Flexible cancellation is a cornerstone of the OTA offering, even if hotels bear the brunt - and the cost - of accommodating it.
A robust cancellation policy is an integral part of the revenue management strategy for many hotels. Requiring a 24- or 48-hour notice period (the latter of which is becoming increasingly common amongst large chains) or offering non-refundable rates provides a level of protection against last-minute drop-outs and guests making bookings at multiple properties for the same dates. The tactic is ever more necessary as guests increasingly demand the type of flexibility they're told to expect by online travel agents and other third-party sites.
Booking.com was rapped earlier this year for 'misleading' advertising which suggested free cancellation came as a standard with bookings made on the site. Of course, the existence of any such policy is completely dependent on the terms of the hotel the guest books at. Flexible cancellation is a cornerstone of the OTA offering, even if hotels bear the brunt - and the cost - of accommodating it.
So what happens when you have on the one hand OTAs aggressively encouraging guests to expect free cancellation, and on the other hotels digging in their heels and extending their cancellation notice windows? You get a space opening up for entrepreneurial start-ups and ingenious ways round the problem. Enter reservation re-sale sites.
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