Have you ever been stuck paying for a non-refundable hotel room?
If you travel enough it’s sure to happen at some point. You book a great hotel room, life happens, and you need to cancel. The problem is that you’re past the cancellation period, and the hotel won’t refund your money. Ouch, right?
We’ve been lucky enough that this hasn’t happened to us yet (knock on wood). But it’s been close. Oh so close!
So, what do you do if you’re stuck with a non-refundable hotel room?
There’s a new website called Roomer that will let you recover some of the costs for your unused hotel room. We liked the idea, so we took a look under the hood to see how it works.
Here’s what Roomer does
You simply list your unused hotel reservation on Roomer , and then Roomer sells it to someone else.
For buyers, this can mean that you snag great deals on hotel rooms. For sellers, it can mean some cash in your pocket that would otherwise be lost.
How Roomer works
There are three steps to selling an unused hotel room:
Fill out the reservation sell form. It should take less than five minutes. You also set your own price for the room, Roomer does not auction off the room.
You then forward your original booking confirmation email to Roomer. This is how Roomer validates the hotel room.
Roomer validates your room, and posts it on their site. If your hotel room sells, you get the payment 10 days after the date of check out.
Is there a fee?
Roomer charges a 15% service fee. It’s only charged if your room sells and there’s no fee to list.
Travel Hack: If you find that you have to cancel a hotel room past the cancellation date, call and politely ask to move your reservation to the next week. Then, call back in a few hours or the next day and cancel your new reservation. This little trick may just be able to save you a cancellation fee.
Buying a hotel room on Roomer
Buying a hotel room on Roomer seems to be just as easy as with any other booking site.
You book the hotel room, and then Roomer transfers the reservation from the seller’s name to yours.
Hotel prices listed on Roomer don’t include tax, but tax is included in the final checkout price.
What about check in?
When you check in, you check in under your own name, so you show up and check-in as you normally would. Roomer says the hotel won’t ask for the original booking credit card, however just like at any other hotel, the hotel will request your credit card at check-in to cover additional purchases and incidentals.
So how do you know the room is legit?
Roomer says they have an “advanced technology that is able to identify and accept, or reject, the validity of reservations listed for sale on our marketplace. Thanks to this technology, we are able to say with 100% confidence that each and every room that you see on our marketplace is indeed authentic, valid and 100% bookable.”
The Bottom Line on Roomer
The concept is interesting enough that we’re going to give Roomer a try if we’re stuck with a hotel reservation that we can’t cancel.
We've been traveling around the world since 2003, first as a couple and now as a family of four. We love sharing our adventures and the lessons we've picked up on the road. Contact us or check our About page for more info.