Cancelling a reservation during COVID-19

We have received a massive amount of cancellation requests lately and I thought it would be a topical issue to write about. Every cancellation request is different, every case needs to be checked individually and there’s no general rule that applies to all the reservations.

I was supposed to travel to London at the end of April. I have realized that under these circumstances the trip will be impossible and accepted the fact, despite all the long planning and eager expectations. I have non-refundable flight tickets, tickets to The Lion King musical, tickets to London Eye observation wheel with a glass of champagne, and a hotel reservation. Every time I make a travel reservation for any flight, hotel or any kind of service, I’ll read the terms and conditions very carefully. Then should my plans change, I’m aware of the terms. I have noticed that a lot of our guests pay less attention to the terms and conditions; some of the guests don’t know even which service provider they have used when booking. So, I’d recommend always to read the terms, even if they are on a very fine print and take some time.

I made a flexible hotel reservation which can be cancelled free of charge 48 hours before arrival, so that’s not a problem in my case. I made the reservation directly through the hotel’s website. It will be easier to contact the hotel in case of any special wishes, modifications or enquiries; or in case I need to cancel the reservation. In general, I make my reservations with flexible conditions because I feel it is the safest option, even if it were a bit more expensive. In case I need to pay in advance, I’ll always use the credit card option. When paying with a credit card it’s easiest to get a refund in case the service seizes to be delivered or the service provider goes bankrupt.

Had I made a non-refundable reservation, I would wait patiently until there would be a travel ban issued by either the Finnish or the British government during the travel period. After that I would contact the service provider and try to get a refund based on force majeure circumstances. There’s no automatic rule that they would have to accept it, but lots of companies are modifying their rules during this exceptional time. If the hotel were for example closed during the period, I’m sure I’d be contacted automatically, and the hotel would refund me or change my reservation to another period.

With the flights to London I’m similarly waiting: the restrictions haven’t reached there yet. The Lion King show is already cancelled, and I received a general e-mail and I’m waiting them now to contact me personally. I’m not in a haste and I’m aware that the customer services are struggling with a long line of cancellations and the waiting period might be long. I’m sure I will be compensated after they’ll be able to reach me and when the credit card company is able to refund me. They too have a long line of transactions waiting. I’m also waiting with The London Eye, but in the long run I’ll expect my losses to be minimal.

My advice would be first to read carefully the terms and conditions when making a reservation; cancel/modify the reservation online if possible; or with a non-refundable reservation, contact the place where the reservation was originally made after the travel bans are effective during your travel period. If not, then wait a little longer.

The global crisis is a terrible situation to every one of us. I hope that we’ll get through it with as minimum an effect as possible and that at some point we are able to enjoy travelling around the world as usual.

Article written by: Ilona / Hotel Sales Department

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