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

Imagine that you’re brand new to Booking.com. As you’re setting up your property, what should you take into account for your cancellation policy?

Do you offer free cancellation? Set your policies according to the season? Make exceptions outside of your policy?

Share your cancellation policy with the community in the comments below.


177 Replies

4
k2u

M Adamopoulou

Thank you so much ! I think I've had these before.. but called something else here, they are one of my favorite Christmas cookies.

I am not sure how to send you my email, so I hope this is ok through here. If I am not allowed to please tell me how I can : )

Here is my email: manager@holidayhousemotel.com

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Ok k2u I will send you the recipe as soon as I translate it in English.
Have a nice evening...

7 months ago
1
Info

We have a small bed & breakfast hotel (7 rooms) recently i changed our cancellations policy to 14 Days prior arrival from 7 that it was Before and i started to charge the guests as soon as the free cancellation period is over, i had to do this because i had many last minute cancellations and no shows ,

our biggest problem is the last minute reservations , our reception is not open all day and the guests receive accesscode sent to them by sms , when a last minute reservation comes after 15.00 , we can not charge those same day because we are not there , next morning when we get to the hotel at 06.00 the guests already left the room without paying and the credit card is not working . That is a very big problem and Booking.com did not help us to find a solution, they suggested that we could ask the guests to make a bank transfer Before we give out the access code , but that does not work either because any banktransactions after 13.00 goes next day and they can cancell them any time Before that .

does anyone else experince the same same problem ?/ if yes how did you solve it ?

7 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi again Jan Christian Severin,

Oh I see! Now I understand. Makes sense what you're doing then.

I see on the Ask me Anything that they did about a month ago, some big changes are coming in 2019 and hopefully we will feel it when it comes to Payments and guaranteed bookings (or as they say, the instantly confirmed model).

Best of luck to everyone

7 months ago
1
Milinmpatel

Hello,

Our policy is 24 hour prio to the day of arrival, which is a standard for hotels. My main concern is, hotels should be provided a valid credit card with the booking. It is booking.com's responsibility to make sure, it a valid method of payment. Booking.com is paid way more than standard 10% commission to support this extra cost, to make sure the validity of card while making a reservation. Other thing is, any cancellation from OTA should have 50% charge, irrespective of reason of cancallation. They booked the room and sometimes, we loose revenue beacause of that hold up room. It is not fair for the hotels to loose revenue, due to guest's issue. Cancalltion do happen, but it should come with a cost. Or they book direct with hotel to avoid that.

7 months ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

Our cancellation policy for busy seasons is 48 hours from time of check-in. If they are not within this time frame our policy is the guest will be charged 50% and up to the full amount of their reservation. This policy is stated in our confirmation emails, or with a phone reservation verbally added as well. Our weekly stays are required to give a 72 hour cancellation policy and the monthly guests require at least a full month before check-in, particularly administered during our heavy event days. We do allow some flexibility on a case-by-case basis so that we can assess the "emergency" possibility.

7 months ago
1
Edelweissinn

Hi;

i have been reading the comments by other partners and I found that we have a lot in common with others partners. My main issues is that we also get a lot of charge backs. It is impossible for us to inform you of the state of the reservation because we are not aware of it for an average of 6-8 weeks. This is how long it takes to receive the paperwork from the processing company. By this time I have already payed your commission. I appreciate any constructive advice.

I

7 months ago
1
Gm Mcism

Honestly, I can take a cancellation a lot better than people making reservations with an invalid credit card. That is what our biggest issue. Booking.com should be running an authorization, even for a $1 just to see if the actual card is invalid at the time of booking. Marriott is doing this now and it has helped tremendously. Please consider this option.

7 months ago
1
Edelweissinn

This would be helpful . If they checked on the day of reservation. Before then some customers will not have it in there account.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi everyone (Jezwitaker).You are right..cancellations are a pain !!!.and Booking.com are partly to blame, advertising MOST Hotels/Apartments offer FREE Cancellation..NO WAY !!! we used to not charge any deposit and received many cancellation NOW charge 30% deposit ( refundable if an emergency) upon reservation and our cancellations have dropped by 95%...we still get the odd one but there always (if true) will be there......................I even charge 30% deposit if the booking is made for 3/6 months in advance...We found if the credit card was declined for the 30% deposit, in most cases when I asked the guest to clarify , immediately it was cancelled so now it is routine..30% deposit and cancellation fees apply if cancelled with 7 days of the booking.....Thank goodness it has not happened so good news...........Plus if there is an emergency ( a death for instance we will gladly refund...life sometimes has it downers !!!)..hope that is helpful...Thanks everyone....Michael.

