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When should hotels refund non-refundable rooms?

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Arks

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Regarding the hotel not being able to safely operate, yes, of course they should refund to everybody who has paid them for a service they cannot deliver.
On the family emergency and acts of God side, certainly a harder question. But I don't see why it has to be an all or nothing situation. How about saying to people, we'll split it. I'll refund half your payment so we're each bearing an equal part of the problem and solution. (but only if the emergency or other problem can be verified)
 

egoodell

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Regarding the hotel not being able to safely operate, yes, of course they should refund to everybody who has paid them for a service they cannot deliver.
On the family emergency and acts of God side, certainly a harder question. But I don't see why it has to be an all or nothing situation. How about saying to people, we'll split it. I'll refund half your payment so we're each bearing an equal part of the problem and solution. (but only if the emergency or other problem can be verified).
Arkansawyer said:
Regarding the hotel not being able to safely operate, yes, of course they should refund to everybody who has paid them for a service they cannot deliver.
On the family emergency and acts of God side, certainly a harder question. But I don't see why it has to be an all or nothing situation. How about saying to people, we'll split it. I'll refund half your payment so we're each bearing an equal part of the problem and solution. (but only if the emergency or other problem can be verified)
People will not accept a split. They want all the refund. When you have your hotel up and running and start facing this propblem I'd like to hear how you feel. We have bills to pay, even big hotels have bills to pay.
THe Omni here had a great plan - you pay less per night and forfeit your right to cancel. You pay more per night and can cancel up to the day of. Now that works for everyone.
RIki
 

Copperhead

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From the article:
"When it’s unable to operate the property safely. In a multiple-choice survey about hotel room refundability, 83 percent of readers voted “yes” on that option. There were 678 responses to the poll.
Another 65 percent said rooms should be given their money back when a guest has a verified emergency, such as a death in the family. Roughly half of the respondents said refunds should be given when a guest can’t make it because of an Act of God, like bad weather.
Only seven percent said hotels should never refund a room."
I have become a strong believer in Travel Insurance and I have started placing a suttle suggestion in my confirmation letters.... "Act of God, like bad weather" - boy that is a very broad statement! - I recall someone on the forum say a guest recently canceled due to bad weather - a thunder storm! Sorry folks, that happens too often here!!! If the powers that be say stay off the roads - I would give in!!!!
"Verified emergency, such as death in the family" - Just how to you tactfully ask for this? We have discussed this over and over.
 

Proud Texan

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine.
 

Arks

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
 

JBloggs

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This week there have been four such emergencies for bookings here...every last one of them was a do or die emergency. So nice they spent so much time trying to not pay for a one night stay. It is all bulldust, letting us know they can't make it and explaining the circumstances is one thing...like the man from the ER in Shenandoah Valley, he didn't spend his entire call trying to get his money back!
red flags
edited to add the bookings were not for this week, but future bookings.
 

Proud Texan

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
Do you have a trip insurance advisory? Would you post it? I'd be interested in the wording. I'd like to put that in my policies and on the confirmation that I send each guest.
 

Paradise

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
Do you have a trip insurance advisory? Would you post it? I'd be interested in the wording. I'd like to put that in my policies and on the confirmation that I send each guest.
.
Good evening,
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
However we still get all the complaints listed in this thread, including one recently where the cancellation-on-the day-of-the-reservation for 2 rooms over a holiday weekend threatened to "destroy you on the internet!" (causing me daily stress as I check posts/emails/boards daily just waiting...).
 

wendydk

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You know, I wonder............we have had very few late cancellations, and never an argument from a guest about no refund of their advance deposit. Does a credit card guarantee make a guest more inclined to argue about being charged?
 

Arks

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
Do you have a trip insurance advisory? Would you post it? I'd be interested in the wording. I'd like to put that in my policies and on the confirmation that I send each guest.
.
Good evening,
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
However we still get all the complaints listed in this thread, including one recently where the cancellation-on-the day-of-the-reservation for 2 rooms over a holiday weekend threatened to "destroy you on the internet!" (causing me daily stress as I check posts/emails/boards daily just waiting...).
.
When we traveled to UK in June, going over there by ship and we flew home. Both the ship and the airline made it quite clear that the tickets were not returnable. All sales final. Since we were taking my 88-year-old mother, we bought trip insurance for her since...you never know.
We understood what "all sales are final" means, and so does everybody else. People know they can't argue the point with a ship company or airline, but they will sure try to put the pressure on a small business person.
Paradise said:
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
I like that. Anybody have a trip insurance company recommendation? I've always used THIS website, which gets your travel info then searches 18 different companies and lists the policy details and costs for each company, for easy comparison. Be sure to resort the list it displays from lowest to highest price.
 

