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Landmark

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We have had more reservations wanting to cancel this week than I can remember since a hurricane. I believe we have had 7 different reservations everything from emergencies, cant get off work, to cant leave the dog outside due to construction and possible nails in the yard. The holidays have always seem to be the worse, but this long weekend takes the cake. I hope it is not the sign of the times. Our cancellation is 7 days notice. What is your experience?
 

sandynn

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I have had the same thing. I had a guy call yesterday and say it wouldn't work out and he needed to cancel Saturday. He said he would rebook in two weeks. I told him I was sorry that it was Valentines day and in the time frame for cancellation so I would have to charge him but if he rebooked in two weeks I would give him credit for the charge. He was nice and understood. I take him off the books and in 10 minutes he calls back and says his girlfriend doesn't get off until 11 but he would go ahead and check in and go get her at 11, I put him back on and told him I have people come late sometimes and it is not a problem. I am sure he did not want to come but when I said I would charge him he thought better and is coming. He wanted to enjoy the bed and breakfast by checking in at 4. I really do understand but it is a buisness and I have to stick by the rules or be out a room for Valentines Day.
I had a lady cancel two weeks ago but rebooked the room. I think people are having second thought about spending money.
I had a three day cancelation last week also. This was a brother that the other brother booked for becasue their Mom died. The one brother did not come after all for the funeral. I am going to be much more vocal about cancellation with people book on the phone. I like them to book on line because they have to read the rules and check they read them.
 

Morticia

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We haven't had a lot of reservations, so not a lot of cancels, either.
 

NW BB

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For many years we had a 7 day cancellation policy. What I would find was that people would wait until the last minute of their cancelation period and then cancel. Being in a podunk rural area, we rarely are ever able to rebook and recover the loss because people reserve way in advance with us.
About a year ago I was so frustrated with the cancellation calls that would come in on Friday for the next weekend. I decided to change our cancellation period to 10 days. Now, I don't know why, but it works! Less cancellations, and if they do, I can recover more easily because now I get more time to reserve the cancelled room.
 

muirford

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We haven't had any real cancellations (just one guy who was placeholding for Friday only) for this weekend and just have one room available at this point. Lots of people calling but the two full beds isn't a big seller on V-Day, and other places have queen or king rooms available. We did stick to our guns on the two-night minimum and all the other rooms have been rented with at least one two-night stay.
We have the seven day cancellation policy now, but I am considering 10 days. I can see how it makes a difference if you have the weekend before to advertise and fill a room.
 

Morticia

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For many years we had a 7 day cancellation policy. What I would find was that people would wait until the last minute of their cancelation period and then cancel. Being in a podunk rural area, we rarely are ever able to rebook and recover the loss because people reserve way in advance with us.
About a year ago I was so frustrated with the cancellation calls that would come in on Friday for the next weekend. I decided to change our cancellation period to 10 days. Now, I don't know why, but it works! Less cancellations, and if they do, I can recover more easily because now I get more time to reserve the cancelled room..
We have a 7 day policy and I know what you mean. We extended the cancel period to 30 days for multiple room bookings and holiday weekends. I wondered if that was going too far as we weren't getting any bookings for those holiday weekends. Then we got a caller who was asking a lot of questions about the deposit and the cancel period for one of those weekends and I realized that guests are really reading the policy and those who would 'placehold' and cancel are not even booking. Probably concerned about the deposit and trying to recoup that when they canceled.
Which is essentially what I wanted to happen. Don't book if you're not serious.
 

