Booking.com Refund Policy: What You Need to Know as a Host

booking com refund policy

By The Hospitable Team

Being one of the biggest OTA platforms, Booking.com boasts more than 28 million listings and 6.6 million are private homes, apartments, and unique places to stay.

Booking.com is popular among travelers looking to book accommodations around the world, so if you want to reach a wider audience, listing your Vrbo or Airbnb property there can be a smart move. If you get creative with marketing your vacation rental property and create a stunning Booking.com listing, you’ll be able to attract more guests and get more bookings. 

But, although guests often plan their trips in advance, travel plans can change, and they may have to cancel their bookings. So how does Booking.com handle cancellations and refunds? Keep reading to learn about the Booking.com refund policy.

You may also want to check out our Booking.com host guide for beginners to find answers to other most common questions.

Booking.com Refund Policy

No matter how much travelers plan their trips, unexpected events can alter their plans, and they may need to cancel their bookings or change their check-in dates. Naturally, guests expect to get a refund, but for hosts, cancellations can result in missing out on revenue.

To make cancellations less painful for both parties, Booking.com recommends hosts set clear cancellation policies. Regarding the Booking.com refund policy, guests can get refunds when they have to cancel their bookings, depend on the policies hosts have set for their properties. Some bookings can’t be canceled for free, while others can only be canceled for free before a certain deadline.

You should set up clear cancellation policies for your listings. Then, travelers will know what to expect if they cancel or change their booking. This way, you can prevent unpleasant surprises for your guests that can harm their experience. Clearly stated policies can also help protect you as a host from a potential loss of income.

Sometimes, hosts must cancel a reservation due to unforeseen issues at their properties. If that happens, you must report this to customer service, and they will support you with the cancellation request and help relocate the guest.

Hosts are also allowed to cancel a reservation if the property is overbooked. It’s costly and time-consuming because you’ll have to find your guest a new place to stay and ensure that it offers the same standard. Booking.com will also refund the guest immediately.

The good news is that you can prevent double bookings using reliable vacation rental management software like Hospitable. Moreover, with Hospitable, you can automate almost all routine tasks and run your short-term rental business on autopilot.

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What Policies Are Available?

Booking.com recommends setting up the cancellation, deposit, and prepayment policies most suitable for your business to ensure that guests know when and how much you charge them. You can easily do it on the Booking Extranet. The options you can choose from cover all the main cancellation and payment scenarios, and all you have to do to create your policies is to answer a few key questions.

You can set your policies by clicking the Property tab and selecting Policies. You can choose between a fully flexible or a customized policy or apply different cancellation policies to different room types. 

With a fully flexible policy, your guests will only pay when they stay at your vacation rental property and can cancel free of charge during a time frame of your choice before check-in. Remember that guests prefer flexibility and are more likely to choose properties that offer free cancellations. So, if you choose a fully flexible policy, it can help you attract more guests.

Short-term rental guests usually have many questions, and your job as a host is to provide them with fast and accurate answers. This way, you can make your guests happy with their stay, and happy guests are more likely to leave positive reviews that can help you win more bookings.

Answering your guests’ questions will be easier if you use Hospitable. Our system uses AI that recognizes questions on 20+ common topics and can instantly create a personalized response.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

We will detect questions and answer on your behalf; send fully custom messages triggered by events, and much more!

If you don’t think a fully flexible policy suits your STR business, you can create a customized policy. With a customized policy, you can choose how long before check-in guests can cancel for free and how much they’ll be charged if they cancel after that point, receiving a partial refund.

Booking.com recommends allowing your guests to cancel for free until one or two days before check-in. But Booking.com also enables you to choose a non-refundable policy, where guests won’t get a refund if they cancel, and you’ll receive a guaranteed payment.

Additionally, you can set up a prepayment for a part of the reservation. Guests must pay it before check-in (for partially refundable and non-refundable bookings). Define how and when you’d like to receive that payment. If the guest cancels, they wonʼt get that amount back. Setting a prepayment can help reduce cancellations because guests are less likely to cancel if they know they’ve already paid for their stay.

You can also configure a deposit, which guests must pay upfront, usually by bank transfer. Guests will get their money back if they cancel within the free (flexible) cancellation period, but if they cancel after that, they wonʼt get their deposit back. If the guest stays at your property, you can give them back the money afterward or just deduct it from the overall price.

Final Thought

How flexible should you be when creating the cancellation and refund policy for your Booking.com listing? There is no correct answer. With a fully flexible policy, you can attract more bookings. On the other hand, setting a non-refundable rate for your property can help reduce cancellations because guests are less likely to cancel if they know they can lose money. Such a policy will also allow you to secure guaranteed payment for reservations.

Booking.com allows hosts to change their policies at any time, so you can play around with different cancellation policies, testing them to find one that best suits your business.

You may also want to check out our blog article to learn more about Booking.com payment options.

Vrbo refund policy

Vrbo Refund Policy: What You Need to Know as a Host

Travelers who book their stay on Vrbo intend to complete it most of the time. But sometimes, they may have to cancel their trip, for example, due to personal reasons, emergencies, and other factors. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Vrbo refund policy from a host’s perspective.

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Booking.com Host Guide for Beginners

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Airbnb Cancellation Policy—A Host’s Dilemma [Recommendations Inside]

As a host, you want financial certainty and zero cancellations.
Your guests, however, want maximum flexibility with the ability to cancel the last minute (without any penalties).
Is there a happy medium you can reach that matches your risk to reward when it comes to selecting the right cancellation policy?

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