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How do you handle 'possible' need to cancel?

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Alibi Ike

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How would you handle a guest email that states they may need to cancel so what's the cancellation policy and then replies back they will be sure to let you know on the last possible date if they are coming? Would anything make a difference in how you handled this situation?
  • Popular weekend that has been booked for months?
  • Multiple rooms booked by guest?
  • Multiple nights booked by guest?
  • Guest is a long-time repeat?
  • The reason the guest might cancel?
I'm ready to tear my hair out. I don't want to wait until the day before the cancellation period kicks in to find out if they are coming. It is not enough time to rebook all the room nights. And yet if I tell them to take a hike now I may not rebook the rooms at all and they may actually be coming. This part of innkeeping depresses me. The total lack of regard for making a committment.
 

Don Draper

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You really don't have a choice but to reiterate the policy that they agreed to when they made the reservation. Then, if they end up cancelling at the last possible moment, I would definitely not let them book again in the future. This is why we double our normal cancellation period for two or more rooms booked together, because groups do this to us ALL THE TIME.
 

Copperhead

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I believe this is one reason why some B&B's do not keep their online availability up to date and have reservation requests instead of firm bookings. There may be more of a chance to get a wait list for times when the place is full - but there is always a possibility of a cancel.
 

Alibi Ike

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You really don't have a choice but to reiterate the policy that they agreed to when they made the reservation. Then, if they end up cancelling at the last possible moment, I would definitely not let them book again in the future. This is why we double our normal cancellation period for two or more rooms booked together, because groups do this to us ALL THE TIME.
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I usually do the 30 day cancellation for bigger groups than this, but I think I will redo it for any multiple rooms on a festival weekend.
 

greyswan

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we have a wait list - but if people are looking online and see no availability they're not going to bother with our wait list. I think it's a good idea to have a longer cancellation time period for busier weekends. Something I need to discuss with DH
 

domsmom

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In some cases when I get this call or email I offer them to cancel now and if the room is still available when they are sure they are coming they can book at that point. I explain that it is difficult to rebook the room as time gets closer as everyone who has inquired has been declined. Sometimes that works, may eliminate the "maybe".
 

Alibi Ike

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Thanks all, moot point now. Cancellation in hand. 9 room nights. Gotta get busy and send out my newsletter and drum up some new business!
 

egoodell

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If they call me and ask about our cancellation policy I usually try not to book them as I only have two rooms. I ask them to book online when they are sure. Those people generally always cancel.
Riki
 

Breakfast Diva

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Multiple rooms with multiple nights get a longer cancellation policy. So sorry this happened to you and I hope you're able to fill them.
 

HighMountainLodge

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Well, there are groups, and then their are groups....
If the "group" consists of two or more couples or families hoping to have fun together, then you insist that they book individually and adhere to your stated cancellation policies. If your cancellation policies leave you open to lost revenue from flaky people, then you need to tighten your policies.
If, on the other hand, what you're dealing with is a "group" that wants to rent out your entire or the majority of your facility for whatever reason, then you negotiate a deal with a representative of the group, take a non-refundable deposit (which you immediately process), and establish a series of deadlines that will include partial payments up until the deadline, at which point you release any rooms not booked and re-sell them to non-group people.
Bottom line: four weeks out (or whatever your deadline, based on the desirability of the slots), you should have all the money from a group, and if anybody cancels after that, too bad.
Tom
 

HighMountainLodge

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Upon re-reading this thread, I have to reiterate that you need to have policies in place. People sending you e-mails about whatever their inchoate plans may be notwithstanding, hold to your policies. You put them in place to guard against precisely this sort of flakiness.
Actually, the issue, as you propose it, isn't about your guests, it's about the clarity of your policies and the evenness with which you apply them.
Tom
 

Joey Camb

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We use reservation requests when we are down to our last room as I try to make it a zip and link room as if you put a double on people need a twin and vise versa therefore I can put both on, on request and whichever come through first gets it.
 

JBloggs

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Stick to the policies. Whatever they are, that is what they are.
Policies are for the guest, policies are for the inn, policies apply to every person who books a room, not some, not sometimes. As the policy states "when you book a room with us you have agreed to our policies."
If you don't want policies, delete them, take them off everything and let it be a free for all, have a hippy B&B, no rules chaos reigns, anarchy, give them a joint as a check in refreshment - starter.
 

Joey Camb

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I am super angry as had a cancellation just on the cusp of our cancellation policy and I know she new earler she would have to cancel as they were comming for a wedding and the bride and groom have changed the venue (and this doesnt happen that close to the day! ie 3 days away) we had been over booked for that day and I had rung the lady and arranged for her to stay somewhere really nice and an upgrade etc and I did all that for nothing! GRRR that will teach me to be organised!
 
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