Golf Vacation Travel

Hotels Now Charging Airline-like Penalty Fees


Another week, another big winter storm threatening millions of people across the United States, including parts of the Carolinas.

If you’ve got a golf trip planned, I hope you’re able to catch your flight to somewhere warmer and greener.

If not, I’ve got some potential bad news (on top of your already cancelled flight).

Let’s just say that even though you may not make it to your destination, your money definitely will…

If you have a golf trip to the Robert Trent Jones Trail coming up and you have travel problems, you may end up on the hook for the fee for your first room night at this hotel. (Marriott)

If you have a golf trip to the Robert Trent Jones Trail coming up and you have travel problems, you may end up on the hook for the fee for your first room night at this hotel. (Marriott)

See, it used to be at many hotels you could cancel your reservation anytime before 6 pm on the night you were scheduled to check in.

But as of January 1st of this year, two of the largest chains — Marriott and Hilton — modified their cancellation policies…(i.e. they added hotel cancellation fees).

Now, if you don’t cancel a reservation by the day before your scheduled arrival, you’ll be charged a fee equal to one room night.

And guess what? That’s getting off easy.

In a recent New York Times article, Bjorn Hanson at the New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism said, “at some [other] resorts [the penalty] might be three nights. And at some destinations it’s the entire stay.”

I should note, these changes only affect Marriott and Hilton hotels that previously offered a liberal, same-night cancellation policy. Other hotels under their control have always required longer notice.

Still, this policy change doesn’t make traveling any easier, and my fear is it’s going to catch on…and spread beyond hotels.

We’ve already started seeing some golf courses across the pond charging, “nonrefundable deposits.”

What do you think? Are you starting to be (unpleasantly) surprised by new cancellation policies at hotels, golf courses, etc?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.


  1. Wayman

    February 17, 2015 at 8:01 am

    It would be the last time I would make a reservation at any course or hotel that enforced that policy.

  2. Tom

    February 17, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Since we have the money, we need to utilize that clout by boycotting Marriott and Hilton’s for golf trips.

  3. JS

    February 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I wonder if airbnb or homeaway could fill a gap here. I don’t their cancellation policies, but competition is good for customers and golfers.

  4. Bengt

    February 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    This cancellation condition been effective for some time. In som cases you may buy a cancellation insurance. I understand the rational behind but there ought to be some reasons for claiming unavoidable reasons for delayed arrival.
    US customs and immigration should be one reason for delayed arrival. Entering US as a visitor is always a gamble in terms of time spent in the passport control due to undermanned gates.

  5. gerry

    February 17, 2015 at 8:54 am

    will not use theses chains or courses.
    golf-now getting just as bad

  6. Anonymous

    February 17, 2015 at 8:55 am

    do unto others as they do to you,i would not use any hotel that doesn’t treat me like a human being again,instead of a number..the hotels mentioned here ,I have stayed at both and neither one is what there cracked up to be…they have been put on the bottom of my list any how thru previous stays,there are lots of choices when making reservations and sometimes you get a good one and sometimes not when you haven’t stayed there before,hopefully you remember the good ones..

  7. Greg

    February 17, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Are these government union run hotels?
    Lashes, 10-15 lashes if you’re late you bad boys…and don’t forget to tell your friends how much fun you had. Y’all come back now, ya hear!

  8. Darius

    February 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I have a problem with a hotel charging you for not cancelling your reservation at least 48 hours before hand. It would be one thing if the hotel was filled to capacity and turned people away because you had the reservation, however in most cases that is not the issue. If it is a conference or other special occasion like a Nascar event, it makes more sense as I know there places get full, but then again, in these situations there are always people looking for last minute access.

  9. Dave Tracey

    February 17, 2015 at 9:03 am

    One would think twice before reserving golf trips, especially in winter.

  10. Lou

    February 17, 2015 at 9:16 am

    It’s BS! As consumers we have choices…I choose not to go places where they have all these add on’s and draconian cancellation fees.
    Similar to the “resort fee”, pay for a pool that is already part of the property, that I may or may not use. Or better (worse) the document fees car dealers add to the price of the car.

  11. Juan

    February 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

    We should use the power of our purchasing, when we make reservations we should ask about the cancellation policy, once they state it, at that point we should say, “I am going to the other company because of your policies” this way they know that it is affecting them and supporting their competition.

  12. Dave

    February 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Very simple I will just not use hotels with this policy. If enough of us do this that policy would soon change.

  13. Duane

    February 17, 2015 at 9:39 am

    A person should ascertain the Hotel’s cancellation policy at the time the reservationn is being discussed and if it is punitive then one should simply advise the reservation desk that your cancellation policy is to simply cancellation any further reservation discussion. If done by many the message would eventually through.

