Cancellation and refund requests
Guests wanting to cancel seem to have no idea how to behave:
They often contact me first, are sent back to BDC, and can't seem to find a way that doesn't involve asking for a refund.
The message I get requests a refund, and is not a cancellation, which suggests that - if I say no - they might still show up.
Am I going to authorise a refund if I don't know if I can re-let the room in the available time left? No.
So I usually add "Not unless BDC can get me an equivalent replacement guest, so cancel your reservation so they can try".
But guests often don't complete the cancellation process, the room stays booked to them, BDC can't seek another guest and the guest can't get a refund. Eventually they will be marked a no-show.
They start kicking off...... and I (who could, by then, might have found a guest via another source) think "*** you, mate".
IT WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER IF GUESTS WERE TOLD TO CANCEL FIRST AND TO ASK FOR ANY REFUND LATER.
The time saved would increase the chances of finding another guest before it was too late, and the likelihood of an ex gratia refund.
A guest rang at the last moment, saying her partner had "broken his knee playing football" that morning - could they have a refund. When I said no, she said angrily they'd come anyway. Now I have a guest who has either lied, or one who may be unfit to stay. Either way, I don't want them in my home and they will undoubtedly leave a damaging review. I tell her to CANCEL to give me a chance to re-let the room - she won't. So I tell her my insurance will not cover a guest in a cast - she "has her own insurance". I ask for documentary proof - she can't provide it. I give up and wait to see what happens. They don't show, of course, but the aggro involved has consumed my whole day and wound me tight.
Guests can be ***. BDCneed to adjust their procedures to protect hosts from this kind of abuse.
It isn't acceptable for a host to be trapped between lost revenue and an abusive review.
the cure is to only allow prepayment not on arrival
you add all the pay methods and process, time limit ,and note failure to follow procedure results in cancellation
this gives you many advantages:
youre not the first to mention this.
Simply report to BdC Partner Support , see below 3 methods. They will never see any post on the Partner Hub.
Message or Call BdC PartnerSupport
Method 3: *** public main lines via Where you can reach us
I have always used pre-payment and BDC collect. It's my only option, as my business is way too small to justify the cost of running a business bank account and card system. I never accept reservations from any platform without prepayment in full.
This year we've seen an increase in the book/cancel/book/cancel pattern, which creates a great deal of admin work and can lead to accidental overbookings. So, learning from my stronger competitors, I lengthened my non-refundable period from 7 to 30 days, and made Fridays and Saturdays completely non-refundable. This protected me from the financial impact of last-minute cancellations.
Later I removed the "grace period" as well, to discourage guests from frivolously stacking up multiple reservations for the same date, then cancelling them - again causing wasted admin and increasing the risk of human error. We all know they do this.
The problem is BDC's guest page steers those who want to cancel to ask for a refund FIRST and BEFORE actually cancelling. This leaves the host in a kind of limbo, where they cannot be absolutely sure the guest isn't going to rock up anyway, so cannot confidently seek a new guest anywhere, and the room does not appear on BDCs site as available so they can help.
The only way to deal with it is to phone BDC and insist they contact the guest and demand they make a decision to cancel. I don't know about other hosts, but I simply don't have the spare time to hang on the phone line to chase them up like this.
It's a daft situation.
Incorrect its not your only option to take prepayment for you, in fact any other 3rd party who provide Payment service would be miles better than using BdC .
Oh dear, that was too much to follow, and probably too complex with only one B&B room and one self-catering unit to sell. Is there anything better, more widely used or cheaper than Paypal? I ask guests booking direct with me to use BACCS or the "friends and family" option on Paypal to avoid commission charges, so it's effectively free.
It would suit me if Booking.com guests had to pay immediately upon booking, rather than Booking.com taking their money just before the start of the 30 day non-refundable period starts. However, since nearly all this year's bookings have been last minute (ie. within 30 days of check-in) payment has usually been taken immediately anyway.
Taking private bookings through my own website, I don't block dates on the calendars or guarantee any accommodation until payment has cleared, whether made by BACCS, Paypal or cheque. I very rarely agree to take cash unless check-in is less than half a day away. The possibility that they may lose their reservation does seem to get guests to focus and pay promptly - so you may have a point! But I wonder if not having the simple card option with BDC will put some off, especially if they don't normally use Paypal or BACCS.
What do you think?
Absolutely agree. For the amount of commission and money that BDC make from hosts they should be providing some protection.
I just had a guest who requested a refund for a cancellation less than 24 hours before their arrival, which of course I am forced to decline as I won't be able to rebook at such short notice.
Now I have no idea if they are actually coming and I dread to see the review they will leave. No matter how hard I try to impress they have started on the wrong foot.
BDC needs to make a change here and protect the people who are paying their bills.
A simple way would be for BDC to withdraw access to review if they have previously asked for a refund they are not entitled to. Such requests should only be made through the extranet. Then a host can simply say no. It won't make them any pleasanter to deal with face to face, but they can't harm your reputation afterwards. After all, no-shows can't review, so it can't be difficult to set up.