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

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  • Avatar
    k2u

    Hi Laura, 

    Our cancellation policy is 72 hours. Any cancellation outside of the 72 hour window no charge to the guests. Any cancellation or No Show is subject to full charge with NO refund. We say "subject" to because we understand if an emergency occurred during that period. We do not state "in case of emergency" because every guest that wants to cancel would use that reason not to be charged. 

    It is stated on BDC, I send each guest a message a "Thank you" in this message states our check in and check out times (as I've mentioned in previous conversations as well as reminding them to read our cancellation policy that is stated on their confirmation page. If we receive a booking outside of BDC (phone) we let the guest know of the cancellation policy before booking completed. We also have it placed in the office/reception area where everyone must see it. 

    Our guests that have to cancel, generally do have an emergency that makes them have cancel. 

    We have had guests that are staying here, that decided they want to cancel because their family or friends that live in the area have decided to have them stay with them instead. At this point there is no refund at all. 

  • Avatar
    M Adamopoulou

    Hello Laura.
    I prefer flexibility in my cancellations. A guest can cancel free of charge until 7 days before arrival. Booking.com facilitates prepayment of the full amount from my guests before arrival. That way payments are secured.
    So far it has worked ok.
    I had some cancellations but they were almost 1-2 months before arrival. I have also set some non-refundable dates in low season. I don’t know if that is right. Please let us have your suggestions.

  • Avatar
    Sonstbbs

    Our cancellation without penalty is upto two days before arrival. If cancelled the day before the first night is payable, if cancelled on the day the whole tariff is payable.

    What I don't understand though is: These are our policies. They are on our BDC page. They are printed on the guests BDC booking AND YET......when I get a cancellation I am now receiving a message from BDC saying the guest wants to cancel for free and I have to answer yes or no?? So do I lose out on a future booking from the cancelling guest by demanding they pay as per our policy or am I a walkover for not charging......

  • Avatar
    Jan Christian Severin

    Hello,
    I have changed very recently to strict cancelation I.e. 30 days before arrival.
    I have my Condos in a Country where ‘short-term’ rental (below 30 days) is
    not allowed. I try to cope as best as possible, but it is very difficult. Once I got a ‘long-term’ booking I don’t want to loose it, as to find new guests under these rental terms are difficult. Can someone advice whether my strict cancelation make sense. Thanks. Chris

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    Oldejudgemansion

    My Cancellation Policy is 48 hours in advance, Free Cancellation. I feel that is very generous, many don’t bother at all to cancel, they don’t realize that small B&B’s who only have 4-5 rooms to offer depend on a early cancellation before we turn down others who call. That loss can be 20-25% of your Income for the day. I tend to charge the Room the day before if I am not crazy busy, that is when many times I find out it is a phony Credit Card, and there, by that time, have been many lost opportunities to rent that room. I feel anyone who submits a phony Credit Card # should be blocked from using the service of Booking.com again. I was actually, personally told by a Guest who rented my entire B&B for Graduation for Multiple days, and didn’t show, that is the “thing” to do if you are sure where you want to stay or if another offering comes along. That is when I realized what is going on. Other Reservation sites run the card right away to cull out this Fraud. I am feeling the need to discontinue here due to this loss, and this year I have had quite a bit. And also tired of dealing with the angry people when you do charge them, any of the Major Hotels do it, and they can absorb the loss much better than we can.

  • Avatar
    Carolyn Kelly

    Partners of Booking.com should not have to deal with invalid credit cards.  Booking should be pro-active not re-active.  You charge a percentage for making the reservation, yet we have to chase our money and most of the time take the chance of the reservation being a no-show when we could have sold the room.  Typically there is no contact for the arriving guest and when Booking is asked to notify reservations of invalid cards and correct it with the hotel, no feedback is ever given to us.  Carolyn

  • Avatar
    Booking

    Hi Laura,

    Greetings!

    I guess its important that OTA's protect the interest of their associates.  Most of the cancellations are actually of the bookings with "FAKE CREDIT CARD" details.

    It should not be difficult for OTA's to ascertain the authenticity of "Credit Card" at the time of booking.

    This trend of Fake card details is growing and needs urgent resurrection.

