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

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    M Adamopoulou

    Lu-Madrid I see you are also a happy traveler. Maybe some day all of us happy travelers can get together!!!!

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    Lu_Madrid

    M Adamopoulou  Yeah! It's so good to hear that there are so many of us who love traveling! It'd be so nice to meet in the future!

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    michael beeston

    maybe..,.who knows in life...would be cooool..

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    Reservations

    You can have any cancellation policy or defense to chargebacks. All supposed guest has to tell bank that they did not receive service, or the property was not their standard, even after staying. The bank will decline the chargeback refund based on policy or client dissatisfaction. In the meantime you have paid Booking.com that Booking.com is very reluctant to credit you. Booking.com does not have your interest in mind rather how best to milk you. Non-refundable rate is only good for Booking.com

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    michael beeston

    I understand what you are saying BUt you can cancel a credit card transaction/charge back  when just about buying anything with today's technology.....It has not happened to me BUT has it happened to anyone else ????  with Booking.com ????

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    pibomarco

    I didn't quite understand, but happened to me twice when I charged guest credit card for a cancelation fee or no-show using my terminal. Transaction went through succesfully and after a while I received a notification from my terminal provider, that the deducted money will be refunded to the guest. The guest made a claim via their card provider VISA or MASTERCARD that he didn't authorize the transaction. In this case the money will automaticly be refunded and you can't do nothing about it. 
    I think this can not happen when you receive payments via Payments by BDC or Online payments. 

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    M Adamopoulou

    pibomarco you are right. Payments through booking.com are more safe. Although you get paid after a month guests checkout and banks charge you for commission. 

     

     

     

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    Lu_Madrid

    HI Reservations ,

    I believe that it is possible in some cases, as pibomarco says when a customer goes to their credit card provider and claims not to be happy and/or stating that the transaction was not allowed by the guest. In that case, some banks do the refund to the guest manually. I have only heard about this type of situations. I haven't experienced it myself (and I hope I won't - touch wood-). I am not sure what can be done after that. 

    Has anyone been able to claim that back after charging a customer?

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    Lu_Madrid

    Hi M Adamopoulou ,

    I am not using the non-refundable rate because I know some guests do not understand what it means and they may want to change the dates and/or cancel the booking.

    Do you think there's a higher possibility for guests to do what Reservations say when it comes to non-refundable bookings?

    Reservations , did that happen to you in many occasions?

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    M Adamopoulou

    Lu Madrid I have only some days in low season with non-refundable policy. So far have no problems but its my first year so my experience is very little, maybe some other partner can answer your question. With so many problems with credit cards I am stuck to payments by BDC even though it costs me more.

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    pibomarco

    I was pissed, I've tried to claim it back with providing the "proof", confirmed booking on BDC etc...I was told, that the guest can say that he didn't make the booking on BDC ect... basicly there is no solid proof if you charged the card "on the distance" and not physically. Also it is possible that guest wasn't aware what he was charged for, so after you charge them, send them also a notification about the charge.

    I have a non-refundable rate the first year now. If the guest wants to modify or cancel for free I told them to contact BDC and when BDC contacts me I either confirm or decline the request.

    Payments by BDC costs you more? I didn't notice any additional costs because using this service. 

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    michael beeston

    Wow..that is unbelievable.....No proof ???..because it was a distance and not physically.............I agree pibmarco..I also would be dissed !!!.When I take a booking and charge 30% deposit and  I ALWAYS send a confirmation saying the 30% has been debited against their card BUT it seems Booking have their own Rules.....not good. 

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    Lu_Madrid

    Hi pibomarco,

    Thanks for your info! Well, I guess we'll have to send the guest as much info as possible as to make sure they are aware of what they are being charged for. If a guests breaks something and it is something we cannot fix, we usually send an invoice with the amount of money they will be charged.

    I do not know whether BCD charges more for charging in advance or not, M Adamopoulou . I thought they only sent the money to you a month later and that should be it... We haven't used that service yet because our property is not that big anyway and we're just starting. We might try it in the future.