NW BB

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By the way, since I went to a 10 cancellation policy not one person has complained! I think if I had made it 14 days, I would have problems.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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We haven't had any real cancellations (just one guy who was placeholding for Friday only) for this weekend and just have one room available at this point. Lots of people calling but the two full beds isn't a big seller on V-Day, and other places have queen or king rooms available. We did stick to our guns on the two-night minimum and all the other rooms have been rented with at least one two-night stay.
We have the seven day cancellation policy now, but I am considering 10 days. I can see how it makes a difference if you have the weekend before to advertise and fill a room..
muirford said:
We haven't had any real cancellations (just one guy who was placeholding for Friday only) for this weekend and just have one room available at this point. Lots of people calling but the two full beds isn't a big seller on V-Day, and other places have queen or king rooms available. We did stick to our guns on the two-night minimum and all the other rooms have been rented with at least one two-night stay.
We have the seven day cancellation policy now, but I am considering 10 days. I can see how it makes a difference if you have the weekend before to advertise and fill a room.
I think the 7 day policy gets them in under-the radar so to speak. They call and it is really 6 days prior that they call to cancel (has been in my situation here) and I just allow it. The PO's had a 48 hr cancellation fee, and since we are not destination B&B I just can't go more than 7 days. Business guests have a diff policy applicable to them.
I think 10 days is reasonable tho, it sounds good to me. It is like the diff between $124.99 and $125 room rate or $127
 

Landmark

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #.
 

Morticia

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
 

gillumhouse

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I have not had any cancellations so far. I had one room for Valentine's and they are here already. Booked a BOGO for the end of March today. She wanted one of the shared rooms. The book nook gets them!! That room is a favorite!
 

Landmark

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
.
On groups I require 25% down, another 25% 30 days from the date of arrival and the balance on arrival. If you cancel outside of the 30 day mark you lose your 25% and if you cancel within the 30 days you are responsible for the entire amount. This quickly changes who needs room and who wants to hold rooms. My problem is that up until now I only hold the cc info with a 7 day cancellation. I really need to start charging something up front to verify the card and then most show up because they already charged at some point. The other problem with charging something up front is that when they cancel you may have to credit their card. A cancelation fee is another whole subject.
Thanks for hearing my frustration!
 

Morticia

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
.
On groups I require 25% down, another 25% 30 days from the date of arrival and the balance on arrival. If you cancel outside of the 30 day mark you lose your 25% and if you cancel within the 30 days you are responsible for the entire amount. This quickly changes who needs room and who wants to hold rooms. My problem is that up until now I only hold the cc info with a 7 day cancellation. I really need to start charging something up front to verify the card and then most show up because they already charged at some point. The other problem with charging something up front is that when they cancel you may have to credit their card. A cancelation fee is another whole subject.
Thanks for hearing my frustration!
.
From what I have gathered, if you have to do a refund there is no cc processing fee other than if you pay a fee to 'dial in' which some companies charge. But, it takes time to do it and that's why many charge a cancellation fee...to cover the initial cc processing fee and the time and effort.
 

Landmark

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
.
On groups I require 25% down, another 25% 30 days from the date of arrival and the balance on arrival. If you cancel outside of the 30 day mark you lose your 25% and if you cancel within the 30 days you are responsible for the entire amount. This quickly changes who needs room and who wants to hold rooms. My problem is that up until now I only hold the cc info with a 7 day cancellation. I really need to start charging something up front to verify the card and then most show up because they already charged at some point. The other problem with charging something up front is that when they cancel you may have to credit their card. A cancelation fee is another whole subject.
Thanks for hearing my frustration!
.
From what I have gathered, if you have to do a refund there is no cc processing fee other than if you pay a fee to 'dial in' which some companies charge. But, it takes time to do it and that's why many charge a cancellation fee...to cover the initial cc processing fee and the time and effort.
.
Bree,
I believe some cc companies do charge the processing fee & I understand others don't. I wish SI was easier to charge / credit reservations rather than start typing in the cc terminal. I have not been brave enough to charge a handling/ cancellation fee. Thought that maybe I should charge that amount say 25.00 up and if they cancel you don't have to charge unless it is inside your policy. ??????
 

