Show and Tell: Cancellation policies. What’s yours?

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    Alasma

    Non Refundable Bookings;

    I don't refund any non-refundable booking unless any valid reason. in this case, I return once the apartment is resold. I deduct 20% to cover card transaction fee and my time.

    Refundable Bookings;

    Free cancellation for 5 days.

    Quite happy with this.

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    Lu_Madrid

    Alasma  Did you work with a different policy before? 

    When we first started, we thought it'd be good to set a 24h cancellation policy, but that was too bad for us: too many people cancelling last minute...

    Now we have a 3 days cancellation policy and not so many people cancel last minute. When they do, they try to do it at least 1 week in advance. 

    As for the non-refundable bookings, would people cancel it in advance even when they're non-refundable? Not working with this type of rates at the moment, so I would like to know more about it since you mention that you'd not refund it unless the apartment is rebooked again...

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    k2u

    I agree with Lu Madrid regarding Expedia vs. BDC. With Expedia our commission is less. As for BDC, we are much happier with BDC than Expedia as far as bookings and service. BDC is doing very very well for us and yes BDC customer service is much better.  

    And I also agree with M Adamopoulou, It is so much fun hosting/managing our property. 

     

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    Enquiries

    Isn't strange world wide the OTA's have different commissions and payment structures.  At this point in time for me in Australia  BDC takes 12% & Expedia takes 15% commission from each booking. For direct bookings via your own web site that is controlled  by BDC they take 10% commission.

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    k2u

    We are not controlled by BDC nor Expedia or any other OTA. We collect at property and I am a preferred partner with BDC so commission is more yes

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    M Adamopoulou

    BDC takes 15% from me and for PPP 20% . Commission is to high but BDC is a leader in its field with professional service.

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    Xkeidp

    What I would like to know is why such a high proportion of Booking.Com bookings are cancelled (approximately 30%) whereas bookings from the four other holiday apartment rental websites very rarely have cancellations. With Booking.Com I have a strict 60 day cancellation policy so at least there's a chance that a replacement guest will book the apartment.  The very high proportion of Booking.Com cancellations is a severe inconvenience and results in a loss of revenue.  I would ideally like to extend the 60 day cancellation policy to at least 90 days but Booking.Com don't offer this as an option.  The other option is to have a zero tolerance of cancellations policy but that would probably reduce bookings.  The other option is to remove my apartment from Booking.com. Situated in central London there will always be plenty of bookings from other sources.

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    michael beeston

    Hello Xkeidp...............Understand your frustration with cancellations............we had experienced a similar thing BUT since ( almost 1.5 years) we charged a 30% deposit it changed and we have had 2 cancellations since then and both were an emergency (death in the family) and we booked out the apartment as well. One of the cancellations even said take the 30% deposit for the inconvenience but in the case we said no and I am sure she will return one day.We have a 14 day cancellation policy and because we are on the Gold Coast Queensland, with many guests and tourists it seems to work well for us.hope this is some good info for you and bye the Way.We LOVE London...cheers...Michael.

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    michael beeston

    Lu-Madrid....Come to Australia for a fun life haha

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    michael beeston

    Hi Lu_Madrid............Our apartment is in a High Rise apartment block in the center of Surfers Paradise Queensland, with the beach on one side and beautiful Nerang River on the other. The apartment is very very luxurious and has a lot of our furniture from all over the World including a Versace Dinner/Coffee set and carpets and Chines furniture well over 100 years old.  Have a look at The Pinnacle Apartments Surfers Paradise on booking.com.we have 65 10.s in a row so we are very happy with BDC and the guests are nice people. I guess (and I dont know what you charge) we charge a higher price so get a higher quality of guest (that is not directed at anybody but it seems to be the case in Australia and of course ONLY 2 people ) It is a One bedroom apartment with 2 bathrooms/Spa and a TV media room ( I converted the other bedroom to a TV room) with Tennis Court/Spa/Sauna/BBQ area/Club Room/Gym/Secure underground parking and many other things with the Light tram line on the same road. We charge $250 per day during the high season and $160/180 per day for the slower seasons and have an 90% occupancy rate.............Hope this helps as I do not know of what everybody charges so am a "little" lost there..Michael.

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    michael beeston

    The apartment is 94 square metres..does that help ???..with 2 balconies overlooking the River.

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    Enquiries

    Sorry if I am digressing from the original cancellation policy question.

    I am over the emergency of "death in family" reason to cancel, over the years I recall that 3 guests used this excuse several times over. On fellow proclaimed his fathers'death 3 times ! How awful to use such a tragic occasion as an excuse. We now take the first nights room charge as soon as the booking comes through. Guests are aware of this when booking but still approximately 1 in 15 bookings have a problem with their credit card. Either no funds, invalid card, card cancelled ect.. Then the procedure to tell BDC try to contact the guest and so on.  It should not be that hard for us. If BDC took the prepayment (as do Expedia) then they would deal with the credit card failures not us.

