Flexible cancellation policy helps Miami hotel grow bookings

Located in the heart of South Beach, Miami’s Dream South Beach hotel used flexible cancellation policies to increase traveler confidence during the pandemic.

The strategy was so successful, bookings are almost back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

 107 rooms

 Small chain hotel

 VIP Access partner


of guests filter by flexible cancellation policy when using a travel website*


property in their star-rating category after offering flexible cancellations

Challenge: How to avoid low booking rates

Located steps from the Miami Beach shoreline, Dream South Beach watched as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the formerly vibrant neighborhood into a ghost town. Cancellations began to spike and on March 20, the city of Miami Beach closed all local hotels entirely.

When Dream South Beach reopened in June, occupancy rates remained lower than usual. For Olivia Yeran Nam, the property’s area director of revenue management, it was a sign she needed to get creative about increasing bookings.

A longtime Expedia Group partner, Olivia used our platform’s analytics tools to see how the local competition was performing. This data helped Olivia and her market manager brainstorm new strategies for helping travelers feel more confident about making a booking.

“It’s clear that having a flexible cancellation policy is a must for us. Working with Expedia Group to offer a more flexible approach helps us to capture our fair market share.”

Olivia Yeran Nam

Area Director of Revenue Management, Dream South Beach Hotel

Solution: Implement flexible cancellation policies

To increase reservations, Olivia needed to reduce barriers to booking. Hotels with more flexible cancellation policies were grabbing more market share. As COVID-19 restrictions kept evolving, travelers wanted the reassurance of 24-hour cancellations and fully refundable rates.

Olivia added new cancellation policies in the Partner Central platform. This automated the process, so travelers could update reservations on their own. It also saved valuable time that Olivia and team could redirect to guest services and other day-to-day property management tasks.

With the new policies in place, Olivia quickly saw her business benefit from an increase in bookings. As she aligned with guests’ desire for shorter cancellation windows, her numbers grew.

In August, Dream South Beach’s increase in room nights ranked them in the top three hotels on Miami’s South Beach and number one in their star-rating category. Dream South Beach has decreased cancellation rates to 7% lower than comparable properties on a steady basis.

Future: Giving guests the confidence to book

Dream South Beach now shows up in search results as having refundable rates, a common search filter. Olivia is confident her property’s flexible cancellation policies will continue to increase consideration and share.

As booking volume slowly returns to normal — in fact, weekend bookings are almost back to last year’s rate — Olivia plans to extend these cancellation strategies into the middle of next year.

Giving guests the confidence to book ahead, whether traveling domestically or internationally, will help keep Dream South Beach at the forefront of the South Beach scene as travel returns.

As the industry continues to recover, flexibility will be top of mind for even the most adventurous travelers. Be sure you’re offering refundable rates and easy-to-understand cancellation policies. We suggest offering free cancellation up to 24 hours before check-in as a standard recovery strategy.

*Source: Expedia Group, What Travelers Want in, 2021

Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

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