B.

Your questions answered: Coronavirus FAQs

Hi everyone, 

Since the Coronavirus crisis emerged we have seen an overwhelming amount of support here in the Community. We have also seen you ask a lot of really important questions.

In response, our team has been working hard with colleagues across Booking.com to start answering these questions and make sure you find the information you need. Many of these are now available in our Coronavirus FAQs. 

https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/legal-security/coronavirus-faqs

We will continue to update these FAQs over the coming days and weeks as the situation evolves. 

Thank you again for your continued support, 

-Brooke and the Community Team 

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114 Replies
2294 Views

10
BrookAve

 

Welcome Brooke

Unfortunately for many of us this comes , too little too late, and does not address the elephant in the room.

 

i.e. Do not have full refund as the default action when a guest requests a refund.

 

It would be much better if Booking.com allowed the other options discussed here come first and dependant only on the rate type.

 

This is the logic majority of Partners would want it to follow:

 

Rate Type

--->> If Flexible, refund 100% or Partner Cancel Policy

………….EndIF

 

 

--->>If Non -refundable

……...Then Present Options()

  • Option [1]  Offer change dates up to 12 months or longest future date available.  
  • Option [2] Offer  Guest Booking.com voucher for the amount paid to be used on any future booking.  
  • Option [3] Allow Partial refund, max 50%.  
  • Option[4] Allow Partner to offer voucher for same number of nights. and the original booking is processed as normal.

End IF

 


I noticed in that new FAQ a section and comment on How booking.com do not have a way to know if a guest have travel insurance....

 

Guess what?

That's totally irrelevant and not your responsibility , it is theirs.

 

We can debate this all night, but at tend of the day , regardless of who is right or legally correct, the damage has already been done to Booking.com reputation. I had a long call with BdC management team in Ireland and Expedia recently and I bought all of this up.

 

Expedia did a very smart thing as has VRBO, they are not defaulting to 100% refunds on all bookings.

 

Expedia lets the partner set an auto waiver with options to accept refunds with conditions.

 

Even better Partner can opt-out completely, and as long as the booking is done via their website or network sites (excluding certain affiliates)

the Guest is instead given a voucher for 12 months for the value .

 


 

It appears at face value no one in Booking.com is capable of stepping out side the box and to see all sides.

It is extremely one sided. So the pack mentality now manifesting itself on these forums, is gearing up for legal action against Booking.com.

 

There is a petition growing and plenty of irate partners ready to give BdC a piece of their mind.

 


 

anywho… some food for thought.

 

Kind Regards,

 Be Safe, Be Well

 

 

 

 

+14
5 months ago
1
Josslyn Doherty

Well said Barry,

Partners have been completely left to rot in this crisis. 

Expedia have acted so honourably towards partners at this present time, I was blown away with the support the have shown.

Maybe its there time to shine? 

 

Kind Regards

Joss

+7
5 months ago
10
BrookAve

I wouldn't go praising Expedia just yet. 

 

As the actual terms of the vouchers and when you get paid out is not the original checkout date. 

 

In fact it is not paid out until either:

 

1. voucher expires

2. vouchers used and guest checks out.

+1
5 months ago
1
Bed And Beach …

Hi,

Are there any legal grounds for BdC to force us partners to issue a refund? I’ve offered the affected guests to change their dates up to 13 months later but BdC is forcing me to issue a refund. It will make a serious damage to our business, as we’re a small accommodation, and I’m definitely looking for alternatives to BdC to work with in the future. 

+11
5 months ago
1
The Wentworth …

agreed. Stop strangling the golden goose. We the hotel owners are in serious trouble, we have no income, end of. Some, many will not be here in as early as June.

How about bdc help and lower commission for a year when this reopens for those still here to help us get out of the massive debt we will be accruing. Personally, handing back to the keys to bank would be a blessing, no more blood being sucked from so many directions and NO help at all forthcoming.

+8
5 months ago
2
MMB

Correct!!

 

I must have missed when I agreed for my accommodation business to be changed to a travel insurance provider for bdc guests!! I won’t be providing anything soon as a direct result of bdc actions!! It’s an absolute joke!!

+8
5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

Totally agree with you about the options Booking.com SHOULD adopt as policy.

What a joke it is when Booking.com says it has had overwhelming support on the forum. Maybe they have another secret forum that hoteliers don't know about because from the postings I have seen, and done myself, the vast majority CONDEMN Booking.com for their arrogant bullying and even intimidation of hotels that a supposed to be partners.

