When there is no show – cancellation fees! Guests should take the table reservations seriously

When there is no show – cancellation fees! Guests should take the table reservations seriously


Restaurant owners, hairdressers, physiotherapists, and many other companies offer a friendly service. They take reservations for their (often limited) resources and hope, that the customers and guests either comply or cancel in time, so that, the places or treatment periods can be simply resold. Thereby the acceptance and entry of the reservation is a service, which unfortunately is not appreciated as such by many guests … But even worse is that more and more guests no longer accept that the reservation of a table or even of a hotel room is a contract or at least a binding agreement. Also, they do not have the courtesy any more, to cancel as early as possible. Unfortunately, in the past, often only the name has been noted down and with a good organization also a telephone number. Not enough to send a no-show bill ….

The online table reservation offers new opportunities

More and more restaurants offer an online table reservation and increasingly more guests take advantage of them because a call to the restaurant is not really a pleasure. Either it is not open yet, or nobody answers the phone, or it is open and a rushed waiter yells through the noise.

Nevertheless, the online table reservation has more advantages:

  • The guest must specify a (functional) email address.
  • The host can specifically ask, whether the guest would like to receive a newsletter with special events in the future, and if the guest agrees to it, the host can extend his news distribution.
  • In the reservation process, an agreement of the cancellation policy can be made for the table. It is important, that this is not hidden in the depths of the AGB, but also will actively be confirmed by the guest, such as the time and number of guests.

For example:

With the order of the table, you accept the last free cancellation option of your reservation, the day before at the latest at 18:00. Later cancellations or no-shows are calculated per person with €25 incl. VAT.

Important: communicate this agreement also in the confirmation mail with a simple way to cancel the reservation, if necessary.

Tell your guests how it works

  • Explain on your website that reservations that are not kept, do a considerable economic damage, as many times bookings cannot be accepted and thus ending up with the table remaining empty.
  • Due to the unreliable guests, you receive perhaps no positive response to your own reservation request.
  • Apply this rule to all order channels, ask for an email address also with telephone reservations

Restaurateurs who do it this way have reported that the number of reservations has slightly declined. The number of no-show reservations, however, tend towards zero. Although, they have never insisted on the cancellation costs.

It will be exciting to experience the first reactions on the no-show bills. And to follow the first lawsuits against it, when the agreement is communicated clearly and unequivocally. And don’t forget, the persons who are angry about such a fee are not ‘guests’; they only produce costs and are quite selfish …


Interesting articles that fit the topic:

Focus Online: Reservation is valid for host and guests


Welt Online: These costs threaten by the cancellations of appointments Article in the newspaper “Die Welt”



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