Hilton is testing a new $50 cancellation fee applied to reservations canceled any time after a guest books a room, Consumer Traveler reports. The new fee, which does not apply to Hilton HHonors loyalty members, adds to last year's new cancellation policy by Hilton and Marriott that makes guests forfeit the cost of one night's stay when canceling later than the day before arrival.
According to the New York Times, the test began in mid-November and was scheduled to run 60 days in 24 unnamed Hilton-managed hotels across the U.S., including those under the Hilton, Embassy Suites and Doubletree brands.
“Hotel reservations have long been way too flexible,” Christopher K. Anderson, a faculty member at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, told the New York Times. The increased prevalence of last-minute booking apps and OTAs has been driving a rise in hotel cancellations.
Chris Silcock, an executive vice president at Hilton Worldwide, said the hotel company was measuring cancellation rates, and added that the new fee was "lower than airline fees" for changes.
The new policy comes amid a time of rising hotel fees. In a study released in September, the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYSCPS) forecast that hotel fees would rise from $2.35 billion in 2014 to $2.47 billion in 2015.
NYSCPS said the forecast increase for 2015 reflects a combination of approximately 3.0 percent more occupied hotel rooms than in 2014, more charging of fees and surcharges, and higher amounts charged, for a total increase of approximately 5 percent.
Hotel fees and surcharges have increased every year except brief periods following 2001 and 2008 that saw a decline in lodging demand.