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What is your cancellation policy?

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Bigbid

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This is my first creation of a forum topic so forgive me if I have done it wrong. I just read a forum talking about an event that cancelled which made me think of how I would have handled it. A few years ago, our local B&B organization got together and we came up with a standard cancellation policy that most of us now use. We found it helps if anyone questions it to be able to say that most of the other B&B's in the area have the same policy. It works pretty well for the events in our area. The only thing that has hurt us occasionally is when people cancel just outside of two weeks. Sometimes it is not enough time to rebook. I would love to see what others are using.
Here it is:
A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee.
Group Reservations & Cancellations
Three or more rooms will be charged in full at the time of booking. Groups are non-refundable.
 

Morticia

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That's pretty short and sweet!
How do you avoid the 'let's book separately and not tell them we're a group' scenario? Especially as your group policy is pretty strict.
Our cancel policy is one week, but more likely than not, someone will 'think' they are booking a 'hotel' and they had until 6 PM day of arrival to let us know. ANd they do make that very clear when they cancel, 'I didn't know I had to cancel a week ago!'
Which essentially means they've been holding onto the room looking for something else and now they've found it.
Doesn't matter how in their face we make the policies, including checking off the box that says you read the policies.
 

egoodell

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Ours is the same except we give them only 10 days out to cancel. But we only have two rooms right now. I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms.
RIki
 

JBloggs

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Bigbid you must be a "destination" B&B to have a two week cancellation notice and a penalty regardless.
We have a 7day cancellation period - less for local business guests, but we don't advertise that fact to the reg bookings. 1 night deposit to hold room. Refund all if cancelled before the 7 day period.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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These are ours:
  • A fifteen (15) day advance notice is required in the event of shortening or canceling your reservation to avoid incurring cancellation fees. Minimum thirty (30) day advance notice is required when canceling special rate packages, a reservation that falls on a Holiday, local event weekends or a one night stay on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Cancellation Fees for a one night stay will be charged to your credit card for the full amount of your stay. Reservations that are for two or more nights will result in a charge of 50% of your reservation total. Cancellation charges will includes all taxes & fees.
  • Cancellation within 24 hours of your arrival date will forfeit the entire amount of your reservation.
 

Morticia

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These are ours:
  • A fifteen (15) day advance notice is required in the event of shortening or canceling your reservation to avoid incurring cancellation fees. Minimum thirty (30) day advance notice is required when canceling special rate packages, a reservation that falls on a Holiday, local event weekends or a one night stay on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
  • Cancellation Fees for a one night stay will be charged to your credit card for the full amount of your stay. Reservations that are for two or more nights will result in a charge of 50% of your reservation total. Cancellation charges will includes all taxes & fees.
  • Cancellation within 24 hours of your arrival date will forfeit the entire amount of your reservation.
.
Don't shoot me as I put on my grammar hat...
A fifteen (15) day advance notice is required in the event of shortening or canceling your reservation to avoid incurring cancellation fees.
"To avoid incurring cancellation fees, a fifteen (15) day...canceling your reservation."
The reason for that is adding 'to avoid...' at the end of the sentence implies the guest is shortening or canceling to avoid the fees. Not exactly what you meant.
 

JBloggs

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Shall we use "airline speak" and say:
Itinerary Changes/Cancellations/Refunds: Itinerary changes, if permitted for the fare, may have a change fee of up to $200.00 USD that will vary by market, carrier and specific fare rule.
 

wendydk

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Bigbid you must be a "destination" B&B to have a two week cancellation notice and a penalty regardless.
We have a 7day cancellation period - less for local business guests, but we don't advertise that fact to the reg bookings. 1 night deposit to hold room. Refund all if cancelled before the 7 day period..
Joey Bloggs said:
We have a 7day cancellation period - less for local business guests, but we don't advertise that fact to the reg bookings. 1 night deposit to hold room. Refund all if cancelled before the 7 day period.
Ditto.
 

Country Girl

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We have a 10 day cancellation policy. But yesterday I had a guest arriving from CA who could not get here because of the weather. She made it all the way to Boston but couldn't get to us because of snow. I did not charge her.
 

Copperhead

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups.
 

Don Draper

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups..
We call it a processing fee, ours is also $25, and it is not a "tack on". It is the actual cost of me processing a credit card deposit, processing a credit card refund, and the time/work involved in taking the room out of circulation when it is booked then putting it back in if they cancel.
To me, it just says "Don't book here unless you really intend to come". Without it we would be subjecting ourselves to a slew of weather/fancy related cancellations all the time.
We had 10 day cancellation policy the first two years we were here and it was absolutely fascinating how many times "Grandma" passed away exactly 10 days away from the scheduled trip. We changed to 14 days and have never looked back...good for us and evidently good for Grandma too who hasn't been kicking the bucket nearly as frequently.