Proud Texan

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
Do you have a trip insurance advisory? Would you post it? I'd be interested in the wording. I'd like to put that in my policies and on the confirmation that I send each guest.
.
Good evening,
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
However we still get all the complaints listed in this thread, including one recently where the cancellation-on-the day-of-the-reservation for 2 rooms over a holiday weekend threatened to "destroy you on the internet!" (causing me daily stress as I check posts/emails/boards daily just waiting...).
.
When we traveled to UK in June, going over there by ship and we flew home. Both the ship and the airline made it quite clear that the tickets were not returnable. All sales final. Since we were taking my 88-year-old mother, we bought trip insurance for her since...you never know.
We understood what "all sales are final" means, and so does everybody else. People know they can't argue the point with a ship company or airline, but they will sure try to put the pressure on a small business person.
Paradise said:
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
I like that. Anybody have a trip insurance company recommendation? I've always used THIS website, which gets your travel info then searches 18 different companies and lists the policy details and costs for each company, for easy comparison. Be sure to resort the list it displays from lowest to highest price.
.
Arkansawyer said:
When we traveled to UK in June, going over there by ship and we flew home. Both the ship and the airline made it quite clear that the tickets were not returnable. All sales final. Since we were taking my 88-year-old mother, we bought trip insurance for her since...you never know.
We understood what "all sales are final" means, and so does everybody else. People know they can't argue the point with a ship company or airline, but they will sure try to put the pressure on a small business person.
Paradise said:
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
I like that. Anybody have a trip insurance company recommendation? I've always used THIS website, which gets your travel info then searches 18 different companies and lists the policy details and costs for each company, for easy comparison. Be sure to resort the list it displays from lowest to highest price.
As mentioned in another thread, for most, the travel insurance is almost as much as the cost of the trip in some instances. It does however put the responsibility back on the person making the reservation and not on the innkeeper. They don't have to get the insurance, but if they don't then at least they understand that ultimately, THEY are responsible. I like the wording of the statement. Simple and to the point.
 

Arks

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Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
This is a ludicrous statement as far as B&Bs go. Unless you are in an area with a large tourist draw, are a resort or a destination B&B, return guests are not going to be your bread and butter. So, retention of guests that may or may not rebook in the future should not be a primary concern.
When we travel, we nearly always stay in a B&B, but seldom return to one we have visited before. We like to experience different places and different people. I know we're not alone in this, so our feelings aren't hurt when a guest says they will be back and we never see them again. Do we have return guests? Of course we do and have become friends with most of them, but the vast majority of our guest will never return. Our best hope from them is a good review and possibly a referal.
If there is a bonifide emergency, we will not charge for a cancelled reservation IF the room can be rebooked. We are a business first and foremost. Am I a hard ass? Yep.

As I have said before, the bank could care less when we have a death in the family or have had a personal problem. Come the first of the month, they want their money rain or shine..
Proud Texan said:
Quite simply, they should never refuse unless they don’t want any return business. No one is so desperate as to pay to be slapped in the face,” says Liz Zollner.
Yes, that one flew all over me too! Customers always want it all their way.
I love the trip insurance idea. Deaths, illnesses and bad weather are what trip insurance is all about. Let THEM take the risk.
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
.
Arkansawyer said:
I just need to post the trip insurance advisory plainly on the website and all correspondence and when people don't read it, it's their fault, not mine.
Do you have a trip insurance advisory? Would you post it? I'd be interested in the wording. I'd like to put that in my policies and on the confirmation that I send each guest.
.
Good evening,
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
However we still get all the complaints listed in this thread, including one recently where the cancellation-on-the day-of-the-reservation for 2 rooms over a holiday weekend threatened to "destroy you on the internet!" (causing me daily stress as I check posts/emails/boards daily just waiting...).
.
When we traveled to UK in June, going over there by ship and we flew home. Both the ship and the airline made it quite clear that the tickets were not returnable. All sales final. Since we were taking my 88-year-old mother, we bought trip insurance for her since...you never know.
We understood what "all sales are final" means, and so does everybody else. People know they can't argue the point with a ship company or airline, but they will sure try to put the pressure on a small business person.
Paradise said:
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
I like that. Anybody have a trip insurance company recommendation? I've always used THIS website, which gets your travel info then searches 18 different companies and lists the policy details and costs for each company, for easy comparison. Be sure to resort the list it displays from lowest to highest price.
.
Arkansawyer said:
When we traveled to UK in June, going over there by ship and we flew home. Both the ship and the airline made it quite clear that the tickets were not returnable. All sales final. Since we were taking my 88-year-old mother, we bought trip insurance for her since...you never know.
We understood what "all sales are final" means, and so does everybody else. People know they can't argue the point with a ship company or airline, but they will sure try to put the pressure on a small business person.
Paradise said:
We say:
  • Because we are a small property & unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we STRONGLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance.
I like that. Anybody have a trip insurance company recommendation? I've always used THIS website, which gets your travel info then searches 18 different companies and lists the policy details and costs for each company, for easy comparison. Be sure to resort the list it displays from lowest to highest price.
As mentioned in another thread, for most, the travel insurance is almost as much as the cost of the trip in some instances. It does however put the responsibility back on the person making the reservation and not on the innkeeper. They don't have to get the insurance, but if they don't then at least they understand that ultimately, THEY are responsible. I like the wording of the statement. Simple and to the point.
.
Proud Texan said:
As mentioned in another thread, for most, the travel insurance is almost as much as the cost of the trip in some instances.
As a test, I used the link in my post above to test the cost to cover a $1200 trip for next month for two people, aged 55 and 62. The cheapest policy it found was $20. I didn't read all the details of the coverage, which one should do before buying, but using this facility that gets multiple quotes from nearly 20 companies, it's possible to get some good deals. I've used them for years.
Recommending insurance would certainly be helpful for the occasional case where they tell you right off the top, "I may have to cancel. Granny's real sick."
 

