Cancelled bookings due to fire risks



As some may be aware we have a large number of fires in NSW and Vic. We have a family run holiday accommodation in jervis Bay which isnt affected by the fires, but news reports tell everyone not to come to Jervis Bay, therefore everyone is cancelling their bookings with us ( Many on the day and within cancellation period )

As everyone in tourism knows, holiday income is needed and carries a business through winter. 

My question is has this happened to other people, and considering there are no fires in our area, what would everyone else do in this situation?

We advise guests they can use their days as credit to be used later in the year, but we cannot issue a refund. Some guests cant book again so are demanding refunds, which i tell them ' their travel insurance should cover their expenses'

Obviously nobody buys travel insurance and therefore accommodation business loose out on income when giving full refunds back.

Without sounding insensitive, shouldn't the guest have insurance for these situations?

Does booking.com offer travel or cancellation insurance?



If you are able to accommodate guests and they can arrive to your place safely you can stick to your written policies if you want. 


I don't think it's a 3rd party job to cover our costs, losses etc. If we are not able to manage those perhaps we should evaluate our business. 

Dungowan Water…

Hi, as there are no fires where we live and access is still possible, our cancellation policy is 30days no refund. we advise guests they can take the same amount of days later in the year, but many cant therefore they want a refund.

I know if i miss a flight due to a fire, Qantas wouldn't refund me the flight unless i had my own travel insurance.


Dungowan Water…

as summer is a large majority of our income, its difficult to just let 50% of the income just go. I cant just go to my bank and say ' sorry i cant make loan payments for the next 6 months due to a fire in the area and i refunded all the guests'

Our 'insurance' for our property is our 30day cancellation period. not sure why guests don't have insurance when they travel. I know i've got insurance for my car, health and house....



The question of "insurance" would probably make more sense if ALL the properties would have a non-refundable rate with 100% prepayment when they make a booking. Similar as purchasing flight tickets - i guess. 


Some guests preffer to take this risk for a cheaper price. So that's the risk they took and they don't need insurance for that. It's up to host if they are willing to accept free cancealtion.


In your case I would probably issue refunds, or at least I would charge first day of their stay. 


If you are having such financal issues, you can also offer them refunds after the period of 6 months.




Hi , from a devil's advocate position I would say....


At the end of the day it's down to what your booking rate cancellation policy says.


As for them claiming on insurance is for them to do or have their own travel insurance or another service they use provides it as a perk such as a credit card.


It's not on you at all to refund.


I would simply wait, see if any one applies for a cancellation request first.

Then play it by ear, but you are not under any obligation to allow it.


What is your rate cancellation policy? Do you have more than one type ..I.e. non refundable  versus flexible


Kind regards,  happy new year

Dungowan Water…

Hi, yes many have cancelled and we advised they would have a credit for the number of days they booked later in the year. 

As there are no fires where we are, the news has advised anyone not to come to the surrounding areas due to fire risk.

I can see a lot of credit card charge backs coming in soon, as some guests are unable to take the days off later in the year.

our policy is 30days non refundable. Many of the bookings are 7 nights long.