Canceling an Expedia reservation

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notAgrandma's picture
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07/07/2017

I'm not sure which is the correct forum for this topic. I recently had a frustrating experience with a guest who booked via Expedia on July 3. On July 6, I called the guest to confirm some details about his reservation. I leave a voicemail. I call again on July 7 and leave another voicemail. I messaged the guest via Expedia's system on July 8. He replies on July 8, "Got your voice mail. I made the reservations but I need to speak to my wife about it before calling. I told her I was going to book but haven't told her that I did yet. She is in a seminar this weekend. We will discuss on Monday and I will call you."

On Monday, I call the guest at 7:30pm and leave another voicemail. Tuesday, I leave yet another voicemail. Wednesday, I message him via Expedia, "I'm a bit concerned about this unusual lack of communication. If I don't hear from you by 3pm on Friday, I'll conclude that you no longer want the room and I'll contact Expedia to cancel your reservation. I'll waive the cancellation fee." 3pm passes, still nothing. I contact Expedia. I describe the whole scenario and state that I would like Expedia to contact the guest to initiate a relocation. There isn't a way for me to cancel a guest's reservation - the guest has to be the one to cancel. 

My question to my fellow innmates: Have you experienced difficulty confirming a guest's reservation? If so, what did you do? 

(Please refrain from commenting that OTAs are evil and should be avoided like the plague.)

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notAgrandma's picture
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Thank you everyone for your feedback. To clarify, I was asking about me canceling their reservation. It wasn't the guest initiating the cancellation, which is why I waived the cancellation fee. It's been 18 hours since Expedia contacted the guest about a relocation. Still no communication from the guest! 

There are several reasons why I needed this guest to confirm his reservation. 1) His reservation was for only 1 person, but he said he needed to speak with his wife. 2) His reservation is during the solar eclipse next month. We're located near the 100% totality and longest viewing time. My inbox is blowing up with reservation requests that I'm turning away. 3) He booked our carriage house apt. I have a request to rent the apt for the entire month of August. I was offering the Expedia guest a $50 discount to stay in the last traditional room I have available.

I've had to relocate guests due to my overbooking errors. My friends run a B&B 2 blocks away and helped me out. I still paid them the differences in our rates. After 2 overbookings because I was juggling my calendars manually, I started using MyAllocator. What a relief!

I once had a guest place a reservation via phone 5 days before her stay. She lived locally, so I didn't think it was necessary to collect her credit card info. Instead, I sent her a secure link to process her payment. I sent her reminder emails about payment. I called and left voicemails. I called the day she was supposed to arrive and asked what was going on. She said, "I'm an EMT and I'm busy saving lives, so I didn't have time to return your calls. I didn't pay you, so I didn't think the reservation was final." I told her this was the first time in 5 years I've ever had a guest behave this way, and thanked her for teaching me a valuable lesson.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Are you going into MyAllocator and manually editing things? Like changing some minimum stays, closing dates to arrival or departure. It's nice that if you are going to pay a commission, you can at least make some of those reservations fill your holes perfectly Smiling

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notAgrandma's picture
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I sure do! I have Expedia linked via MyAllocator to one room that doesn't book very much through our website. I took your advice and have a generic description on Expedia that allows me to move those bookings into any room. It's been working out really well! 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

You can link other rooms and mark them as closed and only open up holes you want to fill... like 3 nights that need to go together, but only together.

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

We get occasional OTA cancellations. Since we have a strict cancellation policy (cancel within 30 days, we charge for the whole shebang) we may lose out on some reservations, but those we get usually stick.

When we do get a cancellation, we tell them they booked through Exp, they have to cancel through Exp. Then Exp gets to be the bearer of bad news that they're not getting a refund.

Often the Exp rep calls to see if we'll waive it. Usually we don't. 

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OnTheShore's picture
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08/28/2011

I don't think we have ever cancelled a confirmed reservation (confirmed meaning they have made a downpayment of at least 25%). If it is only a pending reservation where they haven't made the downpayment in a reasonable time (we accept checks in the mail), we will send them an e-mail and if no response to that by a specified time we will open the calendar.

But almost all of our bookings are direct (and made many months in advance). The one third-party ("OTA") we currently use collects payment in full from the guest at the time of the reservation (we don't see the funds until after the guest has checked in). We have not yet been in a position where we have had to cancel one of those reservations (they do have a provision for hosts to cancel, but they "ding" you with demerits if you do).

Not sure what additional information you needed from this guest in order to confirm their reservation -- does Exp not collect all the info you would need? 

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07/14/2017

With Expedia cancels, I normally just email the guest and tell them their reservation was unfortunately canceled and leave it at that. (Usually done with 2weeks notice) Why would I do that? One example would be a recent guest that vehemently complained about my one day deposit that I charge, after explaining why I charge a deposit, that was strike one. Secondly, the guest then understood but wanted me to wait two weeks and then let them know exactly when I was going to charge the deposit, lastly, they emailed 3 weeks later and about a month before their reservation and said the three day reservation was going to only be one day upon which I had had enough and emailed the cancellation notice and that nothing was or will be charged. After running the B&B for 13 years I can sniff out a 'problem' guest and will seek to not have them here if I get all the warning signs. My reputation is just as important as Expedias reputation.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

My impression about cancelling an OTA guest, tho, is that you are on the hook for their accommodations expenses.

We had to move a guest when my mom died and we paid the difference in their stay from what they paid us.

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Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Sorry, can't help with Expedia, but I will say we rarely hear from someone who has made a Rez thru an OTA. Basically only hear from them if they want to cancel.

I think people who use the OTA system are looking for a place to stay and not expecting multiple contact points with their lodging.

The only contact we make with the guest is their email confirmation and a welcome email. About zero percent reply to our request that they let us know about dietary restrictions. They sometimes don't even tell us when we ask in person. (It is explained in the email that breakfast is 'cooks choice'.)

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Yes, it's true that the guest needs to cancel, if you do it, it's a relocation and could be at your cost. An offer to waive the fee, should have always have a limitation, like 24 hours.

What are your cancellation policy on X? Hotel Collect or X Collect?

I don't usually call my guests. But then I have their email address. 

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