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How to deal with last-minute cancellations


Some hoteliers don’t see late cancellations as a bad thing
While some hotels are tightening cancellation policies, concerned about last-minute costs, others see cancellations as a source of revenue. Rebooked rooms are often more profitable than the original booking.
Hotels can take steps to discourage last-minute cancellations, such as using Google calendar to remind guests of upcoming reservations; offering discounted, non-refundable bookings; and offering the option for guests to pay up front.
But last-minute cancellations are on the rise as online tools and platforms make it easier for consumers to shop and compare hotels. People are always looking for a better deal.
Hilton Worldwide is an example of a chain that has changed its cancellation policies. Guests there now have to cancel bookings by 23:59 local time on the day before arrival to avoid being charged for one night’s stay.
However, some hoteliers don’t see late cancellations as a bad thing.
“We use cancellations as an opportunity to try to book the room at a more profitable level,” said Bob Rauch, president of RAR Hospitality. “Oftentimes you’re facing a situation where someone booked at a lower rate and has decided to cancel, so now we have an opportunity to book the room at a higher rate – and we also have an opportunity to try to get the customer to book at a later date.”
If someone still cancels at the last minute it’s important not to get angry, he says.
“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. […] 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.”


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