Morticia

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
.
On groups I require 25% down, another 25% 30 days from the date of arrival and the balance on arrival. If you cancel outside of the 30 day mark you lose your 25% and if you cancel within the 30 days you are responsible for the entire amount. This quickly changes who needs room and who wants to hold rooms. My problem is that up until now I only hold the cc info with a 7 day cancellation. I really need to start charging something up front to verify the card and then most show up because they already charged at some point. The other problem with charging something up front is that when they cancel you may have to credit their card. A cancelation fee is another whole subject.
Thanks for hearing my frustration!
.
From what I have gathered, if you have to do a refund there is no cc processing fee other than if you pay a fee to 'dial in' which some companies charge. But, it takes time to do it and that's why many charge a cancellation fee...to cover the initial cc processing fee and the time and effort.
.
Bree,
I believe some cc companies do charge the processing fee & I understand others don't. I wish SI was easier to charge / credit reservations rather than start typing in the cc terminal. I have not been brave enough to charge a handling/ cancellation fee. Thought that maybe I should charge that amount say 25.00 up and if they cancel you don't have to charge unless it is inside your policy. ??????
.
Landmark said:
Bree,
I believe some cc companies do charge the processing fee & I understand others don't. I wish SI was easier to charge / credit reservations rather than start typing in the cc terminal. I have not been brave enough to charge a handling/ cancellation fee. Thought that maybe I should charge that amount say 25.00 up and if they cancel you don't have to charge unless it is inside your policy. ??????
Here's the deal with fees and charges...if you don't charge them in advance you may as well not bother. So, if you are going to charge a $25 fee to cancel, then set your policy and charge the deposit. The deposit less the fee is returned based on your policy. Yes, it's expensive to do it that way if you are running deposits on every booking. BUT, if you get a cancel or a bad card, at least you are (mostly) covered.
We've discussed this before and I think consensus is that if you do not collect a deposit the guest can challenge your charging them 'after the fact' if they cancel.
Generally, in a year's time, I do not have enough cancels INSIDE the cancel period to warrant charging the deposit. I DO have a lot of cancels (generally in a year over 100) but they all cancel outside the policy kick in date or I rebook the rooms. For the couple that cancel day of or within the week, it's not worth the fees for the rest of the year to collect that deposit and deal with the subsequent screaming on the phone. My sanity is worth more than the, maybe $300, I might collect in deposits during the year.
Now, also in previous discussions, it was brought up that if I charged the deposit, it might cut down on the cancels because it would cut down on the 'placeholder' bookings. Quite possible. I just haven't been motivated enough to charge the deposit.
Now, Swirt has gone to a completely automated system that charges the deposit when the booking comes in. He really seems to like it. Maybe he will comment on how it is working now that he's probably getting more of his bookings.
 

NW BB

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
I charge a 1 night deposit the day they make their reservation. We have a $25 cancellation fee (no fee if they give me enough notice and we just reschedule). Period. If they are staying 4 or more nights, it's a 50% deposit. If they take the whole house, then 50% when they reserve and the balance is paid 30 days in advance of arrival and it's non-refundable.
This policy accomplishes a few things:
1. People don't make a reservation thinking "I'll book and keep looking for another place". Either they're serious or I don't want them.
2. In the slow times, you still get some money coming in. Our slow time is winter, but people start making their reservations for summer, so the deposits help the cash flow.
3. With the slow economy, you are guaranteed that when you make the reservation, their card works and at least you have some money from them. Who knows if that card will actually work by the time they check in?
4. We use webervations and since the guest have to click that they have read and agree to our cancellation policy, people don't argue about the $25 cancellation fee. When taking a reservation over the phone, you must inform them of the cancellation policy. It is also written on their e-mail confirmation letter.
5. I think it shows the prospective guest that you are treating this as a business. In the long run, they actually respect you more. You are setting forth clear and professional policies.
 

