How to Handle Cancellations

Best practices for cancellations and declines

Owners play a big role in creating great booking experiences for potential guests. By using the best practices outlined here for cancelling or declining bookings on the HomeAway site, you can help to alleviate one of the most common traveller pain points!

Although cancelling a reservation is sometimes inevitable, keep in mind that cancellations and declines have an impact on your rank, performance and even your revenue.

Cancellations and declines can often be avoided, but if necessary, ensure that you are taking the proper steps to cancel the reservation. Find out more below:

To avoid cancellations and declines altogether…

Keep your calendar accurate! ​​
Your calendar will automatically update anytime you accept a reservation, but make sure you also block your calendar for dates that you know are unavailable.  You can also sync your calendar with other sites you are listing on by following these instructions.

The fewer bookings you receive from travelers you can’t accommodate, the better their traveller experience.


When the traveler requests to cancel…

Should a traveller cancel their booking with you, you will be immediately notified, and the dates will be released on your calendar to accept fresh bookings. Any payouts (if applicable) will be processed 3 – 5 days after the cancellation. If the reservation status hasn’t changed to Canceled in your Reservations, it’s still considered active, and will appear on your calendar.

Likewise, if a traveller contacts you asking to cancel their reservation, please inform them to submit a cancellation request via our Customer Support team. You will be immediately notified once it’s been processed, and the affected dates will be released on your calendar as per the process above. This will ensure that your cancellation rate will remain unaffected by a traveller cancellation.

Guest refunds
Travellers who cancel are automatically refunded according to your cancellation policy—unless the cancellation qualifies as an extenuating circumstance or a Guest Refund Policy case.

If you’d like to offer your guest more money back, please contact us.

Cancellations after check-in
If the traveller cancels after they’ve already checked in, they are required to leave your property as soon as they cancel the booking.

The terms of your cancellation policy will still apply. If the guest is entitled to a refund based on your cancellation policy, you will need to refund them directly or contact us to facilitate the refund.

When you receive a booking request that you cannot accommodate…

  • Ask the traveller if there is a different set of dates that would work for them. Editing the reservation dates to a future time that works for the both of you avoids a decline altogether!
  • If you cannot accept a booking because the quote amount is off, edit the quote and adjust the payment amounts. You do not need to decline the booking and create a brand-new reservation based on your updates.

If you know you cannot accept the booking, decline it as soon as possible. Do not let the booking automatically decline after the 24-hour window, as this will have a negative impact to your overall performance, not to mention it is a poor experience for the traveller.

Remember that the sooner you decline, the sooner teh guest can make other arrangements!


When you need to cancel a reservation…

Cancellations happen but make sure you only cancel when absolutely necessary. If you are stuck in an unexpected situation where you have to cancel your reservation, please contact our Customer Service team, citing the reason why. Your service fee will be refunded if the cancellation is eligible.

 If cancellations happen too often, this can negatively impact your rank and may even result in your suspension from the site. Read more here.

The HomeAway team has the same goal as the owners who list on the site. We want a great experience for the traveler and as many bookings as possible for our owners. The fewer declines and cancellations, the better the traveler experience and the more bookings we can send your direction.

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