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How do other hosts handle these situations (credit card declines)?

How do other hosts handle this situation? (I already posted this but not in the right place I think?)

I recently had what would have been two very good bookings for low season. But the credit cards were declined. So the bookings were cancelled.

Just wondering, especially when it is 1-2 months before the guests arrive, if anyone takes a different approach? Do you "wait and see" what will happen? (In my case, I only have the one room.)

Or do you cancel? (Both were for our non-refundable rate). Interested if anyone has found ways of dealing with this type of situation. Deborah 

3 Replies
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David

Only you can make that decision that best suits your business.Do you really want that type of guest that reserve rooms that are priced and marked as non-refundable yet they use a credit or debit card that is clearly fake or without funds.Best just to cancel and so give other people the chance who really want to book your room.

7 months ago
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The Flying Pen…

I cancel immediately. I am not interested in pursuing bookings that offer additional headache. I used to try and accommodate these guests in the past by waiting for them to get their act together and sort out their payment. 99.9999999% of the time, it was a waste of time. So now I just have hard and fast policies and I stick to them. I find it hard to do because I want to believe the best of people despite evidence to the contrary. 

 

What I do say though is this:

"Hi Jane, Thanks so much for booking with us. We look forward to welcoming you. I see that there was a problem with your payment, so could I ask you to resolve it right  away? Booking.com requires me to flag the payment problem so you may see a notification in this regard. In the meantime, I'm holding the room for you for 24 hours to allow you to sort this glitch out. After that the accommodation will be further secured by the successful deposit payment". 

 

Then I flag the card as invalid. 24 hours later when the guest hasn't paid, I then say this:

 

"Hi Jane, I see that you didn't get an opportunity yet to make the deposit payment. We unfortunately can't hold the room longer due to our booking policies, however we'd still love to accommodate you if possible. I suggest that when you are ready to do the deposit payment, please just re-confirm availability and we can then definitely take your booking. We hope to hear from you soon and have a lovely day."

 

Then I click cancel. That way if the potential guest gets their act together in the future, you can still hopefully convert them to a booking having been very nice to them about it. Nice but firm. Any guest who cannot respond in a positive way to this correspondence is unlikely to be worth any further time.  

7 months ago
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The Flying Pen…

To add to my points above, it is obviously on a case by case basis. It is a dilemma sometimes. With a potential amazing long low season booking, I may then consider calling / whatsapping the guest to get some kind of personal feeling about it. And perhaps follow up and check with them when they claim they will be able to pay. The dilemma is that if it is a nice long booking over low season and you cancel whilst waiting for them to pay, someone else might book a 2 day stay in the middle of their dates and then you could end up losing a long booking that could possibly have converted at a later date. You need to learn how to gauge guests and trust your gut feel.

7 months ago