice, but come on, there were people in the elevators at the Hilton carrying pizza boxes”

      Do rich people not realize how condescending that sounds to us normal people?

        1. Good point, and I used to see people like that all the time. And they really grate on me the way they loudly talk down to everyone. People who have lived in NYC their whole life and never set foot in a subway.

      1. I was in Paris and needed to use the hotel doctor. I asked where was the ATM in the hotel so that I could pay him. He sniffed that the hotel did not have an ATM, that it wasn’t a common bar, or some such snooty nonsense.

      2. I dimly remember an article that Chris posted 2 – 3 years ago, and the advice that I gleaned from it was to CALL the hotel/motel a week prior to my trip to confirm my reservation and to let them know when I was coming in, if I had that information. I’ll add your advice to call ahead if I’m running late to that. Thanks!

      3. Especially as the Hilton I used to work next to closed out its food facilities and only had in-house dining when major conventions booked in.
        Nearest restaurant was about three blocks away not counting office building lunch counters closer that were only open a couple of hours a day and not at all on weekends.

    3. HAHAH from the article on being walked to a Hilton from the Waldorf “They assured us the Hilton was just as nice, but come on, there were people in the elevators at the Hilton carrying pizza boxes,” Mrs. Morgan told me in December.

      Oh the humanity! In a my head I hear Mrs Morgan saying in a continental accent: Pizza, in the elevators! I’d die I tell you, simply die!

    4. I’ll take the opposite view of many commentators about the link. The family paid a premium for a certain experience. They choose the Waldorf for a reason. Her quote may have been petty but shame on the author for choosing it (or maybe it resounded with his audience). Either way, the family didn’t receive the experience they paid for due to no fault of their own (the hotel trying to make more money than they would have paid). Shame on the Waldorf for saying that they would receive a similar experience.

      Anyone who has stayed in a Waldorf would agree that it is nothing like a Hilton, nor at the premium rates should it be. Note: My wife and I splurged for one night in a Waldorf for our anniversary paying almost a 100% more than hotels around it. I would have been livid if they tried to walk me to the Hilton next door.

      Maybe changing the brand would help. Can you imagine paying to stay at the Ritz and being walked to a Marriott? Would you think that those two hotels are even close to being the same?

  9. I had a similar situation on a hotel stay for last month. The original reservation (2 nights at a Doubletree in Oslo) was made back in 2012.

    The bad news: the hotel was sold to a local owner/operator as an independent property about 2 weeks after I booked. I found out about it because I was casually reading a UK newspaper which had a small notice! I called Doubletree and they knew nothing about it and could only advise me to call or fax the “new” hotel. They couldn’t even cancel the booking because “we no longer have it in our system.”

    The good news: the new hotel responded quickly to a fax, looked and found the booking in their system, and immediately emailed a new confirmation of the booking, at the original booked price.

    Aside from Doubletree not knowing that one of their own properties had been sold, everything worked out exactly as it should have.

    1. I’m sure Doubletree knew the hotel was sold.

      You called and talked to someone in a call center who probably has never stayed in a Doubletree and never will. They don’t have any reason to know if one of the hotels has been sold. All that person knows is that the hotel you are referring to does not exist because they can’t find it in the system.

      Glad you were able to work with the new hotel and keep the reservation.

      1. I was trying to keep it concise … but I called twice (spaced a week or two apart), got to knowledgeable supervisors both times and they looked into why not only the hotel no longer existed in the system but the reservation under my account was gone also. About a month later I got a nice email of apology with an explanation of why they knew nothing at the time! So someone obviously knew it was no longer in the family but failed to notify the front line.

  10. She did a reservation last fall and call to confirm last month – it means she made the reservation 8 to 10 months ago.

    In one hand I admire her capability to make long terms plans. In other hands, knowing that the hotel will be re-branded, she took a big risk. She was cautious in making a very early reservation, she should be caution having a Plan B.

    As usual, we only know one side of the history. The hotel may had have an extensive renovation during this time frame, therefore the increase may be acceptable. She had a reservation, I believe it should be honored, but we don’t know the cancellation terms.

    At least she received a call from the previous owner, which allowed her to not arrive and be caught in surprise.

    1. I always try to book that far ahead when I can. I am going to a conference next month and I booked 9 months ago for $140 a night, for the past few months the hotel has been going for $380 a night. Also when I was traveling for work, I would often book a full year out.

