"Walking" a Reservation

Should DVC implement more restrictive policies toward reservation modifications?

  • Yes

    Votes: 70 38.3%
  • No

    Votes: 113 61.7%

  • Total voters
    183

DVC Mike

DIS Veteran
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
"Walking" a Reservation

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I am posting a poll asking if DVC should implement more restrictive policies toward reservation modifications, or if this is just not necessary. Yes, this is one of those regularly occurring topics, which is why I'm creating this post for The DVC Information Center.

It's perfectly OK to share your opinions and to disagree with me or others. I simply ask that we communicate any difference of opinion in a respectful manner.

BOOKING FLEXIBILITY

DVC allows members to add and remove days from an existing reservation. While this provides great flexibility to members if their plans change, it also creates opportunities to potentially “manipulate” the system to one’s advantage at the expense of others.

”WALKING” A RESERVATION

One such potentially contentious practice is called “Walking a Reservation”.

This is a method some DVC members have devised to help secure some hard-to-get reservations, which involves reserving a room days or even weeks ahead of the intended travel dates and then continuing to add and delete dates over time.

This has been a minor controversy for years, but I am still surprised by the number of DVC members who are unaware of this practice.

There are two main groups of thought on this practice:

”WALKING IS UNFAIR”

One group of people states that though the flexibility of the booking rules enables this practice, it is considered an abuse of the reservation system. They question whether it’s fair or considerate to other members to take advantage of relatively unknown “loopholes”, that it messes with the reservation system, and that it seems kind of like cheating or “gaming” the system. The “walker” is effectively blocking other DVC members from booking a room they want, that the “walker” has no intention of using.

”IT'S NOT AGAINST THE RULES”

Others think since that the rules allow these practices, it’s not their fault that not every DVC member isn’t aware of them. The rules allow it, everyone can do it, and walking a reservation is therefore not breaking any rules. It is not illegal or unethical. Others are taking advantage of it, so why shouldn’t they? Is it really a problem, they ask? Or is it just merely a scapegoat for people who are unable to book a hard-to-get reservation? Is it a bunch of hoopla over nothing?

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

How does it work? You make the first day of your reservation start earlier than when you really intend your vacation to start. You then call into Member Services every day moving the start date of your reservation back one day and extending it on the end by one day. Eventually, you'll end up getting the actual vacation dates you originally wanted to book in the first lace. This theoretically gives you a head start on all of the people who were unaware of the “loophole” and followed the rules and waited until eleven/seven months from their actual vacation dates.

This is unnecessary most of the time, but some members feel it is necessary for them to be guaranteed a difficult to get reservation, such as between Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

AN EXAMPLE

So, let’s assume you wanted to book a Grand Villa from December 24 through January 2. Instead of making the call on January 24, eleven months out, you start calling on say, January 15, booking what you can. Every day you call, you drop the first day, and add another at the end. You get a seven-day jump on the night of the 24th by doing this, and the best chance of getting one of the few Grand Villas during a popular time of year.

There are variations of this method – some call every day, others call every few days, others call every 6th or 7th day. The purpose is to beat other members to the reservation dates. If you wait until January 24 and call and ask for December 24 through December 30, it is possible that the first six days would be booked up because someone called the day before.

IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?

I would challenge anyone who says this is really necessary at the 11-month window for most dates and room types. Frankly, I think some folks are walking reservations where it is simply not necessary.

At seven months, it has a logistical issue – you get the jump on those people booking at seven months – but there is always the chance that an owner has already booked a night in the middle. For rooms where there is a very small inventory remaining at seven months, the chances of a hole in your reservation is pretty high.

So you go through a lot of extra work and tie up Member Services staff (increasing everyone's dues) to do something that generally isn't necessary at seven months.

I guess one unintended side effect of this post may be having people who read it begin to believe that it’s necessary to walk a reservation. So let me repeat: walking a reservation is simply not necessary for the vast majority of DVC reservations.


SHOULD ANY CHANGES BE MADE?

Bottom line, the practice most likely does give a person an advantage over those who don't walk a reservation.

So, should DVC implement more restrictive policies toward reservation modifications? Placing restrictions on booking is going to harm the flexibility of the reservation system, which is one of the things that many enjoy about DVC.

