The best way to deal with overbooking

The Best Ways To Deal With Overbookings – Part 1

Okay, you’ve got an overbooking. It isn’t nice, but sometimes these things happen to the best of us. So how do you handle it?

Dealing with an overbooking strikes fear into most people’s minds. However, that need not always be the case. There are several ways to minimise your anxiety and help ensure a positive outcome for all involved.

An overbooking doesn't have to be the end of the world.

An overbooking doesn’t have to be the end of the world!

It’s worth remembering that the odd overbooking can’t always be avoided and can be an indicator that your marketing is working well!  On the other hand, a constant run of overbookings can be an expensive, time consuming – and stressful – experience. I did offer a few solutions in an earlier blog about how to avoid overbooking in the first place. Now I want to offer some specific advice on how to address the problem if it does actually arise.

There are a few straightforward rules when handling an overbooking…

  1. Deal with it quickly. It’s all too easy to delay action, but that just eats away at your nerves and puts you off doing other productive things. Speaking for myself, I am often guilty of putting off what I perceive as difficult tasks. Just ask my wife!
  1. A rapid response has several advantages. For instance, if it’s a busy date it’s only going to get busier! Also, by getting in touch quickly you can win favour with your customer and they are more inclined to believe the reasons for overbooking.
  1. Make sure you are in the right frame of mind. That is: looking for a positive outcome, apologetic and understanding yet still fairly firm.  Don’t go on the defensive and sound irritable! After all, accidents do happen and if you offer assistance and advice your explanation is more likely to be accepted.

When offering to help you can…

  1. Cancel the booking for free. It may not sound like much but as a stake in the ground, it’s a good starting point.
  1. Move the booking to alternative dates. This is the ideal outcome, but you may need to sweeten the offer with a free upgrade.
  1. Move room types. This is not always an option, but if it involves a small cost on your part then it’s only fair to offer it.
  1. Help the customer look for alternative accommodation. Many properties have friends and informal agreements to try and help each other out in these situations. Make sure you have a few such options available to you in an emergency.

Next week we’ll look how exactly to deal with that tricky phone call and how to respond if someone mentions compensation.

How do you handle overbookings? Share your experiences (the funny ones as well) and advice by commenting below!