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At any one time, there are millions of paid-for hotel rooms standing empty worldwide. Although it sounds like an exaggeration, that is the simple truth. In the US alone, 220 000 reservations are cancelled daily!

It shouldn’t be surprising then that cancelled rooms are a major problem for the hotel industry. It definitely shouldn’t be surprising that they cover themselves for this inevitability. And it’s the frustrated traveler who gets the short end of the stick.

It is now common practice for hotels to have “no refund” policies. So while the room stands empty, it remains booked. There is an incidental consequence of this, that can actually be turned to your advantage…

There’s a high chance your ideal room is unoccupied
Everyone has a planned location for their next big trip. Whether or not you can afford it right now, you know exactly where you want to go. According to the statistics above, there is a paid-for room in your destination which you could be using.

A friend of mine cancelled a trip recently, and offered me her reservation. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take leave at the time, and the accommodation just went to waste. If it had been the right time, I could have saved money on a fantastic vacation.

But if you’re looking to get lucky, you could be waiting for a long time. The chances that someone you trust will cancel their vacation just when you need it – it’s unlikely, at best. However, there is a company called Roomer, who have actually made it possible.

Hotel recycling
The idea resembles recycling. You’re taking something that will otherwise be wasted, and putting it to good use. That’s the concept which underlies Roomer’s service.

Roomer provides a platform for frustrated travelers to match up with bargain seekers. The sellers, about to lose their money anyway, are willing to sell at a much lower price. It’s remarkably effective, so much so that Roomer was recently named as one of USA Today’s top 3 travel websites/apps. When I browsed through the hotel-marketplace, I understood why.

Lower prices than I could’ve expected
Roomer’s hotel-marketplace is where the magic happens. The discounted reservations are listed there for anyone to browse through. I went there expecting only small discounts, and probably low quality accommodation.

I was totally mistaken. The discounts were massive, ranging from the recommended 50% to almost 90% off. And some of the biggest discounts were on the best hotels. 4 and 5 star rooms were going for prices lower than you’d expect to pay for the most uncomfortable hotels.

They weren’t all in one location, either. There were deals around the world, causing me to think bigger than I had considered. My relatively low budget would get me far more than I knew I wanted.

Booking was simple
I expected to face complications when booking, but once again Roomer surprised me. Despite what must be complex logistics, booking was as easy, if not easier, than any other bookings website. Roomer does all the hard work for you. The transferral of the reservation is taken care of, so that when you arrive, the hotel is expecting you. They also ensure that you’re not being misled. Any posting on Roomer’s website has already been verified with the hotel. If someone is trying to sell a non-existing reservation, or embellishing on the details, Roomer finds out, so that you won’t face any unpleasant surprises.

Secure
I’m personally not comfortable giving my credit card details to strangers, even if they have been vetted. It’s a relief that payment on Roomer doesn’t work that way. They act as the exemplary middleman, and details are only shared with them. Buyers and sellers don’t find out each other’s names, locations, or financial details. And the seller only receives payment once the holiday is a success.

Hotels benefit too
As mentioned, cancelled reservations cause big losses to the hotel industry, even though they don’t give refunds. Any revenue garnered during the patron’s stay is lost, as well as good reviews and returning customers.

They want people staying there, even if they’re not getting paid anything extra. Roomer is therefore a great service to the hotel industry, and they know it. Many hotels are partnering with Roomer, and an upside of this is that they provide discounts on their rooms exclusively through Roomer’s website.

Resourceful way to travel
Roomer is an unconventional, but simple and resourceful way to travel. You’re making use of something that would otherwise have been wasted, and saving yourself money in the bargain.

It’s an opportunity to travel more often, to places you never thought you’d go. Give it a try. It really is a pleasure to use.

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.