All you need to know about Risk-Free Reservations

Offering flexible booking policies can help increase bookings, but can also lead to more cancellations. To guarantee you get paid—and to spare you the hassle of 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. Many like having the option to cancel a room for free, which often convinces them to book with you.

Most guests who book free-cancellation reservations don’t actually end up using it – it’s just a nice option for them.

However, we understand that offering this flexibility can lead to 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 with the guarantee that you'll get paid.

If a guest cancels a booking with this policy, we'll do the extra work of finding 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.

 

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.

This is how Risk-Free Reservations works: If a guest books this flexible option but later decides to cancel, we’ll try to find a new guest to replace them. If we can’t find one, we’ll cover the commissionable amount for any room night(s) we can't replace.

So—no matter what—you get your money.

Furthermore, the Risk-Free Reservations program is completely free. There aren't any extra charges or commission involved. 

What other criteria are there for Risk-Free Reservations?

  • To join the Risk-Free Reservations program, your property needs to be part of Payments by Booking.com, our payment solution for partners. Check out our article on Payments by Booking.com to see if it would be a good fit for your property.
  • 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 are likely to book, which will help increase your conversion.
  • We guarantee you’ll get paid. However, 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 canceled, different things can happen. For each risk-free reservation, you can check the progress of finding a replacement guest on the Extranet. You can check the current status of each night in the "Reservation details" section of each booking under the "Reservations" tab.

  • If the guest doesn't cancel, you can charge the credit card after the upgraded policy expires.
  • If the guest cancels and we find a replacement guest, you can charge the new guest’s credit card as normal.
  • If the guest cancels and we can’t find a new guest, we’ll pay you commissionable amount for the room night(s) through 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. Rest assured knowing that we'll always pay you the commissionable amount for any room night(s) that we can't find a replacement for.

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

 

How do I join the Risk-Free Reservations program?

Currently, Risk-Free Reservations are only available for select regions and partners. Depending on your location, you'll either be enrolled automatically or invited to join. Either way, you'll receive official communication in advance.

We also need you to sign up for Payments by Booking.com in order to pay you correctly. To learn more about this payment solution, check out our FAQs.

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

We understand that this program might not be for everyone. If you don't want to offer Risk-Free Reservations, just go to the Property menu on the Extranet, then click Policies. Scroll down to Risk-Free Reservations and opt out. If you want to rejoin the program later, use the same steps to opt back in.

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