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Arks

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We all get the sad stories about need to cancel and please give me a full refund because my mother got sick or my brother is pregnant or something equally likely to be made up.

I got an interesting set of emails today. The first one said...
We have had some issues come up that have changed our Thanksgiving travel plans, and will need to cancel our stay. I understand that we are past the no-penalty cancellation policy, but request that you kindly consider refunding our initial deposit due to COVID related concerns within our extended family, and guidance from my employer on out of the area travel.
Then about 30 minutes later I got this one from his wife...
We intended to come in to the area for a small family Thanksgiving get together - the family has decided to postpone the this due to a spike in COVID cases in your area.
Did you see the little twist? HE seemed to say they were canceling due to COVID concerns in THEIR area, and SHE said it was due to a COVID spike in MY area (we have no more spike here than any other part of the country). They'll say whatever they can to try to get that deposit back. In this case, I split it with them, refunding half the deposit, and he seemed real happy with that. Haven't heard from her yet!
 

gillumhouse

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I have been waiting for a cancel from the people due in tomorrow. So far - no cancel
 

InnDeep

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I’ve had half my people cancel for Thanksgiving. It’s a pandemic. I’m giving refunds. I’m hoping the goodwill engendered given the situation (one was military and her base stopped allowing travel, one elderly & concerned about health), will lead to future Bookings once things calm down. Perhaps I’m naive & my inexperience is showing 🤷‍♀️?
 

FHI2426

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Most of our recent cancellations will be coming back in future so I am able to convince them to take a gift certificate. Otherwise we charge $30processing to cover cc charges. We almost never take more than that. We need to be a bit kind during COVID no matter our own difficult circumstances I am convinced karma will repay in future
 

Momma Smurf

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For COVID related cancellations outside "normal" policy, issue a Courtesy Credit Voucher with a firm Expiration Date. Actual Gift Certificates in many states are subject to accounting rules and laws (ie no expiration) that are more onerous.
 

KenW

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Here's what I learned from Covid. When it hit and hit us hard financially we wanted to do the right thing and offered full refunds or a credit voucher for future stay. In a effort to fill vacancies we offered a " no questions asked" cancellation policy " Both of which nearly cleaned us out financially. We changed gears and stuck to our strick cancellation policy.We make sure they understand our cancellation and highly recommend travel insurance.
 

Morticia

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I stopped taking deposits in May. (Refunded close to $10k prior to that.) Made no sense to take money I knew I was going to give back. Anyone who didn’t get a full refund, I was still keeping the $25 cancellation fee for awhile, now has a $25 credit for their next stay.

Back to the original story-telling comment — eventually we’ll hear all of them. The best one so far, among many, was the guest who canceled because the goats were birthing that weekend. Yes, goats. Sometimes I just give refunds based on originality. I’ve also given discounts for originality. And told the guest exactly that.
 

Morticia

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I’ve had half my people cancel for Thanksgiving. It’s a pandemic. I’m giving refunds. I’m hoping the goodwill engendered given the situation (one was military and her base stopped allowing travel, one elderly & concerned about health), will lead to future Bookings once things calm down. Perhaps I’m naive & my inexperience is showing 🤷‍♀️?
In any other year I’d say stick to your policy. Right now? Go for the goodness. We’re all need a little kindness right now.
 

gillumhouse

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I have never taken deposits which is probably why I was in OK shape when this crap hit. BUT, I am not in a high traffic area so I do not get the place-holders others get. I rarely have a cancellation. And I guess my reservation for tonight is still coming as they have not cancelled. Pritzger has let them out of "prison" I guess.
 

Morticia

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I might add that any bookings for next season, ( we are only open may-aug) we are only taking reservations no deposits till we know what's happening
I’m also not taking deposits for next year.
 

Arks

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We changed gears and stuck to our strickt cancellation policy. We make sure they understand our cancellation and highly recommend travel insurance.
Amen. I just don't understand why it's on the innkeeper to absorb 100% of the losses from 100 or more reservations, vs. the guest absorbing some loss from their ONE reservation. At least split it with them, like I did. Don't give a 100% refund to them all, while you absorb it ALL...unless you're subconsciously wanting to go out of business.
 

