What Should You Do if Hotels Don not Warn You About the Strikes?

What Should You Do if Hotels Don not Warn You About the Strikes?

In the modern world, where travel has become an integral part of our lives, it is not uncommon for guests to encounter unexpected situations when staying at hotels. One such situation is finding oneself faced with a picket line or a labor strike upon arrival. The experience can be unsettling and frustrating, leaving guests wondering what actions they can take and what their rights are in such circumstances. In this article, we will explore the options available to customers when hotels fail to warn them about strikes and provide guidance on how to navigate these situations.

Understanding the Impact of Strikes on Hotel Guests

Before delving into the actions that can be taken, it is important to understand the implications of labor strikes on hotel guests. Strikes are organized by workers to protest against unfavorable working conditions, wages, or other grievances. They often involve picket lines, where workers gather outside the hotel premises, creating a boisterous and sometimes confrontational atmosphere.

When guests arrive at a hotel and encounter a picket line, they may feel inconvenienced, uncomfortable, or even conflicted about crossing the line. Some guests may choose to support the workers by not crossing the picket line, while others may have concerns about the impact on their stay and may decide to seek alternative accommodation.

Hotel Disclosure Policies and Guest Notification

The issue at hand is whether hotels have an obligation to notify guests in advance about labor strikes or picket lines. While some hotels proactively inform guests, others do not disclose this information unless there is a service disruption anticipated during the guest’s stay. This lack of transparency can create a sense of surprise and frustration among guests who find themselves in the midst of a labor dispute upon arrival.

Marriott, for example, maintains that if they have taken measures to ensure that there will be no service disruption during a guest’s stay, there is no need to notify guests about the strike. This approach, however, disregards the feelings and opinions of guests who may have personal or ethical objections to crossing a picket line.

In contrast, certain cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws requiring hotels to disclose potential service disruptions to guests. These laws recognize the importance of informing guests about labor unrest that could reasonably affect their stay.

The Need for Reasonable Guest Notification

The absence of a uniform policy across hotel chains highlights the need for reasonable guest notification. Hotels should consider the potential impact of labor unrest on guests’ experiences and make an effort to inform them during the booking process or through pre-arrival communications.

If a hotel has a history of intermittent pickets or work stoppages, it is reasonable to expect that such disruptions could occur during a guest’s stay. Similar to how hotels mention potential construction noise in their communications, they should also disclose information about labor unrest.

A last-minute heads-up, such as an email a few days before arrival, could go a long way in ensuring that guests are aware of the situation and can make informed decisions about their stay. This level of transparency allows guests to rearrange their plans or seek alternative accommodations if they prefer to avoid crossing a picket line.

Recourse for Guests: Exercising Your Rights

When hotels fail to inform guests about strikes, it is important for customers to be aware of their rights and the options available to them. While there may not be a universal solution, taking specific actions can help alleviate any inconvenience or discomfort caused by labor disputes.

1. Research and Preparation

Before booking a hotel, especially in areas known for labor unrest, it is advisable to conduct thorough research. Check local news sources, labor union websites, and social media platforms to gather information about any ongoing strikes or picket lines. This proactive approach allows guests to make informed decisions and choose accommodations that align with their values and preferences.

2. Contact the Hotel

If you have already made a reservation and discover a picket line upon arrival, consider contacting the hotel directly to express your concerns. Politely explain your discomfort and inquire about their policies regarding last-minute cancellations or penalties for changing accommodations. Some hotels may waive any charges or penalties as a gesture of goodwill.

3. Explore Alternative Accommodations

If you feel strongly about not crossing a picket line or are uncomfortable with the atmosphere created by the strike, explore alternative accommodation options nearby. Online travel platforms and apps can help you find available rooms at other hotels or explore alternative lodging options such as vacation rentals or bed and breakfast establishments.

4. Document Your Experience

In the event that you decide to change accommodations due to a labor strike, it is important to keep a record of your experience. Take note of any conversations or correspondence with hotel staff, including names and positions of individuals involved. This documentation can be useful if you need to dispute any charges or if you choose to share your experience with others.

5. Seek Refunds and Chargebacks

If you encounter resistance from the hotel in waiving charges or refunding your stay, consider taking further action. Request written confirmation of the hotel’s decision to charge you and forward the exchange to relevant authorities or consumer protection agencies. Additionally, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company, providing them with the necessary evidence to support your claim.

The Importance of Industry-Wide Policies

While individual hotels may have their own policies regarding labor strikes, it is essential for the industry as a whole to establish standards that prioritize guest welfare and satisfaction. By implementing clear and transparent policies, hotels can better serve their guests and mitigate any negative impact caused by labor disputes.

Industry associations should work collaboratively with hotels, labor unions, and regulatory bodies to develop guidelines that ensure consistent guest notification and fair treatment in situations involving labor unrest. This proactive approach would not only protect guests but also contribute to a more harmonious relationship between hotel management and their workforce.


In conclusion, finding oneself faced with a labor strike or picket line upon arriving at a hotel can be an unexpected and unsettling experience. While hotels may not always proactively inform guests about potential disruptions, customers have options to navigate these situations. By conducting research, contacting the hotel, exploring alternative accommodations, and documenting their experience, guests can assert their rights and make informed decisions. Ultimately, the establishment of industry-wide policies and standards is crucial to ensure transparency and prioritize guest welfare in cases involving labor disputes.

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