But, here is the kicker, they don't care about hotels, they don't care about the financial hardship hotels are going through, they don't care about the people they are putting out of business and they certainly won't care about your posting. Why, because they are an American multinational who thinks they know better than anyone else. There was a phrase coined many years ago by some US president called 'American exceptionalism' referring to the fact that they were above international Law and above other countries.

This is what Booking.com believes in, their 'exceptionalism' to tell the hotels, 'do as we say' or else!

+2
4 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi who are you? and many of us are aware of the above so what is your point?

Look forward to a reply

4 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

Why we have to accept the auto force cancel with full refund? What is the benefit for hotel? What in return that Booking.com will help us?

 

Most of guest accept to amend their booking but why Booking.com force hotel to accept cancel booking.

+7
5 months ago
10
BrookAve

Its important to understand they are only doing it if the guest asks Booking.com or uses their online portal to self service.

 

So getting ahead of it and contacting guests directly to make other arrangement will prevent this.

5 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

FALSE!

Customers have had their reservations cancelled. In a message, they informed me that they had tried to postpone their trip to September, but that all dates were blocked.  Bookingcom seems to have closed the dates

5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

Writing on behalf of reservations team. This is awful! B.com is interfering/undoing all our hard work - even after the guest has agreed to modify the booking, suddenly we get a message that it has been cancelled for free, and a threatening message follows about giving refund to B.com within 5 days. I guess this is their idea of 'a partnership, support and communication'. Honestly, I feel disgusted with their attitude.

+10
5 months ago
1
Karoo Sun Guesthouse

Jip, we are getting the exact same treatment from Booking.com. We simply DO NOT have the money to refund any guests, so we are offering vouchers, valid for 24 months and also transferable. I will not be bullied by Booking.com! I am seriously considering to end our contract with them.

All the best for you, from Oudtshoorn in a very upside down South Africa!

+3
5 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

Customers have had their reservations cancelled. In a message, they informed me that they had tried to postpone their trip to September, but that all dates were blocked.  Bookingcom seems to have closed the dates

5 months ago
1
Powe House

This is unbelievable!! Booking.com have been fantastic at supporting guests who wish to cancel, informing us, 'the business' that we MUST be nice and kind to these poor guests. Well, how about moving your focus to US, your so called 'valued partners'!!! WE are a small Guest House, where is the help for us, why are WE having to deal with irate guests who want to know why we've cancelled their booking.

Why are WE having to request Booking.com to ask our guests if they mind being cancelled!

It's a joke!! The UK is on lock down, no holiday travel is permitted, let us cancel our own guests from our own business and YOU can support us in the process.

 

 

 

 

+7
5 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

Thank you for your feedback, I agree with you. Booking.com should start to care us more and more.

+1
5 months ago
1
Robert Laimer

Couldn't agree more with Power House above. BDC has shown their true colours and once again side with the guests who can no cancel at will with no basis at all. BDC does not care about the accommodation providers one bit.  

+12
5 months ago
1
Powe House

Just a quick mention - by comparison to Booking.com, EVIIVO have offered webinars for support, set up petitions to Government to request help for small accommodation providers, offered change of date for bookings and actively assisted with cancellation problems, PROVING that there is no reason why Booking.com have managed to do so little. We always used EVIIVO and it is only because Booking.com  became so big, that we ended up feeling almost forced to join ie 'if you can't beat them, join them'. 

+1
5 months ago
1
Mike Evans9999

Has anybody in the U.K .taken legal advice?

Booking.com are unilaterally telling people who booked NON REFUNDABLE rooms that we,(not Booking.com) will make a refund. That to my mind does not make us legally liable to do so. That is, to my mind, just Booking.com trying to look like the good guy. Do I actually have any legal obligation? 

I would love to refund everybody, I really, really would. However, I don't have the funds to do so. I am offering date changes. That is all I can practically do.

Where people have made refundable reservations I am refunding promptly. I am clear that I have obligations to do that, moral and legal.

 

EVERYBODY who books here has a choice when booking. Full price and refundable. 10 % discount.= non-refundable

Why do Booking.com not ask guests to consider their insurance position?

 

 

+8
5 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

Thank you. And yes why only hotel have to suffer. For airline, not all airline that allow full refund. Why customer never complain about that. Why Travel agent not force airline to refund to their customer. Why only hotel?

+2
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Mike great points and on Sergei site the comments are covering legals etc. and one such post talks about perhaps crowdfunding for legals which I think is interesting as although individuals are no match for the likes of the so called 'Big Guns'  a large number of Parners contributing a set amount to such a fund could take the case to legal teams in Netherlands who have expressed interest I believe in taking on such a case.  In addition there are bodies in the UK currently taking the practices of the OTA's to government with emphasis on the latest heavy handed practices.

