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What happens to your hotel reservations if your flight is cancelled or delayed

Kenya Africa Hotel Boom
Posted at 7:25 AM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 10:17:33-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Dealing with flight cancellations and delays can be a major headache especially when they have ripple effects on the rest of your travel plans.

On Thursday, News 3 explained your rights as a traveler if you hit turbulence at the airport. Now we're looking into what happens to your hotel or Airbnb reservations if you can't make the trip.

John Zirkle is the President of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association and said these days it's not unusual for last minute booking blunders, either because weather cancelled flights or COVID-19 infected families.

"We do have quite a [number of instances where someone's] flight gets delayed or cancelled [and] they have to push the reservation back a day, sometimes two days. We work with guests as best we can. As long as we're not sold out, we're more than happy to move reservations around for them. When we are sold out — that's when it gets difficult because if they're not here, not in the room, we need to sell that room," he said.

Zirkle said, more recently, hotels have been requiring a doctor's note, which is the case at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Virginia Beach.

"Sometimes some hotels do require a doctor's note, not with your actual condition, but just a doctor's note that says you're not able to travel," he said.

Depending on your trip and preferences, you may decide to book with Airbnb instead of a hotel.

"The longer the pandemic goes on, the more the world never goes back to the way it was — that means travel isn't going back to the way it was," CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, told CBS Mornings.

In response to COVID, Airbnb has also adjusted its policies. The company's Extenuating Circumstances Policy gives guests and hosts the option to cancel without charges if they're impacted by things like serious illness, natural disasters, travel restrictions and more.

It goes on to say that guests won't be refunded under the policy if they cancel due to COVID unless they are sick with COVID. If you host cancels, Airbnb's website said you may be eligible for a refund. Hosts, however, determine how much they charge, specific rules during the stay and their cancellation policy's. You'll want to be aware of these before booking.

Back at the DoubleTree, if you're trying to save a little bit of money, you can opt to do Advanced Purchase.

"We're not charging you usually everything in advance unless someone books what's called advanced purchase rates - when you book, you pay for it. It's non-refundable, non-changeable. I do kind of encourage people, even though it's a lower rate given the time we're in, to think about that because those rarely get waived. If you book something you know is non refundable, that's not an easy one to get your money back on."

A lot of the cancellations also depend on how a traveler books a trip. For example, if they book with Priceline or Expedia rather than the hotel itself, it may be more difficult to cancel a reservation.

"It's always best to book directly with with the hotel via Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn because you're going to get the best rate, and you're going to get the best cancellation policies and potentially a waiver of a cancel cancellation penalties," Zirkle said.

While travel is picking up again, you should always check with your hotel, or host, with questions and check online policy's.

"We try to lead with hospitality. You know, we want to do the right thing for our guests and our visitors to the city," said Zirkle.

Zirkle said they are doing their best to accommodate early check-ins and late check-outs, but are still struggling with staffing issues.