No-Shows: How To Deal With Them

No-shows can be a common source of frustration for every tourism business. From tying up precious staff resource to denting revenues and profitability, no-shows can be untimely curveballs that interrupt the flow of your business. Whilst not every no-show can be eliminated—and naturally the higher the number of bookings, the higher the cancellation and no-show rate—there are some effective ways to reduce the number of no-shows for your business.

1. Have a clear cancellation policy

Ensure you have a robust and transparent cancellation policy which is made clear and easily visible to guests during the booking process. Both on your online booking system and with any online travel agencies (OTAs) you work with!

Your cancellation policy should include a deadline, before which your customers can cancel their bookings. However, in the event a customer fails to show up, they should be held responsible and be aware that they will be liable to pay you under the terms of the contract.

Ensuring customers strictly adhere to the cancellation policy will also allow vacated rooms to be available for walk-ins or last-minute bookings. Whilst providing you with the comfort of guaranteed payment in the event of a no-show.

Cancellations and refund policies are made simple with our Advance Booking Feature and range from 1 day to 30 days as standard. We can also add a custom refund policy to your Tab account—just email us!

2. Encourage pre-payment via Advance Bookings

Provide an incentive for customers to show up by allowing them to prepay for their stay or activity ahead of time. Whether you're a tour operator, dive school, hotel or hostel; when customers know they’ve already committed the money to a stay or activity, their incentive to show increases. This could range from the full amount to simply a deposit.

Requesting an advance payment from a customer to secure their booking is easy with Tab Ahead. Simply create an Advance Booking on your account dashboard and send a booking payment link to your customer. Or for customers who book through, you can charge their card immediately!

3. Send customers reminders about their booking

Provide reminders to your customers about their upcoming stay or activity at regular intervals ahead of the check-in date. This is a great opportunity to build the overall customer experience and provide important information or top tips to help them get the most out of their experience. Why not share some local insights and recommendations on where to eat or what to do!

Maintaining an open dialogue can also significantly lower the chances of no-shows by providing customers with the opportunity to validly cancel well ahead of time if needed.

As disheartening as no-shows can be, sometimes circumstances beyond customers' control may have prevented them from arriving. The only way to resolve this can be to contact the customer directly and find out what their reasons were.

A simple follow-up will help you better understand the situation and may help you unearth findings within your control which can help to prevent such events from happening again in the future.

If you issue a no-show charge, be clear and honest, and be sure to reference the cancellation policy that was explicitly agreed at the point of booking. Having a clear audit trail will help customers better understand any charges at this stage and lessen the likelihood of any disputes or pushback.

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