How To Get A Room At A Sold-Out Hotel (2023)

The first thing you need to know about getting a room at a sold-out hotel is: There's no such thing as a sold-out hotel.

At least that's what Joe Dean will tell you.

He recalls a recent experience at a hotel in Miami. Dean, a retired pharmaceutical district manager, had stayed at the property several times and was on a first-name basis with the general manager.

But on this trip, he'd forgotten to make a reservation. The hotel was sold out. The front-desk manager quickly recognized him and found him a room. Then, the manager handed Dean his business card.

"We will never be sold out for you, Mr. Dean," he said. "Call me, and I will have a room."

Hotel rooms may be in short supply now

OK, so if there's no such thing as sold-out, then how do you get a room at a hotel that claims to be sold out? There's no better time to ask than now. A new Quicken survey found that over 75% of respondents are planning to go on at least one vacation this summer, despite lingering concerns about safety. Some are staying in vacation rentals but many more are choosing hotels.


Best Covid Travel Insurance Plans Of October 2022ByAmy DaniseEditor
(Video) How An Infinite Hotel Ran Out Of Room

Allianz Partners USA’s 13th annual Vacation Confidence Index says confidence in travel is at a record high.

“Americans’ confidence in taking a summer vacation has grown exponentially compared to the past few years," says Allianz spokesman Daniel Durazo. "Not only will they treat themselves to a hard-earned getaway, but Americans are estimated to spend more money than ever – to the tune of $153 billion – to make up for lost time."

Translation: Hotels will be full for the foreseeable future.

(Video) Hotel Secrets - How To Offer Room when Hotel Sold Out

The strategies for getting a room in a 100% booked property include:

  • Building relationships with the hotel staff.
  • Being friendly.
  • Asking the right people or websites for a room.
  • Invoking your loyalty status.
  • Never giving up.

What is the meaning of sold-out for hotels?

What does sold out really mean? I asked Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, managing director of the Alma Resort in Khanh Hoa, Vietnam. He explained that hotels tend to keep some rooms empty, even when they say they are 100% full.

"For example, there could be a problem such as the shower not working but the bath is OK, or the safe is broken, or a window is damaged," he explains. "These out-of-order rooms mean that they are not available for sales."

A hotel may also keep a room or two available if the owner or a dignitary arrives at the last minute, says Laubichler-Pichler.

So there are almost always available rooms.

What's the best website for sold-out hotels?

There are also places where you can find last-minute hotel inventory.

I talked to Michael Cohen, a frequent traveler who runs a creative agency in New York and often books last-minute hotel stays. His advice is to hit the internet to find your room.

"I would try and see if any of the third party sites with available rooms," he advises.

His favorite sites include Hotel Tonight and Other sites with last-minute inventory include, Trivago, and Travelocity. They often have hotel inventory that even the properties don't see. So the hotel could show 100% occupancy but still have a few rooms on, for example.

(Video) Sold Out Hotel Rooms

How to get a hotel room when everything is booked

You may still be able to get a room get a room at a sold-out hotel with these simple strategies:

How to tell if a hotel is full

Can you tell if a hotel is booked solid? Sometimes. Most travelers discover a property's sold-out status by trying to make a reservation. You can also call the property and ask. Beyond that, it may take an expert to figure out if a hotel will be full when you plan to visit.

Art fairs, holidays, and other major events tend make for sold-out hotels, says Andrew Steinberg, a travel advisor with Ovation Travel Group. The best travel advisors love to do the seemingly impossible and find a room in a sold-out hotel, he notes.

"I enjoy the challenge," admits Steinberg.

It starts with relationships

If you're a frequent guest or a member of its loyalty program, you're in. That's what Andy Abramson, a frequent traveler and communications consultant from Los Angeles, has found.

"Be loyal to the property, know some of the management team by name, and build rapport with them, he says. "If you are a regular or frequent guest who needs a room at the last minute, you'll likely get one."

By the way, some guests are more important than others. Abramson has found that people who arrive late and aren't members of a loyalty program are far less likely to get a room than, say, an elite-level loyalty program member who always pays top dollar. So don't expect the doors of a hotel to swing open if you're a budget traveler. They might, but probably not.

How to talk your way into a room at a sold-out hotel

"The most effective way is to call the hotel and speak to a supervisor," says Guido Graf, founder of the website PrivateUpgrades.

There are two negotiation strategies that almost always work, he says. "It is essential that you are friendly. And, of course, it helps if you have already been a guest in the hotel before," he adds.