 

Morticia

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups..
We call it a processing fee, ours is also $25, and it is not a "tack on". It is the actual cost of me processing a credit card deposit, processing a credit card refund, and the time/work involved in taking the room out of circulation when it is booked then putting it back in if they cancel.
To me, it just says "Don't book here unless you really intend to come". Without it we would be subjecting ourselves to a slew of weather/fancy related cancellations all the time.
We had 10 day cancellation policy the first two years we were here and it was absolutely fascinating how many times "Grandma" passed away exactly 10 days away from the scheduled trip. We changed to 14 days and have never looked back...good for us and evidently good for Grandma too who hasn't been kicking the bucket nearly as frequently.

.
That's interesting. So, you're finding that guests are less likely to cancel with a longer cancel period than a shorter one?
We used to have a 2 weeks policy and I heard SO many reasons why guests had to cancel that we just gave in and changed to 1 week. Of course, that leaves us in the lurch with much less notice, but it has cut down on the abusive calls at 15 days out.
 

Don Draper

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups..
We call it a processing fee, ours is also $25, and it is not a "tack on". It is the actual cost of me processing a credit card deposit, processing a credit card refund, and the time/work involved in taking the room out of circulation when it is booked then putting it back in if they cancel.
To me, it just says "Don't book here unless you really intend to come". Without it we would be subjecting ourselves to a slew of weather/fancy related cancellations all the time.
We had 10 day cancellation policy the first two years we were here and it was absolutely fascinating how many times "Grandma" passed away exactly 10 days away from the scheduled trip. We changed to 14 days and have never looked back...good for us and evidently good for Grandma too who hasn't been kicking the bucket nearly as frequently.

.
That's interesting. So, you're finding that guests are less likely to cancel with a longer cancel period than a shorter one?
We used to have a 2 weeks policy and I heard SO many reasons why guests had to cancel that we just gave in and changed to 1 week. Of course, that leaves us in the lurch with much less notice, but it has cut down on the abusive calls at 15 days out.
.
Absolutely, for whatever convoluted reasoning, we have far fewer cancellations with 14 days than we did with 10. I can't even TELL you how many cancellations we used to get exactly on day 10 (I'm wondering if it's a weather thing, oh it's going to rain next weekend, let's cancel).
The best part is at 14 days notice we can almost always resell and then they get their deposit back anyway so it's win/win. And we've been the leaders of the pack on this trend as we have with many others in our area, now all the b&b's have a 14 day cancellation policy.
Of course everyone has to go with what works in their specific area and with their set-up, but this has been our experience.
 

Bigbid

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups..
If a guest shortens their stay within two weeks, the deposit pays for one night that they took off, not for a night they stayed. It works pretty well. Of course we use our heads and are not very strict on the policy when the situation warrants it.
 

Breakfast Diva

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On the day they make the reservation, we charge 1 night deposit and a 50% for 4 or more nights.
  • Cancellations require ten days notice prior to arrival, or deposit will be forfeited and you will be charged for the entire length of your reservation. A $25 cancellation fee applies to all cancellations with a 10 or more day notice. Early departures WILL be charged for the reserved time period. Because last minute cancellations greatly affect us, our cancellation policy is strictly enforced.
 

Copperhead

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Bigbid, it is very good that you all came up with a policy that you all can agree to. I think that says volumes about your association.
Bigbid: "A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee."
On a personal note, I really do not understand the $25 booking fee, this reeks 'hotel tack on' to me. Just up your rates and drop that - IMHO
Why was shortened stays even listed? You are taking the first night as a deposit (+ booking fee), a shotened stay will still stay at least one night so they are not loosing anything, why mention it?
Egoodell: "I don't wory about groups as I can only have up to 5 rooms."When you do have 5 rooms you may get small groups so at that time you want to establish a group policy. I have 5 rooms and do get groups..
If a guest shortens their stay within two weeks, the deposit pays for one night that they took off, not for a night they stayed. It works pretty well. Of course we use our heads and are not very strict on the policy when the situation warrants it.
.
A one night deposit per room is required at the time of booking. Included is a $25.00 per room, non-refundable booking fee. Cancellations or shortened stays within two weeks of stay forfeit deposit as a cancellation fee.
If a guest shortens their stay within two weeks, the deposit pays for one night that they took off, not for a night they stayed. It works pretty well. Of course we use our heads and are not very strict on the policy when the situation warrants it.
Your guests must have a higher IQ than mine
... I know I would be having a battle over this one.
 

gillumhouse

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Being in Podunk, I am probably too lenient - but there are way too many hotels around me!
My policy is 48 hours (I do change that for things like MountainFest). I do take the credit card number as a "safety" for me. My policy states that if the cancel less than 48 hours prior to expected arfival or no-show, a full reservation charge will be post to the credit card.
I do not post to the card prior because I am hoping for cash or check - my last 3 guests have paid with check - no credit cards fees with checks. Remember, I am NOT gettng the casual walk-in. Therefore, I have never had a bad check nor declined cc. And only one no-show has ever challenged it (early on and I lost).
 
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