DaisyMae

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"I like them to book on line because they have to read the rules and check they read them."
I agree, that way, if they check that little box, they can't say "we didn't know" or "noone told us" we have a 14 day cancellation policy. when someone calls to reserve & they are within the window we point out to them that they are in the window so once the reservation is made the deposit is non refundable.
i had a lady call, a few weeks ago,on a Friday, to make a reservation of 2 nights. she would be checking in the next afternoon.she was just from a few towns away and was quite pleasant on the phone. she talked about how her son was going to be opening a small breakfast only restaurant in this area this spring.
about 5 hours later she calls to say that she will need to be canceling because she just remembered that she has an appointment in Boston on Monday for brain surgery, because she has cancer. I told her we would be happy to issue her a gift certificate in the amount of her deposit, that she could use toward a future stay. She freaked out & started yelling "But don't you understand that i am going to die on Monday!? How am i supposed to use a gift certificate in the future since i'm going to die on Monday!?"
I thought, my gosh this can't be the same lady i spoke with a few hours ago! she was so upset, i just said don't worry about it, we'll refund your deposit & best of luck to you. then i hung up.i don't know if she really was due to have surgery or not but...either way, how could you forget you had brain surgery scheduled??
 

Copperhead

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On original topic - We have not had any cancelations for this weekend but did experience a different trend this year...More last minute bookings - MOST of my V-day weekend bookings came in this week, but my large rooms did sell out 1st. This week were the penny pinchers. I do not have a 2 night min. except for event/holiday weekends, but did not put in place this year. Good thing or I most likely would be empty. Some chose to celebrate tonight rather than tomorrow so I am almost full for both nights (1 open) - my back will be killing me come Sunday afternoon! I did get a couple of rooms to do a package so a little extra $ will ease the pain.
RE: the hijacked topic regarding cancellation policies, deposits and refunds:
I have a 14 day cancellation policy (different for mid week bus travel) which seems to work for me. Did that from day one and really do not have problems with it. I figure if they cancel by that time I have a fairly good time frame to rebook the room, within that window, it becomes more difficult. (May be different this year). For regular stays, I do not take a deposit (1 night stay) UNTIL the date of cancellation. This way I do not have refunds for the most part. If they cancel after the cancel by date and I am able to rent the room for the entire period reserved, I do provide a refund of the depoist minus a $25 charge. (Not refunded until after the reserved date has passed.) For group bookings my cancel by date is 30 days prior and total for entire stay is due on that date - period.
I have been toying with a policy addition but have not implemented it as yet...'cancellations made within 48 hours of arrival are responsible for their entire stay'. It is not that I have this happen very often but if it does happen, I could be out of several days rent. Do any of you have this?
 

Landmark

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On original topic - We have not had any cancelations for this weekend but did experience a different trend this year...More last minute bookings - MOST of my V-day weekend bookings came in this week, but my large rooms did sell out 1st. This week were the penny pinchers. I do not have a 2 night min. except for event/holiday weekends, but did not put in place this year. Good thing or I most likely would be empty. Some chose to celebrate tonight rather than tomorrow so I am almost full for both nights (1 open) - my back will be killing me come Sunday afternoon! I did get a couple of rooms to do a package so a little extra $ will ease the pain.
RE: the hijacked topic regarding cancellation policies, deposits and refunds:
I have a 14 day cancellation policy (different for mid week bus travel) which seems to work for me. Did that from day one and really do not have problems with it. I figure if they cancel by that time I have a fairly good time frame to rebook the room, within that window, it becomes more difficult. (May be different this year). For regular stays, I do not take a deposit (1 night stay) UNTIL the date of cancellation. This way I do not have refunds for the most part. If they cancel after the cancel by date and I am able to rent the room for the entire period reserved, I do provide a refund of the depoist minus a $25 charge. (Not refunded until after the reserved date has passed.) For group bookings my cancel by date is 30 days prior and total for entire stay is due on that date - period.
I have been toying with a policy addition but have not implemented it as yet...'cancellations made within 48 hours of arrival are responsible for their entire stay'. It is not that I have this happen very often but if it does happen, I could be out of several days rent. Do any of you have this?.
Copperhead,
What you are saying is that reg guests (non groups) pay for the 1 night or 50% for 4 nights or more they only lose the dp and not the entire amount. My policy, you lose the total amount of the entire reservation if you cancel less than the 7 days. Most of my weekends are a 2 night min and major holidays are 3. Generally if I cancel a room and I am able to rebookit and I am full, then I may send out GC but I don't tell them that up front.
 

