Strangest reasons people cancel bookings

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

(image: Getty/BrianAJackson)
(image: Getty/BrianAJackson)

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An unexpected council meeting and seagull problems are just two of the strangest reasons customers have given for cancelling bookings in pubs, bars and restaurants, new research has found.

Analysis of the data, which was from hospitality technology specialist Zonal, revealed more than half (52%) of cancellations were due to customers making a mistake on the original reservation with more than a third of the group saying they had booked the wrong date, time or venue.

Other issues were group size or drop outs (17%) or being double booked, which 9% reported.

No shows

10 of the strangest reasons for cancelling a booking:

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

Research from Zonal

Almost a fifth (19%) of cancellations occurred because of illness while more than one in 10 (12%) said a change of plans meant they were unable to attend their reservation. Furthermore, almost a quarter of people didn’t provide a reason for cancelling.

Zonal chief sales and marketing officer Olivia Fitzgerald said: “Although some of these cancellation reasons are funny, the issue of no shows is no laughing matter for the industry."

Solutions in place

She added: “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.”

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