The legal situation when
ordering a hotel room
If a hotel room is ordered and confirmed, a guest accommodation contract is concluded.
Written form is not required. A telephone order is sufficient. A reservation is therefore already a legally binding guest accommodation contract.
The conclusion of the guest accommodation contract obligates the contracting parties to fulfill the concluded mutual obligations for the entire duration of the contract.
The guest is liable if he does not use the ordered hotel room (cancellation, no-show).
The principle applies: “Contracts must be kept.” He remains legally obligated to pay the price for the agreed hotel service, without regard to the reason for the prevention (§ 537 BGB). This is not a claim for damages, but for performance, which is often overlooked. The invoice must therefore also include value added tax.
As with vacation trips, the guest can only protect himself by taking out travel cancellation insurance. However, this also only pays in the event of illness and death.
There is no legal right to withdraw (cancellation). Also illness, death, car breakdown, cancellation of meetings etc. do not release from the obligation to pay the accommodation price.
Something else applies if the parties have agreed on a right of withdrawal by contract or general terms and conditions (GTC) or if there are significant service disruptions of the hotel.
Only for the period in which the hotel is fully booked (completely occupied) in this room category, the obligation of the guest to pay in the amount of the otherwise achieved income for this period does not apply. The innkeeper is not obliged to make efforts to sublet the room to other guests (OLG Düsseldorf Urt. v. 2.5.91 – 10 U 191/90 -).
§ Section 254 of the German Civil Code (BGB) (contributory negligence) does not apply to the claim for performance under the rental agreement, but is assigned to the law on damages.
Deduction of saved expenses
In the case of a cancellation invoice (no-show) to the guest, the actual savings of the business must be deducted. According to experience, the savings of the business amount to
- for the overnight stay with breakfast 20%
- for half board arrangements 30%
- for full board agreements 40%
of the agreed price. This is also the view of the courts. The OLG Frankfurt (Urt.v. 29.2.84 -17 U 77/83-) and the OLG Cologne (Urt.v. 18.10.91 – 19 U 79/91 -) even assumed only 10% saved expenses for bed and breakfast.
In principle, the innkeeper has a right to cash payment for all services before departure and, accordingly, a legal lien on the guest’s belongings brought in.
We endeavor to prepare this information on the basis of the current factual and legal situation. For damages that could arise from the use of this document, liability is limited to intent and gross negligence. Excluded from this is liability for damage to body, life and health, for which the statutory liability rules apply without restriction. Please check regularly that the documents used are up to date and pay attention to our association notices.
———– DEHOGA – Hotel-und Gaststättenverband ———–