  11. I think the hotel was really petty in this case. Normally when purchasing a business, you have to assume all of the businesses current outstanding obligations. The cost of fulfilling those obligations is part of the negotiations.

    Sorry the hotel should have honored the reservation as priced. The whole adding $10 to the rate makes the hotel look even pettier. It seems to me the GM just needed to “win.”

  12. A re-branded hotel carries a lot of risk, and not just the reservations. If re-branded to a down-scale budget brand, you might not have features you thought you had, like a pool, or free breakfast or free parking for that matter. If rebranded upscale, many hotel do not immediately meet the new flag’s standards. It could become an Intercontinental or W or Waldorf brand, but without the attention to detail, service and food standards. The old staff is still doing things the old way. New management does not suddenly make the concierge more knowledgeable, or the staff obsequious.

    I have been in both scenarios. A re-flagged hotel simply is a risky proposition. As for the poll, question, no new owner has a moral obligation to carry non-paid obligations over to the new operation. A non-guaranteed reservation carries risks. Without pre-payment or a deposit, how does the new owner feel obligated? It would be absurd to think a year’s worth or more of reservations at the old brand with different management, standards and level of hospitality would carry over. The new flag management/owner did not make the commitment. Another corporation did. Even if someone assumed there was a contract with no remuneration changing hands, the contract was not with physical property, but the owner/operator at that time. The owner is gone; the “contract” is gone.

    1. I agree. The guest can also probably say I never wanted to stay in a holiday inn, so give me my money back or put me on a comfort inn 🙂

    2. That may not be correct. It really depends on the contract. If I sell you my business, you are legally obligated to continue with the obligations. Whether money has changed hands is generally immaterial.

      In the case of the hotel, we would need to know what was sold. Was it just the asset or was it the business that owned the asset. We would also need to know what rights did the original owner have to cancel reservations in the first place.

      Ultimately its a very complicated situation.

      1. I am not 100% sure of this so take it with a huge grain of salt.
        Suppose this is a small property and used a hosted (3rd party) hotel reservation system under Choice (or Comfort, whatever). What happens when the property is sold, but under completely new management, or rebooted 🙂
        Do they have the same reservation system with the previous reservations still intact?
        I don’t know but maybe some folks here who work for hotels know.

      2. I have been directly involved in many sales of sizable business fixed assets, such as commercial real estate. Almost always, the buyer’s lawyer insists on a sale of real property, not the going business corporation with its unknown liabilities. If you were to buy the shares of the company, for example, you become liable for environmental problems, violations of labor law, etc. You also would become responsible for on-going contracts with labor unions, vendors and, yes, customers.

        The real estate is sold to a new corporation, the name is changed, and the lodging business continues without a sale of the former operating entity, the corporation.

        While every business deal is unique, usually the buyer’s attorney tries to make it as “clean” as possible, No one wants to buy the prior operator’s corporation and its oral and written promises, and unknown business practices and potential lawsuits.

        Remuneration/consideration or the (presumably enforceable) promise of same is a requirement for a legal contract. While on-line reservations in the US usually require a credit card, direct reservations to the hotel may not.

        1. You’ve proven the point by three statements:

          1. The buyer’s attorney “tries”. It doesn’t mean he or she is successful. What do you think the seller’s attorney is doing all this time. Exactly the opposite. . That’s why the buyer’s attorney will insist on due diligence reports as a condition of the sale.

          You are correct though in that a buyer will always try to characterize the sale as an asset sale. The problem is that 1)the seller may be unwilling since the liabilities remain with him and 2)the creditors may decide the litigate the point. Especially is the new business includes any of the previous business’s goodwill.

          2. Every business deal is unique…

          3. The promise of consideration ( consideration includes remuneration) is sufficient. Money does not actually have to exchange hands.

  13. I received an e-mail from Choice Hotels a few months ago explaining that my hotel in Charlottesville, VA, had been sold and rebranded. The e-mail noted that while my reservation should still be valid, Choice Hotels couldn’t guarantee it. They strongly advised me to check on the reservation and provided all the necessary contact information for the new management. They did have my reservation and were honoring the original price; the only difference was the reservation number. For me, at least, the system worked just fine. I was notified as soon as the hotel was rebranded and had plenty of time to make other arrangements had they been necessary.

