If you need more time, here’s a quick answer to your question: A hotel deposit is a monetary amount held by the hotel to secure a room booking, and to cover potential incidental costs during a guest’s stay.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve deeper into understanding what a hotel deposit is, its significance, how it’s calculated, different hotel deposit policies, and the refund process. The goal is to ensure that, as a hotel guest, you’re fully aware and prepared to handle hotel deposits effectively.
Do You Get A Deposit Back From A Hotel?
Hotels need a deposit to ensure a reservation and pay any extra fees while a visitor is there. Along with the hotel deposit, a pre-authorization holds your credit card before you arrive to ensure payment of costs. However, a security deposit is withdrawn if the hotel or its assets are destroyed. Non-refundable and refundable hotel deposits are the major types. If you cancel and pay the Hotel Security Deposit or don’t spend any money while there, you’ll get it back.
Understanding Hotel Deposits?
If you’ve ever stayed at a hotel, you’ve probably come across the term “hotel deposit” at some point. But what exactly does it mean? Simply put, a hotel deposit is a sum of money you pay upfront to secure your reservation and cover any incidental charges that may arise during your stay.
Standard terms related to hotel deposits include “security deposit” and “pre-authorization.” A security deposit is a refundable amount that covers any damages to the room or property. At the same time, a pre-authorization is a temporary hold on your credit card that guarantees payment for your stay and any potential charges.
There are two main types of hotel deposits: refundable and non-refundable. A refundable deposit means that you’ll get your money back if you cancel your reservation within a specific timeframe or if you don’t incur any incidental charges during your stay. A non-refundable deposit, on the other hand, means that you won’t get your money back regardless of whether or not you stay at the hotel.
Why Do Hotels Require A Deposit?
Hotels require a deposit as a form of security to protect themselves from potential losses. The deposit helps cover any additional charges that the guest may incur and ensures that the hotel is paid for any damages or losses caused by the guest.
Additionally, the deposit protects the hotel from instances where the guest may leave without paying their outstanding balance.
5 Tips To Remember When You Pay For A Hotel Room
Hidden fees, complex cancellation policies, and incidental deposits are some surprises that may show up on your hotel bill at checkout. Follow these five steps to avoid sticker shock:
1. Find Out Precisely What The Hotel’s Cancellation Policy Is
Before you click the BOOK button on a hotel reservation, read the hotel’s cancellation policy line-by-line. Then, reread it. Policies vary wildly depending on the property and, in some cases, the dates of your stay.
Popular holidays or significant events in town usually warrant a stricter cancellation policy, but typically, a hotel will want 24 hours’ notice before canceling a reservation without charging you. Other hotels require 48 or 72 hours, while some insist on a week’s notice or more. Some hotels may even charge you a flat cancellation fee regardless of when you cancel.
Suppose you’re using a third-party booking site like Expedia or Priceline. In that case, that company may have a cancellation policy that differs from the hotel’s, so read both carefully.
2. At Check-In, Note The Incidentals Deposit And Any Extra Fees
Before handing you the room key and sending you on your way, a hotel should tell you the amount your credit card will be “authorized” in advance for incidental purchases (room service, mini bar, Wi-Fi, etc.) or damages. A reputable hotel will also disclose that info when booking, so you should avoid surprises when you check in.
Since this is just a temporary hold on your credit card, it will be taken off your account once you check out—provided you haven’t raided the mini bar or trashed the room during your stay.
Check-in is also where hotels should notify you of additional fees not included in the room rate, such as resort fees (and don’t get us started on that boondoggle) and charges for fitness center access, parking, pets, or towels. Again, most of these fees should be listed on the hotel’s website when booking, but reviewing the extras at the start of your stay is always a good idea.
3. Don’t Use A Debit Card—But If You Must, Ensure You Have Enough Money In Your Bank Account
For several reasons, using a debit card for a hotel room isn’t wise. The biggest one is that many of us need more money in our accounts to cover room rates, taxes, and the temporary deposit for incidentals.
With a credit card, the incidental deposit is merely a hold on your credit card. But with a debit card, the hotel takes that money out of your account immediately.
Once you check out, the hotel will put the funds back in your account, but it always takes banks a few days—or sometimes a week—to get that money back to you. So, if you must use a debit card, do so only if you have enough funds to cover your hotel stay, the deposits, and your general living expenses for a week after you leave the hotel.
4. Remember That The Hotel Collects Fees And Incidental Charges—Not The Booking Site You Used
Even if you fully prepaid for your room at a third-party booking site, the hotel will still need to see a credit card at check-in for incidental charges and resort fees (if applicable, and ugh). The hotel is not charging you twice—if you booked anywhere but through the hotel’s official site, you haven’t been set yet for those fees when you stroll up to the reception desk; you’ve only paid the room rate.
5. After Your Stay, Look Closely At Your Checkout Documents And Your Bank Account
Hotels are notorious for making billing mistakes, often in the form of double charges. (For example, you ordered one movie from the room’s TV, but the hotel charged you for two.) If you don’t catch these mistakes at checkout, where a front desk agent can easily remove them before running your credit card, you’ll have to go through the hassle of calling the hotel to dispute the charges. Then, you’ll have to keep checking your bank account to ensure the money gets refunded.
While it’s tempting to leave your room without giving the checkout documents a second glance, hotels are unreliable, and extra charges on your bank statement aren’t worth the trouble.
Thanks for reading.