Risk-Free Reservations: FAQs

Updated 3 days ago

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

Learn the basics of Risk-Free Reservations program.

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


Table of contents

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

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

Section 3: How does payment work?

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

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


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

 

When will I receive my first risk-free booking?

Risk-Free Reservations are backed by Booking.com demand data. We use this data on a daily basis to determine when to offer a flexible cancellation policy and who to offer it to. That way you have the best chances of getting a booking. As a result, it’s possible that you won’t begin receiving risk-free bookings immediately after opting in to the program.

Every time you do get a risk-free booking, you can find it by looking for the Risk-Free tag on the Extranet’s Reservations page or 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 info can I find on the Extranet when I get a risk-free booking?

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

We’ve added some additional info on 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 a guest will stay as planned. When you do get risk-free bookings, check the updated details on the Extranet’s Reservation details page to make sure you know about 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 Extranet’s Reservations page. Click 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 program?

If a guest cancels a risk-free booking during the Risk-Free cancellation period, we’ll start searching for a replacement guest 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 canceled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those canceled 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 on 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 to make your property more attractive and encourage travelers 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 a replacement guest, we’ll take over the payment obligation.

How will I know if you find a replacement guest?

Once we find a replacement guest, you’ll see the 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. On the Extranet, you’ll be able to see the updated reservation number on the Reservation details page of the canceled risk-free booking. If you use a channel manager or property management system, you’ll be able to see the same info in the comments and remarks area.

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

If the canceled room is still open and bookable after the original cancellation and 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 info 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 extended cancellation period, they’re responsible for the cancellation as normal. You should follow the same process as when a guest cancels a regular 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. If it’s invalid, report it 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 my room open and bookable without restrictions?

To maximize the possibility of finding 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 canceled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those canceled 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 on 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 bank transfer, the process works as normal. You can see the payment details on the Extranet’s Reservation details page.

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 normally would. If it’s invalid, report it as soon as possible. Then we’ll start searching for a replacement guest again.

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

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

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

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

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

If you normally receive payments by bank transfer, we’ll send this payment as a bank transfer. You’ll receive the payment according to your usual payout schedule.

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

You charge the VCC for a risk-free booking the same way as you do for other bookings. To find out 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, report it 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 program 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 do I track the progress of a Risk-Free Reservation if I use a channel manager?

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

To make sure you always see the full details of each booking, we also recommend regularly checking the Extranet’s Reservations page.

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 of your channel manager or PMS.

We’ll start searching for a replacement guest right away – as long as the room is still open and bookable. We’ll do this by first trying to resell all of the canceled nights at once. If a new guest only books some of those canceled 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 on the Extranet if you need to do this.

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

If we can’t find 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, we’ll send you a modification message to check and validate the credit card details once the Risk-Free cancellation period ends.

If you collect payments using virtual credit cards or 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 the same way as 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 program?

 

How do I join the Risk-Free Reservations program?

To opt in to the program, log in to the Extranet, click Opportunities, then Risk-Free Reservations program. You need to be enrolled in Payments by Booking to be eligible for the Risk-Free Reservations program.

If you 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 program automatically.

How do I leave the Risk-Free Reservations program?

We understand this program 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 program for up to three months. After your temporary opt-out period expires, we’ll re-enroll you in the program automatically.

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

To opt in to the program, log in to the Extranet, click Opportunities, then Risk-Free Reservations program. Click Leave this program at the bottom of the page, select Indefinitely or the number of months you want to leave for, and click Save.

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

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