  14. Mike Henderson

    February 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Wake up! You have the money they need. Refuse and boycott. Verbally let them know the second they start by laughing, saying no and hanging up. Do it all the time. You have the power not them.

  15. Wayne

    February 17, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with every comment made so far. Just don’t use those hotels and resorts and let them know why you aren’t using them. Business always wins for them. If the business decreases then the policies will change quickly.. Stand fast everyone, they will change.

  16. Roland

    February 17, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I had the same experience with, even though they admitted their website made the mistake. I had to eat $50 because of it. Sucks.

  17. Matt

    February 17, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I had a bad experience with this at a Vegas hotel. Made a reservation 6 months in advance and got a discount by pre-paying the whole stay. Well, a work trip came up for the same week as my stay and I had to cancel. Called the hotel a full 2 months ahead of the scheduled stay to cancel. Was told “no changes, no refunds, no transfers, no cancellations”!!! That’s right, I couldn’t reschedule my stay for a later date, I couldn’t get a refund of any kind, I couldn’t transfer it to a friend that was going to be there at the same time, and I couldn’t even CANCEL the reservation. It was…astounding.

  18. Craig Better

    February 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Wow, that’s just….wrong.

  19. Garry Wratten

    February 17, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Hotel cancellations are sometime necessary due to weather, schedule changes, and or illness.
    What I don’t like is a blanket cancellation policy that does not allow for these real issues.

  20. Rich

    February 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Absolutely agree w/Dave. I simply will not use these hotels. There are just a nice hotels w/o these penalties.

  21. Mike

    February 17, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Don’t stay at the hotels that have this charge. When they lose business, they’ll change their tune. How many times did you have to cancel because of airline cancellations or bad weather?

  22. Ed

    February 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

    The new policy of Mariott will come back to haunt them! I used to be a heavy traveler. I got tired of the Airlines abusing me at every step in the travel process and now the Hotels are joining the feeding frenzy. I predict Mariott will drop this policy within 9 months!

  23. JC

    February 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I have zero problem with the policy change. Currently we are all paying for the lost revenue those properties experience when people just blow off their “reservations” and no-show. With this change the penalty rests with the person booking. I suspect in cases of cancelled flights etc… a simple phone call will probably be all that it takes to avoid a penalty. Travel insurance is easy to get and is an affordable option also.

  24. John Dunner

    February 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I never make a reservation there always a room at one of the hotels around Myrtle beach.

  25. Randy

    February 17, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Customer service is rapidly becoming a thing of the past in many service oriented industries. The value of the individual customer is becoming less and less. Protest with your wallet when you can.

  26. chris m

    February 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Not hotel related but related: We had a twosome reservation at Royal County Down, I think it was $375 per person. My playing partner got very sick and couldn’t play. Not only was no refund available, there was no opportunity to use the money in the pro shop. Love the course but what a rip-off. That is the story I tell people first when discussing Royal County Down. Then we talk about how awesome the golf course is…then I talk about the horrible policy they have.

  27. BG

    February 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Just made a reservation for Half Moon Bay Lodge, and they had two rate options, one which allowed for same day cancellation and one that didn’t. The difference was only $10.00/night, so our group chose the cancellation rate. It was nice to have an option and being informed up front.

  28. art

    February 17, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I agree there should be some some give and take on both sides. we have to take into account their loss of revenue, but only if they are fully booked and not taking other customer because of our booking.

  29. Bob

    February 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Time to stop using these resorts that have this policy. This is terrible customer service.

  30. Will

    February 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Screw em! I’ll sleep in my SUV in their parking lot and shave, shower, and **** in their lobby facilities.

  31. Walt

    February 17, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    the policy is wrong. and anyone who would stay at any place with this policy is dumb.

  32. Tim. c

    February 17, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks for the heads up. The hotels are doing just what airlines have been doing to the people for a long time. There’s no account ability. It costs more and we get less. I work in a business where I am required to stay in the over priced hotels

  33. Anthony

    February 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Why would you even consider adding to the bottom line of hotels with these policies? Avoid like the plague!1

  34. Mike K

    February 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Of course about 50 of you could get together and make reservations at one of these hotels, and cancel the day before, informing them that their cancellation charges policy is inappropriate and that you are now cancelling your room because of it. I guarantee you that management would very quickly get the hint, since you followed their rules and they ended up with 50 unsold rooms the next night.

  35. Tony

    February 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    screw me like that and they better have enough insurance to cover that place

  36. Jenny

    August 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I found this great website which allows to to sell your reservation if you are stuck with it and cannot show, it’s called roomertravel and it takes them 1-2 days to list your booking for sale, so just FYI.

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