How to convert cancellations to future bookings

Hotels, restaurants and tourism operations have all struggled with booking cancellations and sending out refunds to customers over the last few months. In challenging times like these, issuing refunds can seriously hurt your cash flow. But it’s not your only option. Here are some things you can try to turn those cancellations to future bookings.

 

Will your customers agree to postpone?

Whenever possible, ask the customer if they would like to postpone, rather than cancel. Then expect a variety of responses. Some people will be polite, while others will be demanding. You can’t blame them; it’s a rough time for everyone and a lot of things are up in the airHowever, this doesn’t mean you can’t try.  

Believe it or not, some customers will actually understand your situation and agree to reschedule their bookings.  

So how do you go about it?  

 

Empathise with your customers and find common ground

Yes, it’s frustrating to read booking cancellation request emails. But try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. We are all concerned about the state of the world, finances and the future. 

Remember, your customers are requesting cancellation not because they don’t want your experience. Once the dust settles (and it eventually will), they will surely want to book with you again  

The first thing you should do is to find a common ground with your customer. Make it clear to them that you understand their situation and that your business is going through the same as well. Read their email closely and try to find a solution that will work for both of you.  

 

Provide them with options

No one likes being forced into making a decision, and the same goes for your customers. Rather than sending their money back quickly, you can give them a choice between a refund, credit towards any of your services, or rescheduling their booking. This shows that you’re willing to be flexible and accomodating. 

 

Assure your customers

Provide your customers with reassurance. Tell them your business is here to stay and that you’re ready to jump back into your operation once the dust settles.  

 

Help them understand you

You need to state clearly why rescheduling is the best option for both parties. Explain your situation and help them understand how rescheduling, instead of cancellation, would help your business. The best way to go about this is to entice them with an incentive, such as a discount, freebies, or gift cards, should they choose to reschedule.  

Show gratitude

Always thank your customers no matter what they decide. Show special gratitude to those who choose to reschedule.  

 

Hopefully, by being accommodating and genuine, you can turn those cancellations to future bookings. 

Hayden Zammit

Hayden Zammit

Hayden is the Director of Tourism Accelerator and leads tourism strategy, digital marketing and online training for small businesses.