  14. I voted no, this is a real pet peeve of mine when businesses do this. I am under the belief that when a business is purchased, all of the assets and liabilities go along with that purchase. It sounds like the new owner was trying to get out of honoring the reservations that came with the property they purchased. The GM sounds like a jerk for making the OP pay even $10, in my mind, that’s his way of proving he is in the right and still sticking it to her.

  15. I’ve had similar experiences with Hilton

    Made a reservation at the Florence Hampton Inn which I stayed on a regular basis. They where building a new facility and they opened it on a Friday with my reservation being for Saturday. I received a letter from Hilton on Tuesday saying my reservation was cancelled and I could call the old property at the same price or make a new reservation at the new property (old rate was $62 with new $119 about 5 blocks from the old). Both properties where owned by the same entity. I made a reservation elsewhere and have never been back to either property.

  16. Legally when companies buy goodwill rather than stock, this can avoid honoring contingent liabilities, like a room reservation. That said, this was a bad segue and most companies would have prepared better. I am guessing this is a franchise purchase.

  17. What were the terms of the original reservation? Do we know? Was there a contract? Is it enforceable? Without these details there is little to argue.

    1. Agreed. Although a reservation is a contract, the terms of the reservation are critical to being able to give a meaningful opinion for the specific case.

  18. As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry, the answer is an definite NO. Never in my business career has this been allowed to happen unless the hotel closed completely. The Holiday Inn of Pittsburgh Airport was purchased by Robert Morris College for dorm space. They protected 20 of our rooms that were booked months ago, at surrounding hotels at the original costs. When the Holiday Inn in Clarksburg WV switched over to the Best Western, again, every customer was protected. This is a Comfort Inn problem to resolve, the Holiday Inn is just being stupid. Is it worth an attorney? Call the state Attorney General. It’s free and always makes somebody jump pretty quickly.

      1. I really don’t see any laws being referred to or broken. Rights are a totally different thing; they are being taken advantage of. We went through a lot of negotiations with a very reputable hotel when they rebranded Crown Plaza to Sheraton. It is a courtesy, not at right or a requirement. When 1 agency tells a hotel good bye, it does not really hurt, but when an agent tells the entire ASTA chapter, that hotel is destroyed. Travel agent always protect their clients!

  19. Troutdale?

    If I were staying there and had plenty of time to get a reservation, I’d pick McMenamin’s Edgefield. That place is just so fun. I’m guessing that whatever activity they were doing was probably at Edgefield, which was originally the Multnomah County Poor Farm. It’s a bit difficult getting a hotel reservation there.

  20. One of the things to consider but was not mentioned in the article. Did the consumer pre pay or make a deposit for the room? If in fact she did, then a contract was created, and her reservation should have been honored. I

  21. During the process of the sale the booked room should be treated as a liability (or asset, depending on your point of view) that runs with the property. The new owner should not be able to unilaterally cancel or modify the reservation; they knew what they were getting themself into when they purchased the property.

  22. Having worked for a reflagged hotel, I know that some reservations have to be manually rekeyed into the new hotel management system, however, I’ve never heard of a reservation being cancelled. I stayed in a Westin which was converted to Crowne Plaza without issues…

    1. Thanks. You actually answered my question about what happens when the “new” hotel has a different reservation system.

  23. I’ll be one of the black sheep and say yes, why not! Not because I’m on the side of the hotels, but because it appears that more and more customers feel entitled to “stuff”. The same way we want to be able to change reservation we have, any time, without any consequences, the businesses should too (as long as they don’t snarf the money).

  24. Where this gets interesting would be in the details of the contract selling the hotel and the applicable contract law in that state.

    Looking objectively and remembering I am not a lawyer. The reservation is with a given company at one of their properties. If that property is no longer owned by that company, it would seem there is no obligation on the face of it for company “B” to honor a reservation you made with company “A”.

    But…if the contract conveys assets and the selling company’s “good will”, those reservations are assets since quite likely the occupancy rate and booking levels figure strongly in the cost of the sale and thus the purchasing party would seem to be bound to honor existing reservation.

    When a landlord sells an apartment building, the leases remain in force and are not cancelled simply because someone else now owns the place.

    Be interesting but very expensive to see what the legal opinion would be on this sort of thing especially as I suspect the buying party often plays fast and loose with this since they stand to make more money since very few would care to spend the money involved in trying to litigate on the above theories.

    It boils down once more to corporations simply not giving a hoot about the customer and only providing service under protest and with extreme reluctance since they would greatly prefer you just send them money and never show up.

