How to identify your happiest Booking.com guests
You look at your review score right? Maybe, but as I recently discovered, it can be as much about the reviews you DON'T get.
We have a regular business guest that stays with us virtually every week and, until recently, always books through Booking.com.
She likes staying with us because of the convenience and consistency we offer her, the fact that we're so attentive...Oh and the towels, she really loves the nice thick towels ?
Anyway, she leaves us a 10/10 review every time, which is great. At least I thought it was, until we got this absolute gem of an email from booking.com, basically claiming that she's a fake guest and we're leaving fake reviews for her:
Low and behold when I checked, they've removed all but two of her reviews (why they left those two I don't know - she's either real or she isn't!) and now every time she stays, they remove her latest review from our page. And they've actually threatened to close us down if she ever has another good stay with us, basically.
The kind of questions that spring to mind here are:
1. Why would we have numerous conversations with ourselves via the Extranet? Maybe we would, if we were being really thorough at pretending to be someone else
2. Why would they not just call her and very easily verify that she's a real person? Wouldn't that be more professional than to falsely accuse an operator of review fraud, especially if you "value your business relationship" with that operator?
3. This guest pays online every time through Booking.com. Playing devil's advocate here, why, if we were making fake bookings, would we do this? Surely we would just pretend that we took payment via our own payment merchant, rather than pay a few hundred pounds for a measely fake review (when our score even without that review is in the high 9s)?!
These are all questions I sadly don't have the answers to, despite having asked them repeatedly in a series of around 20 emails and Extranet messages, all of which have been ignored. Sadly we are currently without an account manager as well, as she wisely did a runner from Booking.com at the start of the year.
It's become a running joke in our office. In fact it's now our number 1 OTA success metric: "Number of reviews removed for being too good" ?
In all seriousness, I have no idea what they're thinking. You would think they would want happy guests leaving good reviews and staying again and again. But apparently in Booking.com world, it's grounds for dismissal. This is a company whose marketing department spends something like $4M dollars a DAY on Google advertising alone, while their reviews team is single-handedly undoing that by actively campaigning against customer retention.
Our only option to protect our business was to have a word with the guest and explain the situation. She now books direct for all her future stays. So now we don't have to worry about being closed down, and I guess Booking.com no longer has to worry about all that pesky commission from our happiest guest. I can only assume that's what they wanted here, even if I cannot claim to understand it!
I'm not sure what the moral is here; maybe keep your guests happy...just not TOO happy ?