(Video) Why your hotel should never be sold out? | Hotel Marketing

Knowing some hotel lingo can also come in handy. For example, 'unconfirmed booking requests' is a useful phrase. These are rooms the hotel is holding for travelers who have requested them but haven't yet provided a credit card number to guarantee the reservations. Find out if there are any rooms like this, and see if you can get on the waiting list.

Join a rewards program

That's the advice of Alex Francis, general manager of Radisson Blu Mall of America.

"Rewards members have access to an array of exceptional benefits and services, ranging from complimentary room upgrades and award night stays to discounts on food and beverage," he says. "They may also have first access to some of the last rooms available over sold-out dates."

By the way, there's a right way and a wrong way to invoke your loyalty status. Experts say you should offer your loyalty program details when you call, but always politely. Remember, friendly gets you farther.

Keep checking

Hotel inventories can change by the second. If you aren't using a travel agent to make your reservation, you might want to keep the hotel's website up on a browser tab.

"I suggest continuously checking online and with the hotel reservations, as rooms sometimes do pop up," says Carolyn Paddock, owner of the travel agency Inflight Insider.

That means obsessively clicking the "reload this page" button. All the major hotel chains also have a mobile app that frequently has more accurate information than the web page.

Sometimes sold-out really means sold-out, unless …

Kathleen Panek, a former hotel night auditor, says at some properties, sold out really does mean there are no rooms left.

"Many times, I had people coming in at 1 a.m., looking for rooms," recalls Panek, who now owns a bed and breakfast. "Several times I was told, 'Do you mean to tell me that if the president of the United States came in, you would tell him you were full?' My reply was, 'I would offer one of the meeting rooms with a rollaway because my job is to fill rooms, and they are all occupied.'"

(Video) Alert on dashboard if hotel is sold out

But that doesn't mean you're out of luck. Sometimes, if a late-night guaranteed reservation still hasn't showed up, a manager might bend a rule.

"The night auditor might take a chance that they are not going to show and sell the room," she says.

Bottom line: You can get a room at a sold-out hotel

There are ways to get a room at a sold-out hotel. You can be friendly, talk to the right people, invoke your loyalty status (nicely) and be persistent. But if you're traveling somewhere with sold-out rooms this year, then maybe you're aiming for the wrong place. With travel demand at record levels, you might want to look elsewhere for a less crowded — and saner — vacation.


What do you do if the hotel is fully booked and there are no rooms available? ›

Call the hotel directly. Speak to someone at the front desk — those folks are on the front line of hotel availability. If there's a room at the inn, they will know.

What does it mean if a hotel is sold out? ›

"These out-of-order rooms mean that they are not available for sales." A hotel may also keep a room or two available if the owner or a dignitary arrives at the last minute, says Laubichler-Pichler.

What do hotels do when they are overbooked? ›

In most cases, your overbooked hotel will arrange a different room for you at a nearby alternative hotel. In most cases it will be comparable to the room you reserved. In some cases, it might even be an upgrade to a larger room or a suite for no additional charge.

Do hotels accept walk ins? ›

In hotel parlance, this is called a “walk” or “walking a guest.” Yes. Anyone can go to the reception in a hotel and ask if they have a room available.

Do you get a better room if you book direct with hotel? ›

Advantages of Booking a Hotel Directly

You can often find better rates by booking directly, too — a concern for budget-conscious travelers. By calling a hotel directly, you find out about any specials perks or packages they have available. In some cases, you can get a better room for the same amount of money.

Is it possible to book a hotel room for a few hours rather than a full night? ›

Depending on the hotel, it's possible to book from 2 hours up to a full day. Regardless of the time you want to relax, you can choose and book a hotel room for a few hours to meet your expectations.

Why are hotels selling room? ›

The first, and most obvious reason, to focus on increasing hotel room sales is because this will drive revenue. With additional revenue on-hand, you are able to provide guests with the service they expect, as well as move the hotel forward into the future.

How far out do hotels release rooms? ›

But usually it is 1 year in advance. Hotels use different booking engines and some of them don't allow to load your inventory of rooms and rates more than 2 years in advance. Also from a marketing and revenue management point of view, you don't know in advance what would be the price of your hotel rooms in a year time.

What is a black out period hotel? ›

For hotels and airlines, blackout dates are specific dates in which discounts and promotions are put on hold due to the high demand for travel. This typically includes the holidays, special events, and peak travel seasons.

How do you talk a hotel down in price? ›

Though it's best to phone ahead, you can negotiate on arrival. If you walk in without a reservation and are unhappy with the rate you are quoted, tell the desk clerk and ask if there is a lower rate or offer a rate that you are willing to pay. Always wait until the desk is not busy.

