I guess every hotel or other accommodation has to deal with it: Last minute cancellations or no shows. Every year we have had a few of them but this month it got epidemic forms: a Russian and an American couple that just didn’t turn up and a Chinese couple that cancelled their room at 18.30 on the day that were supposed to arrive. Of course our cancelation policy takes care of financial part, but it is no fun to wait until 01.30 am for guests that don’t show up after all and just don’t let you know…….
Last-minute cancellations in general seem to have been on the rise in recent years amid an emergence of online tools and platforms that make it easier for consumers to shop and compare hotels. And we are not the ones that are thinking about the subject, albeit may be for a different reason, as in the big chains the managers will go to bed anyhow. Hilton is among the chains that have changed their cancellation policies, steerings towars more non-refunable reservations. According to Expedia, the cancellation rate with non-refundable bookings is seven times less than the cancellation rate for standard reservations made directly through a hotel or agency.
And if someone still calls to cancel at the last minute? If it’s one call from a regular guest who has to cancel at the last minute because of extenuating circumstances, that’s not a problem. Our goal is to protect our revenue but also out long term relationship with our clientele. And thus, we have no desire to have guests hate us. The last thing we want is for someone to badmouth us on social media because of how we handled their cancellation.
We want to deliver a great service and a great experience, believing if you do that successfully, people are going to be less willing to cancel as they want to be at your place, not somewhere else.
But what to do? The omnipotent wisdom of Google didn’t help me a lot (again) this time as tips given are – amongst others – don’t fit the El Guarda style or product offering:
- Stricter cancellation policy
- Offer discounted pricing for guaranteed bookings
- Strategically overbook
- Reservation package deals
So maybe we just have to live with the fact that last minute cancelations occur, go to bed on time and hope that the fact that someone hasn’t arrived before midnight has nothing to do with the fact that they drove their car into a ditch, like this guest that did this two years ago.