Tourist accommodation contracts

Claiming damages when a guest cancels an accommodation booking

Guide

If a guest cancels a booking or checks out early, they are in breach of the booking contract they have with you.

You may be entitled to claim damages for any losses you have suffered from the cancellation or curtailment. This applies whether or not you have cancellation procedures as a booking condition, although if you have these procedures they will normally prevail.

If you want to make a claim for damages, you must first make every reasonable effort to minimise your loss by trying to re-let the accommodation. If you re-let the room at the same price, you should have no loss and so have no basis for making a claim. If you can't re-let the accommodation, you will be entitled to claim damages which reflect your actual losses caused by the cancellation. This is the value of the booking, or the part of it for which the accommodation could not be re-let, less the value of any items included in the price which you did not have the expense of supplying, eg food, light, heat and service charge. You may keep the deposit, setting it off against the amount claimed.

You must wait until the period of the booking has elapsed before you can send the guest an invoice for the amount claimed (this should be exclusive of VAT, as no services have been provided).

If the guest is refusing to meet your claim, you could consider pursuing the claim through the small claims court. A small claim can be for any amount up to £3,000. You will have to pay a fee to start your claim, but this will be added to the money that you are already owed.

  • Tourism NI Industry Development
    028 9044 1673
  • Trading Standards Service Northern Ireland Helpline
    0300 123 6262
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  • Tourism NI