All you need to know about Risk-Free Reservations

Updated 2 months ago

We developed Risk-free Reservations to help you maximise your earnings with minimal risk. The programme will make sure you have the best chances of attracting new guests.

What are Risk-Free Reservations?

Now more than ever, travellers need flexibility. A recent study revealed that in April 2020, 73% of customers cited free cancellation as their main reason for booking a property. The Risk-Free Reservations programme is designed to help attract more guests who prefer this flexibility to your property.

But Risk-Free Reservations don’t just benefit your potential guests. Our data shows that simply offering Risk-Free Reservations helps our accommodation partners achieve up to 3% more conversions – with up to 92% of all Risk-Free Reservations being completed without any cancellations. The truth is, most travellers find flexibility attractive, and Risk-Free Reservations is a great way to appeal to them.

We understand that an increase in flexibility could lead to a loss of revenue due to an increase in cancellations. However, the Risk-Free Reservations programme has been designed to prevent this from happening. It does so by actively targeting replacement guests when there is a cancellation. And if no replacement guest can be found, we will take over the payment obligation of the cancellation cost.

Please note that replacement guests can only be placed if the cancelled rooms remain open and bookable. And some replacement guests can only be placed if the cancelled rooms remain without restrictions.

Please keep the cancelled rooms open and bookable. If you have set restrictions for these rooms, we would recommend removing the restrictions so as to increase the possibility of finding a replacement booking.

How do Risk-Free Reservations work?

To make your property more appealing, we’ll upgrade your strictest policy to include free cancellation. If you already offer a free cancellation policy, we’ll extend it.

What we do if you join the programme Risk-Free Reservation:

  • If you have a non-refundable policy for some or all of your rooms, a part of them will be updated on Booking.com to include free cancellations to the guests.
  • If all your rooms already include free cancellation options, Booking.com will upgrade your policies to more flexible ones (i.e. offering free cancellation within 7 days before check-in). 
  • If you already allow guests to cancel for free with full flexibility (free cancellation within 3 days), we won’t upgrade your cancellation policies. 
  • If no replacement guest can be found, we will take over the payment obligation of the cancellation cost.

Our algorithm will define which rules will be applied to which hotels globally on a daily basis. This means you might not receive Risk-Free Reservations every day. Rooms with Risk-Free Reservations will show up on the Reservations page in your extranet as ‘Risk-Free’ reservations.

For partners using a channel manager or property management system to manage reservations, we will update the comments/remarks section when a new Risk-Free Reservation is created.

For more information about how to handle a Risk-Free Reservation, you can check the FAQ Risk-Free Reservations

What should I do when I receive a Risk-Free Reservation?

Please check the upgraded cancellation policy in the reservation details page or in your channel manager. We have customised information there to help you better understand how it works. For more information, you can refer to Section 2 of FAQ Risk-Free Reservations. 

What should I do when a guest cancels a Risk-Free Reservation?

If a Risk-Free Reservation gets cancelled, please make sure the cancelled room is available without restrictions. That will allow us to start searching for a replacement guest.

Different scenarios may happen depending on when it’s cancelled. You can find more information in Section 1 of FAQ Risk-Free Reservations.

How does Booking.com find replacement guests?

Our replacement process will start when a Risk-Free Reservation is cancelled. In order to find replacement guests for Risk-Free Reservations, we may use price incentives. However, this will not affect the money you earn because any incentive will come from the Booking.com commission.

Please note that you must not close or restrict availability while we are looking for replacement guests. Doing so will prevent us from finding a replacement, and as a result, we will no longer be liable to take over the payment obligation for these cancelled reservations.

Where can I find more information about Risk-Free Reservations?

You can check the FAQ Risk-Free Reservations page. If you’re eligible for the programme, you can also log in to the extranet and click on the ‘Opportunities’ tab to reach the ‘Risk-Free Reservations Programme’ page, where you’ll find further information about Risk-Free Reservations.

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

We understand that this programme may not be the right fit for some of our partners. If you don’t want to be part of Risk-Free Reservations, follow the below steps:

  • Sign in to your Booking.com extranet
  • Go to the ‘Opportunities’ tab
  • Click on ‘Risk-Free Reservations Programme’
  • Click ‘Leave this programme’ at the bottom of the page and fill in the short survey

If you’d like to rejoin the programme in the future, you can follow the same process to opt back in.

Please note that the Risk-Free Reservations Programme is designed to benefit both partners and guests. If we detect any improper use of the programme, or if properties aren’t complying with our terms of service, we reserve the right to disable Risk-Free Reservations.

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