    Regards,

    Yaseen.

     

  • Avatar
    Corner1955

    Hi everyone we have been in the Band B buis for 2o plus years. Our policy is if they cancel they missed a very nice holiday with us. The customer has the choice at all times. The first year was difficult to watch, my wife was shocked at the no shows. Guess what so was I.  Its part of being in this type of work. You can only do your best to please those that do show up. We run a 9.9 review score and that should be your goal. When we loose a booking two more arrive,and guess what there usually better.I wish you all the very best this season. Cheers Myoli Band B Playa Del Carmen Mexico.

  • Avatar
    M Adamopoulou

    Hi Corner1955 and welcome to the forum.

    Your are doing great 9.9 is exceptional and very hard to get. Wish it stays high also this season.

    Happy posting!!!

  • Avatar
    Dantrinca

    Among 15 no show up , 5-7 times no credit cards provided  due to an bug  which last 2-3 month  ,

    I am really disappointed how they zig-zag and do not respect  our policies in place... long time agreed

  • Avatar
    Moudirahotel

    HELLO

    I also think  that partners of booking ,.com ,SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH CREDIT CARDS,

    Booking .com should be able to check the cards ,before they send the reservation 

    Comission is high enough to have this service done by BOOKING 

    Many Cards are not valid ,and then a no show . 

    Last minute booking should also require a ccard .

    Booking.com should not even ask if we want to give a free cancellation ,this condition should not exist.Cancellation after the given date ,first night has to be paid  .

     Booking ,has charged me commission twice on a booking.i never had ,and they never answer your complaints !!!!!

    Have a nice Evening 

  • Avatar
    Margaretfoster40

    Hi I'm from New Zealand and my daughter and I have a boutique Bed and Breakfast each in different parts of New Zealand. For about 6 months we have been getting rogue or false bookings. Mostly from obscure countries andsometimes for quite lengthy stays.  Had one from an Island that I had not heard of so looked it up and it was an uninhabited Island!!!!!

    i do not have credit card facilities but even that doesn't stop rogue bookings as they could be false. Booking.Com have made some suggestions so will see if they work.  Has anyone else been getting rogue bookings. Mainly from China, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil, Bervot Island!!!

  • Avatar
    Longmountainlodge

    We have been in business 12?years. We get less than 3% cancellations from our own bookings and about the same from other OTA’s. But, from booking.com thru September it was 34%!! And I think Oct and Nov was even higher. We have the same cancellation policy on all: 7 days. We are a small inn with 6 rooms on booking.com. I agree with other comments re bad credit cards which exacerbated this problem, but I fell a root cause is booking.coms extensive use and emphasis on “FREE CANCELLATIONS” in their advertising and on their web sites. We currently use the Webervation booking engine and Sabre as the GDS to transmit booking.com reservation data into Rezovation. We NEVER get all the credit card info for booking.com bookings needed to run the card. So, we either need to wait till the guest arrives (hopefully) and run their card through Square or call Rezovation to have them run the card as they do have the info in their “back end”. This is really a pain. Also, we most of the time need to call them to authorize the card for $25 just to make sure it is a good card. If we don’t we get burned. The best solution would be for booking.com to collect the money as so many other OTA’s do, like bedandbreakfast.com and Expedia.

  • Avatar
    Maurine

    I have been amazed at the number of cancellations that I receive now that I use an OTA (while my overall booking numbers decrease - another phenomenon that implies I must use all OTAs as one does not do the job - apology, I digress into another forum topic). I have watched the increasing trend over the last 2-3 years and there seem to be three categories. 

    1. The best price/better location "deal" seekers who may be booking multiple places for the same date. These people make a reservation and within the week or just before any cancellation deadline cancel it. (so, unless you are in a high traffic area or have a lot of rooms, a short cancellation window is not a good idea as the room will not get rebooked)

    2. The traveler who really has to cancel their vacation; these people call personally, apologize, tell you to keep the deposit. I will not charge any cancellation amount for 9 out of 10 and if I have to keep a deposit for some reason, I ask them to remind me when/if they are able to stay with me another time and I'll credit all or a portion back..  

