When two of the world’s biggest hotel companies tightened their cancellation policies, the move was the talk of the travel industry.
The headline for this edition of ‘It Happened This Week’ is: ‘With strict new policies Marriott, Hilton could be handing Airbnb for Business market share on a platter’
Just before this story ran, Marriott Hotels & Resorts announced it was changing its cancellation policy, with penalty fees equivalent to the cost of one night’s stay for bookings cancelled with anything less than 48 hours’ notice.
Hilton quickly followed suit with its own 48-hour cancellation rule.
It wasn’t the first time the two companies had acted in lockstep. Back in 2014, both introduced a 24-hour cancellation policy.
The stricter 48-hour policy raised the ire of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which estimated that corporate travellers are forced to cancel or change 5% of reservations within two days of check-in. “Any tightening of a cancellation period is, therefore, detrimental to the traveller,” said the GBTA. The Business Travel Coalition wasn’t impressed either.
Did the headline appear in Travelweek in 1998, 2005 or 2017?
Here’s a hint: Travelweek’s story also notes that Airbnb was infiltrating the accommodation sector, and Airbnb for Work (then known as Airbnb for Business) was an up-and-coming threat. Many were wondering if the legacy hotel companies were shooting themselves in the foot with their new stricter cancellation policies. Airbnb was established in 2008.
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