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Understanding the Booking.com Cancellation Policy

The Booking.com cancellation protocol is designed to offer flexibility and protection for both guests and hosts. As a host, understanding this policy is crucial to managing your property effectively and ensuring a smooth operation.

What Is Booking.com Refund Policy?

A cancellation policy outlines specific penalties related to cancellations, prepayments, and no-show fees enforced when guests cancel a booking. It tells how much guests pay and when they’ll be charged if they cancel or don’t show up.

Understanding the Booking.com Cancellation Policy- Zeevou
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How to Define a Cancellation Policy on Booking.com

When designing your Booking.com cancellation policy, you have the flexibility to include various fees to protect your property:

  • A cancellation fee for reservations that guests cancel.
  • A prepayment or guarantee fee, which is equivalent to the cancellation fee.
  • A penalty for guests who do not show up as planned.

Booking.com Cancellation Fee

On Booking.com, property owners can offer three types of cancellation policies:

Fully flexible: Guests pay during their stay and can cancel without a fee within the timeframe you set.

Partially refundable: You decide the cancellation fee for guests who cancel past a certain date.

Non-refundable: Guests who cancel, modify, or fail to arrive will incur the total cost. 

What Are Cancellation Codes?

To accommodate various business needs, Booking.com provides a variety of cancellation policies, each denoted by a cancellation code. You can choose the best cancellation code for your needs when configuring your cancellation policy on Booking.com. By using different codes, cancellation policies can be set up and then applied to different room rates. You can adjust your cancellation policies to suit various offerings.

Booking.com organises its cancellation codes into two main categories, depending on the timing of the cancellation: 

  • Before the arrival date
  • On or after the arrival date

Each code details two key aspects: 

  • The cancellation deadline: which is the minimum time, in hours or days, before or after the arrival date that the cancellation must be made.
  • The penalty: which may be a percentage of the total booking cost or a specific amount calculated per night’s stay.

Booking.com Prepayment Fee

Beyond setting cancellation policies, you have the flexibility to define prepayment conditions. It’s important to note that Booking.com refers to prepayment and guarantee payment synonymously. So, despite the different terms used, they convey the same meaning.

You can determine if a booking requires a prepayment, and if so, set a deadline for it. The amount required for prepayment is equivalent to the cancellation fee.

Booking.com No-Show Penalty

Additionally, you have the option to impose a no-show penalty on guests who fail to arrive for their booking. You can choose between two penalties: either the same as the cancellation fee or the full amount of the reservation.

Can a Booking.com Host Cancel a Reservation?

In certain situations, you have the option to request a cancellation, either at a guest’s request or under the following circumstances:

  • No-show: If the guest fails to arrive, you can designate the booking as a ‘no-show‘.
  • Invalid credit card: If a guest’s credit card cannot be charged for the reservation, you can flag it as invalid.
  • No deposit/prepayment received: You may be able to cancel the reservation if you have not received the expected deposit or prepayment. 
  • Overbooking: You can contact the Booking.com Customer Service team for help if there is an overbooking.

In the event that a customer requests you to cancel their reservation, you should take the following actions:

  1. Log into the extranet or Pulse app.
  2. Navigate to “Reservations” or “Bookings.”
  3. Choose the specific reservation you need to cancel.
  4. Select “Request to cancel reservation.”
  5. Pick a reason for the cancellation.
  6. Hit “Send” to submit the request.

The cancellation request will be sent to your guest through email. The booking will remain live until the guest confirms the cancellation. Once they do, you and the guest will receive an email verifying the cancellation.

How to Manage a Last-Minute Booking.com Cancellation

Guests can submit cancellation requests up to 48 hours before check-in. Suppose a guest makes a cancellation request less than 48 hours before check-in. In that case, you should let them know that you can’t handle it directly and advise them to contact Customer Service. 

If you get a cancellation request after midnight on the check-in day, you can use the “Mark as no-show” function and apply no-show fees.

Booking.com Cancellation Fee for Hosts

Booking.com takes a commission for reservations made via their platform. This covers any fees you charge for cancellations and/or no-shows. Booking.com won’t charge a commission on the amounts waived if you choose to waive these charges for a guest. 

You can cancel a reservation without incurring any fees by using the “Request to cancel a reservation” feature. Encourage guests to contact Booking.com’s Customer Service or to cancel the reservation using their account.

Some Tips to Make Booking.com Cancellations Smoother

Managing cancellations well is essential to keeping up a good reputation on Booking.com and making sure that you can handle the situation with the least amount of stress. 

Provide a concise cancellation policy:

Give a clear explanation of your listing description’s refund policy, along with any associated cancellation fees.

To prevent guests from being confused, make sure your policy is in line with Booking.com cancellation policy.

Clearly communicate with guests:

Quickly and professionally respond to questions from guests.

Attempt to comprehend the rationale for the cancellation if a guest needs to, and make accommodations if you can.

Offer alternative solutions, such as rescheduling their stay for a later date.

Use Booking.com’s tools:

Booking.com offers a variety of tools to help you manage cancellations, such as the Cancellation Fee Exceptions tool.

It is still possible for guests who have selected a non-refundable rate to ask for a free cancellation. Unintentional reservations are frequently realised fast, with a considerable portion of guests submitting cancellation requests within the first twenty-four hours, claims Booking.com. This observation implies that accommodating cancellations during this initial phase can meet the needs of guests while minimising disruption.

This is where the Cancellation Fee Exceptions tool comes into play. This feature allows you to set up automatic approvals for free cancellation requests within a specified timeframe. By using this tool, you can instantly update your calendar and make the cancelled units accessible for new reservations. 

It’s important for hosts to clearly communicate their booking.com cancellation policy to potential guests before booking. This transparency helps manage expectations and reduces the likelihood of disputes. In case of a cancellation, Booking.com facilitates the process according to the terms you’ve set, ensuring that both parties are treated fairly.

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