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    michael beeston

    Hi Enquiries................YES !! I was first very skeptical of these emergencies but in our case we looked into (believe it or not ) Facebook and saw the messages of condolences BUT you are right PEOPLE will do just about anything to get out of paying and if people use "death" as an excuse, that is DISGUSTING !!!, but as I say being in the hospitality business we see many strange things happening, which are sometimes hard to believe.

    When we have a declined credit  card I send a message through booking.com saying please fix within one day or we shall cancel........most of the time it is good but on several occasions we have cancelled..good bye not worth the hassle and potential problems..as long as we get the 30% deposit everything seems to go very well.

     

    Thanks Enquiries, very interesting subject.

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    pibomarco

    "The other option is to have a zero tolerance of cancellations policy but that would probably reduce bookings.  The other option is to remove my apartment from Booking.com. Situated in central London there will always be plenty of bookings from other sources."

    I don't see logic here. :) If you have plenty other sources, then set your BDC policies strict.

    For me works well: 

    • The guest will be charged the first night if they cancel after reservation and the total price if they cancel in the 30 days before arrival.

    @Enquiries if you activate ONLINE PAYMENTS you won't have these problems. 

    Booking.com does take prepayments (Payments by BDC or Online payments).

    There will always be excuses. I usually accept free cancelation if it is soon enough. On the other hand I offer them if we'll receive meanwhile another booking for those dates we will issue a refund. "Last minute" free cancelations we usually don't accept.

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    michael beeston

    Thanks Pipomarco...interesting thoughts and some good ideas.Everybody has to work out what is best for them...and do it.

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    Lu_Madrid

    michael beeston, thanks for sharing that information! I have just looked it up online and your apartment looks fantastic!

    I am also more eager to set the price higher than usual as to aim for other type of customer. When we first opened, we applied a discount for all new guests as to motivate people to book. Specially since we were just starting.
    However, there are confused newbies in the city and they would still expect a 4-5 stars hotel when it is not. Prices are set accordingly to our central location. Since Madrid is a big city, specially people from smaller cities in Spain, they expect it to be something worth that money in smaller cities, making their expectations higher. However, that is something we cannot change. 

    Enquiries  , as pibomarco , I believe there is an option that allows you to avoid all the hassle of pre-authorizing or charging the guests yourself with BDC. The payment is made through them but they will transfer that money to you a month later.
    As for the commission, the commission Expedia takes may be much higher than the one taken by BDC, at least in our case (we hired their services at the beginning of this year - 2018 - as a property in Spain). Expedia also forces you to participate in a package deal which applies a discount, but that discount is not born by them but by the property itself, making the commission be up to 28%. 28%!!! Totally unfair and they do not allow you to remove your property from that type of travel packages. It is, basically, mandatory. Completely unfair and unnecessary.
    BDC sets a 15% commission for each reservation and we are happy with that. Other OTA's such as Hostelworld and CTrip followed the same percentage and that is fair. If you would like to be one of the advertised properties, % goes up, but you are hiring an extra service, optional too. We haven't joined that program because it is not worth it for us since we would not be able to afford it due to our, already, low revenue.

    pibomarco , thank you for your tips too!
    I am really reconsidering setting a stricter cancellation policy and/or a deposit for all bookings.

     

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    Bridgewatermotel

    It is always a challenge to determine "truth from fiction".  Fortunately we all seem to get a good sense when a true cancellation reason is offered.  Unfortunately, the invalid credit card thing is still in full swing, particularly with damage charges.  We are a 37 unit motel with a great location so I have bumped up our cancellation policy to reflect the time of year, length of stay, etc.  Seems to be working but we still have a fair amount of cancellations particularly if people watch the weather report and determine they don't think they can get their boats out on the lake.  Usually we are able to fill most of those rooms with travelers or contractors.  I do maintain flexibility, particularly when it comes to repeat guests.  For any substantial room blocks, I do charge a non-refundable deposit 2 months before the event to prevent any huge loss of revenue. Last minute or No-Show free cancellations are definitely not an option.

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    michael beeston

    Hi Bridgewater...................Funny, I just received a cancellation not ten minutes ago for the 7th January..the reason.." My grandmother is sick I have to look after her"...yes I am sure it is a fairy tale but it falls within my 14 day cancellation policy..lets hope another booking comes in, it is a busy busy time for us so should be OK...what to do ???

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    michael beeston

    Hello Lu_Madrid...Thank you and good luck with all the information...............I was in Madrid 2 years ago...fabulous spot.....cheers Michael

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    Bridgewatermotel

    We should all get together and publish a book with "Fake Cancellation Policies I Have Heard".  Only trouble is that there isn't enough paper to support the text we all would provide.  Oh well, part of the venue.  Pretty sure I won't be adding a deposit anytime soon except for large blocks of rooms, particularly by a promoter for an event. 

