FAQ Risk-Free Reservations

Updated 3 months ago

Section 1: How do Risk-Free Reservations work with cancellations?

Section 2: What should I do if I receive a Risk-Free Reservation

Section 3: Working with a channel manager/PMS and Risk-Free Reservations

Section 4: Payment-related questions about Risk-Free Reservations

Section 5: Opting in and out of Risk-Free Reservations


Section 1: How do Risk-Free Reservations work with cancellations?

What are the different scenarios for cancellation?

Scenario 1: Before Risk-Free period starts

If a risk-free reservation is canceled before the Risk-Free period (under your original policy), Booking.com won’t look for a replacement guest since it’s considered a normal free cancellation based on the policy you selected. For more details, check the policies section at the bottom of the page.

Scenario 2: During Risk-Free period 

If a risk-free reservation is canceled during the Risk-Free period, keep the rooms open and bookable without restrictions, then we’ll start searching for replacement. 

Scenario 3: During non-refundable period

To help you attract more guests, Risk-Free reservations don’t require guests to pay in advance. When the free cancellation period expires and the payment method is by credit card, validate the guest’s card immediately. If it’s invalid, mark it within 48 hours so we can start searching for a replacement. If a risk-free reservation is canceled during a non-refundable period, we won’t start searching for a replacement since the guest canceled at their own cost.

Example: If your policy is upgraded by the Risk-Free Reservations program to include free cancellations until 7 days before check-in, and a guest cancels the reservation after the deadline (i.e. within 7 days of check-in), the guest is responsible for the cancellation cost.

What happens if a replacement guest is found?

The replacement reservation will be created as a new reservation for you.

When we find a replacement guest, check for the updated reservation number under the original booking’s reservation details on the Extranet. In the new reservation, you’ll also see the original reservation info. In your channel manager/PMS, you can see the same info under the replacement booking in notes/text section.

What happens if a replacement isn’t found?

If the canceled room was open and bookable without restrictions since the cancellation, we’ll take over the payment obligations of the cancellation cost (based on the policy of the original reservation).

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

To maximize the possibility of a guest staying at your property, our replacement works on a nightly basis. To start the replacement process, the rooms should be open and bookable without restrictions. To stay up to date on this info, pay attention to the notification section of the Extranet. If you want to double-check the latest changes for a risk-free reservation, check the “Reservation Changes” section and enable “Updates related to rooms with risk-free policies.”

How will you help me find a replacement guest?

To make your property more attractive during the replacement stage, we might use rank boosting or price incentives to attract guests to book. You won’t have to offer any discounts yourself. If we can’t find a replacement in the end, we’ll take over the payment obligations for the cancellation cost.

If the replacement booking is also Risk-Free and canceled during the upgraded free cancellation period, we’ll start searching for another replacement as long as the canceled rooms are kept bookable and without restrictions.


Section 2: What should I do if I receive a Risk-Free Reservation

What should I do if I receive a risk-free reservation?

When you receive a new reservation, check the upgraded cancellation policy on the Extranet or in your channel manager/PMS. 

To help you attract more guests, Risk-Free reservations don’t require guests to pay in advance. This doesn’t create additional work for you. Pay attention to the date when free cancellation expires by checking the policies of each reservation from the updated policies in the Reservation Details page.

If you collect payment for this reservation by guest credit card, make sure you validate their card as soon as it’s available. If the credit card is invalid, mark it within 48 hours. We’ll then start searching for a replacement again, as long as the room is open and bookable without restrictions. For more info about invalid credit cards, read this article.

When you receive a Risk-Free Reservation, pay attention to the date when free cancellation expires by checking the updated policies on the Reservation Details page.

Where can I check details for a risk-free reservation?

On the Extranet, you can filter Risk-Free reservations on the reservation page. You can also check reservation details for each risk-free reservation:

  • Reservation Changes: You can choose to display the last two changes related to Risk-Free Rooms.
  • Risk-Free Rooms Summary: Shows payment obligations related to the rooms that are under Risk-Free policies.
  • Status for individual rooms: Individual room statuses related to the risk-free reservation.
  • Policies: Shows the updated cancellation policies in a timeline format for risk-free reservations. 
  • Notification on the Extranet homepage: When a risk-free reservation is canceled and needs to be reopened or released from restrictions, we’ll send you notifications on the Extranet homepage. Make sure the rooms are open and bookable without restrictions so we can start searching for a replacement. 