7 months ago
3
Lu_Madrid

Hi!

Our property is fairly new (opened in April this year) and we used to have a 1 day cancellation policy. After a couple of months, we realized that was too short notice. People would take advantage of that and not cancel until last minute, making us lose money on possible bookings. We were too unexperienced.

We called Booking.com to ask for recommendations (they suggested 7 days), but it seemed to be to strict to us too, so we ended up setting it to 72h in advance.

We have received less bookings, but we do have, at least, the certainty that we will have the chance to book the room out again after a customer cancels.

7 months ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

I guess we all learn as we go regarding the cancellation policy. We also used to have a 24 hour cancellation policy. Recently I have upped that to 48 hours on multiple days but also have added time to our weekly, monthly and 5-10 room blocks. 7 day weekly is now a 3-day cancellation. Monthly requires 3 weeks minimum. Without that they can be charged up to 50% of the reservation depending upon the circumstances. We do allow some flexibility with manager (my) approval.

It has cut down on the loss of revenue due to cancellations and declined cards.

7 months ago
4
k2u

Welcome Bridgewatermotel !

I see you say you have guests that you allow to stay for a month.. is that considered on a 4 week basis ? Some months have 5 weeks. We used to do a month rate, but then changed it only per week because then the guest would get 1 week free if that month had 5 weeks not 4.

And yes, I (manager) am the only one that can approve any long term weekly/monthly guest and rate. As for cancellation that occurs within our cancellation policy, which this also depends on the guest circumstance.

7 months ago
1
Jezwhitaker

It might be interesting to know the type or accommodation people are selling here as we have a few properties ranging from Homestay for 1 - 2 guests up to 3 bedroom apartments sleeping 8. We have moved to 30% deposit upon booking with 24 hour grace period of free cancellation and no refund within 1 month for all properties. We're in Queenstown so there are a lot of hotels and 100's of Airbnbs. Cancellations for 1-2 guests aren't generally a problem BUT groups of 8 don't generally book last minute so if we were lenient and let gets cancel we don't resell. This is particularly annoying when Black Friday sales are on (both Booking.com and Expedia Group do them), even if you don't offer a sale on Black Friday each year we still get a whole bunch of cancellations as other hotels are stupid enough to offer 40% discounts in high season?!? $30,000 of cancellations on Black Friday is what has finally pushed us to 30% non-refundable deposit - we missed it this year but next year it will be enforced fully.

7 months ago
4
k2u

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a great week so far.

I see a lot of you asking for deposits, how many of you have to give that back ? or is the deposit Non-Refundable ? I ask this because the Owners of the Motel, used to years ago would ask for a refundable deposit from all of our guests, until we were loosing revenue. Then we decided to ask for a Non - Refundable deposit (not that much of a deposit at that point) which then were loosing bookings. So we decided to completely get rid of the deposit period. Which worked in our favor, less cancellations and receiving many more bookings. I believe the guests see the deposits and get scared off, whether refundable or non - refundable.

Before me becoming manager, the owners did not even have a cancellation policy. And they wondered why they were loosing bookings the day of and giving that deposit back at the time they did the deposits. What a loss of money !! Now as I've said, we have a non-holiday cancellation policy of 72 hours, Holiday cancellation policy of 7 days and a 30 day Special cancellation policy (Only for those who do block of rooms, we only accept those over the phone or in person) Works very well !! : )

7 months ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

In response to the question regarding monthly stay...it is based on a 30-day stay. Our state allows us to do monthly rates without any tax, but it is non-refundable. If a guest decides to leave earlier, the state requires us to apply the tax to all the days the guest actually stays and they end up owing us more than our monthly rate. If the extend any days beyond the 30-day stay but less than another 30 days, we are allowed the same rate but have to apply the tax to those extended days. As to the deposits, we only take deposits(at check-in) for cash payments which are returned after the room is inspected at check out. We do take a non-refundable deposit for bookings blocking multiple rooms which can be applied to the overall cost when all guests check in.