  25. Although I’m glad that they reinstated the reservation, they should not have been even allowed to create this issue.
    As for the $10 extra per night, was it really that important to the Holiday Inn manager to get that extra $10? If they would have honoured the reservation at the original rate, then that would have been the right thing to do.
    However, the “moral victory” he might have scored in having that rate go up $10 a night is quite frankly pathetic. I the scheme of things, what is he gaining by taking that extra money from someone who has already been so stressed out over this that they had to get Chris involved?
    After all of this, I should think that an apology is in order and they should adjust the rate to EXACTLY what it was. One complimentary night is in order also due to the trouble caused by this incident.
    It is great that Chris was able to mediate this to a more acceptable level, but shameful that Comfort/Holiday Inn don’t take care of things better. A standard takeover contract might read that all existing reservations should be honoured.
    And yes, the GUEST should have the option to cancel at no penalty if they reflag.

    1. I think a customer should be able to cancel a reservation upon the hotel being reflagged. I think that reflagging is a material alteration of the circumstances by the hotel that is almost a breach sufficient to make the contract voidable within a reasonable time after notice.

      1. If that’s the case, then I assume you agree that the hotel should have the same option and nothing is out of line with what happened in this situation? i’ve read through your other comments, and I can’t tell which side you’re coming down on here..

        It seems to me that the majority of people are arguing for whichever side benefits the consumer the most. Having their cake and eating it, too.

        Personally, I look at this as if a hotel is sold/reflagged, then any reservation that is.. Maybe 2 to 3 months or less from coming due is set in stone. New owners have to accept and customer is bound to the terms when the reservation was made. Over 2 to 3 months, then notification should be made to the reservation holder and a short time period opens where either side can back out. That, of course, will just lead to “I didn’t get notification…” claims. Assuming that the new owners close the hotel for renovations or similar.. Then they’re on the hook for walking the customer.

        1. The assumption is incorrect. It presupposes that both the customer and the hotel have equal rights. That is not true. For example a customer can cancel a room before the cancellation period. The hotel cannot.

          The reason why you can’t tell where I fall in general is because I myself don’t know. I’m more inclined to side with the customer because the reflagging was the hotels action, not the customers.

          1. I’ll agree that it isn’t black and white.

            There’s this.. “When I made this call, they indicated they no longer had a reservation for me”

            Which.. Doesn’t necessarily shout to me that they cancelled the reservation. No doubt there’s two different reservation systems in play here, and a strong possibility that the OPs reservation just never made the trip from Comfort’s system to HI’s system..

            Something that’s actually a nagging question for me.. Why does a hotel room at a HIX cost $200 in Troutdale, OR? Moot point because it does, but still..

            Something else… It seems there was no correspondence with Comfort after the “Hotel’s been sold.. Moose out front should have told you”.. Wonder if the OP ever contacted Comfort again to see if the ‘missing’ reservation was just a mistake/oversight?

            I’d say from my perspective, without full info.. Onus is on Comfort for anything.. The reservation was with them. If the best they can do is unacceptable.. Then hand any monies back over and be done.

            Now.. The BEST outcome is that Comfort and HIX work together on this situation to provide the best service possible to the customer. I don’t think the OP is particularly asking for anything egregious here.

      2. I think Carver has it just right citing a “material alteration of the circumstances” on the part of the hotel. A reservation is an agreement between you and the hotel that you will show up and give them money at a certain date, while they in return will provide you with an expected standard of accommodation.

        If you don’t show up or provide the money, the hotel has the right to cancel the reservation… conversely, if the hotel changes the standard of accommodation, you have the right to cancel the reservation.

        These rights are over and beyond any “free cancellation 24 hours in advance” offer from the hotel.

        In the Troutdale case… the reflagging was a change in the accommodation, giving the guest the right to cancel, but there was no change in the guest’s part of the agreement (showing up on a certain date with money in hand), so not supporting the hotel’s right to cancel.

        On the other hand, I have read of reflaggings in the past where guests already staying at the property were kicked out, and if the reflagging is at all bitter, it is easy for the old and new management to cause lots of inconvenience for guest, despite that seemingly not being in any group’s interest.

  26. That’s the way it works if the hotel is sold out. They pay for accommodations for 1 night at another hotel, and usually bring you back for the remainder of your stay. If everything is sold out in the area, the hotel with availability may be a distance. It appears they were not really sold out because they accommodated you which he should have done when you called the first time.

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