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As I have mentioned before, we are traveling for the Solar Eclipse of 2024. While the path of totality does go within an hour or so of our house in Cincinnati, we decided instead to travel to Cleveland to combine the eclipse trip with a visit to my parents. After a disappointing experience at the 2017 Solar Eclipse, where we did not go to the path of totality, I decided that the next time, I would make it to totality

(SEE ALSO: How The NFL’s Joe Burrow Is Like A Total Solar Eclipse

Hotels Canceling Eclipse Reservations

We did end up getting a hotel room because my parents have downsized and it would not be super comfortable for us all of us to stay with them. We used 19,500 Marriott points per night in a reservation a few months ago, which is great, because rooms are going for over $500 / night now!

a screenshot of a website

Still, even though I have a valid reservation, I was a bit nervous that somehow it would “not work”.

How To Not Have Your Hotel Reservations Canceled

So I was a bit terrified to read reports that the Aloft Buffalo Airport was cancelling eclipse reservations.

Terence Brady describes his experience booking with the hotel as “surprised, outraged, and disgusted.” He and his siblings, all living in various parts of the U.S. including Maryland and Maine, booked several rooms at the hotel in May 2023 for the solar eclipse.

He received an email from hotel manager Emar Fernandez saying in part, “Due to high online traffic, our reservations systems ended up overbooking some of our properties, affecting upcoming reservations that had been booked recently up to four weeks prior… if you are getting this email, it is because your reservation has been canceled at Aloft.”

He’s not the only one – Chris Donnelly from Sugar Travel reports that he had booked rates of $119 per night or lower for 110 rooms between the Aloft Cheektowaga and the nearby Hampton Inn. He feels the rooms were canceled because the hotels realized they could sell them at a much higher price

In some ways, there is nothing you can do to absolutely guarantee that your reservation won’t be canceled. But there are a few things that you can do to minimize the chances

  • Book directly with the hotel – if they do end up needing to cancel reservations, they are likely to start with ones that aren’t booked directly (though in the news article, I did read that in at least some of the cases they did book directly)
  • Be a member of the hotel’s loyalty program – If you have status, even better, since again, if they have to cancel, they’re unlikely to cancel reservations of elite members
  • Regularly review your reservation – periodically check your reservation (ideally on the hotel’s website) to make sure it is still showing up. The sooner you know about problems, the more options you’ll have.

The Bottom Line

Several hotels are cancelling reservations people made months ago to travel to the path of totality for the 2024 Solar Eclipse. I’ve read of it happening in a few places in Buffalo but there may be others. It’s unclear to me at this point what happened – if it was just a reservation / overbooking mixup as the hotels claim, or if the hotel is doing something underhanded to try and sell rooms at a much higher price.

When I first saw these reports, I was not sure why the “walk” guarantee wasn’t invoked. Most hotel chains (including Marriott and Hilton) have “walk” guarantees that gives you certain rights if you arrive at a hotel and they don’t have a room for you. But then I realized that it probably doesn’t apply in these situations because the reservation was cancelled rather than showing up at the hotel with a confirmed reservation. I’m not sure if they have any recourse other than trying to sue the hotel (which seems expensive and a long shot). It was disappointing to see Marriott and Hilton not doing more to help these travelers.

What are your plans for the eclipse? If you’re staying in a hotel, how crowded is it?

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