Cancellation policies are there for a reason, if someone books a property and cancels at the last minute, or even a week or two out, it can be difficult to rebook the unit without drastically dropping the price. I have a strict cancellation policy meaning that our guests can only get a full refund if they cancel within 48 hours of booking and more than 14 days ahead of their stay.
Despite having a strict cancellation policy, we understand things happen from time to time that are out of our control and so if someone does need to cancel outside of our cancellation policy we will refund them any nights we are able to book up to what we are able to book them for. We think this is fair and very often, especially on weekends and during peak season we are able to refund guests at least a good portion of their fees, if not all of it.
On occasion though we do have guests who try to skirt our cancellation policy with one little trick we’ve become aware of. So if your cancellation policy says that your guest can cancel their reservation and receive a full refund if they do so 14 days out and there are only 5 days until their reservation they won’t get a refund if they cancel, right? Well, here’s where a less than scrupulous guest who wants to cancel will cancel by not cancelling. It sounds crazy but here’s how it works, instead of cancelling the guest will tell you they need to change the dates of their trip and instead of coming next week (outside of the refund window of your cancellation policy) they want to come 2 weeks later (inside the refund window of your cancellation policy) so they’ll send you a request to modify the reservation and change the dates. After you’ve accepted, violet! They are now inside the refund window of your cancellation policy and can request the cancellation and get immediately refunded!
So next time you have a guest ask to push out their reservation from a date where they can’t cancel to a date that will allow them to cancel, think twice before accepting that reservation modification. Instead, ask them to cancel their current reservation and rebook and perhaps offer them refunds on any nights you’re able to book out, but don’t fall for any tricks to try and subvert your cancellation policy.