Uptick in OTA Book/Cancels?

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GoodScout

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I've mentioned here before that we charge Boo guests a 100% deposit at the time of booking, due to credit card spoofers in the past using their system to test credit card numbers to see if they're valid.
During the past 3 weeks, I'm starting to get a lot of book-one-week, cancel-the-next reservations out of Expo. Most of my Expo bookings are their standard reservations, which means I can charge Expo's credit card the day of their arrival. The ones I'm getting are the rarer Hotel Collect bookings, where my reservation system immediately charges them. I'm getting the deposit, but within a week they turn around and cancel. Not sure if it's because they were thinking they weren't going to be charged (some Expedia platforms like Hotels.com don't, others do), or if the card-spoofers have found a new platform.
Right now it's just a minor annoyance, but there is a cost since there is a processing fee and then a refund fee, I believe.

Anyone else that uses OTAs seeing this?
Oh, and if you don't use them, we get it. You don't have to post "this is why I don't use them" posts. :)
 

Morticia

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A quick plug for square—they refund the proceeding fees if you refund the guest. So, example here, if you charge a $100 deposit and then refund it, they take back $96 and change from you. The additional $4 comes from the processing fee when you took the deposit. This was remarkably helpful last year when we did $10,000 in refunds. Essentially only took $9600 back from us, the remainder of the guests’ refunds were covered by the processing fee.

You can check with your processor. I believe most of them say they refund the original processing fee, but then none of them do. It’a a tidy bit of loot they pocket.
 

Jay Curci

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I've mentioned here before that we charge Boo guests a 100% deposit at the time of booking, due to credit card spoofers in the past using their system to test credit card numbers to see if they're valid.
During the past 3 weeks, I'm starting to get a lot of book-one-week, cancel-the-next reservations out of Expo. Most of my Expo bookings are their standard reservations, which means I can charge Expo's credit card the day of their arrival. The ones I'm getting are the rarer Hotel Collect bookings, where my reservation system immediately charges them. I'm getting the deposit, but within a week they turn around and cancel. Not sure if it's because they were thinking they weren't going to be charged (some Expedia platforms like Hotels.com don't, others do), or if the card-spoofers have found a new platform.
Right now it's just a minor annoyance, but there is a cost since there is a processing fee and then a refund fee, I believe.

Anyone else that uses OTAs seeing this?
Oh, and if you don't use them, we get it. You don't have to post "this is why I don't use them" posts. :)
We use Booking.com and Expedia with all there partners. We charge full reservation price upon receipt of the reservation. We have not had many issues at all. If there is an issue we handle it on a case by case basis. But it's so few we are not thinking of changing our process as of now. I don't do any promotions with any of the OTC's - as they are always tied to lowering our prices and the OTC still gets full commisions. Things are changing though - we will adapt as we see fit.
 

Morticia

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@GoodScout would it help to make this a non-refundable option? That way you keep the money. If this is not actual fraud it might slow these bookings down. Way back when we had this situation all the time where a guest would book multiple places just to secure a room, then leisurely pick the one they wanted and cancel the rest.
 

Eugee2

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I always charge a $10 fee for any cancel -even if they are in the cancellation ‘window’ which covers my card fees. Never had any complaints on the fee as it’s so low. If someone says something I say I will refund that on another stay.
 

Jay Curci

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We charge a $25 re-booking fee (per room) if cancelled prior to 30 days from reservation date. If under 30 days notice - we try to re-book the room - if unsuccessful they will forfeit all of the deposit. We have had a few CC disputes and have won all but one. That Guest followed up and fought back after the first round of dispute resolution. Can't win um all.
 

GoodScout

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Mort makes a good suggestion. For eight years we've always worked well with a no-deposit system. We take a card at reservation, and if they cancel outside of 30 we just cancel them.
Inside of 30, our policy says it's non-refundable, but usually we charge them but give them a gift-certificate for the amount minus a 10% cancellation fee. That way they're happy, we still get them as guests, and more often than not we can rebook the room.
We tend to not do this in four cases: 1) If they cancel just a day or two prior to arrival, 2) If they cancel on a busy weekend when we've turned others away, 3) They're an OTA reservation and become a big hassle, or 4) If they annoy the crap out of me.

That said, we're always reevaluating our policies as the market changes, and if tends to continue we might have to make modifications.
 

Generic

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We have it as a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit on OTAs. They stopped.
 
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