B.

Did you know you gain more control over your listing?

Hi everyone,

We understand that managing a property is no easy feat. So based on feedback from partners like you, we designed five features that give you more control over your listing, and bring you more peace of mind:

  • Your host profile

  • Guest requirements

  • Your house rules

  • Damage deposits

  • Reporting guest misconduct

Have you tried any of the features yet? What was your experience of using them? How did it impact your guests? Add a comment below to share your feedback.

-Ilaria 

-3
11 Replies

6
Isle of Wight …

Yes, we use all of these and there are still problems.

 

Host Profile

Guests still say they they were unaware of this or that because it isn't listed in the property description (because Booking.com don't let us write this like on other OTAs). We put it in the descriptions in the Your Profile section, but guests often don't read that. On other OTAs we can add "A few days before you arrive, we will send you a message to your inbox with directions and key code access". This works fine on other OTAs because they let us write all of our descriptions, but we have problems with Booking.com guests because they don't see the information we provide.

 

Guest Requirements

Works ok and we get the name and address of the person booking.

 

House Rules

Booking.com does not allow us to set additional house rules like we can with other OTAs. We allow dogs, but it should be one large dog or two small dogs. We cannot set anything other than yes or no.

 

Damage Deposits

Booking.com has absolutely crazy policies on this and the way Booking.com treat property owners and future guests is disgraceful.

 

The Policies page says we can only take damage deposits by cash until we become "trusted". This means that Booking.com is treating us like criminals. It is essential that we take a damage deposit to protect us and our property and also to protect the next guests. We have had a situation where guests from Booking.com trashed a newly refurbished property and we had to cancel some other bookings while we repaired the property. It's not that we want to claim on the damage deposits - any claim is hassle, time consuming and causes bad feeling - we simply want guests to look after a property. If they have paid a damage deposit, they will want it back, so will take a bit more care with a property.

 

Taking damage deposits in cash is not viable or sensible. Our guests may be driving for many hours on motorways and they all need to catch a ferry too. Guests are often delayed by motorway traffic or bad weather. We cannot have someone waiting at each property for many hours for guests to arrive and also hope that they actually have the cash on them. Likewise, guests do not want to wait for one of us to turn up on the day of departure to inspect a property before handing over cash to them. We also want electronic records of deposits paid and refunded to protect ourselves and our guests - there are no electronic records with cash.

 

We have spent many many hours arguing with Booking.com over damage deposits. A compromise that Booking.com have allowed is that when a guest makes a booking, they get an automated message to their inbox saying that a damage deposit is required. This has the payment information (BACS Bank Transfer) and also a request to send their bank details for the refund. However, this doesn't solve everything as Booking.com has other flaws in their systems - guests often don't check their inboxes. So to partially resolve this, we have to put in a change request for The Fine Print (at the bottom of Property > View Your Descriptions). The Fine Print is visible on the booking confirmation page that guests often print out. It's always a battle with Booking.com to get them to allow this. Again, this doesn't solve all the problems as guests often don't print this until a couple of days before they travel, and even when they do print it, they often don't read it until they're on their way - and if they're driving, they can't do a BACS bank transfer.

 

Of course, taking damage deposits by BACS bank transfer means we have to expose our bank details. It also means a lot more electronic transactions and, with a "busy bank account", it's not easy to find some guests damage deposits. So to resolve this, we now have a second bank account, purely for damage deposits - we can see them more easily and can therefore refund them more easily. A downside is that we have to pay for a second bank account and for every transaction in and out.

 

We do not open properties on Booking.com until they allow us to take damage deposits electronically. And it's always a battle with Booking.com. As a business, our priority is to open a property for online bookings as quickly as possible. Therefore, we focus on AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway (in that order). We list on Booking.com later, when we have more time for the battle. This generally means that we get a lot of bookings in from AirBnB and TripAdvisor and a lot of good reviews, long before our listings are open on Booking.com, so those good reviews generate a lot of bookings through AirBnB and TripAdvisor.

 

Other OTAs reserve an amount against the guests card - this works perfectly. Booking.com have shot themselves in the foot with their stupid policies and their disrespect for owners.

 

Reporting Guest Misconduct

This is pointless.