Would added restrictions that would degrade the flexibility of DVC be worth it to fix this so-called “problem”?

Those that see “walking a reservation” as an abuse of the system have called for charging a fee to modify a reservation, or to make every change to a reservation a cancellation and rebooking. Others say a simpler solution would be for Disney to give you a limit to the number of times you can change a reservation (i.e., no more than 2-3 times).

However, most members would most likely not want such limitations placed on them, and they worry about the unintended consequences of these types of changes. They worry that “the cure may be worse than the disease”.

Those that do walk reservations would like to see the ability to modify reservations added to the website, to reduce the volume of calls to Member Services that this practice necessitates.


IN MY OPINION...

Personally, I don't see DVC taking action on this. Most members are simply unaware of the practice so they're not going to complain. The practice doesn't harm Disney, and there's no reason for Disney to take any action at this point. Placing restrictions on booking is going to harm the flexibility of the reservation system, so I'm not sure I'd want any changes. As I said, “the cure may be worse than the disease”.

I have never walked a reservation, and someone walking a reservation has never harmed me, as I have never been locked out of booking what I want. I get the reservation I want - 100% of the time - because I book my home resort at the 11-month window and I don't book he hard-to-get types of reservations. So, I have no skin in this game and am fine with the way things work now.

That's my opinion. What's yours?

My guess is that there the majority will vote "No" on the poll.


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http://i235.************************************************************* DVC Mike - *******.com
 

beer dave

IMOLOL
Joined
Apr 30, 2011
The only problem with walking will be in a few years when everyone figures it out or as everyone is figuring it out-- it will become more necessary. And like the fast pass loopholes of the past, eventually something will need to be done to correct it.
 

Minniesgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
At least 9-10 months of the year walking should be totally unnecessary for most room types.

For me it is a bit of a non issue pile. This practise doesn't concern me as I have never done it and it has never bothered me as I have never had issues booking at 11 months. I don't really see the point wasting energy walking and if people are that desperate for the room they want then they probably want it more than I do.
 
  • com_op_2000

    DVC Member since '93; One Hour from WDW
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2010
    I have only every walked once (in over 20 years of DVC) and that was for a PVB this year.
    I did not do a "normal" walking, instead of booking 7 days starting before the first day of the reservation I wanted, I booked 7 days starting at the end of the reservation and dropped off days on the front end instead of calling each day to add the next day.
     

    beer dave

    IMOLOL
    Joined
    Apr 30, 2011
    At least 9-10 months of the year walking should be totally unnecessary for most room types.

    For me it is a bit of a non issue pile. This practise doesn't concern me as I have never done it and it has never bothered me as I have never had issues booking at 11 months. I don't really see the point wasting energy walking and if people are that desperate for the room they want then they probably want it more than I do.

    I agree. I only did the scarlet W once, just recently, for club level AK in adventure season. Otherwise not that important. We bought AK last winter just for the option. Maybe it won't be that great and we won't have to do it again. Luckily I resrerve one bedrooms, so it's not as tough--- but if you want the studio, better start early.
     

    DenLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2009
    I can't see me walking a reservation. Is it really that important to only stay at a specific resort in certain room type for most members? It is not the end of the world if you have to stay somewhere else. But then I purchased home resorts where I want to stay.
     

    Minniesgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2013
    I agree. I only did the scarlet W once, just recently, for club level AK in adventure season. Otherwise not that important. We bought AK last winter just for the option. Maybe it won't be that great and we won't have to do it again. Luckily I resrerve one bedrooms, so it's not as tough--- but if you want the studio, better start early.
    I just booked AKV concierge for just after Easter. In fact I booked a Savannah view and changed it about 3 weeks after 11 months. Now I'm regretting it as the view might be bad.
     

    SarahInMN

    Drink your wine with a cheerful heart
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2008
    The only problem with walking will be in a few years when everyone figures it out or as everyone is figuring it out-- it will become more necessary. And like the fast pass loopholes of the past, eventually something will need to be done to correct it.
    Agreed that it may become necessary and that DVC will need to do something about about it.

