Hoteliers Grumble About New Reservation Rules

Hoteliers Grumble About New Reservation Rules Hoteliers Grumble About New Reservation Rules

Iran’s top tourism authority has published a set of guidelines regarding hotel bookings and cancellations, which hotel owners see as a “step forward” but are not very happy with it.

In effect since June 9, the details of the guideline were made public on Saturday by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

“The guidelines apply to every lodging facility, and not just hotels,” Jamshid Hamzezadeh, president of the Iranian Hoteliers’ Society, told Mehr News Agency.

“Devising the guidelines is a step forward … we were consulted by tourism officials when they were writing it, but there are a few articles that are problematic,” he said.

Hamzezadeh’s problem is with articles 13 and 28, which he says impose disproportionate fines on guests and lodging facilities, and article 4, which makes it difficult for travel agencies to plan tours.

Article 13 states that if for any reason (aside from special circumstances such as security threats or natural calamities) the hotel is unable to provide the guest with the room that has already been paid for, it must find a similar room with a comparable rate for the client, or refund the deposit in full and pay a fine equal to one night’s stay.

Article 28 outlines cancellation policies, which stipulate that there is no prior agreement between the parties and only a deposit has been paid. Under this condition the following will apply:

a) If the booking is cancelled 20 days prior to the check-in date, the entire deposit must be refunded.

b) If the cancellation occurs between 11 and 19 days before the check-in date, a 20% cancellation fee based on the rate of one night’s stay will be charged.

c) If the reservation is cancelled six to 10 days prior to the check-in date, the guest incurs a 30% cancellation fee.

d) If the booking is cancelled two to five days prior to the check-in date, a fine equal to 50% of the rate of a night’s stay will be charged.

e) If the booking is cancelled less than 48 hours prior to the check-in date, the hotel can charge a 70% fee based on a night’s stay.

According to Hamzezadeh, cancelling a reservation 24 hours before the check-in date “across the world means the deposit is forfeited to the hotel … that’s a 100% cancellation fee and it’s the global standard.”

He said the fact that Article 13 obliges hoteliers to pay a fine equal to one night’s stay contradicts Article 28 which compels guests to pay a maximum of 70% of a night’s stay in cancellation fee.

  Problems for Tour Operators

The new guidelines seemingly make it difficult for tour operators to plan tours, because Article 4 says that travel agencies must book rooms in the name of their clients.

“Normally, travel agencies book a certain number of rooms under their own name and based on the number of rooms they organize tours for a specific number of people. This allows travel agents to plan and organize tours,” Hamzezadeh said.

However, Article 4 makes planning tours difficult.

“Now, travel agencies have to reserve rooms under the name of their clients first, but how can they do that if nobody has signed up for a tour package? How can travel agencies organize a tour in the first place if they don’t know how many people they can take on?” the hotelier said.

“We’re going to write to the ICHHTO to get them to implement necessary changes here,” Hamzezadeh added.