The Strangest Cancellation Reasons Revealed

New RESEARCH has revealed 10 of the “strangest reasons” people provided for cancelling a reservation in the hospitality industry.

Taken from booking trends seen by Zonal across the UK, some of the top reasons to bring some light relief to a damaging topic include ” seagull problem” and “I wanted to ruin my fiancé’s birthday”.

The top 10 are:

  1. “Seagull problems”
  2. “I wanted to ruin my fiancé’s birthday”
  3. “Sorry! Changed our minds after having breakfast!”
  4. “My sister wants to eat at home”
  5. “Na”
  6. “My friend has an unexpected council meeting”
  7. “My kids don’t care”
  8. “Went into labour”
  9. “Still in the queue for the London eye”
  10. “My date cancelled on me last minute”

Aside from these more unusual reasons, analysis of the data shows that over half (52%) of cancellations occur due to customers making a mistake on the original reservation. For example, over a third of this group said they had booked the wrong time, date, or venue. Other issues included the group size or dropouts (17%) or being double booked (9%).

The next most common reason for cancellation given was ‘illness’, with 19% of people mentioning this. While 12% said that a change of plans meant that they were unable to turn up to their booking. Nearly a quarter of people didn’t provide any reason for their cancellation – however that is still better than those who don’t cancel their bookings at all and simply don’t turn up.

These are called ‘no-shows’ and, according to a survey conducted by Zonal in partnership with CGA by NIQ earlier this year, the behaviour is on the rise – doubling since September last year. In fact, 12% of consumers are no-shows, which costs the sector £17.59bn per year in lost revenue and even more once wasted food and staff costs are taken into account.

Commenting on the findings, Olivia Fitzgerald, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Zonal, said: “Although some of these cancellation reasons are funny, the issue of no-shows is no laughing matter for the industry. With the most common cancellation reason revealing itself as customers making a mistake with their booking, it’s really important for venues to put solutions in place to prevent this. Making it easy for people to amend their booking or sending timely reminders to customers, are just some of the ways operators can help minimise booking mistakes and in turn, decrease the likelihood of no-shows, which are so damaging to an operator’s bottom line.”