Cancellation, What would you do?

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04/03/2011

We live in a small non-tourist town and most of my  guests stay for a single night.  I don't typically have a 2 night minimum.  We do have an event coming up the second weekend in June that I put a 2 night minimum because of the high demand.  I've had a waiting list for months, and now the people who reserved the majority of my rooms only want it for one night.  We're 2 weeks away from this event and I doubt I can get it full for the 2 nights.  She's within my cancellation time frame but I have a 2 night minimum for that weekend.  So, I guess I'm wondering how you all would handle this?  Tell her to take it for the full 2 nights or find somewhere else and I pray that I fill up...or just let her have the one night and have that guanteed money. 

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10/07/2008

The thing is, these things really affect us. My heart goes out to all of our innmates who have to lose bookings, and revenue. People don't understand what it is like. We are small family owned and operated inns. We have policies for a reason, we can't afford to let people off (if they try to override our policies). I think most people think they can stuff us over any time they want to, because we are nice, we are innkeepers.

I know those on the outside, or even aspiring thing 'hey you are in the people business' try to get a refund from a flight because your plans changed.  

This is why so many of us have one spouse working full time, outside the inn, and full time at the inn every night and weekend. Dh said today, "Can you even imagine just having a house to ourselves? Sleeping in?" No. I can't. Not really. My reply was "I would rather have a full house and get to it, then one room one night at a time like I have had for three weeks solid..."  

Same song and dance, different audience.

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

My version, leave the choice up to them.... but modification of confirmed reservations aren't allowed. You can cancel and make a new reservation (with a new confirmation number) subject to the current reservation conditions, which are $X for a minimum of two nights. But because of the confirmation and confirmation number, reservations can't be modified, only cancelled and new reservations made in their place.

Essentially, the reservation, if done online, is a contract that they signed. To modify it means that they are no longer signatory of the contract. So in that case, simply cancelling it (ie nullifying the contract) is the right way to go. They then need to sign a new contract (ie make a new reservation) and that has to be done at the current terms.

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Happy Keeper's picture
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10/24/2011

Since the guest was unaware... no way out.

We have learned to create a separate policy for rezies that would leave us cryin' if they cancel.

However, we do have the ability to use a minimum on our online booking engine, so I have no problem sticking to that. We just had a guest reserve three nights during a three-night minimum and then call us shortly after to try to change it to two nights. I was firm that the computer would not have allowed them to reserve two nights and that I could not change it for them. I offered to cancel their reservatiuon and help them find an alternative place, to move their checkin to one day earlier, or to keep the reservation they had. They worked it out and kept the original rez. It's all about letting them make the choice. On and on I go....

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muirford's picture
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05/22/2008

I have a two-night minimum on Saturdays and holidays - I don't reiterate it in the confirmation.  It's clearly stated on the website and in the booking policies, but we know not everybody reads.  It's happened once or twice that someone tries to take it to one night but I don't allow it.  Truth is, I'd rather have the vacancy than have a guest be here that I'm going to be aggravated with because they pulled a fast one.

Your bigger concern is that she's booked a block of rooms, right?  It might be that you need to revisit your policies for those kinds of bookings.  If someone takes more than 1/2 of our inn we ask for a nonrefundable deposit and 30 days cancellation instead of the usual 7 days.   Sorry, that doesn't help much after the fact. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

Im the same more than 50% of the place non refundable deposit - however I can decide to make it transferable ie group in this weekend booked 8 rooms and paid deposit for 8 then 1 cancelled transfered the deposit to the organisers room because I knew I could resell in about 5 mins as a busy weekend but that was at my discression as I had said non-refundable deposit on point of booking. Plus didn't want to be stuck with a group of 7 couples who were all mad at me for 2 days.

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10/07/2008

I disagree with y'all.  She booked two nights, she is cancelling one, if you don't have it in writing in her reservation specifically she can do whatever she wants, within your regular policies. Don't make her out to be bad, it is an SOL lesson to be learned, unfortunately. She was in first best dressed.  

Her policies apply to her, no matter what has changed since then, the policies in place when she reserved a room are a contract between you and her, if you never said two night mon then she can do whatever she wants/needs to do.  You can't change it on her, it doesn't work that way. Did you send her a confirmation? What does it say? That is what you MUST abide by.