    3. The traveler who just decided to change their plans and stay somewhere else within a day or two of their stay. Interestingly, many of these decide to come on by when they are reminded their deposit is not refundable under the cancellation policy.  

    I have come to consider a free cancellation policy an invitation for no courtesy from a booked guest. I also believe OTA attitudes toward the hosting party(s) are contributing to the increase in cancellations by creating a drive for the best "deal" at our expense versus allowing us to sell the price value of our property and letting the traveler decide. Our properties are put on a playing field where the fixed cost of operating (which includes the commission) is not taken into account when a best price competition atmosphere is created by OTA advertising. This depersonalizes and undervalues us and our property. Where once having a comfortable, clean, happy, enjoyable spot to spend the night was enough, travelers now feel no obligation to honor their reservations and if they do, they often expect free services and amenities that drive our profit (aka operating reserve for variable expenses such as taxes, utilities) down. This environment causes travelers to no longer view us as individuals with a business just like theirs, or workers just like they are and so many do not feel the need to extend basic courtesies or honor their commitment to us. The increase in cancellations has occurred since OTA's started competing with each other to place our traveler, at our cost, instead of having them book directly with us.

    Just an fyi. If I decide to use an OTA when I travel, I choose the one who sells me on the value of their service and not at the expense of the property owner who has already sold me on their property value.  

    Final comment: As noted in someone else's comment, more OTA guest bookings are coming through with no address, invalid addresses, bad credit card numbers, no or wrong phone numbers. We have no way to collect on a no-show or late cancellation. Credit card processors charge extra if no address verification is done. Booking should not allow a reservation to come through without this information and perhaps should as a courtesy/value add for the commission they collect run a "pre-authorization" and only pass a reservation on once it has been "verified".  Especially since we have to honor the booking no matter what. I know this would help ensure my loyalty to Booking.com versus just seeing it as another interchangeable commodity that must be tolerated. Just a thought.

    Thank you Booking for providing this forum. I appreciate that you care to hear from us. 

  • Avatar
    Gm Tx514

    Hi!.

    I work at a small limited service hotel. Our cancellation policy is 24 hours prior to arrival. We waive cancellation fee only if we can re-sell the room,which means we authorize the card at the time of cancellation(if it's not authorized already) and ask the guest to follow up the next day. If the room was resold we don't charge guest.If not- the guests gets charged.Using this method helps when the hotel is sold out or close to sold out,because you are able to sell the room to someone who needs it and refund the guest who is not able to make it-you end up having 2 happy guests!!! Happy Holidays to everyone in this forum:)

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    Hwhenterprises

    I have a single unit vacation rental. Most guests book months in advance. When I get a cancelation even one month prior, the chance of rebooking is low. Recently I calculated that 65% of all booking.com bookings were canceled! That is too high.

    I am very interested to understand guest reason for canceling and how we all can reduce this number.

  • Avatar
    Jezwhitaker

    Booking.com is partly to blame for high cancellation rates as they advertise "most rooms offer free cancellation" - that is a stupid policy as the guest holds your accommodation for a couple of months and then cancels so you lost the chance to sell it to someone that genuinely wants to stay. I turned down a booking yesterday over Dec 30th because we are full only to have another guest this morning cancel a 4 day stay and request free cancellation (we are set Strict 30 day no refund) as silly season means I will sell Christmas and New Year 6 times each per room and 5 will cancel. Each time leaves me annoyed and less motivated to run guest accommodation. The cancellation rate for November just ran 50% on Booking.com which is ridiculous. I'm thinking I might charge a percentage (maybe 10%) outside of strict cancellation window to cover the time and effort to handle the paperwork and calendar checking that is required after cancellations to ensure we don't get overbooked by accident.

    We're also seeing that accommodation for larger groups (say a 3 bed apartment for 6pax) is less likely to sell last minute so when a guest holds it for 2 months and then wants to cancel 2 weeks out it is unlikely to sell - so how can I be flexible and let these people cancel and destroy my revenue?!

