Risk-Free Reservations: FAQs

Updated 3 months ago
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The Risk-Free Reservations programme helps you generate bookings that you might not get otherwise. We do this by offering travellers an extra-flexible cancellation policy on your behalf, while helping minimise the risks to you. If a guest cancels then we’ll look for a replacement guest for you or take over the payment obligation. Partners who have participated in this programme have increased their conversion rate by up to 3%. 

Learn the basics of Risk-Free Reservations programme.

If you have questions about the Risk-Free Reservations programme, this set of FAQs can help you quickly find the answers you need.


Table of contents

Section 1: What can I expect if I opt in to the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

Section 2: How do risk-free bookings work with cancellations?

Section 3: How does payment work?

Section 4: How does the programme work with my channel manager or property management system?

Section 5: How do I opt in or out of the Risk-Free Reservations programme?


Section 1: What can I expect if I opt in to the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

 

When will I receive my first risk-free booking?

Risk-Free Reservations is backed up by Booking.com demand data. We use this data on a daily basis to work out when to offer a flexible cancellation policy and who to offer it to, so that you have the best chance of generating a booking. Because of this, it’s possible that you won’t begin receiving risk-free bookings immediately after you opt in to the programme.

Each time you do receive a risk-free booking, you can find it by looking for the Risk-Free tag on the Reservations page in the extranet or on the Bookings page in the Pulse app. If you use a channel manager or property management system, you can identify risk-free bookings by checking the cancellation policy field or the comments and remarks area.

What information can I find in the extranet when I receive a risk-free booking?

A risk-free booking works the same as any other booking you receive. The only difference is that a risk-free booking has an extended cancellation period.

Even so, we’ve added some additional information in the extranet to help you understand everything about the risk-free bookings you receive. To find out more, take a look at this video – you can also use the subtitles to watch this in your own language.

Note: We’ll make sure you receive risk-free bookings when our data shows it’s most likely the guest will stay as planned. When you do receive risk-free bookings, please check the updated details on the Reservation details page in the extranet to make sure you’re aware of the updated cancellation policy.


Section 2: How do risk-free bookings work with cancellations?

 

Where can I check the cancellation policy of a risk-free booking?

You can check the cancellation policy of a risk-free booking on the Reservations page in the extranet. Click on the booking number of the risk-free booking you’re interested in, then scroll down to the Policies section.

What happens if a guest books and cancels a room during the Risk-Free cancellation period that Booking.com offers as part of this programme?

If a guest cancels a risk-free booking during the Risk-Free cancellation period, we’ll start searching for a replacement guest for you right away, as long as the room is still open and bookable.

How will you help me find a replacement guest?

First we’ll try to resell all of the cancelled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those cancelled nights and not others, we’ll continue reselling the remaining nights. If this happens, you’ll need to remove any minimum length of stay restrictions you have in place. We’ll send you a notification in the extranet if you need to do this.

While we’re looking for a replacement guest, we may boost your ranking or use price incentives in order to make your property more attractive and encourage travellers to book with you. If we do this, we’ll cover any costs involved, and you won’t have to offer any discounts yourself.

In the end, if we can’t find you a replacement guest, we’ll take over the payment obligation.

How will I know if you’ve found me a replacement guest?

Once we’ve found you a replacement guest, you’ll see that guest’s booking as a new reservation. You can treat it just like any other booking.

The replacement booking will also be linked to the original risk-free booking. In the extranet, you’ll be able to see the updated reservation number on the Reservation details page of the cancelled risk-free booking. If you use a channel manager or property management system, you’ll be able to see the same information in the comments and remarks area.

What happens if you can’t find me a replacement guest?

If the cancelled room is still open and bookable after the original cancellation, and it doesn’t have any restrictions applied to it, we’ll take over the payment obligation based on the policy that applied to the original reservation. You’ll find more information in Section 3 of these FAQs.

What should I do if a guest cancels a risk-free booking during the non-refundable period of the cancellation policy?

If a guest cancels after the end of the extended cancellation period, they’re responsible for the cancellation as normal. You should follow the same process as when a guest cancels an ordinary non-refundable booking.

If you need to charge a guest’s credit card for their reservation, you’ll receive access to the credit card details when the risk-free cancellation period expires. You should validate it right away, and if it’s invalid you should report this as soon as possible. To find out more about marking credit cards as invalid, take a look at this article.

Why do I need to keep the room open and bookable without restrictions?

To maximise the possibility of finding you a replacement guest, we work on a night-by-night basis. If the room is still open and bookable, first we’ll try to resell all of the cancelled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those cancelled nights and not others, we’ll continue reselling the remaining nights. In this scenario, you’ll need to remove any minimum length of stay restrictions you have in place. We’ll send you a notification in the extranet if you need to do this.


Section 3: How does payment work?

 

How does payment work for risk-free bookings when guests stay as planned?