7 months ago
4
k2u

Jezwhitaker, You ask what type of accommodations we all have..

Hi, I am from the US, NY state (not NYC, people get confused when hearing NY). We are a Motel of 26 units. During our busy season, I sometimes allow a guest to cancel free of charge with my approval only, actually the day of which is well within our cancellation policy, because we most likely will resell our rooms. During our busy season (Spring, Summer and Fall) each weekend we usually have no vacancies, so I do not have worry about to much loss. Now, its Winter, not at all our busy time, so I have to be very strict with our cancellation policy. We welcome a lot of temporary longer term guests, we are located in the Berkshire Mountains which border NY, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Which we are just about a mile from a very popular Ski area, not a resort.

We also are near a lot of private schools, so we have guests from all over the world. We love to meet people from different countries. So once the ski areas open up for their season, we then begin to get busy again.. but not as much as the other seasons.

Have a great weekend !!

7 months ago
4
k2u

Hi again Bridgewater,

Thank you !! Your state seems to have a lot of tax conditions : )

Yes we used to do the deposits for the Blocks of rooms as well, but it seemed they (the owners) ended up refunding the deposits (again they ran the Motel prior to me). They decided to get rid of the deposits. Which then we had less cancellations. We still do the blocks of rooms, so I now have a date of confirmation put in place by all the guests within the block. If by a certain time and not all rooms are booked within the block, I reach out to who the contact person is (not always a guest, just the person who blocked the rooms). We then agree to open those left over rooms, then I open the rooms back up, usually the timeline for confirmation is 6 weeks prior to arrival date.

Also the contact person is told of our Special cancellation. Only then is a special cancellation policy put in place. The special cancellation policy is 30 days prior to arrival, anything within the cancellation policy is charged to the guest if we cannot resell the room. The contact person is told this at time of booking the block of rooms as well as each guest. This way all is notified well in advance.

7 months ago
3
Lu_Madrid

Hi k2u ,

Our property is really small but very well-located, meaning that it is usually full when it comes to high season. I believe cancellation policies should be more or less strict depending on how easy you might get new reservations.

We also do the same. As a business, we want to have our small guesthouse (6 private rooms for ranging from 1-2 persons) busy as much as we can. However, as a person who usually travels, I would not like to be charged either if something out of my control happens and I cannot make it.

That is why we try not to be too strict when it is high season and we know we will resell that room. If it is low season and people usually book a very long time in advance, but the customer does not cancel till last minute without any reason, we do charge that amount. I think it is fair to us to do so since we won't be able to resell the room again.

7 months ago
4
k2u

Hi Lu Madrid,

Yes I agree with you, anything can happen. That is why I had said in an earlier comment that we will absolutely make exceptions for emergencies. I had shared a story from a past guest that had to cancel due to emergency, I allowed it free of charge. I actually called BDC on their behalf to help them out in this situation.

Now this goes for present guests that must leave for emergencies at home, ect. We will definitely refund them. You have to show them that you care and its not all about money, you have to have a heart !! :)

7 months ago
3
Lu_Madrid

Hi k2u ,

Yeah, I agree. I read your comment, that is why I wanted to share our experience and point of view too. I believe that caring about our guests is the best tool to have a good impression and to make them come back next time :)

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

No deposit.The guest can cancel free of charge until 7 days before arrival. The guest will be charged the total price if they cancel in the 7 days before arrival. If the guest doesn’t show up they will be charged the total price. Flexible enough. If emergencies occur of course we don’t charge. We try to keep our r guests happy with not to strict policies and rules, after all they are on holidays.
Cheers!!!

7 months ago
4
k2u

Thank you Lu Madrid and M Adamopoulou !!

Have a great weekend. The Ski mountain (a mile from us) opens tomorrow... hoping people will realize its opening ! Need some business.

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Oh I love ski. A wish I was near you to enjoy it. Think pink and your guests will come before you know it. Good luck for the ski season....

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi Everyone.I have to ask a question, yes we all go out of our way to make the guest as happy and relaxed as possible..Tea/Coffee/biscuits ..whatever BUT ..how many return a second or third time ???..We have had about 130 guests so far with Booking.com Stayz and Airbnb and have had ONLY 3 people ever returning a second time ???.Is this normal for everyone of just me......Would love some answers back...Thanks.

