Cancellation Policy

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04/22/2019

The previous owner of the B & B I just bought never cared about making money. she only cared about breaking even and making people happy.  Very Admirable, but this is my business and while I want to make EVERYONE happy, I still have to make a living.

How do you do cancellation policies?  

I looked at all of my surrounding competitors and they all have a 7 - 10 day policy.  I opted for 7 days, but ( and I get it) in the winter Mother nature is not always nice.  How do I compete with :"Kyle only needed 24 hours" or " Kyle never gave us a policy"

it is just a little bit frustrating....

What do you do for cancellations?  I turn people away for rooms rented and I buy groceries for reservations???

 

ChrisandShelley's picture
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04/13/2014

We have 8 rooms and 2 cottages. We have a $25 non-refundable deposit with all reservations, except Booking.com. One nights stay if cancelling within 7 days. Everyone requires a credit card to make a reservation.

With Booking.com, we authorize their credit card before we confirm their reservation. We've had some sham reservations, so this seems to solve that problem.

Sometimes we'll be lax and let them off for a serious medical problem. (Most of our guests are in the 60 and up age bracket.) If we don't, we'll offer a gift certificate for the one night stay so they can use it with a two night stay in the future.

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Christopher and Shelley Smith, Innkeepers
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast, Mountain View, AR

 

Tom
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10/11/2009

Echo the other comments.  We are 10 days standard: we re-book or you owe.  As a practical matter if someone sounds cool, we will cancel, no fee, or more likely, offer a rain check to a future visit.

Someone booking inside the 10 day window gets a day or two to change their mind, seems fair if they are still making trip plans*.  But folks who make a big deal of 10 day cancellation being too strict are really likely to cancel -- who needs it! 

We don't have much bad weather, but heavy snow, I'm on a generator for 3 days and the road will be blocked by down trees -- happy to have a cancellation!

All-in-all, it's a matter of balance: fair to them, fair to you.  We all like smiles, but it is still a formal, business relationship.  Most important is to be clear, friendly, and firm.  Any guest who tries too hard to negotiate with me (rates, cancellation) is someone who will be happier some place else.

Welcome and good luck!

*for example, a Tesla first time long range tripper realized that it would take 2 long supercharges to get to my destination overnight charger, mainly because she hadn't realized how much winter driving cuts available miles (I did tell her that she should use seat warmer and a heavy jacket, no cabin heat).  I let her cancel so she could stay a few hours south of me.  She'll probably stay here some other trip.

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02/15/2017

I think it is best said to decide what works for you, while remembering we are not hotels. Too many folks want the last minute room or to cancel last minute and that is really the "hotel mind-set". B&Bs work a bit differently.

We have most of our bookings in/for peak season so regardless of when you want the room, and how far in advance it is, if it is in peak season, you book it in full and the cancelation policy stands - for months if needed...but if you cancel inside the 7 days prior to your check-in, strict penalties apply.

We always have last minute folks calling looking for rooms during peak, but if you want me to guarantee you a room to stay in you have to book it with the policies that are in place. If there is any hint that you think you need the wiggle room to cancel, you may want to take a chance and wait until closer to the dates ...or find another place. (of course I don't say that last part out loud) I know my place will fill up, but I don't want people canceling within a 24 hr window, as I am pretty sure it won't get re-booked in that short of a time. At least 7 days gives me the chance to connect with other local innkeepers for overflow and availability, and any cancelation fee is for my trouble... Again, we're different that hotels.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

We got the same thing - the previous owner never, or, the previous owner always let us.

The PO lasted 4 years because they let the guests do whatever they wanted.

So, you have to politely say, "Kyle is no longer the owner. In order that we can compete in a tough market we have implemented new procedures based on the problems Kyle had. This is how we do things, now, what dates were you wanting?"

Yes, weather is an issue here in the frozen tundra! However, unless Maine is closed, we are open. We do not accept cancellations if Connecticut is closed, or if Texas has a hurricane. Travel insurance is your best friend. Recommend it in your confirmation.

7 days out is a good compromise. Refunding a certain amount rather than keeping the whole deposit goes a long way to happier guests.

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I also do Elopements. THAT has a different cancel policy. Elopements (after I had one cancel) require a 25% non-refundable CHECK (no possibility of chargeback) to be a confirmed reservation for an elopement.

