Will Your New Cancellation Policy End a Great Stay Before it Starts?

An article in the Chicago Tribune points to a number of hotels changing their cancellation policies.

Guests who expect the status quo, the policy of same-day cancellations without penalty, are in for a shock as a no-show turns into no refund, no credit, and no anything except a bill.

Granted, the article refers to exotic destinations where weather causes flight cancellations, a situation no traveler can fix.

While policies are absolutely necessary to enforce terms, is it also good business to keep all of the guest’s money with no possibility of future re-booking for per-night charges already paid? Are there no fixes in this situation that accommodate everyone?

  • Keep monies paid for specialties purchased as part of in-room accommodations.
  • Keep monies paid for extra services requested be available during the stay.
  • Keep monies paid for specials you expected to deliver as part of a package.

Must we follow certain industries that lower all standards and create ill will before guests reach the front door?

If such practices are consistently delivered to women or parties that include women, a fire hose of discontentment will spray throughout the Internet about the treatment.

You cannot make everyone happy. That’s understood. In time, as your cancellation policy is updated, consider what’s worked in the past to keep guests returning, bringing their friends, and recommended others through word of mouth at lunch and online through travel review sites.

I’m not suggesting that you lower your standards or get kicked in the pants by competitors. Just be fair, and your occupancies and good reviews will rise.