In your channel manager, you’ll be able to see the upgraded policies. For more details, check Section 3


Section 3: Working with a channel manager/PMS and Risk-Free Reservations

What happens if I use a channel manager and a guest cancels a Risk-Free Reservation?

In this situation, a cancellation message will be triggered and sent via API to your channel manager. You can check it either in the reservation comments or your room description by searching the keywords “risk-free reservation.”

If the room nights that guests cancel are kept open and bookable, we’ll start searching for a replacement guest immediately. If the room isn’t open and bookable, then we won’t be able to search for a replacement guest.

Make sure the room is open and bookable without any restrictions that might prevent Booking.com from finding a replacement guest.

How do I track the progress of a Risk-Free Reservation if I use a channel manager?

For connected partners, Risk-Free Reservations are displayed in confirmation messages received in your channel manager, either in the reservation comments or the room description.

To inform you about important updates related to Risk-Free reservations, we send three types of messages: Confirmation, modification, and cancellation. All messages include “risk-free reservation” in the text so you’ll know these are related to a Risk-Free reservation.

Once the first Risk-Free Reservation is canceled, we’ll stop sending updates about this booking. If we’re able to find a replacement booking, we’ll send you a new message about which booking it’s replacing and where to find more info. 

Since what info we can send you via channel managers is limited, we also include a link in all messages that directs you to the Extranet’s Reservations page where you can see the details of each reservation.


Section 4: Payment-related questions about Risk-Free reservations

How do payments work with risk-free reservations when guests stay? 

If you collect payments by bank transfers directly from Booking.com, payment works as normal. You can check payment info under the reservation details.

If you collect payments by virtual credit cards, you can check the updated virtual credit card in the reservation details or in your channel manager after the date of arrival.

If you collect payments by guest credit cards at the property when a free cancellation period expires, validate the guest credit card as soon as possible. If the credit card is invalid, mark it within 48 hours, then we’ll start searching for a replacement again. If the guest’s credit card is valid and the reservation stays unchanged, you can charge the guest upon check-in/out.

Booking.com will charge commission for all reservations you get revenue from.

How does payment work with risk-free reservations when guests cancel?

Refer to Section 1.  

Where can I see payment details for Risk-Free Reservations?

If you collect payments via virtual or guests’ credit cards, you can check the info under the reservation’s details on the Extranet or in your channel manager. To help you understand payment details, look for the Risk-Free room summary section so you can see all payment details for each reservation.

How will I receive payment if Booking.com can’t find a replacement guest during the free cancellation period?

If your preferred payout method is virtual credit card, you can charge it under reservation details or in your channel manager on the stay date.

If your preferred payout method is bank transfer, we’ll pay it out after the stay date at the normal interval. 

What should I do if a guest has an invalid credit card?

When the free cancellation period ends and you confirm that the credit card is invalid, mark it within 48 hours. For more information about invalid credit cards, read this article.


Section 5: Opting in and out of Risk-Free Reservations

How do I join the Risk-Free Reservations program?

To opt in to the program, sign in to the Booking.com Extranet and click Opportunities, where you’ll find the Risk-Free Reservations Program page.

You can opt in to Risk-Free Reservations from there. You need to be enrolled in Payments by Booking.com to be eligible for the program.

If you joined Payments by Booking.com and aren’t from France, then you’ll be automatically enrolled and enjoy the benefits of Risk-Free Reservations.

How do I leave the Risk-Free Reservations program? 

We understand this program might not suit every property. If you don’t want to be in the Risk-Free Reservations program, sign in to the Extranet and click Opportunities, where you’ll find the Risk-Free Reservations Program page

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 that don’t comply with our terms of service.

What do you think of this page?

Updated: Recovery Toolkit

New advice and insights to attract demand.

Read more