You booked a great hotel deal but now can’t use it. Could you change the reservation’s name and give it to a friend or family member instead? Transferability of hotel bookings depends on the hotel’s policies and booking site’s terms.

Read on to learn more about the factors that determine if you can transfer a hotel reservation.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Most hotels will not allow you to transfer a booking to another person, but some booking sites like Expedia do permit name changes for a fee.

Hotel Chain Policies

Large chains often don’t allow transfers

When it comes to transferring hotel bookings, it’s important to note that policies vary among different hotel chains. In most cases, large hotel chains do not allow the transfer of bookings. This means that if you have made a reservation under your name, you won’t be able to transfer it to someone else, even if they are willing to take your place.

These policies are in place to ensure the security and accountability of hotel reservations, as well as to prevent any potential fraudulent activity.

For example, if you have booked a room at a popular chain like Marriott or Hilton, it’s unlikely that you will be able to transfer your booking to another person. The reservation is typically tied to your name and identification, and the hotel will require you to present your ID at check-in.

Name on booking must match ID at check-in

One of the main reasons why hotels have strict policies regarding booking transfers is to prevent any unauthorized use of reservations. When you make a hotel booking, you are required to provide your name, contact information, and sometimes even your credit card details.

This information is used to verify your identity and ensure that you are the rightful owner of the reservation.

When you arrive at the hotel, the front desk staff will ask for your ID to confirm that the name on the booking matches the name on your identification. This is a security measure that hotels take to protect their guests and to prevent any potential issues or disputes.

It’s important to note that these policies are in place for the safety and security of both the hotel and the guests. While they may seem strict, they are designed to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for everyone.

Some flexibility for corporate bookings

While large hotel chains generally have strict policies regarding booking transfers, there may be some flexibility when it comes to corporate bookings. Many hotels understand that business travelers often need to make changes to their reservations due to unforeseen circumstances or last-minute changes in plans.

If you have made a hotel booking through your company or have a corporate account with a particular hotel chain, it’s worth reaching out to the hotel directly to inquire about their transfer policies.

In some cases, they may be able to accommodate changes or transfer the booking to another colleague within the same company.

It’s important to remember that even in the case of corporate bookings, the hotel’s policies may still require the name on the booking to match the ID presented at check-in. However, they may be more willing to work with you to find a solution that meets your needs.

Independent Hotel Rules

When it comes to transferring hotel bookings, the rules can vary depending on the type of hotel you have booked. Independent hotels, which are not part of a larger chain, often have more flexibility when it comes to name changes and transfers.

More likely to allow name changes

Unlike chain hotels, independent hotels are more likely to allow name changes on hotel bookings. This means that if you are unable to travel and need to transfer your booking to someone else, an independent hotel may be more accommodating.

It’s always a good idea to check the hotel’s policy on name changes before making a booking.

Depends on system and strictness of policy

While independent hotels generally have more flexibility, it ultimately depends on the hotel’s specific system and the strictness of their policy. Some independent hotels may have stricter rules when it comes to name changes and transfers, while others may be more lenient.

It’s always a good idea to reach out to the hotel directly to inquire about their transfer policy.

Changes may only be allowed well in advance

Another factor that can affect the transferability of hotel bookings is the timing of the request. Some hotels may only allow changes or transfers if they are requested well in advance of the original stay dates.

This is to ensure that the hotel has enough time to make the necessary adjustments to their reservations system. It’s important to be aware of any time restrictions or deadlines when it comes to transferring a hotel booking.

For more information on hotel booking policies and transferability, you can visit Travel + Leisure’s article on hotel booking rules. They provide valuable insights and tips for navigating the world of hotel bookings.

Booking Site Capabilities

When it comes to transferring hotel bookings, it is important to understand the capabilities of various booking sites. While some sites may allow for flexibility in changing the name on a reservation, others may have more rigid policies.

