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All you need to know about Risk-Free Reservations

Updated 4 months ago

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

What are Risk-Free Reservations?

Now more than ever, travelers 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 program 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 travelers 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 program 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.

Note: Replacement guests can only be placed if the canceled rooms remain open and bookable. And some replacement guests can only be placed if the canceled rooms remain without restrictions.

Please keep the canceled rooms open and bookable. If you’ve set restrictions for these rooms, we’d recommend removing the restrictions 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 program Risk-Free Reservation:

  • For example, 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.
  • Conversely, if all your rooms already include free cancellation options, Booking.com will upgrade your policies to more flexible ones (i.e. offering free cancellation until 7 days before check-in date). 
  • 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 info 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?

Check the upgraded cancellation policy in the reservation details page or in your channel manager. We have customized info there to help you better understand how it works. For more info, 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 canceled, 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 canceled. You can find more info 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 canceled. In order to find replacement guests for Risk-Free Reservations, we may use price incentives. However, this won’t affect the money you earn, because any incentive will come from the Booking.com commission.

Note: 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 canceled reservations.

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

You can check the FAQ Risk-Free Reservations page. If you’re eligible for the program, you can also log in to the Extranet and click on the “Opportunities” tab to reach the “Risk-Free Reservations Program” page, where you’ll find further info about Risk-Free Reservations.

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

We understand that this program 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 steps below:

  • Sign in to your Booking.com Extranet
  • Go to the “Opportunities” tab
  • Click “Risk-Free Reservations Program”
  • Click “Leave this program” at the bottom of the page and fill in the short survey

If you’d like to rejoin the program at some point in the future, you can follow the same process to opt back in

Note: The Risk-Free Reservations Program is 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 that don’t comply with our terms of service.

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