Guest cancels, what do I do now?

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    David

    Do you have the guest credit card details or did the guest pay on line

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    Westerns1

    Hi David,
    The guest paid online

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    David

    So do you have access to the virtual credit card?

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    David

    If your guest have paid on line then you should see these details at the bottom of their reservation in your extranet

     

    You have received the virtual card details for this reservation

    You will be able to charge this card from 24 February 2018.

    View credit card details

     

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    Westerns1

    I have the option to "charge guest". Do I need to charge them myself for the cancellation fee this way.
    I trying to avoid charging them twice because I'm still not clear what booking do with the initial payment. Do they just refund the whole lot and let work out what to do about charging the cancellation fee?
    Thanks for your help so far.

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    David

    If you have the option to charge the guest then yes you must charge them-At the top of the reservation in your extranet you should have a message saying the guest as cancelled and how much you are entitled to charge.If the guest paid on line by way of Virtual Credit Card then you can only charge the 50% on the day the guest was due to arrive

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    Stay

    I can't understand why properties don't take an up front deposit. When a booking is cancelled and you already have the cancellation fee it is easy to advise the guest that they accepted the conditions when they booked. It is amazing how many guests don't read the cancellation conditions until they want to cancel.

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    Graham Fisher

    .... and - at the risk of appearing cynical - they are then read and interpreted in a manner that means they should not be charged....

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    David

    Then what causes conflict with the guest is that Booking.com give the guest THE OPTION of asking the accommodation provider for FREE CANCELLATION even though the terms and conditions are clear.All to one sided I am afraid

     

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    Graham Fisher

    David - OTA's are in the business of selling rooms and collecting commission - not looking after the interests of guests or keeping accommodation providers happy... any mutual benefit of that sort is entirely co-incidental. 

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    David

    My credit card merchants were shocked that booking.com give us the option to flag a card as fraudulent yet ask the guest to produce another credit card.Aftter discussing this with booking they said one of the reasons is in case accommodation providers are not honest and are reporting because they are over booked.

    Great partnership I must admit where we are not believed.

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    Jenny Johnson

    In reality it seems to be up to the person's conscience. You will be lucky if you get the other 50% from the guest  who cancels. It is a definite problem. If they have paid by Credit card then after some time (they usually pay the deposit some time before they cancel) the full details are not available and so you cannot just charge a card easily. 

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    Jenny Johnson

    i do not seem to be able to create the virtual card here in Cape Town. !!

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    Donal

    Be very careful with booking.com with regards cancellations. They emailed me last Friday to cancel a booking arriving the next day. (it was a non refundable/advance purchase booking) I said there would be full charge. About an hour after they telephone to our office and spoke to our meet and greet member of staff who is not authorised to accept cancellations or waiver fees and they are now saying they said to him could they cancel the booking free of charge and that he said yes. This is not true but we have no comeback and have lost €660.00. We had very bad weather so we were all working from home and booking.com would have been aware of this and I feel they had been emailing me regarding this booking and should have kept with that means of communication. It was a virtual card so they will take back all the money. Have spoken with them but is is like speaking to a brick wall and a robot.

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    Info

    We charge full amount at time of booking; we are to small to loose money/income

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    Jenny Johnson

    Do people not complain about paying the whole amount up front?

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    David

    Paying up front only appeals to a small amount of guest usually who are paying a much lower rate.You have to get the balance right to attract as many guest as possible,personally I take the first nights room rate 30 days before arrival with the full amount becoming due if they become a no show.

    The one thing that totally annoys me is booking.com giving the guest the tool to ask for free cancellation in a period that requires payment this causes problems.

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    David

    Donal, do you have the proof because you would need to click on the message Booking.com sends to you to authorise free cancellation.If they are relying on a supposed telephone call then they are at fault and have no proof.This happened to me an agent let a guest cancel without paying the cancellation fee, after continually getting on to them Booking.com paid up.

     

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    Catharinacastello

    Listen if you do not do the manual payment on request , they've got you Booking.com and their guests. The only time you are in charge is when you charge the whole amount upfront on request serious bookers do not cancel and if they do for good reason you charge them c/c refunding fees, deduct and pay the rest if well before arriving.

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    Theoldschoolhouse

    A friend of ours took full payment from a guest for a no show. The guest's credit card company refunded the money because she said that she had paid for a service that she hadn't had. 

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    Info

    We run a small s/c guesthouse. I request the full amount within a certain number of days ( e.g. 3- 4 days) and set a expiry date and time. If the reservation is not paid in time the booking system can be set to delete the reservation ( Nightsbridge). As a matter of courtesy I send an e- mail or text message to inform them the booking is cancelled because of no payment! If they are serious about the accommodation they pay immediately!  I stick to our cancellation terms-  one can't sit on blocked out accommodation/ dates  and end up with no  or less income( pension).

    Antoinette

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    Graham Fisher

    Two points of interest here - and I suspect we are getting the discussion confused because Bdc and card handling companies have different rules in different countries... it might be helpful if Bdc added the country people are operating in to the name on each post.

    Firstly - Donal/David in the UK Bdc will phone and ask you to let the guest off any cancellation charge; I'm afraid you can only get round this by telling your staff that only YOU can talk to them... they will take the word of anyone answering the phone on occasion - as you have found out to your cost.  The click on the message that you mention David, is overridden by the phone call!

    The problem here being - YOU have to be available 24/7.

