Why Do Some Hotels Lie About Upgrade Availability?

Why Do Some Hotels Lie About Upgrade Availability


Why Do Some Hotels Lie About Upgrade Availability? Recently we were at a luxury resort in Asia, and I asked about a possible complimentary upgrade. I was told that the requested category was completely sold out. Yet when I looked online, it was still possible to book that room type. Was the hotel lying? And if so, why? There are several reasons you may be refused an upgrade, yet see the same room type when you do an online search:

1. The Person You Spoke With Doesn't Have Complete or Correct Information

In point of fact, as it was explained to me by one of the managers, the staff member I was speaking with didn't have complete information. He wasn't purposefully lying, but he also didn't go to the trouble of verifying actual availability for that category with those who had complete information. You might call it an oversight or lack of thoroughness, but he probably wasn't purposefully lying.


2. The Hotel's Online Inventory Doesn't Match Actual Inventory

Although this wasn't applicable to our hotel, due to the relatively small number of rooms, there are hotels that (as with many airlines) consistently overbook, so as to maximize their occupancy each night. Because of this, you could see the hotel still selling rooms that they don't actually have. If such a room is booked with the hotel last minute, the hotel may upgrade the guest to another available room or suite, or, depending on the way the room was booked, “walk” the guest.

On those occasions when they are oversold, some guests may be “walked” (made to stay at other hotels) and these are typically ones who paid discounted rates through OTAs such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc. A way to ensure you're never walked is to reserve luxury hotels via Virtuoso or the hotel's own preferred partner program, as a TravelSort client, or, for mass market hotels that have loyalty programs, being sure to attach your loyalty program number.


3. The Upgraded Room or Suite Isn't Available All Nights of Your Stay

Note that if you're seeking an upgrade, the upgrade must be available all nights of your stay for it to be offered. If you're willing to switch rooms so as to have an upgrade for part of your stay, be sure to mention this at check-in and ask if an upgrade is available if you're willing to move during your stay.


4. The Upgrade You're Seeking Has Already Been Pre-Allocated to Another Guest With Higher Status

Some hotel systems will automatically upgrade certain guests depending on status. So while you may see online that a room is still available, it may have already been allocated to another guest with higher status.


5. You're Seeking an Upgrade in Peak Season, When the Hotel Anticipates Paying Last Minute Guests

During peak season, many hotels aim to maximize revenue, and that means holding a few rooms in case of last minute bookings. So even if you're checking in at 6 or 7pm, the hotel may well tell you no upgrade is available, because historically, the hotel has been able to monetize the room by selling it to last minute walk-in guests.


What's your experience with hotels lying about upgrade availability, or being straightforward as to why an upgrade isn't available?

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