 

The Overall Result

Booking.com do not operate in the same way as other OTAs. Guests often miss information that they would clearly see on other OTAs, which causes problems for guests and owners. Booking.com do not have any respect for property owners and their properties. *** 

+8
1 month ago
8
pibomarco

If we report a guest misconduct is the guest at least notified?  

1 month ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

We also experience similar with Isle of Wight..

 

1. Host Profile, Guest cannot see this information

2. Guest Requirement, OK

3. House Rule & Damage Deposit, Booking.com really need to develop on this. Hotel should be able to put any text that we want. As each property have their unique rules.

4. Report Guest misconduct, never report yet.

 

 

1 month ago
3
Ginascott57

Guests don't read what is already available to them so why would they make a point of going further to read extra info. Just this week, two cases of not reading: (1) I didn't know check in was between 2-8pm outcome they cancelled at 9pm becasue they were not going to arrive till about midnight. (2) I didn't realise there was no kitchen...it is clearly stated in the listing.

So my conclusion: Guests do not read passed (a) the room will take the number in my group and (b) the cheapest price.

29 days ago
8
pibomarco

Some guests read, some don't and we can't do nothing about it.  There are preventive steps such as creating automated messages on the time of booking and before the arrival where you can send them reminders about the house rules etc..

+1
29 days ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hey Gina,

I understand where you are coming from. Communication is a pain. 

But, if you search the forum you will see a LOT of information on  Communication prior to occupation. The partners have come up with several hundred ideas about how to ensure a Clear message is received by the guest about what exactly to expect. There really is many awesome threads. 

27 days ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

Hi Ginascott57, I do understand and have same experience that some guests don't read the information that we provide to them before they make decision to book with us.

 

But I think we still need to provide all information as much as we can provide on B.com website. At lease we have all the prove that we already advertised all information for hotel protection.

+1
29 days ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Heya,

Very interesting thread I must say. 

I've actually reported guest misconduct on more than one occasion. And it is Always quite entertaining to wait and see 1. How Booking.com gets in touch with us, and 2. How they ask us what happened. Because sometimes there is only an Email "We are sorry something went wrong, can you send us evidence and details" which is the çowards way out. I prefer that the standard operating procedure must be an immediate Phone Call. Get the verbal story so that you can know what to ask for. 

I personally used the report button only to make sure the Guest has the record on their name, or block the guest from booking with us again. And the Booking.com client relations team that deal with this is always happy to hear that I just don't want any further bookings from the guest. What scares me is that they then don't ask for evidence... so I sometimes wonder if they did take any action on their side against the guest?

I want to see a bit more Structure. A Standard Operating Procedure that you can follow up on. First there is the call, then there is the email with the incident report and then they must take action and provide the property with Feedback as well as ask if the matter can be signed off. 

 

 

 

27 days ago
8
pibomarco

I think this "report misconduct" feature is more like to give host some kind of "fake" clousure, so we feel better when we block them (altohugh in most cases this guest probably wouldn't book our place in future anyway).

 

Evidence? I think it is really hard to prove anything at all.. specially when the reported guest denies everything and in such case Booking.com probably can't do nothing about it. :)

+1
27 days ago
8
Leandri Klopper

That is my main concern yes, that it is supposed to me us feel like we have made a difference. 

Yes well I have in the past sent video footage off the CCTV cams etc and once again... I got no feedback other than, yes we received it. K thanks ? 

I wish they would make radical improvements. 

27 days ago
8
pibomarco

Even CCTV is not a solid evidence. The guest could state that it wasn't them on the footage.. and booking.com will not force them to send them pictures of themselves ect to verify this. I even don't imagine doing this as a guest.

 

We must take into consideration that some hosts make a "false" reports because of the hurt egos. Even I reported one snob of a guest with lack of respect who scored us very low and I was offended by the score and because of that I made a report and blocked them so that I felt better afterwards.. lol  But the report wasn't rightfull in this case.

 

Basicly I don't really see what solution could this bring to a host. But I beleive they receive a lot less phone calls from frustrated hosts because of this misconduct report feature that heals our damaged egos at least a little when we click "block this guest". :) 

 

I think in general they colect the data for future improvment, how to gently approach the guests and make them a better guests with proper informing. Used more as a prevention tool and not as much for solving current pending incidents. 

27 days ago