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All you need to know about Risk-Free Reservations

Updated 4 months ago
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We developed Risk-free Reservations to take away the hassle of offering free cancellation options. 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 in April 2020 revealed that 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. The truth is most travelers find flexibility attractive, and Risk-Free Reservations are a great way to appeal to them.

We understand that an increase in flexibility could lead to an increase in cancellations. However, the Risk-Free Reservations program has been designed to prevent this from happening. Using Booking.com’s unique insights on traveler behavior, we only offer these flexible options to guests who are booking trips that are less likely to be canceled. If a guest does cancel, we’ll immediately look for replacement guests to refill the room. If we can’t find a replacement, we’ll compensate you.

Note: Replacement guests can only be placed if the canceled rooms remain open and bookable. Some replacement guests can only be placed if the canceled rooms remain without restrictions. In the case of a Force Majeure event, same as any other impacted reservations, we’re not responsible for these cancellations. 

Please keep the canceled rooms open and bookable. If you’ve set restrictions for these rooms, we 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 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 some of your policies to more flexible ones (i.e. offering free cancellation within 7 days before check-in). 
  • Our algorithms will offer these flexible options to guests who are less likely to cancel. 
  • If the guests cancel, we’ll look for a replacement.
  • If we can’t find a replacement, we’ll compensate you for these nights
  • If you already allow guests to cancel for free with full flexibility (free cancellation within 3 days), we won’t upgrade your cancellation policies. 

Our algorithm determines which rules will apply 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 on the Extranet as “Risk-Free” reservations.

For partners using a channel manager or property management system to manage reservations, we’ll 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 your channel manager. We have customized info there to help you better understand how it works. For more info, refer to Section 2 of the Risk-Free Reservations FAQ. 

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

If a Risk-Free Reservation gets canceled, make sure the canceled 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 the Risk-Free Reservations FAQ.

How does Booking.com target Risk-Free Reservations at guests with a low risk of cancellation?

We use all our insights on traveler behavior to predict the type of trips that are less likely to get canceled. The free cancellation options from the Risk-Free Reservations program are only offered to customers that are booking these trips.  

How does Booking.com find replacement guests?

Our replacement process will start when a Risk-Free Reservation is canceled. 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 Booking.com’s commission.

You must not close or restrict availability while we’re looking for replacement guests. If you do, we won’t be able to find a replacement and will no longer be responsible for it.

What happens if guests cancel due to Force Majeure events?

If we foresee any Force Majeure events, we’ll stop offering free cancellation to guests from the Risk-Free Reservations program. This way, we prevent new bookings with a higher chance of cancellation. For example, if a new lockdown is announced due to the pandemic, we’ll stop offering free cancellation from the Risk-Free Reservations program to guests. However, we aren’t responsible for finding a replacement for existing risk-free bookings according to the general terms and conditions for Force Majeure cancellations.

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

You can check the Risk-Free Reservations FAQ page. If you’re eligible for the program, you can also log in to the Extranet and click 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 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 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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