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What Is a Guaranteed Reservation?

Some hotels stipulate that guests must check in within a specified timeframe.
A guaranteed reservation is an agreement between the hotel and the guest that a room will be available, regardless of arrival time.
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  • Written By: Sandi Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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A guaranteed reservation is an arrangement for hotel accommodations, secured by supplying the hotel with a guarantee of payment. Typically, a guaranteed reservation is an agreement between the hotel and the guest that a room will be available, regardless of what time the guest arrives. Guests who utilize the option for a guaranteed reservation authorize the hotel to charge the account associated with the reservation, even if the guest does not check-in for the dates reserved. In short, a guaranteed reservation is an agreement between both parties that no matter what circumstances occur and no matter what standing policies or usual limitations might apply, the guest will have a room and the hotel will receive payment.

Each hotel has its own policies regarding payment requirements for various reservation types, including guaranteed accommodations. Some hotels only require a credit card to arrange a guaranteed reservation. Others offer the option of using a cash deposit or providing corporate billing information, known as a corporate guarantee. For most hotels, paying in full for accommodations, typically in advance of arrival, will secure a guarantee of room availability.

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Exact terms of a guaranteed reservation also vary from country to country and hotel to hotel. Should a room not be available when a guest arrives, typically the hotel agrees to arrange similar accommodations at an alternate hotel. Most hotels also compensate the guest in some way for the inconvenience. Compensation might include a free stay at a future date, additional nights at no charge, or meal vouchers. Shuttle service to the alternate hotel may also be offered.

Regarding the responsibilities of the guest, some hotels require guests to arrive within a specific period of time after the standard check-in time. Other hotels agree to hold the room for the entire night or term of the reservation. When a complete cancellation is necessary, the guest may lose part or all of any cash deposit or be required to pay a percentage of the expected stay. Since few agencies regulate the terms of a guaranteed reservation, the hotel is free to set whatever terms it deems appropriate.

Prior to completing a guaranteed reservation, the hotel may be required by local ordinance to disclose to the guest any terms or requirements associated with the reservation. Printed contracts or reservation terms provide proof of a reservation guarantee in cases where the hotel does not adequately record reservation type. Additional terms outside of the hotel's normal guarantee policy are typically left to the discretion of hotel management, but typically must be in writing to provide remedy in case of non-compliance.

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