    We bought where we want to stay - BCV and VGF. We usually book around 10-11 months out and generally in a 1 BR, which go slower than studios anyways. I hate the idea of having to walk because it sounds like such a hassle but if there is a point where I can't book my home resort at 11 months, then I may have to do it.

    We booked 1 week at BCV this year at 11 months. One month later we tried to add on an extra Fri/Sat (to our Sun-Sun stay) and those nights were gone: this seems fair at 10 months during F&W but had I not been able to get my week at the opening of the 11 month window I would have been expletive expletive angry.

    I just really this idea of exploiting loopholes for personal gain: people used to book 5 ADRs for the same meal and then decide at the last minute which one to keep and that took 4 ADRs from other families. Walking a reservation seems like the same thing to me: booking a room, with no intent to keep it, and then canceling it which prevents someone else from booking it.
     

    rfc0001

    Russ
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2013
    90% of the time walking isn't necessary, therefore doesn't "hurt" anyone. The 10% of the time it actually is necessary, then it's either you or them. I think most people would chose themselves over letting someone else get days they need -- I mean, that's the point, isn't it?
     

    gdrj

    Boardwalk owner since 1999
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2012
    I have never felt the need to walk a resv. We have vacationed over XMAS, Easter and peak summer times. While we may want a specific resort, there is usually availability elsewhere. We decided late to book for Food and Wine. Our home resort was booked (BWV), and we booked AKV which we partially had to waitlist. We got all the nights we needed. I had waitlisted BWV but cancelled the waitlist a few weeks back as we decided to waitlist an additional day to extend our stay. This morning I went on DVC availability and saw BWV available for Boardwalk and Pool views. I grabbed it quickly. While it was nice to get it would not have been a bad thing to stay at AKV.
     

    Minniesgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2013
    Agreed that it may become necessary and that DVC will need to do something about about it.

    We bought where we want to stay - BCV and VGF. We usually book around 10-11 months out and generally in a 1 BR, which go slower than studios anyways. I hate the idea of having to walk because it sounds like such a hassle but if there is a point where I can't book my home resort at 11 months, then I may have to do it.

    We booked 1 week at BCV this year at 11 months. One month later we tried to add on an extra Fri/Sat (to our Sun-Sun stay) and those nights were gone: this seems fair at 10 months during F&W but had I not been able to get my week at the opening of the 11 month window I would have been expletive expletive angry.

    I just really this idea of exploiting loopholes for personal gain: people used to book 5 ADRs for the same meal and then decide at the last minute which one to keep and that took 4 ADRs from other families. Walking a reservation seems like the same thing to me: booking a room, with no intent to keep it, and then canceling it which prevents someone else from booking it.
    i actually see this as quite different from stockpiling ADRs as there is no real limit n how many ADRs you can book but your room reservations are limited by the number of points you have.

    I hope Disney do nothing to stop this practise as it will be worst for all of us. There is no way to distinguish between someone walking and someone changing there arrival dates as the flights were cheaper or because they changed their minds. Stopping walking would probably result in a less flexible system for all.
     

    SarahInMN

    Drink your wine with a cheerful heart
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2008
    I hope Disney do nothing to stop this practise as it will be worst for all of us. There is no way to distinguish between someone walking and someone changing there arrival dates as the flights were cheaper or because they changed their minds. Stopping walking would probably result in a less flexible system for all.
    I actually think plans changing vs walking is easy to separate: the latter would be changing their ressie daily (and almost immediately after making the original reservation) and the former would change once or twice further out.
     

    AnnaKat

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 26, 2015
    I learned about walking a reservation through the DVC Cast Member suggesting it!! We only have 100 points. We specifically bought AKL to book the value studios & get 10 nights per year. We would not have bought DVC if we could only get 7 nights on 100 points. Walking is a necessary " evil " to be successful in booking a value studio when we like to visit--late November/early December. If an Owner has 300-400 points, now that is a whole different ball game!!
     

    Alice Sr.