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    michael beeston

    Hi Lu..............as I said before we only use Booking for the guest confirmation/booking and receive the 30% deposit on our Efpos ( Australian Credit card machine) before they arrive ( even 3/4 months in advance) and then charge the guest on the day of arrival, when I do the meet and greet, so it works well.we have had no problems so far, except when we did not take a deposit  in the beginning and therefore had cancellations !!! and could do nothing about it..It happened a few times and I rang booking and their answer  ---"what do you want us to do about it..you didn't take a deposit and have no credit card number. !!!! THAT HAS STOPPED and all is very good now...hope this is of some help. The machine costs approx $10 a week and the money is transferred immediately.

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    M Adamopoulou

    Thank you all for the valuable information.  So much to learn from everybody.

     

    A nice day to all...

     

     

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    Jezwhitaker

    I have just emailed a report of our cancellations to Booking.com from 1st December after another 2 bookings cancelled last night. One is inside our no refund policy and the other is 6 days outside so there will be no charge. These are bookings during high season and were booked Nov 2 and Nov 5 so have stopped other guests that actually want to stay from seeing our availability for over a month. No message from either guest as to why they are cancelling and our policy will be enforced.

    For general info, we are a 4 room guest-house and every room is different so cancellations hurt us. Booking.com is also the worst channel for this. Between Dec 1 and the furthest cancellation out (about mid Feb at this stage) Booking.com has 33 cancellations. Agoda (also Priceline) 6, Expedia 2 and CTrip 1. Incidentally Expedia last month overtook Booking.com as the most room nights sold... so it suggests maybe we should just go non-refundable on Booking.com and save ourselves all the grief! Might be interesting for others to share their booking cancellations.

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    Enquiries

    I also find more cancellations, invalid credit cards, fake credit cards, nonsense phone numbers are most prevalent with Booking.Com customers than any other OTA. I wish Booking.Com took all the pre payments for bookings. They do not do that here in Australia. They do offer the guest prepaid or pay on arrival. most choose pay on arrival. We have a 48 hour cancellation policy charging the full booking amount in default. The offending false information often results in no shows followed by loss of revenue. If Booking.com was responsible for all payments we would not have to deal with the awful guests who provide invalid information.

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    michael beeston

    Hi enquiries..I would have to agree..with booking in the past before we had the 30% deposit, they were the worst for cancellations BUT they have also turned out the best for our accommodation bookings so we go with the flow..BUT as I have said many times we use the 30% deposit and it works extremely well.??

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    Mazen

    Hi Laura,

    We, usually, set the Cancellation Policy based on seasons. However, and in order to drive more MPI, we give more flexibility on the Cancellation Policy during low and medium demand periods

    We usually set the cancellation by 24hours prior to day of arrival, till the pick up becomes healthy, and after that it might be changed to either 72hours or Non Refundable based on the seasons. Makkah City is a different case esp. during Hajj (Pilgrimage Season) and Ramadan Period, where the Hotels there are totally Closed for Hajj season. And set as Non refundable for the last 10 days of Holy Month of Ramadan

    Best Regards,

    Mazen kh

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    pibomarco

    I'm selling 20 units at my property. 3/4 of all bookings I receive from BDC, the rest are from AirBnB, Expedia and direct bookings. 
    More bookings from particular OTA could ofcourse lead to more cancelations comparing to other chanels. Specially if you are very flexible with your policies those chances are higher.
    Setting strict policies was my best decision so far. Less anger and hatred, less (almost 0) cancelations, 0 no-shows, less work, maybe very little less bookings (in low season).. Anyway It's worth it (in my case).  
     

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    michael beeston

    Good luck my friend............

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    Lu_Madrid

    Hi everyone!

    I'd also like to set up a non-refundable, more strict cancellation policy or a x% deposit for the bookings. However, I have seen that it might discourage some guests to book? 
    I guess it might be because of all the lodgings available in the center of Madrid. People will look for the best option for them: price, quality, ratings, flexibility... Since our property is small and due to the high expenses, we are forced to set our prices a little higher than other properties, meaning that, somehow, we would have to play our cards differently. 