PhineasSwann's picture
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09/25/2012

We have probably the strictest policy of those on the board here. We don't take a deposit, but charge the amount of the full stay for cancellations of less than 30 days. 

Except for OTA reservations, we offer the guest a gift certificate for the amount of the stay, minus a 10% cancellation fee. 

We're somewhat flexible, and often break the policy if we think it's a real emergency, it's a regular guest, etc. 

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Darren
Innkeeper & Owner

 

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Full 7 days notice (ie 8 days). But forgiving in the winter, but we check weather, etc. It's harder to argue around here, the highways are usually passable within hours and the entire city is cleared in a few days. But we hardly ever stop for snow.

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Joined:
04/22/2019

My B & B, although very very rural, is on a main route.  One that all Fire/Police and parametics use to get from one side of town to the other.  I have lived in New England Most of my life, and I fully understand when your flight is cancelled and power outages, but just to not want to drive to me, is a whole other story....I have someone who wants only 24 hours notice and he is in my largest room for 4 nights straight, for me new in this business is HUGE..

 

Morticia's picture
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Joined:
05/22/2008

Someone wanting to tell you how your business is going to work for him (the 24 hour notice guy) is someone who is not going to stop there. He is also someone who is planning to cancel, or cut his visit short, or demand other accommodations.

Design a policy that you are comfortable with and learn to say - this is how we do things. Period.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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06/24/2013

We honored the PO’s discounts for regulars the first year and didn’t the second year.   Some people stopped coming, some continued to stay here.    Up to them.  We run our business our way.   

The response is, “we’ve made some policy changes, but we’re still here for You!”

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TBH

 

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Joined:
04/22/2019

For me, I just cannot do that.  Especially since the previous owner had no booking history or PROOF of what the rates were.  I honored all rates that were already booked.    But this is not the rate issue, this is a cancellation policy.  For the Rates, although I increased them, I increased them ever so slightly and have rooms for all types of finance levels.  But,  Like I said, the previous owner had a second income coming in, so if she made money on the B & B side she did not care.  

JimBoone's picture
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Joined:
12/18/2014

Everything really depends on your needs, after many years I’m probably more business like, yet maybe easier in some ways.

I take a small deposit when a room is reserved, that amount is not refundable, to me that amount proves the card is good and eliminates the folks playing games. That deposit could be set to at least offset your grocery cost.

Cancellation period varies 3 to 7 days according to how busy I expect the period to be. If I’m not really turning away others then no reason to get too upset if they cancel, if busy most likely I charge if the room isn’t rented to another, but doesn’t happen often.

i often wonder about asking folks how long a notice period they would like, would they be offended if I cancelled them with short notice, period works both directions 

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Jim & Maxine

 

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Joined:
04/22/2019

I like this idea, I think i will do 1 night stay deposits are mandatory and you are right, if they cancel that could off set my groceries. thank you for that.  I will also Re-Adjust my policy that include Winter Months to 3 days notice, By then most would know if a storm is coming. 

for me, every room rented is fuel I can pay for.  But I do not want to scare folks off either.  The folks that have come here and there are more easy going about the changes, it is the guests that have been coming for a couple of nights a year for 16 years that feel this way.  BUT I am the only B & B within a 25 min drive of Limerick and my rates are still lower than everyone ( i will increase again in the spring).

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

If it's over 7 days from arrival, I give a refund of their deposit (first night fee) less a $25 cancellation fee. People are always happy to get all but $25 back.

Within a week of arrival, they lose their deposit, plus a second night if it's a reservation of more than 1 night. If I'm able to sell the room to someone else, they get their deposit back, less the $25 fee.

I would ignore/not respond to comments about how Kyle did it. Kyle is gone. You have to make a living to keep the place open.

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All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

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Joined:
04/22/2019

Thank you for the kind words, when i hear it all the time, it gets a little disheartening.  I am so excited about this, I just want to do well and I FEEL that I can, if I can just get a handle on the Cancellation issues.  

Lee2014's picture
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Joined:
12/11/2014

   I remember those days.  I say in my head.  "Oh, another one of my uncle's special guests."  Most of the specials went their own ways.  We haven't missed them at all and neither will you. 

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Have a great day!

 

gillumhouse's picture
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Joined:
05/22/2008

I do 48 hours but I only have 3 rooms and am 5 min. from the grocery.

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