I Want to Cancel My Non-Refundable Reservation...

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Generic

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I have my own particular cancellation policy... but with the OTAs, my cancellation policy is very very strict... all my reservations are non-refundable.

Yesterday I had to deal with 2 cancellation exception requests

  1. A guest who requested to cancel at no charge who had booked the night before and then discovered that they couldn't get a flight from their country to our country on the day of arrival. Which involved me talking to the OTA about it. Firstly, what kind of idiot books the hotel room BEFORE they have bought the airplane ticket? And secondly, doesn't this all seem a little suspicious and makes you think that there is something wrong in the state of Denmark? Because it certainly does.
  2. A guest who's supposed to arrive in 2 days who wants to cancel and offers a doctor's note but wants to push it to another date. First of all, I'm a B&B and not an insurance company. You need to cancel, you discuss it with your travel insurance company and ask your credit card company if they offer travel insurance. I'm not an insurance company. Secondly, I'm at 90% occupancy for the next month... it would be a miracle if I had the dates that you wanted. But even if I did and I agreed to move you, that would mean that I lost 3 days earlier and gave you 3 days that I could have sold for money, so you got 6 days for half price... I am NOT a charity. I have bills to pay. (And giving you those 3 days might mean that I lose another day, because I don't do single nights, so that's 7 days for the price of 3... NOT HAPPENING.) I offered a half refund of any of the days that I can resell... so that they cancel ASAP and I can at least TRY to resell them. If I do, the refund is a direct GC, which means she has to book direct and I don't have to pay the OTA a second time :)
Why do people do such silly things?
 

TheBeachHouse

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Both are crazy.
We had one call and cancel because they were exposed to covid. I thanked him very much for doing the right thing and hoped he could come again another time and kept the money. We lost our shirts in 2020. And that was fine. A national emergency. No more.
 

CSMaine

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Thanks for posting. We have had similar cancellations too, and I was glad to see other BnBs feel the same as we did in handling them. I am not a fan of GC offers as you noted how it affects the future when everyone wants to come during the busy season. Plus, why would I want to take a second chance for them to cancel? Not sure if this makes sense, but it does to me...customers want businesses to be back to normal, until they don't...when they want exceptions to policies for example.
 

Jay Curci

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We tell them - Sorry, but we are a small Family owned Business and simply can't afford to absorb the financial burden of last minute cancelations." Be sure your Policies are to the point. The CC companies have honored our cancelation Policy. Here is our Policy"

Deposit/Cancellations
  • A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking.
  • Included is a $25.00 per room, per night non-refundable booking fee.
  • Cancellations or shortened stays FOR ANY REASON within 30 days of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee and the full room rate for each additional day reserved can be charged if we are unable to re-book the room.
  • Weddings and College Graduations – Please call for more details
 

Generic

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I'm thinking of implementing a $25 non-refundable reconsideration fee.
I still won't refund... but they will learn quicker not to book a non-refundable rate!
 

Jay Curci

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Well, we are business people and the Bank charges to enter a charge and then to again to refund.... so, 25$ is reasonable
 

Generic

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Well, we are business people and the Bank charges to enter a charge and then to again to refund.... so, 25$ is reasonable

No... they don't get a refund. They just pay an extra $25 fee for thinking we are so gullible as to give them a refund. Pure profit.
 

Eugee2

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These are all great responses from innkeepers who know a few things because they’ve seen a few things over the years!
I always tell people that my policy-like those above- is strict because if one room cancels, it’s 25% of my business. That would be like someone booking 25 rooms at a 100 room hotel and cancelling last minute- they wouldn’t take that in stride either.
 

Arks

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That would be like someone booking 25 rooms at a 100 room hotel and cancelling last minute- they wouldn’t take that in stride either.
Making/taking a reservation is like a contract. They agree to pay you. You agree to hold that room for them and turn down others who want it. Neither party should break the contract on short* notice.

____________________________________
* and the reservation policy defines, up front, what the word "short" means
 

Generic

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I just got another one. Waited to cancel until the 13th for a reservation on the 19th. Offering me a letter from their doctor on why their mother can't stay alone... WHY did you wait so long... WHY didn't you buy insurance... WHY should I lose because you fail to plan...
 

