Wonderfully written, thank you so much for sharing and we completely agree Chris. We are a small business with 6 holiday apartments and we do not use Amex either.
You are correct and we try to provide high quality accommodation for serious bookers only. Yes it will take a lot longer to get as many reviews but I would prefer a great review score and serious bookers. We would also like to predominatly attract guests who know what they want and be happy and take great care of our property. I find that cheap and nasty reviews generally come from cheap payers who expect far too much for their money. It always happens in low season have you noticed, no matter how well your property is presented so yes back to subject, strict terms and cancellation policy saves a lot of time and headache.
We only also have a very small amount of rooms and initially cancellation was a massive problem for us. What we decided was to take a 10% non refundable deposit upon booking and the balance due 30 days prior to arrival. This way if the guest cancels you have plenty of time to get rebooked. Since doing this we have had little to no problems. I know people who will go on BDC and book a number of rooms that allow free cancellation! I was horrified to hear that people do this but of course they are not in our industry. It is best that we do everything we can to attract only serious bookers to save all the time and energy wasted on no shows and cancellations.