How do you handle last minute cancellations?

B&B last minute cancellation

Cancellations at the last moment: very annoying for the B&B owner.

“How do you handle cancellations that are made on the day itself, whereby the reason is always ‘family circumstances? “An interesting question in our LinkedIn discussion group. A question that received many reactions from B&B owners. A selection from the received answers.

  • Pascale: “In case of cancellation, the guests do not have to pay anything if we can still rent the room to someone else. This usually gets a positive response.”
  • Greet: “Having the guests pay in advance with their reservation, this saves a lot of ‘family circumstances-cancellations.”
  • Henrietta: “We don’t apply any cancellation terms. If people cancel, for whatever reason, we just accept that. For them it’s also a disappointment if they have to cancel their trip, and often they do visit us another time.”
  • Ingrid: “If possible we let guests (especially foreign guests) pay in advance or at least make a down payment by credit card or bank transfer. I opened a business PayPal account for this and connected it to our business bank account. We have been doing this for several months now and especially guests from abroad like to use it.”
  • Silvia: “If I suspect the reason for cancellation is true, I usually don’t charge cancellation costs or I make an agreement for them to come back another time, for the same price. If however, I think that people are lying and are trying to avoid payment I use a no-cure-no-pay collection agency. Up until now this has always helped immediately.”
  • Piekel “If people don’t want to pay, they don’t pay. I’m not going to chase after my money like some nag. I immediately let people know – with a joke- that I am relying on their sense of justice. I don’t know whether this works or not, but for me it feels good and that’s the point.

Tips by
The team of would advise you to clearly announce your cancellation terms to the guests in advance. For example on your website or at the bottom of the e-mails you send as a B&B owner. You can ask for a down payment of about 30%. Or let guests pay a percentage of the rental sum in case of cancellations, increasing per week.

Whatever you choose, communicate  it in advance. And even though sometimes it results into some compromising: try to solve it in good agreement because in the end, that is what’s most pleasant for all parties involved. Read more tips about managing a B&B on the B&B start-up page or visit’s LinkedIn discussion group.

About the author

Janneke Scheepers

Janneke Scheepers is web editor at Bed & Breakfast Europe. She writes blogs, articles and newsletters about all aspects of the B&B sector in Europe.

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