     

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    M Adamopoulou

    Cancellations are a hard pain...

    Gianbattista Vespucci  has advised us that a BDC team  has conducted research and added new features on  website designed to reduce harmful cancellations – such as checking more credit cards and making it harder for guests make overlapping bookings. They will be sharing more details soon. 

    So we just have to wait and see these innovations regarding fewer cancellations.

    Take care....

     

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    michael beeston

    good news....................Michael.

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    michael beeston

    Bridgewatermotel     .I have a 1,000 page  BLANK book here does that help !!..hahahaha

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    Louiemacleod

    My main problem is "fake reservations"..normally booked at the last minute, these bookings have fake names, fake address, non valid phone number and invalid email address, and obviously no credit card details.. I pass them onto booking.com and to be honest nothing has been done, they say the case has been passed onto the "fraud dept", but I have heard nothing on the outcomes..I have discovered that whoever is responsible is using a "random name generator" the one I found had 50000 names, addresses, emails, postcodes etc..Do guests have to verify their emails before booking?

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    michael beeston

    Hi Louiemacleod................Thank fully I have not had any fake names/fake address ( plenty of cancellations and declined credit cards ) but no fake stuff??.I am in the process of doing a last minute booking right now. !!.(Just came in on Pulse)

    1. I have the booking from BDC with all details including the credit card details/name/phone number

    2.FIRST thing I debited his credit card with the full amount on my machine- .DONE!!..excepted.

    3 I have the money immediately as there is NO cancellation with ONLY 2 days notice. 

    4. If he does NOT show up,,,Tough the money is already in my account.

    5.I have already sent a reply through BDC saying thank you to him for the payment..pls call me 1 hour before arriving so I can check you in (Thank you)

    If I do not have a credit card number or name/or address/or phone I DO NOT ACCEPT...and cancel.

    In the beginning we were such NICE people ( no deposit/pay when you arrive/pay part payment if staying for a week or longer) and unfortunately believed everybody BUT  lost out due to unscrupulous people !!..Not NOW...We are still NICE people but are very wary of guests from all over the World..We really enjoy hosting and meeting people BUT try to be careful at the same time.......Michael.

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    Lu_Madrid

    michael beeston , I completely understand what you are saying (btw, I am so glad to hear you liked Madrid! I guess it was so different to Australia! I would love to go there some day, but I haven't found enough time to go there properly).

    I think there's an option on BDC's extranet where you can, basically, accept bookings only with phone numbers and/or addresses, and BDC automatically won't allow those bookings to be made. Personally, I do not think it is necessary for us to know where the guest comes from. But the phone number is very important for us, even though we cannot call internationally, that also includes the ones from Spain, meaning that we will be able to reach them if there's any delay in their arrival. Our property is small, so we're not here 24h and we need to know when the guest's arriving as to do the check-in, give them the keys, etc. Having the phone number let us call them in case they're not here on time. It does not always work out well since there are people who do not pick up the phone, but that's better than nothing.

    Louiemacleod We have also received that type of bookings many times. However, I know we need to verify whether the credit card provided by the guest is valid or not. If it is not, I immediately call BDC to cancel the booking.

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    michael beeston

    Lu_Madrid...........Thanks and fully agree............................Come to Australia one day you would love it, it is 100% different to Europe although the country is full of many nationalities from all over Europe.I am from Wales originally.It is the beginning of Summer and the weather is getting hot hot...almost time for another Beer(haha)

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    Lu_Madrid

    michael beeston  I definitely should! I am really looking forward to the day I can go and visit it! I have many friends from different parts of AUS: Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Perth! :)
    You are lucky! I wish I can celebrate Christmas and New Year's on the beach some day! haha. That's impossible here in Madrid! It's getting colder and colder everyday! But a beer is always welcome.

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    M Adamopoulou

    -Lu-Madrid it would be wonderful to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the beach together with Santa Claus.  I have also friends and relatives in Australia but have never visited. It seems so far away but would love to explore this wonderful  part of the world. Ive heard so many exciting beautiful stories from my friends that have visit it. Maybe some day, who knows???

    Cheers!!!

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    michael beeston

    Hi Guys............."M"./Lu_Madrid...it is not that far, I tell people when you get on the plane, have a drink/watch the movies/eat a nice meal and BINGO..you are here !!

    .I am originally from Wales and used to travel a lot in the earlier days......So I kept saying to my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins in Wales ..come come over and stray with us (FREE) all you have to do is pay for the ticket !!.............they also said its too far and guess what........All my Aunts and Uncles are DEAD  now!!..Never did they come to Australia......think about it and see the rest of the World.Australia is such a wonderful country with so much to see...........Friends TIME is running too damn fast so enjoy.We are off to Argentina and Brazil next year..yes !!!! its far away BUT WOW !!..lets go.

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