Is overbooking illegal? ›

The business practice of bumping is not illegal. Airlines oversell their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for “no-shows.” Most of the time, airlines correctly predict the “no shows” and everything goes smoothly. But sometimes, passengers are bumped as a result of oversales practices.

What is the most common reason hotels overbook? ›

What is the most common reason hotels overbook? A hotel's decision to deploy an overbooking strategy is frequently made in an attempt to combat the multitude of cancellations, no shows and early checkouts on a daily basis that can drastically upend a property's ability to accurately predict revenue and profit margins.

How late can you book a hotel? ›

You can usually book a hotel at all hours of the night but you may be required to book over the phone or in person if you are trying to book a hotel for the “night” that began the previous calendar day. In some instances, you might also be able to negotiate a discount with the front desk.

What should you not do at a hotel? ›

Top 10 Things You Must Not Do In A Hotel Room
  • #10 Lying After Damaging Something.
  • #9 Leaving Jewelry and Money.
  • #8 Keeping Bathroom Door Unlocked when Taking a Shower.
  • #7 Sneaking In your Pets.
  • #6 Smoking.
  • #5 Stealing from the Hotel.
  • #4 Drinking Tap Water.
  • #3 Cheating the Minibar.

Can you spend just the day in a hotel? ›

You can book on the day as well as cancel until the last-minute too. Day rooms offer rooms at most of the major brands such as Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Kempinski, Marriott, NH Hotels, Radisson and Starwood as well as some boutique properties. None of their hotels require pre-payment.

Do hotels get cheaper as you get closer? ›

Since hotels are always aiming to maximize their occupancy rate, many will decrease their rates if they aren't meeting their expected targets. That's why you'll often see hotels dropping their prices a few days before a check-in date or on the day of arrival.

Is it cheaper to call hotel or book online? ›

On average, the same-day rate of a hotel room is 10% cheaper than booking in advance. But this comes with a caveat. Don't rely on this strategy if you're traveling to a busy tourist city or a town where a large event is happening. You might be fortunate, but most people book rooms well in advance.

Do hotels ever upgrade rooms for free? ›

Simply Ask to Upgrade Hotel Rooms

It doesn't hurt to ask, so you should just go for it. The best time to ask is at check-in. Ask the hotel staff if they can give you a free room upgrade and provide them with a context or reason for your request. As previously mentioned, it may help to bring up a special occasion.

What can you say if you want to book a hotel room for 2 days one night? ›

Here are some phrases you can use on the phone to make a booking in English. I'd like to book a (single / double / twin) room for two nights, please. I'd like to make a reservation for a (single / double / twin) room for the night of (date), please. Do you have any double rooms left for the weekend?

Why do hotels accept booking rooms beyond their capacity? ›

This means that instead of turning a potential guest away when the hotel is at 'capacity', you still offer them a booking so that if another customer fails to show up, there's someone ready to fill their position. It helps ensure you reach the maximum revenue and occupancy for your hotel.

Is it cheaper to book a hotel right before? ›

While it's almost always cheaper to book a room last-minute, how much cheaper is it, really? Turns out, though a bit cheaper, don't expect the bargain bin here. Rooms average 13% less when booked last-minute than booked four months in advance.

What is the best day to buy a hotel room? ›

In short, remember that getting the best deal on a hotel room comes down to a few basic rules: Make your bookings on a more favorable day of the week (try Tuesday or the weekend), try for last minute if you can, travel off-season whenever possible, and avoid checking in on Friday.

What is it called when you buy a hotel room? ›

Residences sold at hotels are called condo hotels. Condo hotels have been a popular investment choice since the 1970s and are a convenient way to own a vacation home. In principle, condo hotels are simple: You buy a unit, use is for your short or long-term stays, and rent the unit when not in use.

Why do hotels not clean rooms everyday? ›

Why cut out housekeeping? In many cases, the cutbacks may be more about money than safety. For some hotels, there's not enough money to cover the cost. For others, it's an opportunity to make more of it.

Why is there no room 420 in hotels? ›

Some hotels are playing it even more safe by removing room 420 altogether from their room numbers. It´s kind of a superstitious move – the same way hotels went mad some decades ago and removed level 13 and room number 13. Other hotels have been even more creative with their solution, labelling room 420 as “419 + 1”.

Why do hotels randomly upgrade your room? ›

You may get an upgrade because the type of room you booked is unavailable or there's an issue with your room and the hotel staff want to go out of their way to make things right. If you don't luck into an upgrade, you may be able to sweet-talk your way into one.