    My little Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2000
    I was unable to get my preferred room request this year and so far the wait list has not come in for me. I searched this topic because I don't want to be beat out again. As my DD's have grown and now have families of their own the scheduling and accommodations needs/wants have become more restrictive than in the past. I had attempted to book a BWV 2 bedroom Boardwalk view for the 1st week in Nov. My oldest DD will be running the 1/2 and we will both be doing the 10k. My youngest DD just gave birth to her 2nd DD yesterday and we knew she would be spending more time in the room than usual. I thought it would help to have some entertainment outside the (balcony) door during downtime (for the kids sake). I did realize this would be a desirable time of year between the F&W and the 1/2 Marathon but never thought I would not get what I wanted by calling in the minute the window opened. MS was shocked also and thought for sure I would get a call in a few days that the wait list had come in (as mentioned above, not the case). In the future if there is a very specific timeline and unit that I want I will use walking. That will not be the norm but an option I will not rule out if need be.
     

    supersnoop

    What time is the three o'clock parade?
    Joined
    Nov 13, 2013
    I was unable to get my preferred room request this year and so far the wait list has not come in for me. I searched this topic because I don't want to be beat out again. As my DD's have grown and now have families of their own the scheduling and accommodations needs/wants have become more restrictive than in the past. I had attempted to book a BWV 2 bedroom Boardwalk view for the 1st week in Nov. My oldest DD will be running the 1/2 and we will both be doing the 10k. My youngest DD just gave birth to her 2nd DD yesterday and we knew she would be spending more time in the room than usual. I thought it would help to have some entertainment outside the (balcony) door during downtime (for the kids sake). I did realize this would be a desirable time of year between the F&W and the 1/2 Marathon but never thought I would not get what I wanted by calling in the minute the window opened. MS was shocked also and thought for sure I would get a call in a few days that the wait list had come in (as mentioned above, not the case). In the future if there is a very specific timeline and unit that I want I will use walking. That will not be the norm but an option I will not rule out if need be.
    That room really shouldn't have been a problem and shouldn't require walking in the future. But your description of the events causes some questions to arise.

    Were you booking at 11 months, or 7 months out? That category is likely fully booked well before 7 months.
    Why were you calling instead of booking online? The booking period for the first week of November opens up during a time of year with lots of holidays. The call center may be closed on some very important days. It's always better to book online, which should be open, and also opens an hour earlier.
     

    Alice Sr.

    My little Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2000
    That room really shouldn't have been a problem and shouldn't require walking in the future. But your description of the events causes some questions to arise.

    Were you booking at 11 months, or 7 months out? That category is likely fully booked well before 7 months.
    Why were you calling instead of booking online? The booking period for the first week of November opens up during a time of year with lots of holidays. The call center may be closed on some very important days. It's always better to book online, which should be open, and also opens an hour earlier.
    I know I was so surprised but I had heard people complaining for a while now (about booking issues) and figured it finally trickled down to me. I was booking at the 11 mons window opening and I tried to book online 1st thing but there was one day in the middle that was not available and it was making me waitlist the whole resv, would not let me book the beginning or ending separately. Definitely something quirky going on with the online site. I called in the minute MS opened and my call was taken immediately. Like I said the MS rep was surprised also. I know from booking the previous year that the Epcot Resorts book really fast for this week between the 1/2 and F&W.
     

    jerseyduke

    Home is just where you stay when not at WDW
    Joined
    Jan 19, 2013
    I actually think plans changing vs walking is easy to separate: the latter would be changing their ressie daily (and almost immediately after making the original reservation) and the former would change once or twice further out.
    You do not have to call daily to walk. If you have a 7 day reservation, you need to call every 6 days.

    Most times it is probably not necessary, and I would hate to see the system become more restrictive.

    I think DVC could possibly mitigate the situation with some small changed (if they are legally possible), that would not make the system restrictive.

    1. They should be able to data mine, and see when and where walking occurs. They could reallocate those times.
    2. Perhaps 1 free change per reservation, after that, add a fee..50-100$ maybe?

    Sadly if you want a studio at the VGF in december, you have virtually no chance of getting it at 8AM of the 11 month mark.

    I had to walk to do it. But I really would rather not have to do that every year. That is why I bought another contract at a different home resort.

    If I had known then what I know now, my VGF contract would be a fixed week 49.

    Now if I can not get VGF, i got a back up plan, and can use VGF at another time, or bank and do a 1 bedroom every other year.
     

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