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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.


186 Replies

6
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.

7 months ago
3
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.

7 months ago
6
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)

7 months ago
3
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.

7 months ago
9
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!!!

7 months ago
6
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.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Getting back to bookings and cancelations (or the lack of them)..I have just taken a booking for 3 days in February ($600) and have debited the guest 30% deposit...My credit card machine has already accepted the $180.00 dollars deposit and it is in my Bank account !!.I know , money up front and Guys and Gals it works so well...I have informed the guest of the deposit and they say ..All good....So...if the guest has a better price from elsewhere or some other reason for cancelling ---they shall think twice about it because the deposit has been paid, and its a hassle to get it back (its not but if it was me I would think the same)…...Just an idea for everyone..it works for us and our cancelations are now negligible. Michael.

7 months ago
2
Alasma

Good idea!
How do you return the deposit? I preauthrise it 1 day before arrival.
Do you guys charge guest card straight after booking is made? Is it full rent/deposit.
I am struggling with deposit.
I take rent 5 days before arrival and deposit preauthrisation 1 day before. Rent transaction goes fine but deposit mostly gets declined due to less funds in bank.
I am looking for suggestions for less hassle for payments.
Cheers

7 months ago
3
Lu_Madrid

michael beeston Yes! Time flies! I guess I'll have to do it asap and find myself some time to go there when I have the chance! :) AUS must be beautiful!

As for the deposit you are mentioning, I completely understand your point and I think that's a good method to make people re-consider finding another lodging! We may do that too! Thanks for the tip!

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Alasma............

1.When the guest makes the booking through BDC, we charge the 30% DEPOSIT immediately through our credit card machine and the money is in our account straightaway. It is the deposit ONLY that is 30% of the total accommodation amount.

2.If the guest cancels within 7 days of their booking (for whatever reason) we refund the money immediately, by return credit card machine. (this very rarely happens)

3.One day before the guests arrive I take the rest of the amount owing, by way of the credit card machine, so when they arrive the amount has already been paid (cool)

4 Using this method , if there is insufficient funds in their credit card, I give the guests 1 day to fix the problem, then if not paid I cancel the booking. (less problems and hassles) and inform BDC as well, so EVERYONE including the Guest is aware of the pricing policy.

Hope this helps..Michael.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Lu_Madrid..........no problems, stay at our property in Surfers Paradise ( special prices for Forum members !! and 2 yes 2 bottles of Champagne on arrival (Definitely) Of course to share with us over a long discussion about Madrid and Australia (welcome)

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

Pibomarco.........Yes another option.good information.

7 months ago
6
michael beeston

That would be lovely...the Champagne is already getting cold haha

+1
7 months ago
2
Strand Homestay

I have mOre cancellations than bookings.Seven cancellations against 5 bookings [3 arrivals after 10th] for January 2019. Fortunately I had 3 walk-In guests taking up 29 days in 3 units.

Does Booking.com check to see if guests who cancel with us book other rooms[cheaper/better] accommodation or do they lose the business too?

B.com should highlight & promote hotels that have re-bookable rooms owing to cancellations as "Golden Opportunities!".

STR@ND

01/08/2019

6 months ago
7
pibomarco

"Strict" policies = less cancelations.

6 months ago
1
Campsheathbarn

So many comments about cancellation policies on this thread so not sure if this is covered but I find that setting the cancellation policy on BDC so difficult as it's not clear what cancellation policy has been applied. On the policies page of the extranet there seems to be 5 cancellation policies active and on the Calendar page of the extranet a completely different policy set. Far too confusing or is it just me being thick?

6 months ago
2
Strand Homestay

Strict" policies= Less Bookings, then pleas for "Free cancellations"

6 months ago
2
Strand Homestay

Booking.com should strive to get fresh bookings, when their customers cancel bookings, specially bookings made months ahead for 2/4 weeks. And that @ published Room rates and NOT with DISCOUNTS. When hotels face Cancellations, Booking must promote such hotels as"Golden Opportunities" to get accommodation in HIGH DEMAND destinations and maybe even reduced commission, as Booking is serving only Travelers and NOT their hotel partners.

Also Booking should offer hotel partners reduced commission, when we accept bookings from their "Genius" travelers who get 10% off.

Also when hotels get high ratings and confirmed reservations, Booking.com should be proud of the partnership and make such hotels "Preferred Partners" w/o having to pay additional 3% Commission.

It is hotelier with their hospitality that garner Top Reviews, Booking.com should reward them cos they also get more revenue, they should care about the hoteliers and not only their customers.

6 months ago
7
pibomarco

Sure there are less bookings, because those who canceled or didn't show wouldn't book your place in the first place.

6 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Strict policies = less cancellations = safe bookings = safe payments

I agree all the way....

6 months ago
2
Bridgewatermotel

It also saves a lot of wear and tear on the front desk staff. Unfortunately, as I'm sure we have all experienced, people seem to not read the profile policies and try to manipulate with a variety of reasons/excuses. But when the word gets around, it tends to moderate the amount of lost revenue, at least in our case.

6 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi Bridgewatermotel..........Have to agree.............we had a booking this morning for two nights (but the credit card was declined for the 30% deposit) I sent the guest a message saying 30% deposit is to be paid immediately as per our and Booking.com policy.......Yes !! he came back saying "what policy"....Haha READ THE POLICY.......................Anyway if they cant pay the 30% deposit , I DO NOT WANT THEM......I have asked Booking to cancel the booking..We certainly don't need this hassle and time wasters !!!.It is a busy time for us during Jan/Feb/March so we will get another Good Booking.....Michael.

