Cancellation policy has evolved in recent years from a footnote on the booking confirmation to the basis of entire OTA marketing campaigns, designed specifically to position agencies as the most risk-free option for guests.

While cancellations affect a hotel’s ability to forecast revenue and impact their income in real terms, they are used by OTAs as a marketing tool - one that benefits their growth, rather than hinders it. Flexible reservations are at the heart of how Booking.com sells rooms to its users, and a year-on-year increase of their cancellation rate is proof that their message is clearly resonating. How did we get to this point, and what can hotels do to take back control of not only guest acquisition, but also guest confidence?