Landmark

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I may consider 10 day policy next year. On groups they will lose 25% unless it is less than 30 days then they are responsible for it all. FYI, I sent 1 a GC and rebooked the room. The others somehow managed to overcome their emergencies (I think not all have checkin yet). It is amazing when you tell them that they will be charged they can somehow make it. My next big problem is deciding to charge non groups a dp. At the moment we don't, just hold the cc #..
Last year was the first time I did deposits and I only did them at the end of the year for Columbus Day weekend after a mom cancelled 16 room nights for her daughter's wedding. It certainly slowed down the 'let's book now and think about it' crowd. But, policies only work if everyone answering the phone follows them...so we have another 16 room night booking with no deposit and they weren't told there's a 30 day cancellation period and a forfeiture of the deposit we didn't collect.
Can't worry about it now.
.
On groups I require 25% down, another 25% 30 days from the date of arrival and the balance on arrival. If you cancel outside of the 30 day mark you lose your 25% and if you cancel within the 30 days you are responsible for the entire amount. This quickly changes who needs room and who wants to hold rooms. My problem is that up until now I only hold the cc info with a 7 day cancellation. I really need to start charging something up front to verify the card and then most show up because they already charged at some point. The other problem with charging something up front is that when they cancel you may have to credit their card. A cancelation fee is another whole subject.
Thanks for hearing my frustration!
.
From what I have gathered, if you have to do a refund there is no cc processing fee other than if you pay a fee to 'dial in' which some companies charge. But, it takes time to do it and that's why many charge a cancellation fee...to cover the initial cc processing fee and the time and effort.
.
Bree,
I believe some cc companies do charge the processing fee & I understand others don't. I wish SI was easier to charge / credit reservations rather than start typing in the cc terminal. I have not been brave enough to charge a handling/ cancellation fee. Thought that maybe I should charge that amount say 25.00 up and if they cancel you don't have to charge unless it is inside your policy. ??????
.
Landmark said:
Bree,
I believe some cc companies do charge the processing fee & I understand others don't. I wish SI was easier to charge / credit reservations rather than start typing in the cc terminal. I have not been brave enough to charge a handling/ cancellation fee. Thought that maybe I should charge that amount say 25.00 up and if they cancel you don't have to charge unless it is inside your policy. ??????
Here's the deal with fees and charges...if you don't charge them in advance you may as well not bother. So, if you are going to charge a $25 fee to cancel, then set your policy and charge the deposit. The deposit less the fee is returned based on your policy. Yes, it's expensive to do it that way if you are running deposits on every booking. BUT, if you get a cancel or a bad card, at least you are (mostly) covered.
We've discussed this before and I think consensus is that if you do not collect a deposit the guest can challenge your charging them 'after the fact' if they cancel.
Generally, in a year's time, I do not have enough cancels INSIDE the cancel period to warrant charging the deposit. I DO have a lot of cancels (generally in a year over 100) but they all cancel outside the policy kick in date or I rebook the rooms. For the couple that cancel day of or within the week, it's not worth the fees for the rest of the year to collect that deposit and deal with the subsequent screaming on the phone. My sanity is worth more than the, maybe $300, I might collect in deposits during the year.
Now, also in previous discussions, it was brought up that if I charged the deposit, it might cut down on the cancels because it would cut down on the 'placeholder' bookings. Quite possible. I just haven't been motivated enough to charge the deposit.
Now, Swirt has gone to a completely automated system that charges the deposit when the booking comes in. He really seems to like it. Maybe he will comment on how it is working now that he's probably getting more of his bookings.
.
Bree,
The problem I have with an automated system is that I have a different policy for groups & also I like to review the reservation. I like accepted them in SI, just don't like how you have charge with it.
 

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