Although cancellations are undesirable, they do not have to be a traumatic experience. Booking.com gives you the tools you need to handle your cancellations efficiently. It also offers tools to take your cancellation data and utilize it to improve your listing and maybe attract more reservations in the future.
Hosts’ Cancellation Policies
Seasoned Booking.com hosts will almost certainly inform you that cancellations, like bad ratings, are unavoidable. Booking.com has three kinds of cancellation policies for tenants to choose from:
- Fully Flexible Cancellation Policy: This cancellation policy allows your visitors to cancel up until the time of check-in without incurring any fees.
- Customized: you may choose the number of days before check-in that a visitor can cancel without being charged using this cancellation policy. This option allows the host to select the time range that is most convenient for them, which may help reduce last-minute cancellations.
- Pre-authorized/Deposit: You may also charge a deposit or pre-authorize a guest’s payment method. While there is no clear cancellation policy, you might say that deposits are non-refundable to urge your visitors not to cancel.
It’s crucial to remember that each property or unit you advertise on Booking.com may have its cancellation policy.
Because travel plans vary often, it’s critical to adapt when bookings are amended or canceled. On the other hand, renters that balance at the last minute might be damaging to your rental profile since they can leave significant holes in your reservation queue.
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce cancellations, starting with a study of your property’s “cancellation characteristics” report on Booking.com’s extranet. This report summarizes your property’s cancellation history at a glance. This will tell you how many times bookings at your property have been canceled in total, as well as how this rate compares to other properties in your region. You may also look at cancellation patterns over time. For example, is there a specific time of year when you see a higher-than-average number of cancellations? These facts might be pretty helpful when you weigh your alternatives.
How Can Cancellations Be Avoided?
After you’ve gone through this “cancellation characteristics” report, you can start taking action to reduce your cancellation rate. If, for example, your cancellation rate is much greater than that of other homes in the region, you may look into why this is happening and make changes as needed.
One of the first things to think about is your property’s price: is it competitive with others in the area? When a renter uses Booking.com to look for a similar choice at a lesser price, the chances of them canceling and rebooking elsewhere rise. Aside from the pricing, you can make a few additional modifications to your listing to assist in preventing cancellations. The following are some of the changes that may help you lower your cancellation and no-show rates:
- Cancellation policies: Booking.com allows you to modify the window in which renters may cancel their reservation without penalty, so you can make it less appealing to cancel during your high cancellation times.
- non-refundable Rates: While renters may see non-refundable prices as a method to save money, as a host, you may view these rates as a guarantee of payment regardless of whether your visitor shows up. Once your visitor has committed to a non-refundable fee, the likelihood of their canceling is significantly reduced.
- Payment methods: according to a Booking.com study, guests are less likely to cancel their reservation if they have additional payment alternatives, such as PayPal or WeChatPay. Guests like alternatives, so by providing these many payment methods and signing up for online payments via Booking.com, you may expand your property’s reach while also possibly reducing cancellations.
- Advance payments: demanding full or partial prepayments on bookings in advance may also help to reduce cancellations. This may deter some prospective renters, but once bookings are made with the necessary prepayment, tenants are far less likely to cancel.
While cancellations are an unavoidable part of the OTA experience, you can endeavor to minimize them to a minimum by optimizing five aspects of your listing. It’s also important to remember that your cancellation policies and prices are adjustable: you may experiment with a more flexible cancellation policy or change a unit’s nightly pricing to see how it affects bookings. At the same time, by providing alternative approaches/rates for each team, you may give the visitors the luxury of choice. As an example, you may rent a house for $300 per night with a completely flexible cancellation policy, $275 per night with a tailored cancellation window, or $250 per night at a non-refundable rate, allowing your prospective tenants to choose the option that best suits them.
What are Risk-Free Reservations, and how do they work?
Booking.com’s Risk-Free Reservation program modifies your cancellation rules to make them less restrictive for renters. It’s designed to provide travelers more flexibility (but also to attract more business to your rental property). That is to say:
- Booking.com may alter non-refundable rental rates to incorporate free cancellation choices.
- Rentals that provide free cancellation may be supplemented with a more extended free cancellation period.
This allows prospective visitors the most flexibility in their plans also benefits Booking.com hosts. If a visitor who uses the Risk-Free Reservation program, for example, cancels, Booking.com will endeavor to find a substitute passenger to cover that reservation slot at no cost to you. If no one else books your property within that time, Booking.com will reimburse you for the cancellation fee.
The fact that our Risk-Free Reservation program seldom results in cancellations is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect. According to Booking.com, the Risk-Free Reservation program cancellations percentage is approximately 8%. This seems to indicate that, although prospective visitors appreciate the flexibility, they prefer to adhere to their arrangements.
How to Enroll in the Reservations Without Risk Program
You don’t have to do anything to join Booking.com’s Risk-Free Reservation program: Booking.com will automatically enroll its host property listings. You may, however, withdraw from the program at any time. To do so, go to your Booking.com extranet’s “Opportunities” page, pick “Risk-Free Reservations Programme,” and then “Leave this Programme.”
You may re-join the program at any time, and after you’ve received a booking via the Risk-Free Reservations program, you can cancel it. You must double-check the stated cancellation date since it will be determined by both your original policy and how Booking.com’s algorithmic analysis chose to alter it. Within your Booking.com extranet, you may verify the cancellation policy for that booking. You may also keep track of these bookings by using the “Reservations” tab to filter for them. Booking.com will also keep you informed of any changes.