The "Walk” Defined
Much like the airlines, a standard business practice of hotels is to oversell its rooms by a small percentage. Because of the typically loose and short-term cancellation policy (especially at city hotels or in high-traffic areas), the strategy usually results in total occupancy rather than overflow occupancy. Many travelers miss their flights or change their plans, while businesses overestimate overnight attendance for business meetings and everything evens out. However, every so often the strategy backfires and a few unlucky guests are left without a room. As a result, the guest(s) is “walked” to another hotel accommodation.
What to Expect
If one of your attendees is "walked," the front desk manager will explain the situation, make alternate arrangements, and coordinate transportation accordingly. The guest will not be charged and neither will your organization. Sometimes a meal is thrown into the mix as well. Depending on the distance of the alternate accommodations to the hotel where the meeting is being held, the hotel will likely provide complimentary transportation to and from the meetings. It isn’t always such a bad deal, but can also be inconvenient.
How to Prepare
Research the hotels in the area that are near your predominant hotel or meeting location prior to your group's peak check-in date. Check their availability online and be knowledgeable of their whereabouts. In the off chance that one of your attendees is walked, you will be that much more helpful in the process. You may also be able to provide input to the hotel manager in regards to location preference. Your say in the decision will ease the stress of the situation for your attendee. If you have a VIPs in your group, make sure to denote their status in the rooming list or call the hotel and explain who they are. They will be that much less likely to be walked in the first place when their status is made known.