TheBeachHouse

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We have become less lenient. Especially after we cancelled everyone with no consequences during 2020. We ate every loss. Now, we don’t. I tell them I’m sorry, but your deposit is non refundable at this short notice. Period. My husband patiently explains how we can’t sell a room that is booked so we are losing money. I just say no.
I finally figured out that my problems are mine and your problems are yours.

makes me sound like a hard azz. And I’m really a very nice person. But…..don’t do that.
 

Generic

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I'm just not an insurance company.... that's not my business. But if you are going to cancel and ask for a refund... do it with plenty of time so I can resell it. Not at the last minute.
 

Jay Curci

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We just has 4-5 last minute cancelation - some as short as same day - Try to re-book - if not there deposit goes as the cancelation fee. (Note-we collect in full at the 30 day mark .) Our CC processing Company is getting more CC holder friendly and we have been loosing cases we used to always win! One guy booked a room via Expedia (the wrong room) came in - left - and he won his case. The times they are a changin! Again!!
 

Generic

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We just has 4-5 last minute cancelation - some as short as same day - Try to re-book - if not there deposit goes as the cancelation fee. (Note-we collect in full at the 30 day mark .) Our CC processing Company is getting more CC holder friendly and we have been loosing cases we used to always win! One guy booked a room via Expedia (the wrong room) came in - left - and he won his case. The times they are a changin! Again!!
That is awful. We haven't had a chargeback (other than a fraud case... and he managed to rip off others much worse, because I got suspicious).

Most of my X and BK reservations are virtual cards... which leaves them to deal with a chargeback... so not my problem.

My cancellation policy is a bit more lax than most. If it's direct, it's 8 days. But via the OTA it's almost always non-refundable. BK offers a 4 day policy, but it's on their own... meaning, if the person cancels, they pay if it isn't rebooked. So far, they haven't been on the hook yet.

But I also just got a reservation cancellation yesterday, put the rate up by $150 a night and it booked in hours!

But this person who cancelled for the 19th... confessed that they are trying to get the insurance to pay out... and still wanted me to refund. NO!
 

An Old Tavernkeeper

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We include a link to a travel insurance company in our confirmation email and after laying out our super-strict cancellation policy, suggest if guests have a problem with it travel insurance would be a good investment.
We used to do that. Now we just have a box where they can pay an extra 10% to cancel up to 7 days prior or and extra 25% to cancel up to 5 pm the day prior to arrival. Some take the insurance and very few use it but over the course of the year it adds up to an extra $800 to $1200 in our pocket after the cancellation refunds.
 

GoodScout

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We used to do that. Now we just have a box where they can pay an extra 10% to cancel up to 7 days prior or and extra 25% to cancel up to 5 pm the day prior to arrival. Some take the insurance and very few use it but over the course of the year it adds up to an extra $800 to $1200 in our pocket after the cancellation refunds.
I guess my question is, how many of those cancellations that you charged the 10% or 25% extra fee for were you able to rebook.
If I pocked 25% of a $400 weekend stay, but I can't resell the room, then I lost $300.
 

KenW

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We have strict policy..over 60 days less 3% cc fee full refund. 30 to 60 50% plus 3% for cc fees, less than 30..no refund. With all that said if it re- books then we refund less 3% less the difference if we have to discount.
 

An Old Tavernkeeper

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I guess my question is, how many of those cancellations that you charged the 10% or 25% extra fee for were you able to rebook.
If I pocked 25% of a $400 weekend stay, but I can't resell the room, then I lost $300.
The amount I collected from insurance from all guests MINUS losses on rooms that sat empty = about $1000 per year in EXTRA profit.

We charge 100% deposit for May and October and do not allow cancellation insurance during May and October, if you cancel and the room does not rebook, you get no refund. But other than peak season we self-insure and have very few cancellations.

The best part is if someone calls and cancels and ask about a refund you say....I see you declined the cancellation insurance....and maybe three quarters of the time they say let me talk to my spouse, maybe we can still make it...and they do.
 

Jay Curci

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Insurance never crossed our mind! We stick to our Policy - collect in full 30 days from reservation - try to re-book .........

Deposit/Cancellations​

  • A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking.
  • Included is a $25.00 per room, per night non-refundable booking fee.
  • Cancellations or shortened stays FOR ANY REASON within 30 days of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee and the full room rate for each additional day reserved can be charged if we are unable to re-book the room.
  • Weddings and College Graduations – Please call for more details
 
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