To Autocancel or not to Autocancel
Also cancelling undermined the prosperity of travel agents.
A few times a year we have this conversation.
“Why don’t you autocancel? Everyone else does it (no they don’t)! “
Auto cancelling is bad for the industry. Auto cancelling means that if an item wasn’t paid for, let’s say a fortnight before check-in, the booking gets junked and the stock released. In theory it sounds good, means the agent doesn’t need to worry about it.
Its lazy and terrible for hotels.
It means that up to 2 weeks before check-in, a hotel plays a game of knowing that a stack of rooms will get cancelled, which may have been booked legitimately by someone else. The only way to counter is to oversell their rooms which is why people get walked to sister properties. Not a good look
Auto cancelling undermines travel agents.
A few years ago some clever business people bought out those leftover rooms at discount rates. Through online distribution they offered incredible deals to the masses and popularised “last minute”. The soon to be called “OTA’s” became a genie that travel agents could never squeeze back into the bottle. They only exist because of auto cancelling.
But auto cancelling can create significantly more massive problems
STUBA process payments through gateways like eNett or Payment gate. Provided you pay before 2pm, at about 3pm we get a long list of payments to process and the money hits our accounts in 2 or 3 days time.
What if that list didn’t appear? There are no payments to process. That could be over 100 bookings, that agents have paid for, with pax ready to travel, that could get cancelled. A shedload of pax arriving at hotels asking for their room, then abusing you on the phone for not paying their booking. But you did !
So you contact a company like us and say “hey I Paid” and we respond with “well, we never got the data, so we couldn’t process, so it was cancelled”. It only happened twice last year. Across 3 different gateways, we have had 8 interruptions of service in 2019 which messed up payments on over 300 bookings.
Yes, we received the odd “stop bloody reminding me to pay when I paid” but its a far easier conversation than explaining that hotel in Paris was cancelled as opposed to “lets find that payment then.” One situation can be rectified, one cant.
Autocancel? No thanks. With processes and taking responsibility, a cancellation in writing is for the moment a much option, for the good of travel agents.