It may sound a bit tough BUT it is the ONLY way, I do not have the energy for time wasters/ Guests who Do NOT read the Pricing Policy/make excuses or whatever...We have a 5 Star Luxury apartment and expect the same in return and for most people it is FANTASTIC and very rewarding meeting the Guests.

+1
6 months ago
6
michael beeston

STRAND HOMESTAY......Some very good comments and hopefully Booking will at least listen to your views otherwise this Forum is (maybe) more social than fact....maybe !!!!..lets see the results,, so many people put forward so many valid and good information and points related to our business, and of course Booking.com.s business as well..

6 months ago
1
Steve

Some very good comments. I hope they are read.

Regarding the topic; I have had multiple cancellations and no shows.

B.com is happy to have their fees when we send them but give almost zero follow up on cancellation fees.

B.com has the card details surely ? Customer has agreed the terms and conditions before signing. 24/48 hours no fee cancellation policy is fine. The rest cancellation fees are clearly stated. The way it stands now completion could simply block all our villas so they were the only ones left available and we get last minute cancellations or no shows. I have never seen any evidence of B.com retaining the cancellation fees and paying us and themselves according to clearly stated terms and conditions.

Steve

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Michael is attending the click 2019 in September....

I think Cancellations should be one of the topics that have to be discussed thoroughly giving us solutions and not just advices how to avoid them.

Steve thanks for posting...

4 months ago
6
michael beeston

"M"..I will ask any questions..no problems.......................especially CANCELLATIONS !!....Steve, when we first stared we had a policy of cancellations any time and NO deposit...........Well we had quite a few cancels and no shows !!!................NOW we take a 30% deposit from guest credit card within 24 hours and we have changed our cancellation policy to 14 days ..............Amazing we have had ONE cancellation the last one year ( she said her father had died ??) BUt it was 20 days out so we had NO choice at all!!!...............and paid her the 30% deposit.............I really think if people pay up front (they can still cancel with in the 14 day period) then it would be a hassle to change and go through looking for something else............We are going to New Zealand/Argentina/Peru next week and have booked 3 hotels through Booking.com BUT have now cancelled the booking due to a slight change in our travel dates..That is allowed due to the Hotel cancellation policy.(good for us ) and we have HAD not one NO SHOW and if we did we have the credit card to charge the full amount !!!........Hope this helps but I will ask the question at Click..If anybody has any questions I will DEFINITELY ask.That is one of the main reasons for going there., The Click Conference is certainly not cheap so we MUST get answers and find out Booking.com plans for the coming years...............I have had an invitation to join the NEW AIRBNB PLUS with professional pictures done by them and a visit by one of their interior consultants for FREE...................Although we are very happy with Booking.com BUT it is their and Our Opposition so I would like very much to see what the future is for Booking.com and with some more questions would be super...............Hope this helps.Michael.

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Thanks Michael I know we can count on you. In New Zealand. I have a very sweet friend there, perhaps you will have time to meet her...Ha.ha.ha... Cancellations are a burden. I cant have a very strict policy since its my first year and location is not in a touristic area. Since booking.com advertises that guests can cancel anytime, cancellations cannot be avoided.

Thanks Michael for helpful information and have a nice weekend. Btw did the storm come??? Ours didnt, it just rained.

Maria

4 months ago
6
michael beeston

Thanks "M"..agree we are in a very very strong tourist area so can Dictate our terms (good for us) and the storm, supposedly a Hurricane force 4 eventually was nothing some strong winds and little rain.................working today..................3 meets (ahhhhhhhh)

4 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Michael thank God hurricane didn’t struck you. For the time being we only have some rain. Weather is changing again from tomorrow and sunshine will be with us again. Three meets!!!! Work, work...
Take care...

4 months ago
6
michael beeston

Thanks "M"..................Only 9 days to go before Argentina !!!!.Yippie !!!!

4 months ago
3
Torrdarach

Hi Laura,

The guest can cancel free of charge until 30 days before arrival.

The guest will be charged the total price if they cancel in the 30 days before arrival.

We have no problems with this policy.

Regards

Graeme

+1
2 days ago
1
Booking
Dear Laura, Being 7th in generation to have the hospitality and tourism management as inheritance, I am of the opinion that with onset of technology influence over tourism a lot of Good has happened however it has come with a baggage of bad stuff too. I think its a high time that "Booking.com" adopts a responsible role towards the property owners. There is a a big problem with fake credit cards / debit cards. In this case its the property owner whose inventory is being blocked and the chances of getting an honest client is also blocked. Booking.com must find a way to either verify or charge the client upfront especially for "Non-cancellable/Non-amendable" bookings. OTA cannot wash off its hands from the losses yet keep the property owner tied up to something which proves to be a Hoax at the end of day. Commissions charged are pretty healthy and I don't think its a big deal for "Booking.com" to tie up with "Credit Card" companies to do upfront filtration of financial credentials. If the OTA don't work on this, Time is not far away when property owners will concentrate more on Trip Advisor and direct bookings. Lets not deliberate too much as the damage inflicted by Fake booking/Credit Cards is too big all around the world. Regards, Yaseen Tuman. Managing Partner. Mascot Houseboats.
5 hours ago
7
pibomarco

And why don't you just activate online payments (virtual card) feature then? 

4 hours ago