Travelers are forced to sleep on the floor as hotel overbookings soar in holiday hotspots

Despite securing a bed in a Croatian hostel with a credit card deposit, Jason Underwood arrived to check in at Goli & Bosi in Split, only to be told there was no room. at the hostel.

“I was told on two previous check-in attempts that the bed wasn’t ready. So I checked out and came back at midnight and they finally said there was no room available” , the 36-year-old said. “They said we can reimburse you to go somewhere else, or we can give you a pillow and a blanket and you can find a spot on the floor.”

Instead of a $38-a-night dorm bed, the Sydney engineer and three other travelers found themselves sleeping in a makeshift “tent city” down the hall from the hostel.

“The other guys made a pretty good tent city. Mine was kinda Scandinavian minimalist; a table with a sheet on top and legs hanging down,” Underwood laughed. “It’s a good travel story though.”

Underwood, who made the reservation through Hostelworld, said he felt bad for the staff who were forced to deal with a problematic reservation system.

“The guy at the counter said he could see when it was overbooked but there was nothing he could do to update it,” Underwood said. “They were on Hostelworld, Tripadvisor and a few other sites, and he said none of the sites talk to each other, and it’s constantly a mess.”

Split, on Croatia’s southeast coast, is one of many northern hemisphere resorts experiencing growing summer demand, with average occupancy rates exceeding 95% for the first time in decades. years.

Reports of overcrowded hotels in places like Majorca and Split have been reported, and summer travelers are being warned to prepare for the possibility of being turned away.

Hotels are overbooking to fill gaps caused by late cancellations and no-show guests, according to Canstar’s Steve Mickenbecker.

“Of course, there can be genuine errors caused by the hotels own systems or communications between the hotel and multiple booking agencies,” he said.

Another problem is that large hotel chains were once able to predict absences with a high degree of accuracy. This is no longer the case. Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said: “Booking patterns have changed. There are more leisure travelers than businesses, weekends are busier, and that will change again as that we will see corporate and international leisure travel begin to return after November.”

So what should you do if you find your accommodation has no room for you?

HOW CAN I AVOID GETTING REFUSED?

Arriving on time for check-in gives you an advantage. Mickenbecker notes, “the last to arrive will be the one who misses”.

Also, choose to pay in full before arriving. “If you trust the supplier and your plans won’t change, that’s one way to secure your spot,” Mickenbecker said.

As with airlines, it doesn’t hurt to join the hotel’s membership program before your stay — it’s free, and guests with a track record of customer loyalty may be viewed favorably.

MY HOTEL IS OVERBOOKED. AND NOW?

If you booked your stay through a third-party website, your first step is to contact the platform’s customer service team. Staff may be able to move you, according to Expedia.

Check the policies of the hotel and the booking platform to know your rights. This usually requires them to arrange alternative accommodation in an equivalent or upgraded category, and to pay costs, such as a taxi ride and telephone calls.

A sensible approach is to arrive with cash reserves and a list of nearby hotels, in case hotel staff are unwilling to help. If you can’t afford another stay, Mickenbecker warns you could be in an intense negotiation to be fully compensated.

WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS ?

Under Australian consumer law, when a business accepts payment for services, it must deliver them within the agreed time frame. If they cannot, the solution will depend on the circumstances and booking conditions.

If you booked through a third party, the terms and conditions of the property and the booking platform will apply.

These protections can still apply to hotels overseas, provided they were booked in Australia.

If there is a problem with the reservation, contact the accommodation to resolve the problem first. An ACCC spokesperson said: “If they are unable to resolve their dispute with the company, they may file a complaint with their state or local consumer protection agency.”

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