  • Avatar
    Mac Chester

    We have never had a problem, we charge 50% on booking then the balance 7 days prior to arrival. All bookings within 7 days are payment in full PRIOR to arrival. Having said this we would assess each cancellation on it's merits some could be very genuine and the guest would have to notify BTC themselves as I don't want to be penalised by BDC. Refunds are not within our rules however if their reason proves genuine I would place their holiday dates back on line if it re books we would refund.

  • Avatar
    Jezwhitaker

    Our 50% cancellation rates for November have just pushed us to change our cancellation policy to 30% deposit, and the balance charged 10 days before (you can't set that is Booking.com) so on B.com it will show as 30% deposit and the balance charged 30 days out. I agree with Mac, I tend to say to guests that if they cancel and I resell the room I will refund so if they cancel 28 days out there is a good chance, if they do it 4 days out then it is unlikely. Have to be hot on fake credit cards as well and I'm confident charging the deposit at booking is a better way of checking the card is valid and actually has funds behind it.

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    Sue Scales

    I have the same problem very high cancellation due to not reading my deposit

    policy or wanting to bring extra people when my apartment sleep two people.

    i use to  give guest a lot of time to pay there deposit when it was time to pay they changed there mind about the booking now i give them 24 hours to pay there deposit.

    booking,com should hi light our deposit so guest can read, our guest certainly chose not to.

    Reading above post charging commission when guests do not arrive is not on..

  • Avatar
    k2u

    Hello All,

    I see some new here, Welcome. 

    I see a few different cancellation policies on here. As well as issues with credit cards not being valid, for those do a "pre-authorization", if the card is not valid then request to cancel the reservation for this reason. BDC will reach out and request a different card. If there is no response from the guest or they do not have another, then they are cancelled.  We do not charge the guests until they actually arrive or if they are coming in past our hours (we set up special arrangements with them for room entry and payment). I try very hard to reach out to the guests who feel the need not to let us know their arrival time... although I have a request on the BDC booking page. Only 50% of our guests let us know in advance. I need this because we are Not open 24 hours. So for the guests that ignore this and do not let us know of their time of arrival and do not respond to our attempts to reach out to them by the time we are closing... they are now considered a NO SHOW and charged in full. 

    The reason I'll waive the cancellation fee of full charge if a guest requests to cancel within the 72 hours of our policy, only in the case there really is an emergency as I've said above. The guest will most likely to come back at another date. I had someone who was in a car accident on their way here... a very bad one. His girlfriend was in the car with him. She called to cancel free of charge and when I asked what the reason was for the cancellation she broke down and cried on the phone telling me of the accident. I told her of course we'd waive the fee. We here like to make our guests feel its not always about money... we want them to know they are always welcome. We make a lot of friends this way as well. Luckily he ended up to be ok after a couple of weeks in the hospital, they rebooked and thanked me for understanding.. how could I not ? Now they are regular holiday guests. 

    I also see questions regarding BDC contacting us asking us if we would waive the fee... I ask if they could find out why the guest needs to cancel, if the reason is emergency only or if the guest needs to transfer to another date then I will waive. Otherwise, no. 

    There was a time, only once, I made sure it never happened again. BDC agent decided it was ok to waive the cancellation fee without contacting me first. I contacted them in regards to this and let them know by any means do not ever do that again !! We here collect payment they do not... It is my choice to waive the fee or not.  

  • Avatar
    Atlanticcitysale

    We are a 206 room hotel near the beach in the east coast of USA. As a sales manager I was always frustrated with Booking.com laid back policy but also understood as a consumer, I'd love to to have that feeling of carefree no commitment on bookings. 

    Although I wholeheartedly believe that Booking.com needs to update their reservation process and include guet's email and phone #- I can imagine the whole credit card issue isn't that simple.

    I propose any of the following:

    1. Booking.com give guests a warning message that their cards will be charged $1 to confirm the booking, if the card fails, reservation cancelled with a "please try again" - If it works, well money returned within 48Hrs

    1.5. Booking.com give guests a warning message that their cards will be charged 15% of total to confirm the booking, if the card fails, reservation cancelled "please try again"- if it works, money returned on arrival date

    2. Booking.com converts to Virtual Credit Cards like Expedia 

    Option 1 and 1.5 obviously don't fix all the issues but would cut down on BS credit card bookings! 

    Option 2 is a fantasy.

