Getting overstaying guests to leave often is delicate
Getting overstaying guests to leave often is delicate
16 NOVEMBER 2020 8:36 AM

Most guests leave their hotels once the period they have booked is over, but not all, and this particularly thorny, delicate situation might once again raise its head.

More than six years ago, Hotel News Now published an article by Patrick Mayock, our former editor in chief and who remains with our parent company STR in its research and development team, on how hoteliers can get rid of guests who refuse to leave, generally after their bookings have ended.

I was reminded of this in relation to talk that a certain high-profile “guest” might refuse to leave his 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., “hotel” next 20 January at noon sharp.

Back in June, some mused on the possibility of that guest refusing to leave if he, let’s say, lost the hotel’s weekly pub quiz. Magazine The Atlantic stated “if (that particular guest) boycotted the rituals surrounding the (end of the pub quiz) and holed up inside the (quiz room), he’d be squatting.”

Noon is a very decent check-out hour, I would have thought. Hoteliers would be justified in charging an extra day’s average daily rate, or at least a percentage of that for there being fewer hours in which housekeepers can perform their duties.

Refusing to hand his quiz answers in to the adjudicators in time might mean the next quiz perhaps does not get off to the right start?

The hotel’s questions coordinators would not be able to ban him from the next pub quiz, though, and there is due to be another one in 2024, hotelier sources explained.

In Mayock’s article, he spoke with Stephen Barth, professor of hospitality law, University of Houston, and founder of, who cited four reasons that a guest might be removed from a hotel:

  1. if the guest does not pay or lacks the ability to pay;
  2. if the guest overstays beyond the dates specified in the reservation contract (although this can be state-specific);
  3. if the guest is drunk, disorderly or otherwise creates risk of harm to employees or other guests; and/or
  4. if the guest is violating the law.

The article continues by saying that before the guest can be booted out a verbal exchange “must be carried out in a professional manner, free of insulting language, intimidating conduct or other offensive actions that could lead to liability elsewhere, such as defamation, humiliation or infliction of emotional distress.”

No likelihood of any of that happening in this instance, obviously.

Maybe Barth can be consulted again? He remains a professor at the university’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management.

Mayock also spoke to Joe McInerney, a former head of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and professorial colleague of Barth’s, and who has published a book titled “Change is the new status quo,” which, according to his website, is “a book about leadership, management, people, and lessons learned.”

Paraphrasing what he said to Mayock in 2014, it is important for those setting pub quizzes not to tear up an itinerant competitor’s answer sheet in half by themselves.

“When confronting a guest, never do it by yourself. Bring backup in the form of another associate or employee,” he told Mayock.

It is still possible, though, that the National Association of Competitors’ Rights in Hotel-based Pub Quizzes might look at this particular case at its executive-board annual general meeting and state that the particular quiz-goer is well within his rights to claim he did indeed get all the questions right, not wrong, and thus does not have to leave after all.

Who knows? In this very strange year, anything can happen.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

1 Comment

  • DallasGM November 17, 2020 12:51 PM Reply

    Maybe it's just me but I didn't follow this oped at all.

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