All you need to know about Risk-Free Reservations

Offering flexible booking policies can help increase your bookings, but it can also mean more cancellations. To guarantee you get paid – and to save you hassle looking for replacement guests – we’ve developed Risk-Free Reservations. With Risk-Free Reservations, you’ll be guaranteed a payout, even if your guests cancel.

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What are Risk-Free Reservations?

Our customers love flexibility. Having the option to cancel a room for free is something that a lot of guests value, and it can often sway their booking decision in your favour.

Actually, most guests with a free cancellation option don’t end up using it – they just like the peace of mind.

However, we understand that offering this flexibility can result in more cancellations – which can mean extra hassle (and loss of revenue) for you.

That’s why we’ve developed Risk-Free Reservations – a new way for you to offer flexible policies, safe in the knowledge that you’re guaranteed to get paid.

If a guest cancels a booking that uses these policies, we’ll do the extra work to find you a replacement guest. If we can’t find one, we’ll pay you the commissionable amount for any room night(s) we're unable to replace for that booking.

 

How do Risk-Free Reservations work?

To make your property more appealing to potential bookers, you can offer guests an upgraded (more flexible) cancellation policy.

With Risk-Free Reservations, if a guest books this flexible option and later decides to cancel, we’ll try to find a new guest to take their place. If we can’t find one, we’ll cover the commissionable amount for any room night(s) we're unable to replace.

So, no matter what happens, you get your money.

What’s more, the Risk-Free Reservations programme is completely free. There are no extra charges or commission.

What other criteria are there for Risk-Free Reservations?

  • To join the Risk-Free Reservations programme, your property needs to be part of Payments by Booking.com, our payment solution for partners. To see if this solution would work for your property, have a look at our article on Payments by Booking.com.
  • Risk-Free reservations will display your strictest policy as having a free cancellation or extend the period of your free-cancellation policy (if you have one).
  • We’ll show them to guests who we’re confident are looking to book – so they should help increase your conversion.
  • We guarantee you’ll get paid – but the payment may take longer to arrive in your account than normal non-refundable rates.

What happens when a guest cancels/doesn’t cancel?

If a booking gets cancelled, different scenarios can occur. For each risk-free reservation, you can check the progress of finding a replacement guest in the extranet. Under the ‘Reservation details’ section of each booking in the ‘Reservations’ tab, you’ll see the current status for each night and be able to understand what’s happening.

  • If the guest doesn’t cancel, you can charge the guest after the upgraded policy expires.

  • If the guest cancels and we find a replacement guest, you can charge the new guest as normal.

  • If the guest cancels and we can’t find a new one, we’ll pay you the commissionable amount for any room night(s) we're unable to replace via your preferred payment method (virtual credit card or bank transfer). 

  • To give you the best possible chance of welcoming a guest, we’ll use price incentives when looking for a replacement. However, this won’t affect the money you earn, because any discounts will be deducted from our own commission. You can rest easy knowing we’ll always pay you the commissionable amount for any room night(s) we can’t find a replacement guest for.

Note: If you close or block availability while we’re looking for a replacement guest, Booking.com will no longer be liable to pay for these cancelled reservations, as there may not be any availability to offer a potential replacement guest.

 

How do I join the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

At the moment, Risk-Free Reservations is only available for selected regions and partners. Depending on your location, you’ll either be added to the programme automatically or invited to join. In both cases, you’ll receive official communication in advance.

For us to be able to pay you correctly, we also require you to be part of Payments by Booking.com. To find out more about this payment solution, check out our FAQs.

What if I don’t want to join the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

We understand that some of our partners will feel this programme isn’t the right fit for them. If you don’t want to offer Risk-Free Reservations, just sign into your Booking.com extranet, go to the ‘Property’ menu, then click on ‘Policies’. Scroll down to ‘Risk-Free Reservations’ and opt out. If you’d like to rejoin the programme at some point in the future, you can use the same process to opt back in.

Note that Risk-Free Reservations is designed to benefit both partners and guests. If we detect improper use of the programme, we reserve the right to disable Risk-Free Reservations for properties not complying with our terms of service.