Arks

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I’m also not taking deposits for next year.
I just don't understand your logic. My $25 cancellation fee to refund the deposit is about all the income I had for 3 or 4 months this year. It made a huge difference for me, and barely effected the guests at all. Processing a partial refund is so easy with ResKey. The guests are happy to get out of their commitment with just a small loss, and I'm happy to make a little income, vs. zero. Win-win. I haven't had a single guest complain. They all say they understand completely, and I sleep well at night.
 

Tom

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2020 is not normal. By end of April, all, I mean ALL of our reservations into Sept had cancelled. Business picked up with medical personnel, people moving for job changes, even a guy picking up a rescue dog. Then a few visitors for family troubles, people driving I5 who would have flown, and recently, some odd balls on vacation (yes, Crater Lake is only a 3 hour drive from here so you can day trip, but the Park is closed, moose outside would ...).
And a lot of plan changes => cancellations.
I just do it. I figure they must have had a good reason to want to stay and a good reason to cancel. With the exception of two long standing non-refundable events, we've just let them cancel.
 

InnDeep

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In any other year I’d say stick to your policy. Right now? Go for the goodness. We’re all need a little kindness right now.
Thanks Morticia. This is what my gut is saying. So that’s what I’m doing. We usually only take deposits for our highest volume week anyway, but charge a $25 cancellation fee if folks don’t cancel within 10 days. This year seems extraordinarily & yes, kindness & understanding more than warranted.
 

Morticia

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@Arks the $2500 I would have kept was such a drop in the bucket it wasn’t worth thinking about. With Square there are no processing fees to keep up with. We were not buying food in advance. We were not holding rooms for guests while turning other people away. Even now when any reservation is probably last minute, we are allowing no fault cancellations day of arrival. It was easier for me mentally to just do the whole refund. Right now the only reservations I have with deposits were made in 2019 for 2021. And a couple of 2022 reservations.

I had guests who wanted me to keep the deposit to use toward their next reservation, but seriously, trying to keep track of that is too hard. Even the few guests who have the $25 credit are too hard to keep track of.
 

JimBoone

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Our business model is a bit different, most guests are for a night or a weekend, a few longer stays. Guests get a $10 charge when a reservation is made, it proves the card, covers card costs, and discourages those holding a room "in case" the family actually want to go off for the weekend, the are told that amount is lost if they call with a change 5 minutes later. The understanding is that they must cancel within the cancellation period to avoid a charge for the balance. I talk tough, but seldom press the issue, if the area is busy, I'll rent the room, if not, figure I didn't lose anything, the few exceptions are those who call to cancel at suppertime on a day when we've turned folks away all day long.
 

Hillbilly

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Here's what I learned from Covid. When it hit and hit us hard financially we wanted to do the right thing and offered full refunds or a credit voucher for future stay. In a effort to fill vacancies we offered a " no questions asked" cancellation policy " Both of which nearly cleaned us out financially. We changed gears and stuck to our strick cancellation policy.We make sure they understand our cancellation and highly recommend travel insurance.
We did this exact thing. People are well informed of what’s going on. We have a place on our reservation form explaining this and give them the option for travel insurance. We make them click “Yes they will be purchasing insurance” or “No they understand the risk and know they will be charged a full stay if they cancel!” We had a lot of compassion and understanding when this first started. But guys, we are almost 9 months into this. You can stick to your cancellation policies and not feel bad about it. I’m sure you all have dates that you are turning away people. You need to protect yourselves and understand it’s business not personal. If you must and feel like you need to let them out of it than at least give it back in a GC form.
 

Generic

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@Arks the $2500 I would have kept was such a drop in the bucket it wasn’t worth thinking about. With Square there are no processing fees to keep up with. We were not buying food in advance. We were not holding rooms for guests while turning other people away. Even now when any reservation is probably last minute, we are allowing no fault cancellations day of arrival. It was easier for me mentally to just do the whole refund. Right now the only reservations I have with deposits were made in 2019 for 2021. And a couple of 2022 reservations.

I had guests who wanted me to keep the deposit to use toward their next reservation, but seriously, trying to keep track of that is too hard. Even the few guests who have the $25 credit are too hard to keep track of.
Why don't you issue it on RK as a Gift Certificate. They have a code they put into PROMO to use it. :)
 
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