What are the penalties for cancelling on a guest?

Hi, I have been trying, recently, to take advantage of the myriad of possibilities offered by the booking.com calendar - notably, setting different prices and minimum durations of stay.  Of course, I immediately, somehow, messed up on both counts.  I thought I had a three-night minimum on each of our three gîtes in the Loire Valley, and I had low, medium and high season prices.  Somehow, I got a reservation for one night at low season prices - it won't cover the cost of the cleaning - and I must have missed one month, because I got a ten night reservation at low season prices for July of 2019 - the most sought-after period for our location!  

I have, as far as I can tell, fixed all lacunae on my calendars, and I will honor these two reservations - the cost of good relations - but it did make me wonder what the penalties are, at booking.com, for an owner cancelling on a guest?  For example, this reservation made for 9 months hence was made an hour ago - do I have any grace time to cancel on the guest without repercussions?  What, exactly, would be the repercussions for cancelling? Are there fines? A loss of visibility on the site?

Thanks for your expertise.


Leandri Klopper

Hi there,

Thanks for posting.

Well yes, there are repercussions in both those scenarios but you can always request that the guest cancel (there is a button for that on the reservation but a nice phone call prior to pressing that button might go better) then Booking.com won't mind.

Any bookings that you don't want to "honor" because of technical issues (even operational issues such as a flood in the chalet) will be dealt with as a Overbooking issue.

You can check out this articles:

Esspecially this one:

Hope these help!

(I've been where you are, made technical changes and got some funky bookings. I ended up also honoring them in good faith).


Hi - thanks, Leandri. I'd actually not thought to ask the guest to initiate a cancellation. They've got a pretty good deal, I wouldn't want to back out if I'd gotten it ;-) . If it ever becomes critical, that is a good thing to think of.

Paying for my mistakes is one thing, but I've always wondered what parameters the booking site uses to pick who gets mentioned at the beginning of the list, and who gets buried. Do you have any insights on that ? It doesn't seem to depend on how long you've been listed on the site, or how many guests you've hosted, or ratings - sometimes even the location does not seem too relevant, I've searched our town and had gîtes all over the Loire Valley come up before ours. So I'll admit I was a wee tad concerned that if I cancel on a guest, my listing would never surface on a search again.

Best regards, Naomi

Leandri Klopper

Hello again,

Big pleasure!

Wow, there are Quite a lot of factors that play into that. Remember also, people use Filters when they search. For instance if they filter to see only Guesthouses, how far up/down are you on the list of Guesthoues in your area? Check the prices of the other properties and ratings. Some of them might also have Visibility boosters or belong to the Preferred or Genius Partner Programme which places them higher in the lists.

Your property should always pop up on the search, so I wouldn't be worried about that. This is just a small hiccup on a long road ahead, What is your property name and where is it located? We can maybe take a look to give better advise.