What is the Vrbo / Booking.com / Airbnb cancellation policy?

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As a vacation rental property manager it is important to know your cancellation policies well to ensure happy guests and no surprise revenue losses. Here we take a look at Airbnb, Vrbo & Booking.com cancellation policies.

Our main vacation rental OTAs offer varying cancellation policies from flexible to strict, with most offering hosts the option to make their bookings fully, partially or non refundable until a certain point before check in. Airbnb alone do not support a non-refundable policy amongst their 6 options – their most stringent is a ‘super strict 60 day’ policy, with the guest entitled to a 50% refund up to 60 days ahead of the booking. Vrbo offer a full range of 5 policies set per property. Booking.com meanwhile set themselves apart by allowing guests to choose from different policies (e.g. fully and non refundable) subject to different rates. Let’s compare the platform options in the table below:

Booking.comVrboAirbnb
Fully flexible policy: your guests will only pay when they stay at your property, and can cancel free of charge during a time frame of your choice prior to check-in.

Customised policy:  You can choose how long before check-in guests can cancel for free, and how much they’ll be charged if they do cancel after that point. You can also set up a prepayment before check-in, and define how and when you’d like to receive that payment. On top of that, you can apply different policies to different room types.

Pre-authorisation preferences: you can show guests whether you’ll pre-authorise their card or not, as well as how much you’ll pre-authorise and when. Pre-authorisation can be applied to specific policy types, too.
No Refund: Booking is non-refundable under any circumstances.

Strict: Cancellations made up to 60 days before the start of the stay are fully refundable.

Firm: Cancellations made up to 60 days before the start of the stay are fully refundable. Cancellations made up to 30 days before the start of the stay will receive a 50% refund.

Moderate: Cancellations made up to 30 days before the start of the stay are fully refundable. Cancellations made up to 14 days before the start of the stay will receive a 50% refund

Relaxed: Cancellations made up to 14 days before the start of the stay are fully refundable. Cancellations made up to 7 days before the start of the stay will receive a 50% refund.
Super Strict 60 Days: Cancellations made up to 60 days before check in receive a 50% refund of the nightly rate and cleaning fee.

Super Strict 30 Days: Cancellations made up to 30 days before check in receive a 50% refund of the nightly rate and cleaning fee.

Long Term (Bookings Exceeding 27 Nights): Cancellations are permitted for 48 hours after the booking, providing the cancellation occurs at least 28 days before check-in. Cancellations made before check-in receive a refund minus the first 30 days.

Strict: Free cancellations are permitted for 48 hours after the booking, providing the cancellation occurs at least 14 days before check-in. Cancellations made up to 7 days before check in will receive a 50% refund of the nightly rate and cleaning fee.

Moderate: Free cancellations are permitted up to 14 days before check in or 48 hours after the booking if the booking is within 14 days of check in.

Flexible: Free cancellations can be made up to 14 days before check in or up to 24 hours before check in for bookings made less than 14 days before check in.

Of the 3 top OTAs, Airbnb’s policies are perhaps considered the most guest friendly, always allowing at least a partial refund within certain parameters. Vrbo give the host or manager full flexibility over policy with everything from fully to non refundable available. On Booking.com, the guest is given the flexibility to choose which policy suits them, but the host is free to choose the parameters for refunds, and how much the guest has to pay to secure a more flexible policy. Booking.com also allows an option for the guest to pay directly at the property, so in the event of a cancellation, there won’t be the problem of a refund. 

For more information on cancellation policies, click below:

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