    May I ask what type of accommodations you have and what kind of customers you usually host? pibomarco  and michael beeston .That might be helpful to some of the newbies like me to decide what's best to do as I can see you have been working in this for a very long time!
    Since we're new, we are trying new methods and that might be useful information :)

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    pibomarco

    Mine is B&B, 2km out of the main city center (very popular turist destination) situated on a stand alone / peaceful location. I was oriented to couples, big families with babies and children (mostly Israel, Arab), groups ect..
    The last season I went all in: specially in high season. Strict policy, I don't accept pets, don't accept infants and children to 12y, and got rid of the extra beds, so I aim more to young and older couples and small families. I even increased the rates a little bit. I was still fully booked.
    It really all depends of your property location and presentation, offer, market demand, competition, ect..
    I would say that the best way is to take a little "risk" and just try it (at least in high season) when the demand is high and you can do the comparisment... even BDC is sending you some stats and comparisment to a previous season and other properties in your area ect..

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    Lu_Madrid

    Yes, I guess it really depends on everything: location, type of guest, etc. pibomarco That is a good point. I think that would be a good option and try in high seasons first and see the results :) Thanks for the tip!

    We have actually tried many policies and we are doing better than before so far. We are aiming for a better time management and less cancellations though.

    As for what Jezwhitaker  says about having more cancellations on BDC, it is true, but so far it is the OTA that more people use, meaning that the incoming bookings percentage is also higher than the other ones. At least in our case... So, obviously, our cancellations percentage on BDC is also higher.

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    Jezwhitaker

    The interesting thing is that Expedia this month passed booking.com as our main channel with 1/10th of the cancellations at the same price, same rate, same everything.... Booking.com has been smashing it for 6 months. But before you get too happy that Expedia is the new greatest channel. THAT WAS NOVEMBER, this month AIRBNB is smashing all of the competition.The insight to take from this is Booking.com will give you lots of cancellations so set you policy for 30% refund outside of a month... the rest can be less than that. I believe you just penalise the channels that give more cancellations with stricter cancellation policies and eventually you hit balance - we haven't hit it yet!

     

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    Lu_Madrid

    Hi Jezwhitaker,

    That's interesting. Is your property in the US? Our property is in Europe and Expedia doesn't seem to be so popular here.
    Conditions are also worse than on Booking.com, I am not sure if it may different in other countries but commission fees are actually much higher than on Booking.com. Most of the bookings we receive on Expedia are from travel agencies and they way they work is, in my opinion, so much worse than Booking.com. So far, we are happier with Booking than with Expedia. Service is also better on Booking than on Expedia... 

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    pibomarco

    Once I was suspended few months from BDC due to breaching their contract few times. Fact is that I wasn't able to rebook those available dates just via Expedia or AirBnB. I basicly realised that I need them more then they need me. Majority of potential bookers still uses BDC though, at least in Europe. I think the biggest competition is or will be AirBnB, specialy now because they also aim to hotels, proffesional service, not just home rentals and recently they implemented 2 way integration (API) with chanel managers.. So basicly it became as any other OTA which is great.

    P.S. my prices on expedia are higher. 
    They charged us 20%+ comission, now recently they lowered to 15%. Kind of forcing us to give 10% discount for their "trusted" bookers, Also if I am not mistaking beside the comission, they also charge the guest a service fee. Greedy mofos. Agree with Lu.. don't like their extranet, don't like their support, don't like their channel presentations such as Hotels.co. But still better then nothing. :) 

  • Avatar
    M Adamopoulou

    Cancellations, cancellations... very difficult to avoid.

    I prefer fewer reservations than to have cancellations. Strict cancellation policies are better.  You know where you stand all the time. My first unforgettable guest  told me once that I am a very strict "business woman" because I have 100% prepayment policy. I didnt understand him then but now I know.....

    I have always believed in 'less is more' in everything I do, from work to my personal life.

     

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    Lu_Madrid

    I guess we'll have to be more strict to have a better life then! :)

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    M Adamopoulou

    Well said Lu-Madrid. 

    Cheers!!! life is fun so is hosting!!!

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