I like hundreds of thousands of other Partners am in the exact same position as yourself and unless we keep the momentum of this up then there will be no change.

In the F & Q's that Brooke refers to note the following 

When does Booking.com declare Force Majeure?

We know the impact is very severe for our partners, but with the Coronavirus bringing the world to a stand-still, our top priority is protecting the safety and security of both partners and guests.

We can declare Force Majeure in cases of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or when governments take action to prevent customers from travelling. We have declared Force Majeure only where and when the legal situation is clear.

TOP PRIORITY MY A..   -   DONE ABSOLUTELY ZILCH TO PROTECT PARTNERS

+4
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Josslyn - you are absolutely right perhaps it is time for Expedia to shine.  One thing is for sure the world will not be the same after this

+2
5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

Having the same thoughts. Maybe time to give a chance to Expedia.. Booking.com has done nothing, absolutely nothing, to help us in this situation.

+1
5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

***

Over the past couple of years when we have had a dispute with a guest, Booking.com have replied to us that they are, and I quote, ‘only a facilitating platform’ so do not get involved. Basically, not our problem!

The people requesting a refund could easily have insurance – only an idiot books flights and accommodation without it – and will be making a claim. Then they claim through Booking.com who don’t make checks…this is FRAUD.

Under Booking.com it is clearly stated, black and white; prepaid, non-refundable and non-transferable. Most hotels, as a gesture of goodwill, offer a rescheduling of dates at no extra charge…THIS SHOULD BE ENOUGH.

I think hotels must stand together against this Booking.com unlawful unilateral action.  

+11
5 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

I agree that we have to stand together. For all hotel partner benefits. And at the end Booking.com will be get benefits as well. So it a win-win-win situation for hotel, agent, and customer.

+3
5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

***: I have done some checking with the documents we had when joining Booking.com some years ago, unsurprisingly, I can find no reference or clause in the agreement where we have ceded executive power to them as regards financial or operational matters. In other words, we have not given them permission to make refund decisions on our behalf either in part or in full.

Before making an offer of a refund, to make it legal, Booking.com would have needed to have consultations and agreements in place before unilaterally declaring that this was a policy they would implement.

As to Booking.com referring to us as, ‘Partners’, I can find no articles of association which would be required in any legal document or contract.

So, Booking.com, stop patronising the hotels who pay your wages and dividends to your shareholders and treat us with respect.

We will NOT be paying any refund demand from Booking.com, rather we will fight them all the way to the courts if need be. If other hotels told Booking.com the same, will they be able to sue us all, especially when they have no legal right to make a refund on our behalf without permission.

+8
5 months ago
1
Mike Evans9999

If we stop our direct debits it will give us the opportunity to scrutinise bills and settle disputes prior to payment being taken. 

I am not advocating that we avoid paying what we legitimately owe Booking.com we can do that in a timely fashion by bank transfer

Booking.com and I are partners apparently. I am sure they will understand my Forced Circumstances if I change my payment method

+6
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Mike I am of the same ilk as yourself and am following the same measures and we are right to enforce our own Force Mageure. 

there is considerable momentum now building up on this site and I do hope it keeps going - the more that respond and post the bigger the numbers which might allow us to collectively get to another stage to continue challenging B.Com over their arrogant, aggressive actions

Regards

Kilmichael House, Lochness

+1
5 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

I'm ready to start a petition that says

 

We ask :

 

1) That no total or partial reimbursement be granted on your own initiative,

2) To handle ourselves any cancellation request due to Coronavirus.

3) That for all trips cancelled from March 1st until the end of the health crisis

the Hosts be allowed to convert the amount paid into travel credit for a subsequent stay (order adopted by the French Government on 25/3/2020). Already

The validity period of this credit note, not nominative, must be eighteen months, and refundable at the end of this period if it is not used.

The host will have to inform the customer of this credit note within 30 days from the date of cancellation of the trip.

This implies a refund from you for all trips you have already refunded. This refund can be used as a credit on your next commissions.

 

4) That for any reimbursement made imperative by necessity (death for example)

  - each party is unquestionably involved in these financial losses to the extent of 30% for the customer, 70% for the hosts and no commission from Booking.com

         - a total exemption from the BOOKING commission on the number of future stays equal to the number of stays reimbursed

5) To set up new cancellation conditions for any case of force majeu

+3
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Harlingford Hotel - Good to hear your points and I am also of the same opinion as yourself and Mike Evans  and I have to say many, many others - it is interesting how many people are now joining these forums which appear to be scattered all over the place on this site.  If you can your should check postings by Info, David, Glenford, Jcwren - It would seem that everyone posting is of the same opinions however, there needs to be more, the more we have the bigger the voice and certainly in the suggestions of legal actions and it is how to get the numbers together.  Legal actions would be very costly but if there are enough of us crowdfunding could be set up officially. Some other postings have suggested legal firms in Netherlands would be happy to act - so maybe worth looking into.