Copperhead

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Here is what I added to my confirmation letter, just after explaining my cancellation policy:
It is suggested that guests look into travelers insurance to cover any costs that may be lost due to unexpected travel problems.
I do not use the 'sorry I am a small business' because it really does not change the way people think - they are only interested in themselves and when it comes down to money that is ALL they care about - the size of your business does not matter! Airlines do not say - you are affecting our bottom line!
And as Arkie's quick search indicated, in general tavel ins. is very reasonable.
LB - the answer to your question (at least for me) is no. I charge the deposit to the card on file on the last day they can cancel. For the most part this is when they pull the big guns - emergencies, other sob stories, etc.... I do not get many but it seems when it rains - it pours.
 

Don Draper

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An innkeeper friend just had a last minute cancellation due to her aunt's passing. My friend explained they would try to rebook the room but if they couldn't she was responsible. The guest went into a TIRADE about his rudeness, his lack of caring, etc. Really nasty.
This innkeeper friend and I have both had close family members pass away this year. When you lose someone you love, do you truly even worry about something as silly as getting $150 back from a b&b? Maybe it's just us, but we wouldn't even give it a second thought. $$ is the least of your problems if you've really just had this kind of loss.
I also wish guests would realize that if they approach us with the slightest attitude of apology they might get a lot further..."I understand the cancellation policy and I"m sorry but I'll still have to cancel" goes a WHOLE lot further with me than "What are you going to do for me?"
 

JBloggs

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I have had more illnesses for cancellations on bookings this week than ever before. Most are future bookings, but some are multiple rooms as well.
 

egoodell

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An innkeeper friend just had a last minute cancellation due to her aunt's passing. My friend explained they would try to rebook the room but if they couldn't she was responsible. The guest went into a TIRADE about his rudeness, his lack of caring, etc. Really nasty.
This innkeeper friend and I have both had close family members pass away this year. When you lose someone you love, do you truly even worry about something as silly as getting $150 back from a b&b? Maybe it's just us, but we wouldn't even give it a second thought. $$ is the least of your problems if you've really just had this kind of loss.
I also wish guests would realize that if they approach us with the slightest attitude of apology they might get a lot further..."I understand the cancellation policy and I"m sorry but I'll still have to cancel" goes a WHOLE lot further with me than "What are you going to do for me?".
Don Draper said:
An innkeeper friend just had a last minute cancellation due to her aunt's passing. My friend explained they would try to rebook the room but if they couldn't she was responsible. The guest went into a TIRADE about his rudeness, his lack of caring, etc. Really nasty.
This innkeeper friend and I have both had close family members pass away this year. When you lose someone you love, do you truly even worry about something as silly as getting $150 back from a b&b? Maybe it's just us, but we wouldn't even give it a second thought. $$ is the least of your problems if you've really just had this kind of loss.
I also wish guests would realize that if they approach us with the slightest attitude of apology they might get a lot further..."I understand the cancellation policy and I"m sorry but I'll still have to cancel" goes a WHOLE lot further with me than "What are you going to do for me?"
They get mad because they KNOW they will lose the deposit, they KNOW your policy, and they are most probably LYING about their relative passing. If they had truly lost someone, they would either forget the reservation totally or just let it go.
Riki
 

Joey Camb

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I would ring to cancel so at least the B&B would know we weren't comming at least and could try and re-sell but otherwise I would let the money go.
 

agoodman

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That "$150" that they may be worrying about when a loved one has just passed may be the $150 they need to get to the funeral, or for funeral expenses.
I am not saying you have to refund, I am just saying don't be so quick to think that $150 may not be important to someone just because they have another major crisis in their life
You certainly have the right to the money, sometimes you can sometimes you can't. Often we can't resell the room at the last minute so it's understandable, but I have never had someone accuse of lying about whether the room was occupied or not, whether I could resell it or not and if they did they certainly would not have any consideration of a refund. I would document the date and time of the call and wait for the chargeback from the cc company, and then fight it
Another option would be to offer them a night "within the next x number of months" and put it in writing "based on the last minute cancellation that you made due to x situation, I would like to offer you one night before x date. This has no cash value and is not transferable" blah blah. Again this is just a suggestion so don't slam me. Each to his own. I would NOT do a GC as those have very specific "rules" governing them even if the are issued "in house".
 
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