If you collect payments using virtual credit cards or via bank transfer, the process works as normal. You can see the payment details on the Reservation details page in the extranet.

If you collect payments by charging the guest’s credit card, you should validate the card as soon as the cancellation period expires. If it’s valid and the reservation details don’t change, you can charge the card during check-in or check-out as you would normally. If it’s invalid, please report this as soon as possible and we’ll start searching for a replacement guest again.

Remember that we’ll charge commission on all reservations that earn you revenue, just as we would normally.

Where can I see the payment details for risk-free bookings?

You can see the payment information for risk-free bookings on the Reservation details page in the extranet. In the Risk-Free rooms summary section, you can find out who to charge for the reservation and when.

If you can’t find me a replacement guest, how and when will I receive payment?

If you normally receive payments using virtual credit cards (VCC), after the original stay date of the cancelled reservation we’ll activate a VCC for this payment. You can see the VCC details on the Reservation details page in the extranet or in your channel manager or property management system.

If you normally receive payments via bank transfer, we’ll also make this payment via bank transfer. You’ll receive the payment according to your usual payout schedule.

How do I charge a virtual credit card (VCC)?

You charge VCC for a risk-free booking in the same way as you do for other bookings. To find out more about how to charge a VCC, take a look at this article.

What should I do if the guest’s credit card is invalid?

You should validate each guest’s credit card as normal when the cancellation period expires. If it’s invalid, please report this as soon as possible. To find out more about marking credit cards as invalid, take a look at this article.

 


Section 4: How does the programme work with my channel manager or property management system?

 

How can I identify a risk-free booking in my channel manager or PMS?

When you receive a risk-free booking, you can identify it by looking at the cancellation policy field in your channel manager or PMS. If you don’t have a cancellation policy field, look for the words risk-free reservation in the comments and remarks area instead.

How can I track the progress of a risk-free booking if I use a channel manager or PMS?

We’ll include information about risk-free bookings in the confirmation, modification and cancellation messages that we’ll send you as normal. All of these messages will contain the words risk-free reservation so that you can easily recognise them.

To make sure you always see the full details of each booking, we also recommend you regularly check the Reservations page in the extranet.

What happens if I use a channel manager or PMS and a guest cancels a risk-free booking?

In this situation, we’ll send a cancellation message to your channel manager or PMS. To see the details, look for the words risk-free reservation in either the room description field or the comments and remarks area in your channel manager or PMS.

We’ll start searching for a replacement guest for you right away, as long as the room is still open and bookable. We’ll do this by first trying to resell all of the cancelled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those cancelled nights and not others, we’ll continue reselling the remaining nights. If this happens, you’ll need to remove any minimum length of stay restrictions you have in place. We’ll send you a notification in the extranet if you need to do this.

Once we’ve found a replacement guest for you, you’ll see that guest’s booking as a new reservation. The booking details will contain the words risk-free reservation.

If we can’t find you a replacement guest, we’ll take over the payment obligation.

When can I check the payment details of a risk-free booking in my channel manager or PMS?

If the guest pays for their reservation by credit card, once the Risk-Free cancellation period ends we’ll send you a modification message to ask you to check and validate the credit card details.

If you collect payments using virtual credit cards or via bank transfer, the process works as normal.

How do I check the details of a guest’s credit card or a virtual credit card in my channel manager or PMS?

You can do this in the same way as you do for other bookings. To find out more, take a look at the ‘Channel Manager: Credit Card’ section of this article.

 


Section 5:How do I opt in or out of the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

 

How do I join the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

To opt in to the programme, log in to the extranet, click on Opportunities and then click on Risk-Free Reservations programme. Keep in mind that you need to be enrolled in Payments by Booking in order to be eligible for the Risk-Free Reservations programme.

If you’ve already signed up for Payments by Booking – and your property isn’t in mainland France, French Guiana, Mayotte, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Pierre and Miquelon or Réunion – then you’ll be enrolled in the Risk-Free Reservations programme automatically.

How do I leave the Risk-Free Reservations programme?

We understand that this programme might not suit your property’s needs right now. If you’d like to opt out, you have two options:

If you want to stop using Risk-Free Reservations temporarily, you can opt out of the programme for up to three months. After your temporary opt-out period expires, we’ll re-enroll you in the programme automatically.

If you want to stop using Risk-Free Reservations for longer than three months, you can opt out indefinitely.

To opt out either temporarily or permanently, log in to the extranet, click on Opportunities and then click on Risk-Free Reservations programme. Click on leave this programme at the bottom of the page, select indefinitely or the number of months you’d like to leave for and then click on Save.

Note: if you opt out of Payments by Booking, we’ll also remove you from the Risk-Free Reservations programme. If you later opt back into Payments by Booking, we’ll re-enroll you in the Risk-Free Reservations programme automatically.

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