Booking.com have released another statement today which is still fluffing over the request of change of date but this is now too little too late with the damage hey have allowed to be done over their arrogant, aggressive mishandling of this situation which highlights that they give no regard, respect to their 'Partners'.  

Please keep posting as this situation is going to cost us our livelihoods if we allow it.

Kilmichael House Loch Ness

+3
5 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

We have to keep send feedback on all available channel that we can. At the moment I think here at this forum is good for start.

+2
5 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

Maybe we can create an association of all disgruntled guests.

5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

I think this could be good but we need a great deal more to join.

5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

Our letter to Booking.com:

To our dear NON-Partner, managers and CEO,

We are quite prepared to allow this customer to rebook at a future date free of charge.

But that is ALL we will offer this guest; we will NOT allow a refund to be made on our behalf and you, as only a website facilitating platform, are forbidden to make such a payment without our permission.

This customer will have travel insurance and will be making a claim through that insurance for airline cancellation and for accommodation and will provide documented proof of payment.

If they also make a refund claim through Booking.com they will be committing FRAUD.

If Booking.com subsequently makes a refund on our behalf without our permission they are aiding and abetting fraudulent activity and as such will be liable to prosecution.

This hotel is legally obligated to report, and will not hesitate, to refer this to the London Metropolitan Police Serious Fraud Office as attempted fraud.

Please pass this email on to the customer as a warning of any illegal activity.

However, as a gesture of goodwill, if the customer wants to accept our generous offer of rescheduling their reservation - before the end of 2021 and subject to availability - to a future date they must contact the hotel at: *** to receive confirmation of the new arrangement.   

+6
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Harlingford Hotel

Very well put and agree 100%  We all have to stick with this.

+2
5 months ago
1
Karoo Sun Guesthouse

FANTASTIC!!! At least you have a good functional police service as back-up. In South Africa the police will have no idea what to do with a case like this :-) 

 

5 months ago
1
Powe House

Just received this!!!! To say we are livid is putting it mildly! Because:

1. Why the guest won't cancel?

2. A clear indication that Booking.com are NOT supporting us and are clearly living on a different planet!

Any ideas as to how best deal with this are welcome!

Dear Powe House,

You've informed us that you cannot accommodate ***xxxxxxxx, reservation ***xxxxxxxx***, on check-in date ***.

We’ll be happy to look for an alternative accommodation for them, doing our best to find one within the same price range.

Additional costs resulting from this relocation may be invoiced to your property.

If you have any questions, we are here for you.

-- *** Booking.com Customer Service Team

 

Many thanks, Powe HOuse

+3
5 months ago
3
Harlingford Hotel

Here's a WARNING to all hoteliers! Booking.com has now gotten very nasty and instigated chargebacks through their bank to reclaim the refunds they made on our behalf even though they were legitimately charged under Booking.com terms and Conditions.

They have declared to us that they have the POWER to call whatever it is a FORCE MAJEURE even though governments around the world have yet to declare such a state for covid-19.

I urge every hotel who is a victim of this injustice to fight this bullying and intimidation by a company that has clearly become TOO big for it to care about the very people who made it a success.

Any suggestions about how to fight against this would be appreciated, perhaps social media outlets, group action, postings, hoteliers Assoc., class action whatever we can do we should do together. 

+7
5 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Harlingford Hotel

Their nasty, bully boy tactics are no surprise to me and all the suggestions you make are indeed the correct ones.  Below is a post I have received from the Scottish B & B Association this afternoon (I would expect the English arm would be following the same steps).  In addition at the bottom of the piece the Hotel & Caterer publication also makes reference to the OTA's practices.  I am also a member of the FSB (and there must also be similar bodies throughout the world) who again are all turning their attention to the OTA's at this time and speaking to Gorvernment about them.

I have spoken with owners of National Hotels and they too are being faced with the same - some with deposits of £200k just like us to pay those kind of monies back on non refundable bookings will crash and bring business to their knees

I think the way forward with this is legal action - I know costly to take B.Com on however, getting sufficient business together (perhaps through the media) and to set up a crowd fund amongst us all - hundreds of thousands of us all in the same boat paying in an equal amount based on B & B, Guest  House, Hotels over a certain amount of rooms would soon raise a considerable/sufficient amount to take out a legal action in the Netherlands agains B.Com.