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04/03/2011

I agree with you.  It sucks but it's my own fault, lesson learned the hard way. 

I went back through my correspondence from rez key and apparently I don't have it set to send a confirmation when I put it in the system.  Maybe I have to do that manually?  I guess I just assumed if I put an email in that it would automatically send a confirmation.  I guess now I know and can fix it for the future. 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

None of my confirmations state the guest has booked a 2-night min rez. It only happens a couple of times/year, but I don't explain it to them. If they booked 2 nights and it's a 2-night min then that's what it is. If they only want one night then it's up to me to decide which way to go with that. Either let them do it or tell them no can do.

Looks like I need to add something else to the rez confirmation. But how to state that?

If this person is trying to cancel one night and the cancellation period hasn't kicked in yet then it's up to the innkeeper to decide.

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Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

 How much of a deposit have you taken?  Was it a credit card deposit?  

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04/03/2011

I don't take deposits.  Although I'm thinking for large reservations and special events/holidays I should rethink that policy.  I have tried to keep things as simple as possible, my husband and I own a resturant and I have a full time job as well, so simple equals sanity.  lol

Silverspoon's picture
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10/16/2011

 Perhaps having a one-night deposit whenever you have a 2-night minimum stay would help to highlight the minimum stay requirement.  I am not sure if you can do this with on-line booking but a special policy for holidays and special weekends might eliminate your losing a night if a reservation is changed.  Perhaps you can lengthen the amount of time allowed for cancellation as well.   With more advanced notice you might be able to rebook a cancellation.

This is what we do.  Again, we are small (3 rooms) and do not have on-line booking.  But this policy works well for us. Minimum 2-night or 50% (whichever is larger) deposit.  Cancellation is permitted with 30 days advanced notice, with $25 hold back.  With less than 30 days notice, we refund, minus $25, if we can rebook the entire reservation.  Balance is due upon arrival. We do not refund for early departures.

As we have tightened up our policy we have found that we lose some prospective guests, but we also have fewer cancellations.  For goodwill, we will sometimes refund partially if we have rebooked most of the cancelled period.  Folks who were forced to cancel at the last minute are always thrilled to get even a partial refund.  On the other hand, we do not feel like we have to jump through hoops to fill every night of a lengthy cancellation with one-nighters to ensure a refund.  After all, we are trying to be fair but hope to make a $$$ as reward for all our hard work.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

I like birdwatcher's idea of telling the guest you will open the other night for other bookings, but if no one takes it, she's on the hook for the 2 nights because of the 2-night min. If she balks about not knowing it was a 2-night min, say she booked for 2 nights so she was already covered. And if she had tried to book for 1 night you would have turned the rez down.

We had someone do this to us and he was a real jerk about it. When I told him it was a 2-night min and I would have to cancel the whole stay he got obx. When I realized I had someone who would be willing to take the other night he didn't want I told him I could do it because I had someone who needed the other night. Then he got sarcastic. 'Oh, it's ok because you have someone lined up, but not ok if you don't?' Damn straight buddy. 

birdwatcher's picture
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02/22/2009

if she is within the cancelation policy and I would tell her that its a 2 night policy-so we would say that eventhough you are within the cancelation time-frame to cancel the complete reservation we can do this no problem, but we cannot accept a one night cancelation because its a 2 night minimum. However, if you would like I can open the room up for one night of the rooms you don't need we will gladly refund your money for the one night otherwise you may cancell the entire reservation.

This way you stick to your 2 night minimum and you give her a choice to either cancel the whole reservation.- If you sent her a confirmation stating that it is a 2 night minimum-she knew. So you can tell her that you will more than likely be able to get two nights rather than just one.

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Joined:
04/03/2011

Yes and No.  She reserved after I had the 2 night minimum in place but she reserved on the phone and since she wanted 2 nights I didn't mention the minimum.  *doh*  Lesson learned I guess.

Kay Nein's picture
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02/13/2012

 Lesson learned for me as well!  We're new and I'm grateful to each lesson so I can be prepared for the possibilities... We just had our first 2-night min weekend and luckily there were no issues.  But, we've already started talking about the next.  We'll have to put this into our Operating Procedures.

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Joined:
10/07/2008

 Did she reserve the room WHILE it was a 2night min? If so, then she pays for two nights. If not, then you have to let her off the hook.

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