Most don’t allow free name changes

Unfortunately, the majority of booking sites do not allow for free name changes on hotel reservations. This means that if you need to transfer a booking to someone else, you may encounter difficulties.

It is always a good idea to double-check the terms and conditions of the booking site before making a reservation, as this can save you from any unexpected surprises later on.

Expedia and others permit changes for a fee

However, there are a few booking sites that do permit name changes on hotel reservations, albeit for a fee. Expedia, for example, allows customers to transfer their bookings to another individual by paying a nominal fee.

This can be a convenient option if your travel plans change or if you need to transfer the reservation to another person.

It’s worth noting that the fees and policies for name changes can vary between different booking sites, so it is important to read the terms and conditions carefully before making your reservation. This will help you make an informed decision and avoid any additional charges or complications down the line.

Read terms carefully before booking

Before booking a hotel reservation, it is crucial to read the terms and conditions of the booking site thoroughly. This will ensure that you are aware of their policies regarding name changes and any associated fees.

Taking the time to understand these details can save you from any potential headaches or frustrations in the future.

If you are unsure about the transferability of a hotel booking, it is always a good idea to reach out to the booking site’s customer service for clarification. They will be able to provide you with accurate information and assist you in making any necessary changes to your reservation.

Steps for Attempting Transfer

Contact hotel and booking site immediately

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to transfer a hotel booking, the first step is to contact both the hotel and the booking site as soon as possible. It is crucial to notify them promptly to increase your chances of a successful transfer.

You can find the hotel’s contact information on their website or in the confirmation email you received after making the booking. For the booking site, check their “Contact Us” page or look for a customer service number or email address.

Explain the situation politely and request options

When contacting the hotel and booking site, it is important to remain calm and polite. Explain your situation clearly and concisely, and ask for any available options for transferring the booking. This could include transferring the booking to another person, changing the dates, or canceling the booking altogether.

Remember that the willingness of the hotel and booking site to accommodate your request will depend on their policies and availability.

Be prepared to pay transfer or change fees

In some cases, transferring a hotel booking may come with a fee. This could be a transfer fee, change fee, or a difference in price if the rates have changed. It is essential to inquire about any applicable fees during your conversation with the hotel and booking site.

By being prepared to pay these fees, you can avoid any surprises and ensure a smooth transfer process.

Alternatives If Transfer Fails

While transferring a hotel booking may not always be possible, there are several alternatives you can explore if the transfer fails. These alternatives can help you salvage your reservation and ensure that you don’t lose out on your accommodation.

1. See if reservation can be canceled for partial refund

If the hotel allows cancellations, check their cancellation policy to see if you can cancel your reservation for a partial refund. Some hotels may charge a cancellation fee, but it might still be worth it if you can recover some of your money.

Make sure to contact the hotel directly or check their website for their specific cancellation policy.

2. Resell room via exchange site if allowed

If the hotel allows it, consider reselling your room through a reputable exchange site. These sites allow travelers to buy and sell hotel reservations, often at a discounted price. This way, you can transfer your booking to someone else and potentially recoup some or all of your expenses.

However, be cautious when using these sites and make sure to verify their legitimacy and read reviews from other users to avoid any scams or fraudulent transactions.

3. Book a new room for another person

If all else fails, you can always book a new room for another person. While this means you’ll have to bear the cost of a new reservation, it ensures that the room doesn’t go to waste. You can consider offering the room to a friend or family member who might be interested in using it, or you can explore online platforms where you can find potential travelers looking for last-minute accommodations.

Just make sure to inform the hotel about the change in guest name to avoid any complications during check-in.

Remember, it’s always best to check with the hotel directly regarding their transfer policies and any available alternatives. Each hotel may have different rules and options, so it’s important to be proactive and explore all possible solutions to avoid any unnecessary expenses or inconvenience.


While most hotel bookings can’t be transferred, there are some cases where name changes are possible. Carefully check policies before booking and promptly contact the hotel and site used if trying to transfer a reservation.

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