  • Avatar
    Jezwhitaker

    Pretty sure option 2 exists.... I get virtual cards from Booking.com and Expedia?! But not very often from Booking.com - could be one of the channels they post your hotel to such as Ctrip or Agoda? We've shifted this morning to 30% deposit to check the card works and the balance 10 days before the stay.

    Another annoyance is the messages you send out to Booking.com guests - I reckon 20% actually read them - very annoying when we don't have a front desk. Guests constantly calling wanting to check in and haven't read the full checkin details mailed to them 7 days before, haven't read address details in the booking confirmation... total lunatics :-) 

  • Avatar
    Delangkawiresort

    Booking.com does not do enough to protect their partners. When we phoned to informed them that the guest decided not to stay and we have not charged them, booking.com thinks we are cheating them and does not want to believe us.

    On the Validity of Credit Cards, booking.com should protect us by having the card verified as genuine. Agoda, which booking.com has acquired recently varifies all credit cards. I know this as I have friends who work for Agoda.

    Come on Booking.com. Stop just taking our money and not protecting us your partners.

  • Avatar
    Bookings

    Hi Laura

    Our cancellation policy is as follows

    1 week no charge

    7 days 30%

    24 hours 30% or 1 nights rate depending which is larger.

    This seems to be a nice balance, but this can not be setup exactly in booking.com policies, a little more free from in this regard would be useful.

    We do still have bookings made well in advance and cancelled just outside the 7 days. I sometimes wonder if competing businesses do this deliberatley to take inventry of the market, and how booking.com can ensure that guests are real.

    Mike

     

  • Avatar
    Alimalekane

    Morning 

     

    Am Ali ,from naledi lodge & guest house at South Africa limpopo.Anyone who use cred card,please share your experience with us.My email its : ali@naledilodge.co.za  or Tel; +27 13 013 0401 .

     

    I enjoy being part of Booking.com Family,We are Paperless at our lodge.....!

     

    Ali

  • Avatar
    Info

    First let me say some people have described Booking.com here as On Line Travel agents. Let me say that in my opinion this is not correct. Legally Booking.com, Expedia, HomeAway, Airbnb etc are not registered travel agents in the countries they operate and they do not perform the functions of a travel agent to plan, arange, book, organise, advise and facilitate someones holiday or travel. They are simply listing sites which list the accommodation available and pass on the bookings with a few extra services. From a travellers point of view their services are far less than a registered travel agent and from an accommodation owners point of view their services are far less than the traditional real estate agent in a holiday destination who used to advertise a holiday house or flat, take the bookings, collect the money, organise, do the check-in and out and pay the cleaner  and orange any necessary maintenance all for 10% to 15% of the tariff.

    Before I elaborate about our cancellation policy let me explain that I have been in the self-catering holiday business for 45 years, pre internet we 

  • Avatar
    Loych

    Hello to all! I have significantly reduced the cancellation, due to the fact that I contact the guest immediately after booking and ask to transfer the prepayment on the same day. As practice shows, if the guest has serious intentions, he immediately transfers the prepayment.

  • Avatar
    M Adamopoulou

    Loych very thoughtful practice although sometimes guests don’t answer to messages sent.

  • Avatar
    Leandri Klopper

    Hi everyone.

    What a turnout!

    Sonstbbs - I don't think you are losing future bookings if you charge cancellation fee. How many of those clients have come back to you after you waived cancellation fees? If you can't remember at the top of your head, then it's not a worthwhile number. Swipe first, ask questions later. That is the way of business, just make sure you hear them out first. Sometimes they agree to postphone the booking.. which at least keeps them as your guest for a later date. 

    Jan Christian Severin  - You wrote that you changed to a strict cancellation structure. I did giggle a bit, because my cancellation structure gives the client 4 hours after confirming a booking to cancel for free or thereafter be charged the full price. So we are Super strict, but we are human. So that means, we take every cancellation request as it comes along, and should we not want to cancel the booking for XYZ reasons, then at least we have the policy to fall back on. Honestly I think your policy is good for such long stays, perhaps make it 50% of the total amount of the booking to be paid if they cancel within 60 days, and full price within 30 days. And hold them to it! 

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