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2019

Cancelling a Booking

Nobody wants to see a booking get cancelled, but sometimes life happens!  That's when you go looking for the "Cancel Booking" button.

And there is one, right at the top of the page for that Booking:

Not so fast though!  You shouldn't just click "Cancel" and move on - because, what happens to the money?

  • Does the guest get back all the money they paid?  Not usually.
  • Does the guest get back nothing?  But maybe they still owed you money.
  • Does the guest get back a percentage?  If so, what?
  • Or maybe you give a refund only if you can rebook the dates, and otherwise, not.

OwnerRez supports all these options, but it isn't smart enough to know which one applies in any given case, and money is too important to guess with.

So, before hitting that tempting "Cancel Booking", first go into Charges.  Note that we're not worried about what the guest paid yet, just what the total charges are.  That's what we need to change.

What we want to do, is to enter a Cancellation Credit to the charge sheet.  Click the green "plus" button next to the first tax entry:

This creates a blank line immediately above the taxes, but below everything else.  Make an entry, and for the amount, include what the guest should get back as a negative.  Usually this is a percentage, such as -100% or -50%, but can be a specific amount, whatever is correct.

Don't forget to check the "Taxable" box for your refund line, to back out the taxes paid.  No need to collect taxes on money you refunded!

Save your changes.  You'll notice that the taxes automatically recalculate.

Now go to the Transactions tab.  Look down for the guest balance, and see if it is negative.  If it isn't, no refund is due.

If a negative balance is due, the guest needs a refund.  Click the Refund menu drop-down and select Send Refund.

Follow the instructions, which depend on the way the guest paid.

Once that's finished, you can click "Cancel Booking" and you're done.

SPECIAL NOTE about Converge: If you are using the Converge payment processor, just sending the refund in OwnerRez is not enough.  Converge sets refunds in "pending" status and doesn't actually send them.  You must also log into your Converge console and manually unpend and approve the refund there, in order for the funds to actually be sent to the guest.

Don't know the proper amount yet?

But what about those conditional situations where you promise the guest a refund if, and only if, you can rebook the dates?  In those cases, cancel the booking now to free up the calendar so someone else could book.

You can search for the cancelled booking later by searching by its booking number, if you need to find it later to give the refund.

What about platform bookings?

Normally, cancelling a booking in OwnerRez will also cancel the booking on the various listing platform channels.  However, that can affect your rating if done improperly.  If the booking was made through a major channel, it is often best to have the guest perform the cancellation from their end, using that platform's tools for doing so.  Then the cancellation will be updated in OwnerRez via calendar update, Channel Bridge, or API as appropriate.  Depending on your configuration, this may also correctly update the charge statement so you don't have to do it manually.

Booking.com API

Booking.com bookings can't be canceled or moved in OwnerRez. Any alterations must be done on the booking.com side.

If OwnerRez detects a bad credit card, it will report the bad card to booking.com automatically and (by default) set the booking to "pending card" in OwnerRez.  This will attempt to cancel the booking when the pending period expires.

Booking.com only allows owners to cancel a booking because of a bad card.  Booking.com should but does not always honor cancellations after bad credit cards are reported.  Bad card cancellations are normally handled automatically by OwnerRez, but if a cancellation does not succeed we'll send you an email about it.  You'll need to reach out to Booking.com support for assistance.

Once a cancellation or any other booking modification is complete in booking.com, OwnerRez will get an update via the API and make the appropriate changes, including payments or refunds as needed if in auto payments mode).  If in manual payment mode, we'll send you an email reminding you to update the payments/refunds.

Airbnb API

If you are using the Airbnb API, Airbnb bookings can't be canceled or moved in OwnerRez. Any alterations must be done on the Airbnb side.

HA/VRBO API

If the booking was via the HA/VRBO API and you are handling your own credit card processing, the booking cannot be canceled on VRBO's website by either you or the guest.  You must cancel it yourself in OwnerRez.  Follow the main instructions at the top of the page.

Wait, what?  If I have to cancel all the bookings myself, that'll hurt my ranking!

No it won't.  The cancellation can be attributed to the guest in the HA/VRBO system, which our API takes care of for you:

Just don't lie about it, eventually HomeAway will catch you and then your rankings really will suffer.

HA/VRBO Channel Bridge

If you are not using the HA/VRBO API, then the booking should be canceled on HomeAway or VRBO, preferably by the guest.  HA/VRBO will issue the appropriate refund.  Once that takes place, run Channel Bridge and let it try to update the financials for the cancelled booking.

This should bring the in the refund from VRBO, but it may still not clear out the charges.  That is very hard for OwnerRez to detect, and it only happens if we see a completed 100% refund going back.

So in the case of a partial refund, you may need to switch the booking into manual mode, even after doing Channel Bridge, and manually fix the charges to accurately reflect what took place.