What is the difference between a reservation and a confirmation?

  • Jul 09, 2024
What is the difference between a reservation and a confirmation?

It is important to distinguish between a Reservation and a Confirmation when writing any type of document.

Whenever you book a travel, accommodation, or activity, you are bound to come across reservation and confirmation. Essentially, although these two words are used interchangeably in some instances, there are certain distinctions between the two as regards planning. It is to grasp these differences to be able to avoid problems during the booking and a trip.

What is a Reservation?

A reservation means the client makes an order for a particular item, goods, or service even if temporarily, and only reserves it by waiting for it in the nearest time.

In other words, a reservation is a guarantee of a particular product or service, which makes it possible to make an advance payment or confirm the availability of a service. Stationing does not confirm the availability of a certain room, table, or ticket but instead, says, “I want this if it is still free. Reservations are usually accompanied by some conditions or hold whereby you have to confirm within a given time to get the booking.

Some key things to know about reservations:

  • They have an expiration date: Special tables will be reserved for a short term based on a date or a time and then they are released if you did not confirm the confirmation and payment. This expiry time could last for 24 hours, one week, or even more depending on what the vendor has to offer.
  • Your credit card may be preauthorized: Certain services ask for a small deposit or charge you a fee when you make a reservation to show your intent. This amount is refundable if you decline confirmation.
  • You may not receive full details/documents: It means that when you reserve something, you are not given an official schedule ticket or receipt. This might be true because there could be restrictions on the amount and kind of information that could be disclosed especially until you are sure of the transaction and you have made full payment.
  • Reservations can be canceled: A positive attribute of reservations is that more often than not, they allow for the reservations to be canceled or changed with much ease as compared to a confirmed booking. However, to do this, ensure to read policies well because some have short cancellation windows or the deposit is nonrefundable within the first few days if you cancel.

What is a Confirmation?

Confirmation means the final payment that is given after the initial booking request has been made by the client. This confirmation is the final imprint that seals all the details of your booking and serves as the receipt of the transaction.

Key things to know about confirmations:

  • They guarantee your booking: While a reservation only puts your name to a specific place for a certain amount of time, a confirmation ensures that a particular place belongs to you. It has also changed in a way that vendors don't have the freedom to freely pass your space to others.
  • Confirmation details are finalized: After a booking has been made, details about the property or place address, type of room needed, flight timings, ticket numbers, and so on are set in stone. You will be provided with some of these details in written form, as required by formal US Government contracts.
  • Cancellation/change policies take full effect: While there are usually no cancellation fees for reservations, as soon as one receives the green light on a choice, standard cancellation fees apply if one has a change of heart. Read the fine print carefully.
  • Your payment method is charged in full: Every confirmation always involves the payment for the whole amount to be paid through a credit card or any other method. Precertifications are then settled into charges.
  • You'll receive vouchers/verification documents: Confirmations are attached to formal receipts, schedules, electronic tickets, vouchers, or any other document that may be used to help you prove your purchase onsite.

When are reservations vs. confirmations used?

Understanding industry norms helps distinguish when you can expect a reservation, confirmation, or both in the booking process: Understanding industry norms helps distinguish when you can expect a reservation, confirmation, or both in the booking process:

Hotels and Lodging: Ensures that reservations are made with the hotels and other facilities first. Your credit card then preauthorizes a fee, and the car is yours for that amount of time. It is important to acknowledge the fact that, to charge full payment for the lodging and to receive a confirmation code together with a lodging voucher, you have to confirm before the specified date.

Flights: It should be noted that reservations are typically not accepted by airlines. This means that when you choose your flights and the price or the availability is given, to guarantee seats you must buy tickets through confirmation at that same time. Tickets act as confirmation.

Restaurants and Activities: In the context of this work, reservations refer to bookings made for a restaurant, tour, class, event, etc. to book a table or a place. Later you either attend the event or decline it if other engagements interfere with the event in question. Some require you to pay for the slot if you do not show up without notifying them in advance.

Rental Cars: Following quoting pricing, most of the rental car businesses allow you to select and make bookings of specific vehicles for pickup. You then have to come and pay at the counter, or perhaps provide insurance as necessary, and get keys as your confirmation to take the car.


In conclusion, even though the terms reservations and confirmations might seem to be related to a certain extent, they refer to two distinct stages of the booking process. Whereas reservations hint at the possibility of getting a particular date, confirmations assure of it. It can make a difference between thinking that you have closed a sale and realizing that the potential client is just showing interest. Make sure that you write down the expiry of the reservation, the amount of payment needed and other details given at each step of having your travel planned.

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