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Cancel a Reservation

When a customer calls or emails to let you know that they need to cancel, some steps need to be taken in ThinkReservations, in the proper order. Canceling a reservation makes the rooms available again for those dates. You can reinstate a canceled a reservation if you need to. 

NOTE about OTA Reservations: If the guest booked through an Online Travel Agent (OTA) like, Expedia, or Airbnb, you need to have the customer cancel their reservation with that OTA. If not by the guest, then you must do so via the OTA portal. Cancellations made with the OTA are then updated in ThinkReservations automatically.


NOTE about Modifying or Editing: If a customer needs to modify or edit the reservation, you can edit it for them without needing to cancel. For example, a guest needs to check out a day early. For this instance, you don't need to cancel the reservation. To edit the reservation, click the small triangle to the right of where it normally says "Check In" and choose Edit from the menu. Within that pop-up window, make any necessary changes and click Update to save.

Best in full-screen mode. Use Spacebar to pause. 

To cancel the reservation, follow these steps: 

1) Cancel the reservation, and log the reason for cancellation.

2) Charge the customer a cancellation fee, if needed.

3) Bring the remaining balance to $0.

4) Update the customer with an email.

Step 1: Cancel the reservation.

 In the bill of the guests' reservation, click the gear icon and choose Cancel Bill. Choose Cancel Reservation in the popup to confirm that you would like to cancel this bill.

When you cancel a bill, this will remove all charges, including items that have been added to all rooms on the bill.
 The "Total Charges" now goes to $0.

Once canceled, the CANCELLATION REASON notes box appears on the left. Enter a brief note for the cancellation reason to track later in your Canceled Reservations report.

Step 2: Charge the customer a cancellation fee.

Now that the total charges are $0, you need to decide if you want to add any changes. "What is the guest responsible for?" The amount you charge, if any, depends on when the customer cancels, and what your cancellation policy is. You might call this a "cancellation fee" or "cancellation penalty." The name (and the name of the item in ThinkReservations) of the fee or penalty is immaterial.

This charge represents the new amount that the guest is responsible for. If you need to add a fee/penalty/charge, click the add icon . Choose your "Cancellation Fee" Item (names may vary) from the drop-down. Enter the amount you need to charge the customer, and click Save.

Cancellation Fee - A non-taxable item for a flat fee or penalty. No taxes will be added to this item. Choose this option if you don't need to pay taxes for the fee/penalty.

Last-Minute Cancellation Fee - If the guest is responsible for the entire room charges (and your business is keeping the taxes), then add a fee or penalty that is taxed the same as your room charges. Taxes will be added to this item so you can add a fee or penalty equal to the total room charges. Check with your state and local authorities to determine when or if cancellation fees are taxable. 

Step 3: Bring the Remaining Balance to $0.00.

The remaining balance may show a negative amount -- meaning you owe the customer, or a balance due -- meaning you'll need to charge the customer to get a $0.00
The remaining balance is a calculation of the Total Charges minus the total Payments.

Related: How to Charge a Customer
How to Refund a Customer

If the customer paid outside of ThinkReservations or through a "Third Party Credit Card Processor," then you should use that system to refund the customer. Otherwise, you will need to credit the customer another way.

Step 4: Update the customer with an email.

It is a best practice to contact the customer via email to let them know that their reservation has been successfully canceled. You can also communicate in this email if they owed any money, if you charged their card, or if you have refunded them.

  • Click on the email icon in the top right . Choose "Reservation Canceled" or equivalent.
  • Add any additional text to the email, overlook the bill if your email template includes one, and make any changes as you see fit.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click Send when you are ready to email the customer.

Related: How to Undo a Cancellation

Please Note: 

Any tasks tied to this canceled reservation that were manually created or modified will need to be manually deleted.  To delete a task associated with a canceled reservation, click the View Tasks option on the left-hand column. From here, you can delete any outstanding tasks.

Many of our clients issue a gift certificate in place of a refund in some circumstances as part of the process of canceling the guest's bill. 

To Issue a Gift Certificate in Place of a Refund:

You can also credit the customer with a credit or voucher by utilizing the ThinkReservations Gift Certificate functionality. Think of this Gift Certificate also as a 'Room Credit,' or a 'Voucher.'

  1. Either in addition to or in place of the cancellation fee, click the add icon  and choose Gift Certificate from the drop-down.
  2. Enter the amount you would like the certificate to be valid for, and click Save.
  3. Click on the orange certificate number to go to the certificate.
  4. Click Edit on the top right of the certificate page (next to Print) to edit the details. When you add a gift certificate to a canceled reservation, we recommend you edit the Notes for Staff field to include details reference how it was created due to a canceled reservation. At the bottom, click Save. 
  5. At the top of the Gift Certificate page next to "This gift certificate is attached to a bill," click on Open Bill to go back to the canceled reservation.
  6. Email the customer. You don't necessarily need to send the customer the Gift Certificate. Instead, we recommend sending the customer an email stating that the voucher or credit (certificate) number must be mentioned when they rebook. Note the certificate number. Choose an email template such as the "Reservation Canceled" template from the drop-down on the bottom left and click the green Customize button.
  7. Include text to communicate with the customer that they need to reference the special room credit or voucher number (the Gift Certificate number noted in the last step) when they call to rebook within the discussed time period.
  8. Review the email, and click Send at the bottom.

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