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Bookings & Quotes - Canceling a Booking

Nobody wants to see a booking get canceled, 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.

Direct Bookings

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, so click the "Change" button.

What we want to do, is to enter a Cancellation Credit into 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.

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 canceled booking later by searching by its booking number, if you need to find it later to give the refund.

Scheduled events

When a booking is canceled, any events scheduled for the future (payments, security deposits, emails, etc.) are automatically canceled also.  If a security deposit hold is open, it is automatically released.

Commissions for PMs

Canceling a booking has no direct effect on the calculation and reporting of commissions for Property Managers, if you are using the PM module.  If money was collected and not refunded, commissions and taxes are still paid as before.

If changes are made to the charges, though, these changes will be correctly reflected in the PM and owner reports.

What about platform bookings?

Normally, canceling 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 to the charges to reflect the cancellation fee. We'll also convert the booking to manual payments mode if any refunds are due, so that you'll be able to verify that the refund is correct before the refund is sent. Then, because any refunds weren't done automatically, we'll send you an email reminding you to update the payments/refunds.

Airbnb and TripAdvisor API

If you are using the Airbnb or TripAdvisor API, those bookings can't be canceled or moved in OwnerRez. Any alterations must be done on the channel side.  The rules are the same as if you weren't using OwnerRez - if the guest cancels, that's on them, but if you cancel, you're penalized unless you can cite and prove a specific rule violation or other valid reason.

Vrbo API

If the booking was via the 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 Direct Booking 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 Vrbo system, which our API takes care of for you:

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

  • It can take a while, often overnight, before Vrbo reflects that a booking has been canceled.
  • Vrbo will refund the guest's service fees when they are notified about the cancellation, which OwnerRez does automatically via the API connection, but only if a "full refund" is given.  If the refund is only partial, Vrbo will keep all of their guest fees.  However, Vrbo charged the guests directly, so if there is a dispute or chargeback, you aren't involved in that transaction.
  • The exact definition of "full refund" is not entirely clear - since credit card payment processing fees are nonrefundable, a common cancellation policy is to offer a 97% refund, so as to keep the cost of the nonrefundable charges.  We have found Vrbo to generally honor this as being a "full refund", but this isn't documented as official policy.

Vrbo Non-API / iCal+Channel Bridge

If you are not using the Vrbo API, then the booking must be canceled on Vrbo, preferably by the guest.  Then, cancel the booking in OwnerRez - even once VRBO has canceled the booking at their end, they do not reliably update the calendar feed to cancel it in OwnerRez, so you should cancel it yourself manually to clear your calendar.

Vrbo will issue the appropriate refund to the guest within a few days.  Once that takes place, run Channel Bridge and let it try to update the financials for the canceled booking.

This should bring 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.  Note that canceled bookings are visible in OwnerRez, just not on the calendar - you can find them by searching for the ORB booking number or the guest's name.

Houfy, FloridaRentals, HomeToGo API

These API connections create the equivalent of direct bookings in OwnerRez. The booking cannot be canceled on the booking channel by either you or the guest. You must cancel it yourself in OwnerRez.  Follow the Direct Booking instructions at the top of the page.

Reactivating Canceled Bookings

In the upper right side of the pink status bar towards the top of the screen for a Canceled Booking, is a link to Reactivate the booking.


Do not do this for channel bookings, whether or not they are API bookings - the channels do not support this.  Canceled bookings should only be reactivated if they are direct bookings that do not involve a channel.

Remote Door Locks

If you have configured OwnerRez to use automatic remote door lock codes, then when you cancel a booking, any codes associated with that booking will also automatically be canceled if the lock is an online lock. Algorithmic-only locks cannot delete codes.