    Secondly - Surprised at your post Theoldschoolhouse - in the past when people have challenged my charging a cancellation via their card company, I have sent proof of the Bdc cancellation terms on the website and my Confirmation email - at which point the card company have accepted the guest was liable.  Perhaps this is a UK thing as well?

     

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    Info

    I have been running my guesthouse for 22 years now,way before Booking.com was created.This has added complications no doubt,but I always had a very lenient cancellation policy. I only require 24 hours notice to cancel or I charge the guest,though I never do this if it is cancelled even as late as that as you don't want to upset a potential future booking. There are often genuine last minute problems people get and they appreciate the gesture,so it all good PR.

    The real problem is no shows and I have no sympathy with them.They deserve to be charged.They may challenge it with their credit card company but they have no grounds to do that since its in the T&C's that they have entered a legally binding(in the UK) contract by booking via Booking .com. and yourself.

    All in all its not worth getting too hett up about,if it is a busy weekend or you have a few days fully booked, then get a deposit upfront, is usually what I do. As the saying goes posession is 9/10ths of the law. Cancellations/no shows are just part and parcel of running a guesthouse/hotel this has always been the case even before Booking .com arrived on the scene and it will still be a issue after they have long gone. ; )

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    Lyn Morgan

    A number of the discussions that I have followed over the last few weeks seems to point towards BDC not really understanding the accommodation industry as a whole. The way they operate may be relevant to a large hotel that has 100+ rooms where a cancellation is no big deal in the overall situation regarding financial viability of the establishment. What needs to be appreciated by BDC is that without accommodation establishments, they would cease to exist. If the opposite is true, then the establishment needs to market itself so that BDC is just one of many places where bookings are sourced. When last did BDC offer to significantly discount their commission charges to help the potential guest to book through them? That would show that they are serious about servicing both the guest and the accommodation provider.

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    Graham Fisher

    Interesting Info/Lyn - you are quite correct Info - although far more lenient than myself.  We used to insist that a booking was a booking - even weeks in advance, and charge for cancellation if we did not manage to re-fill the room.  Ah the tales of woe we used to be told!  But with time (now approaching 30 years in the business) we have mellowed and decided life is too short for the arguments - but agree with you regarding no-shows - but then their cards normally fail when charged.

    Not sure Bdc don't understand the industry Lyn, but I suspect they feel they could survive without so many small accommodation providers - and certainly here, the number of small B&B is reducing each year and the number of large hotels grows continually.  I think the problem is - whilst people think the idea of running a B&B attractive, the idea of working 7 days a week is now alien to most people, so the small people are inevitable in declining numbers anyway.  Hence Bdc cater for the growth area - large hotels.

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    Info

    No Jenny Johnson no complaints; and have a considerable amount of advance bookings, whats more we feel in control we also take the money ourselves rather than using B.com virtual credit. we also use a channel management they only take Expedia' payment which we get the following month. 

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    Ian

    This is a very interesting read for me as I am only in my second year running a two room B&B and have had many of the experiences discussed. I do get rather fed up with BDC inviting me to give away all my profit and increase my exposure to risk whilst remaining firm about their own margins and arrangements. I have put in place Stripe alongside my free to book channel manager to manage all my finances. You cannot book without a valid credit card which the system checks to make sure it is indeed valid and flags if not. If a cancellation incurs a charge then I at least have the means to do so without the need to get anyone else involved. The policy is clear for all to read (not that anyone does of course). I send a very short but polite e mail to the guest to advise them. So far I have had no issues but of course welcome any comments from more experienced B&Bers.

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    Penny

    I have a huge problem with guests cancelling bookings and was advised by bdc to change my policy to strict, which I did. The guest books and after 24 hours I can take the first nights money as a deposit. What I didn't realise was that if the guest cancels within  7 days of arrival, I have to give the deposit back!! Why? A deposit is a deposit and if you pay it and cancel, you loose it, but no, I have to pay it back. As I didn't realise this I destroyed the card details and they are no longer available to view so I can't pay the guest back. We have been talking by email about this for weeks as the guest doesn't want to put his card details online, which I understand but he doesn't want to send them to my mobile. I've told bdc about this problem but had no reply. My next move is to see if he has PayPal but if not, I don't know what to do. Like another person said, when you have a small b&b with only a few rooms, cancellation is a huge problem which doesn't seem to be understood by bdc. This year I must have had 50% of my bookings cancelled and it's driving me insane but what can I do?

     

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    Info

    Hi Penny,

    My understanding of UK law was that you could only keep a deposit less than 24 hours notice,so 7 days is not actually backed in law.Though I stand to be corrected as I have never verified that.Any booking is a legal contract between the owner and guest,so I stick to that.

    As to your refund payment, if they want a refund they can call you with the card details as with a usual over the phone payment,better than email or mobile.If they want a refund they have to do as you say really or forfeit the money.

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    Graham Fisher

    Cannot say I have ever heard of "only keep a deposit less than 24 hours notice" before, my understanding is that you charge according to your cancellation terms - but only if you fail to re-let the accommodation!

    Penny - did your site say the first nights' deposit was "non refundable"? If your normal cancellation terms are seven days or forfeit first night money; and they cancelled more than seven days before date of arrival then - yes, the deposit should be refunded.

    This is a problem partly introduced by Bdc when they started encouraging lower non-refundable rates - the punter (conveniently) gets confused..

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