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

michael-beeston I am sorry I can’t be of help since this is my first year. As a traveler I prefer to discover new places, meet new people have new experiences, so I never book the same place even though I had great time. My opinion is it’s very normal that you don’t have many people returning back. It all depends. As far as your place is full all the time you shouldn’t worry. Your guests are probably sharing their nice experience with friends and you get famous at no time. Cheers!!!

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Good morning "M"........Tea this morning (haha) Thank you for your reply and I certainly agree...Rita and I travel at least 4 times per year and NEVER stay at the same place twice, like you we like to see different things, meet many different people and stay in different properties..and yes , we are so fortunate that our property is always ( so far ) full full...its wonderful.During September/October and November ONLY 7 days vacant in total and then my daughter stayed there (haha)..As always thank you for the info and have a super day, its raining in Queensland and its summer. and a bit cold 24 degrees......strange !!

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Good morning it’s 00.06 here and I am having a super night having drinks with some friends. The temperature right now is 8 and cold but in the morning we had a fabulous sunshine. Hope your weather gets better.
Massive pleasure to exchange our worries. Take care.

7 months ago
4
k2u

Michael Beeston, Yes it is normal, it all depends on where your guests are from. If your guests are somewhat local, they will come back if they enjoyed their stay. However, if your guests are "Travelers" and only in your country lets say for a specific reason you may never see them again. Send your past guests a thank you card... to show you appreciated them. They would remember that and if back in your City/Country they would most likely look you up. Especially now the holidays are upon us send them a card for the holidays but remember not everyone is the same religion or have the same traditions as you... Just send a Happy Holiday Card or something in that sense

You will meet so many wonderful guests.. a lot of great memories !!

7 months ago
4
k2u

Haha, I see its morning time for some of you. So Good morning have a wonderful day

For me its night time now 8pm, so soon bedtime

7 months ago
4
k2u

M Adamopoulou, Well if you are ever here, look me up !! Me personally not the skier nor snowboarder, my luck I would injure myself hehe.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi "M" and K2u.....Understand completely....I have been an expatriate and lived in 14 countries over 30 years, so always make sure I send a Happy Holiday card.....................we also have a three (3) bedroom apartment in Dubai, so all is very cool..and a big thanks for all the info and talk.....LOVE IT.................we have friends coming over tonight for some Xmas drinks so will have a few for you guys..x

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

the start of a good evening with Friends for Xmas.......an early start but why not. !!

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

k2u I don’t believe it you are not a skier leaving in a ski resort. Common break a leg!!!!

michael-beestonWow a very nice start indeed. Stin ygeia sas.... Meaning I drink to your health....
The Xmas spirit has gotten in to us....

7 months ago
3
Lu_Madrid

michael beeston That looks amazing! I hope you enjoyed your dinner!

As for your question regarding people going back to somebody's property, I believe it really depends on the location of your property and the reason why they went. Our guesthouse, for example, is small but very central located in Madrid. It is a big city with people coming for different reasons: holidays, work, conferences, etc.

We opened in the end of April and we have had clear high and low seasons already. We have also had 3-4 people coming back to our property but they are usually people who come to Madrid for work or conferences.
In that case, since it is a tedious work to look for a place to stay, they will try to book with the lodgings they were comfortable with. They do not want to spend that much time on research since they have to do it every now and then.

I believe people who go on holidays will recommend it to their friends or family if they liked the place, for sure, but probably will never go back. As a enthusiastic traveller, I rarely go to the same city again. However, if I was comfortable in a place, I sure tell my friends and family!

I hope that helps :)

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Thanks Lu.....................and yes I agree..the people that returned were ALL business people( easy for them to just rebook) but some of their friends have stayed so it works in both directions..many thanks for the input..cheers Michael.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Thanks K2U...they have just left !!!!.a great night. The Xmas spirit is alive and well......

7 months ago
4
k2u

Haha "M" live near the ski area... no skiing for me lol. Afraid I may run into something and that may not be good !

Michael, looks delicious. Hi to your friend :) Thanks for the drink haha. Yes the Xmas spirit is alive this year for sure !!

7 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

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

7 months ago
3
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!

7 months ago
1
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

7 months ago
6
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 ????

7 months ago
7
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.

7 months ago
9
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.

7 months ago
3
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?

7 months ago
3
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?

7 months ago
9
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.

7 months ago