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Pending Bookings

If a guest checks out of the booking process without making an immediate payment (via credit card or PayPal), the booking will be created in a pending status. This means that the time is blocked, but there is a deadline when the payment must be received.

Users subject to the California Assembly Bill 537, effective July 1, 2024, may also find the Include Surcharges in the Rent Display support article useful.

If you don't receive the payment or mark the booking as paid within that time, it'll be automatically canceled.

If a booking is pending, you'll see that as a status, and an hourglass will appear on the booking calendars:

During the pending period, we'll send occasional reminder emails to the guests to nudge them and make sure they don't forget to send payment. There is a default template for the pending reminder emails, which you can customize yourself by navigating to Settings > Messaging > System Messages > and on the right side of the "Send Pending Cancellation Reminder To Guest (payment" message, select Change Message from the Action dropdown menu.

Property Pending & Auto Cancellation settings

The auto cancellation time is set in the rules section for each property by navigating to Properties > your specific Property > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation. Here are the default settings. Bookings are set to auto-cancel if payment is not completed within 14 days. Note that OwnerRez recommends that the "Card will be charged when the booking is made," which is also the default. 

 Properties > your specific Property > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation

You can choose to collect guest credit card information but to set the booking to a pending status, allowing hosts to "vet" the guest or get a completed renter agreement.

The other settings in this area let you disable pending cancellations and send yourself a warning notification email so you can deal with the situation.

Manually Change Booking Pending Status

You can manually set a booking as pending from being "permanent" under the specific Booking > Change Pending Status. You can make it pending for a specific number of hour or until a certain date.  You'll only be able to make manual changes if there are no payments yet - by definition, a pending booking is only pending because no payments have been made.  As soon as a payment is recorded, however small and by whatever method, the booking will become permanent. If the booking is already permanent, the Pending Status will not be available. Here are the Change Pending Status options. 

  • Confirm this booking using the credit card on file.
  • Remove the pending flag and make this booking permanent without collecting any payments.
  • Make it Pending for a number of hours or days.
  • Make it Pending until a specific date.

Specific Booking > Change Pending Status

Manually Change Quote Pending Status

You can change your Pending & Auto Cancellation rules for quotes by navigating to the specific Quote > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation.

The settings appear and act just like property Pending & Auto Cancellation rules, but will only apply to that specific quote.

Check or Custom Instructions payments

If you've got a Check payment method or Custom Instructions payment method and the guest uses that to check out, the booking will be flagged as pending until you receive the payment. Check payment methods show the "make check out to" and mailing information. Custom Instructions payment methods allow you to enter a block of text describing how to pay you -- for example, bank transfer or wire transfer instructions.

These payment methods will only be available based on the days or hours configured in the rules section for each property or quote.

Properties > your specific Property > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation OR Specific Quote > Rules > Pending & Auto Cancellation

By default, the arrival date must be 15 days in the future for them to show up during checkout. If it's less than the days in future settings, they won't show up and any remaining payment methods (credit card/PayPal) will show instead. If you don't have a credit card or PayPal payment method and it's less than the days in future setting for your other payment methods, the guest won't be able to check out and instead will receive a message directing them to contact you to pay.

Once you get the check in the mail, wire transfer, etc, go to the specific Booking > Transactions > Payments > Record Payment. Set "Amount Paid" based on what type of payment it was, fill in the rest of the info, and click "Save":

Booking > Transactions > Payments > Record Payment

That will record the payment in the system and clear the pending flag on the booking.

If you want to change the pending deadline date or turn off pending without receiving a payment, you can use the Change Pending Status link in the booking's pending bar on the booking:

You should normally use the "Confirm and Take Payment Now" link to accept a pending booking.  While it is possible for you to manually accept a payment, if you do this, then none of the normal actions (additional payments, etc.) will be automatically scheduled - in effect it will be treated as a manual booking.

"Card will not be charged at checkout" rule

"Confirmation required but credit card verified" is a similar beast to the "check or custom payments pending" flow -- but for credit card payments instead. When you set this to "card will not be charged at checkout" (rather than "card will be charged at checkout"), we'll allow the guest to check out with a credit card, but we won't charge the card at checkout. Instead, we'll verify that the card is correct and create a pending booking in the system.

This setting is available by navigating to Properties > your specific Property > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation.

Properties > your specific Property > Rules > Change > Pending & Auto Cancellation

PayPal WARNING: "Card will not be charged at checkout" only works with normal merchant accounts. It DOES NOT work with PayPal, as PayPal doesn't allow storing cards on file. If you only have a PayPal account and set this rule to not charge the card at checkout, guests won't be able to check out online and will instead be directed to email you for checkout instructions.

The Vrbo configuration (cancellation policy, initial payment amount, charges, etc.) will be automatically passed through into the Booking.  However, if desired, you can make changes in the Rules or Charges tabs of the Booking, such as if you've made a private agreement with the guest to take a lower initial payment.

Once you've validated the guest and confirmed that the time is available in all calendars, use the "Confirm & Take Payment Now" link in the Booking's pending bar to actually charge the card:

API Connected Listing Channels

In your fully API-integrated listing channels, you can select hours (or days) from the dropdown menu to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of credit card failures.

Fully API-integrated listing channels (Vrbo, HomeToGo, GuestSmiles, getawayGoGo, Whimstay, Rentalz, Hopper Homes, Got2Go) that allow guests to book directly on the channel, select hours (or days) from the dropdown menu to automatically place the booking in a pending state in the event of credit card failures.

You can review your API-integrated listing channels by navigating to Settings > Channels > API Integrations > specific Listing Channel > Change > Credit Card Payments > If Card Fails.

Are you wondering what "fully integrated" means and which API-integrated listing channels are classified as "fully integrated?" A fully integrated listing channel allows guests to book directly on the listing channel. Those API-integrated listing channels include Vrbo, HomeToGo, GuestSmiles, getawayGoGo, Whimstay, Rentalz, Hopper Homes, and Got2Go.

Bad cards through channel APIs

The Vrbo API and Booking.com API both send credit card info with bookings. They do some level of credit card validation before they allow a booking, but it's possible that the card succeeds on their end but the charge fails in OwnerRez -- perhaps the guest's card was valid but didn't have enough balance to run the first payment.

When this happens, the Booking will be set as pending in OwnerRez, and we'll send a card-failure email to you and the guest so the guest can update the card on file. You can also go to the Booking Transactions tab and send a Request > Request New Card which is basically the same thing.

Vrbo API in Request To Book mode

By default, the Vrbo API is in Instant Booking mode and runs the first payment as soon as the booking is received.

If you set it to Request To Book mode, all bookings will come in pending -- similar to the "Card will not be charged at checkout" rule -- and you'll be able to choose to confirm them or cancel them using the links in the pink bar at the top of the Booking's page:

To reject the booking request, simply Cancel the booking, and it will automatically be rejected via the API and cleared from your OwnerRez calendar.  If you don't take action by the specified time, the booking will automatically be canceled.

When an RTB booking is auto-canceled, the cancellation is recorded as "canceled by owner."  This may have negative results on your Vrbo reputation.

Finding and triggering Pending Bookings

You can search for Pending Bookings in the main Bookings screen, List view, using Filters:

You can also use Pending status as a Criteria on a Trigger to send a message.  For example, an "As soon as booking is created" Trigger with Pending criteria of Pending Cancellation, can be used to send a special message to guests whose booking was automatically placed into Pending status for some reason (e.g. their credit card payment failed).