I am not clever enough to set such a scheme up but someone with a strong legal/business mind could and set up a legitimate Bank Account with all the legals of that in place and I think businesses might just go for it.

I suppose in the interim we could cancel our credit card providors (not getting any business anyway) so that would stop the chargebacks maybe

The other thing of course is to be brave and stop using the OTA's they have run amok for long enough and perhaps this is the time to reflect and take stock.Maybe an opportunity for the Visitor Centres to come into play again and link up throughout the world to other bodies they were the source that worked very well once upon a time and perhaps could do so again.

CMA logo

B&B Association refers two biggest OTAs to competition watchdog

We have referred Booking.com and Expedia to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) for their unilateral actions during this crisis.

As members will know from our recent emails, we wrote to both Booking and Expedia to protest strongly about their recent damaging actions, unilaterally changing the T&Cs on existing bookings and refunding "non-refundable" deposits without agreement or even consultation with accommodation owners.

 

We have now asked the CMA to examine both sets of actions to determine whether the two giant OTAs have been acting fairly towards B&Bs, and whether the business terms which allow them to take such actions are unfair (and hence perhaps illegal).

 

The CMA tell us they have "allerted our COVID-19 Task Force"m, and "We will consider the issue". Our call has been fully backed by our colleagues at UK Hospitality, who represent the large hotels and hotel groups.

 

The Caterer reported on our call here. As always, watch this space for further news..

+8
5 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

HI Craigmoniecottage, I am new to this forum and it is sometimes difficult for me to understand how it works. Moreover, I have to translate into French because my English is not very good. Reading all the posts about our dissatisfaction with the refunds made to our customers, I understand that you and other hotels want to do something together. But I can't find any follow-up to your idea of getting together to take joint action. I have posted questions about this, but I don't see any answers. Maybe I don't know how to post my requests. I'm like many of you who want to sue  BOOKING.C but how? It seems you have some interesting legal information. Have you made any progress and how can you get together?

If you'd like to answer that. 

Thank you

Pascale

+1
4 months ago
5
Craigmoniecottage

Hi Riad Shiraz - just saw your post (I have sent a post to you earlier) There are indeed many of us who are very unhappy with the way B.Com and other OTA's have handled themselves during covid19 and in doing so has just made it clear and highlights the contempt they have towards their Accommodation Providers.  However, the more numbers we can gather together the better our cause.  In Scotland we have the support of the Bed and Breakfast Associations, Self Catering Associations, Visit Loch Ness, Hoteliers Association, Government MP's, Visit Scotland, last but not least the FEd. of Small Businesses and I know that the similar associations in England are also taking on board the same concerns as shown in Scotland.  So really we do need to get together and in France you will also have strong authorities who will act on your side so you have to get them involved together with other accommodation providers.  It would also be a possiblity to set up leagally some kind of funding page and I think that would provide the finances to take legal advice (which will be very expensive and not feasible for individuals but as a group a very different picture emerges).  I am not legal minded and any kind of funding page would have to be set up through a recognisable body and and fully legal and trasparent account. I keep saying it without us the accommodation providers the OTA's do not exist we just have to get that message across.  Before OTA's I travelled regularly to France and I still do without any problems are we in Society today so incapable of being able to organise a holiday without OTA's are we really so busy that we are 100% reliant on a body outwith our own control to direct our business if we are then perhaps we should not be in business.  We have to help ourselves not let others help themselves to us.

+2
4 months ago
3
Riad SHIRAZ

Hi Craigmoniecottage,  

I'm sorry, I didn't see your answer. To answer it, I do not find on this forum, the French hoteliers nor those who are in Morocco.

I think that an action of "all" the partners of Booking.com would be much stronger.

In any case, thank you for your answer. I will follow the evolution of the steps on the forum.

4 months ago
2
Dene Guest House

How many of you still have availability on booking.com for May, April, June and so on? 

If you want to kick booking.com in the teeth, do not give them availability! Honor the bookings you have with them, but do not give them any further availability. Stay in contact with guests that you manually alter their reservations to new dates and that you will inform Booking about that. 

By all means, Expedia is not better, but handled the situation better. 

We are feeding Booking.com if we continue to give them availability! 

Have your direct channels established, cut Booking.com off for any further availability. Give it to Expedia or Airbnb. Stop using them stop feeding them. 

If people do not see much or any availability they will eventually check Expedia, check tripadvisor etc. 

Cheers,

Simone

+3
5 months ago