What is the cheapest time to book a hotel? ›

The best time to book hotels in the United States is during the same week of travel. Within the week before your stay, you'll see massive savings of around 21% cheaper than average. 1-2 weeks before your stay is the next cheapest time to book U.S. hotels, with average savings of 8%.

Are black out periods illegal? ›

Practically speaking, block out periods are an entirely lawful and often necessary practice in the retail industry. However, like any rule, there are exceptions.

What is vacant dirty room in hotel? ›

Vacant / Dirty Guest checked out, not serviced by housekeeping yet. “V/ D” codes take top priority in housekeeping as they must be readied for resale. Occupied / Dirty Guest currently occupies the room, the night has passed, but room has not yet been serviced by housekeeping.

What is blocked room in hotel? ›

A room block is a group of guest rooms that a resort puts on hold at a specific “negotiated” rate for a group of people. A room block typically needs to have 10 or more rooms to qualify for the potential for special rates or concessions.

Is calling the hotel directly cheaper? ›

And are prices generally cheaper the earlier you book? Sometimes you can get a cheaper rate if you call the hotel directly. Look at dates, room type and price on-line and then call the hotel to see if you can get better rate or upgraded room.

Can you call hotel to get cheaper price? ›

Getting an Even Lower Rate

If you negotiated a particularly good deal, it might be a good idea to call again a few days before your trip to confirm everything one more time. Hotels often get last-minute cancellations, and it's a good idea also to ask if they have any new deals or lower rates you should know about.

How do you value a hotel in 60 seconds or less? ›

Essentially all you need to do is divide the total sales price by the number of rooms to arrive at a PPR (Price Per Room) value.

Is overbooking a symptom of ADHD? ›

Adults with ADHD typically find managing schedules or calendars difficult. They can forget to schedule some very important items. They can also tend to overbook and overlap other events.

How do you deal with being overbooked? ›

  1. 8 Things to do when you're overwhelmed and overbooked. Business. ...
  2. Walk away. When you're overbooked and falling behind can affect your mindset. ...
  3. Make a list. Often what gets us overwhelmed is the lack of planning. ...
  4. Turn on Do not disturb. ...
  5. Set your Out of Office responder. ...
  6. Try time blocking. ...
  7. Set the right environment. ...
  8. Cowork.

Can you sue for overbooking? ›

If you the cost of being bumped exceeds what you were paid at the airport, you can always try to negotiate a higher settlement via the airline's complaint department, the agency says. And if that doesn't work, you can sue.

How do you avoid hotel overbooking? ›

Direct bookings are a surefire way to avoid hotel overbookings. Integrate your hotel's website with a web booking engine and payment gateway. Allow guests to view room details in real-time, and make bookings. Make sure that they get instant confirmation against their reservations.

What special requests do hotels make? ›

Standard Requests
  • Smoking or non-smoking room, although it's more likely this will be chosen as part of the room selection process rather than hoping this can be accommodated.
  • A room away from or close to elevators. ...
  • A high- or low-floor room. ...
  • Early or late check-in or checkout. ...
  • No alcohol in room.
21 Aug 2019

What are the top 5 brands that come to your mind for booking a stay hotel during a vacation? ›

  • Hilton Hotel and Resorts. Mission Statement: Hilton's (NASDAQ: HLT) mission is to be the preeminent global hospitality company ” the first choice of guests, team members, and owners alike. ...
  • Hyatt Hotel Corporation. ...
  • Marriott. ...
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) ...
  • Wyndham.

Can I check into a hotel at 3 am? ›

Generally speaking, most hotels have staff working 24 hours a day, so there will always be someone to welcome you. While the standard check-in time is between 2-3 pm, don't let that time window mislead you. You can still check in hassle-free after that time.

Can 2 17 year olds stay in a hotel? ›

Children aged 16 or 17 years will be permitted to stay in separate room(s) under the responsibility of the parent or guardian and the parent or guardian must also stay in the hotel at all times the children are within the hotel.

What should you not touch in a hotel? ›

8 filthy items you should never touch in a hotel room
  • 1/8. Pillows. While sheets are pretty much always cleaned in between guests, that unfortunately doesn't apply to pillow cases. ...
  • 2/8. Telephone. ...
  • 3/8. Remote control. ...
  • 4/8. Cups and glasses. ...
  • 5/8. Bedding. ...
  • 6/8. Hairdryer. ...
  • 7/8. Drawers and dresser. ...
  • 8/8. Bathroom counters.

