59 percent of travel agents said that Marriott’s new 48-hour cancellation policy would cause them to book away from the company’s properties in a new poll by the Business Travel Coalition (BTC).
Marriott International, which acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide last year, implemented the new policy June 15. It requires guests to cancel their room reservation 48 hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee. The new policy applies to Marriott hotels in the Americas, including the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands except for MVW and Design Hotels.
According to an analysis in the New York Times, the policy is to deter travelers from booking multiple rooms and canceling at the last minute in order to grab cheap last-minute room rates.
“People were canceling and customers couldn’t find rooms when they needed them,” Marriott International Global Sales Officer Brian King told the Times.
In the new poll from the BTC, 21 percent of travelers said that they new policy wouldn’t cause business travelers to book away from Marriott hotels, while 20 percent were unsure. 30 percent said that they were considering changing their travel policy to restrict travelers from booking Marriott properties, as opposed to 41 percent who were not and 29 percent who were unsure.
68 percent of respondents said that they’d seek to negotiate an exception for their travelers in the next contract with Marriott, as opposed to 13 percent who said no and 19 percent who were unsure. 53 percent said that they expect other hotel companies to follow Marriott’s lead.
The BTC conducted a 24-hour poll ending at the close of business on July 11, involving 216 travel manager and travel management company executive respondents from 12 countries – the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, UAE, Belgium, Bonaire, Serbia, Scotland and Germany.