Can hotels see what you are doing? ›

While your hotel's management usually won't be able to see the contents of your communications, they can easily find out what websites you visit and how much time you spend browsing the Internet.

Why shouldn't you stay on the first floor of a hotel? ›

The ground floor is too easy to access. The second floor and above usually require your room's key-card to access the floor, making it more secure. Also, most fire truck ladders can reach up to the second, third and even fourth floors. Never stay on the top floor.

Is it possible to book a hotel room for a few hours? ›

Yes, you can book hotels for a few hours or just an afternoon instead a full night. Typically, this is booking the “day rate” of a hotel which is cheaper than a normal stay. After reviewing over 100 properties, we found that the day rate is usually discounted about 45% from the standard nightly rate.

How can I use a hotel for a few hours? ›

One option is to find a hotel that offers day rates. This means that you would pay for the room by the day, even if you only use it for a few hours. Many business travellers use this option when they need a place to rest before their next meeting or flight.

What will you do if there's no room available for the walk in guest? ›

If the agent cannot accommodate a guest then he should refer him to the other hotel of that hotel group or any nearby hotel. By this way, if hotels of a locality maintain good relationship with each other then high percentage of such guests can be accommodated.

What means no rooms are available for booking for the requested period? ›

iii)Waitlisted Reservation- A reservation is waitlisted when a requested category of room is not available for the requested dates. A waitlisted reservation will be confirmed when a hotel receives a request for room cancellation in the same category.

Does a hotel reservation guarantee a room? ›

If you've prepaid for your room, it is guaranteed and the hotel must give you the room you paid for, even if you show up late. If the hotel does not have a room for you, then it has breached your contract and must provide you with a reasonable substitute.

How do I check out of a hotel when there is no one? ›

Most times you can just stop by the front desk to let the receptionist know you're leaving. They'll review your charges and ask if you'd like a receipt of the final bill. If you don't have time for an in-person checkout, some hotels have a mobile app that notifies the hotel with a single tap.

How do you ask a hotel for a vacant room? ›

Making the booking

Here are some phrases you can use on the phone to make a booking in English. I'd like to book a (single / double / twin) room for two nights, please. I'd like to make a reservation for a (single / double / twin) room for the night of (date), please. Do you have any double rooms left for the weekend?

How will you tackle the guest who comes with reservation but there is no room? ›

If the requested type of room is not available, apologize and explain to the guest that this particular room is not available.

How does a no-show affect the hotel? ›

Research showed the hotel industry average No-Show rate as one-to-two percent of all reservations . When the number of No-Show rooms this represents is multiplied by the average room rate, the result is an estimated expense to the hotel industry of $50 to $100 million per year .

Should I wait until the last minute to book a hotel room? ›

On average, travelers saved about $30 per night by booking last-minute, which can really add up. The savings were even higher for luxury hotels: About 22% cheaper when booked 15 days out. However, if you're traveling to a popular destination or during a busy travel season, you risk not snagging your first-choice hotel.

How do I get a room before check-in time? ›

Early check-in is based on availability of rooms, so your best bet to get it is to contact the hotel in advance and express your request. This can be done by simply calling the front desk to ask about the status of your room.

What are other ways of reserving a room? ›

For example, a reservation request may reach the hotel through traditional methods like a written mode such as letter, fax, telex or e-mail or through a verbal mode like telephone or in-person etc. In this modern era, the majority of the reservation is via online modes like website, OTA, mobile apps, social media etc.

Do hotel rooms get cheaper the longer you wait? ›

“Actually, hotel prices decline the longer you wait,” says Shank, “so if you haven't made plans yet, you can be rewarded for that with a better deal.” Same-day rates on HotelTonight are, on average, 10 percent less than if you book the day before, according to Shank.

What time do hotels give away rooms? ›

The standard time for check-in at a hotel is 3pm or 4pm. However, if a hotel has your room ready for you before that time, they often will allow you early check-in and access to your room. What is this?

Do hotels keep track of guests? ›

Hotels have always kept logs on their guests, tracking previous stays, comments and complaints, even which pay-per-view movies you ordered.

How much do you tip a maid in a hotel? ›

The American Hotel & Lodging Association suggests leaving a $1-to-$5 tip per day for the housekeeping staff.

Do hotels actually check number of guests? ›

In some cases, a hotel may be charging based on how many guests are occupying a room. But in other cases, a hotel may request that information so that they can ensure they are complying with the fire code, or so that in the event of an emergency they will know how many guests should be accounted for.


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