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Reviews and ratings based on the wrong expectations or not understanding the nature of the venue

We, and I believe 99% of the hotels who work with booking.com, are having an strange issue with guest mentality: many people evidently dont read trough the amenities and services which hotel is providing. Then they publish angry reviews and low rating marks simply because hotel or B&B hadn't provide certain amenity, service or facility, which guests for some reason expected, even though it is often very clearly listed in the description that this particular amenity isn't available, or is available only for certain, higher rate.

There is also similar aspect about guests angrily complaining in the comments (or at the place) about certain fees and deposits, even if they are listed at the invoices and description.

Most common complaints of this kind are

1. Complaining about no TV, after booking cheap rate room without TV-which is clearly listed (very often in our B&B)

2. Complaining about surcharge for the pets, disregard if this is clearly listed at the property description(often with us)

3. Complaining about room having no private toilet and shower, after booking cheap rooms without toilets.(we have wc in all rooms, bt may hotels who have both rooms with private toilet, and rooms with public wc for cheaper price face this type of criticism often)

4. Complaining about security deposits even though it is clearly listed in the conditions.

5. Demanding 5 start hotel amenities like fitness-room or jacuzzi in 2 star hotel.

6. Complaining about hostel being a hostel

Any idea how you are dealing with it?

13 Replies

3
hector

We agree. Guests don't read what they should and the hotel gets penalised.

We have guests who have complained because their King-size bed was a King-size bed, that no breakfast was available during the dates when no breakfast was available, that the hotel has no parking when it has no parking, that cars can't drive in a pedestrian only area and that the hotel has no views of the sea when it has no views of the sea.

The worst case is that in Booking.com advertises 'Free Cancellation'.

Guests assume that all the following reservations are 'Free Cancellation' and so then get annoyed when the reservation isn't 'Free Cancellation'. Also that 'Free Cancellation' is not the same as 'Free Cancellation Up Until A Certain Date'. How many rates on Booking.com actually are 'Free Cancellation'?

Our hotel has had its policies set for many years. Policies that suit our seasonal business and that suit our customers. As Booking.com try to remove any character and individuality from hotels and merge them all into a single flock of sheep under the notion of facilitating a better experience for guests, these policies are no longer deemed appropriate. One of the extranet's opportunities says, "Did you know you’re charging a prepayment on your flexible rates? This causes lots of confusion, complaints and cancellations from guests. Try removing your prepayment policy — you’re likely to get fewer cancellations and even more bookings."

When our policies were set they weren't 'flexible rates' and our rates have always required deposits. It is Booking.com that has changed the terminology which then "causes lots of confusion, complaints and cancellations from guests"

1 year ago
7
pibomarco

How big are your hotels, how many guests can accept?

I have 12 double rooms, 4 apartments and 4 bungalows.
i work with booking.com aprox 10 years.

This year I removed the free cancelation, if canceled after booking the first night is charged and if canceled after 30 days before arrival 100% of the booking will be charged. Although I would be fleksible in this case if the guest would send a request.
I removed that we are pet friendly.
No more extra beds.
Soon I will remove also the children i think. So we'll see the difference..

Although based on your issues I don't have that many complaints on that behalf (550reviews).. But if you are a bigger hotel I think there is no good solutions.. Even our top notch hotels (1500 reviews) in my area are rated below my rate.. but this is logical if you acumolate a lot of guests.. which means lots of patients, lots of different perspectives. .sepcially if you are a HOTEL, lots of snobs and smarty pants who beleive they are always right.

After each booking is made, I send the guest also a generated email with my house rules / policy (in 5 different languages). If you are smaller business this can be managed.. for a bigger ones.. well.. just do well, having a great service and kindness, and the positive reviews will mater and will be in majority.

I gues.. :)

1 year ago
2
Leina'ala

From time to time I check availability and content on about our hotel on our public profile with Booking.com to make sure guests are seeing what I need them to see. We actually have more problems with reservations made via Expedia. I also print policies taken from our public profile to have handy at the front desk in the event someone complains. I have no problem pointing out to guests who do complain about "unexpected" charges that they have to read the terms carefully.

1 year ago
3
Ginascott57

Totally agree with you. The review system is often seen as an opportunity to find a problem with the guest's stay.

I often see them complaining about issues which are quite clearly stated in the listing. Our most booked room with booking.com is the cheapest and does not have a full kitchen nor does it have a lounge room. Yet the guests still walk into the room and ask where these facilities are. I then have to explain what they have booked and offer to change their room to an apartment for an extra cost in some cases. This is totally unfair. Then I have still had them complain.

The review system asked what is positive and what is negative. Some people see this as a prompt that they should find something negative to comment on. Many have added the words, "Nothing" all good", at this point as well......it is like they should fill in every aspect of a form.

The system needs an overhaul.

1 year ago
1
Geoff Calvert

Haha i think its just the nature of the business. Some people are never going to be happy!

1 year ago
4
Pita Lie

We sent a fine print that basically reminding them again of all our policies. It forces them to read properly. We have cookies so we can see whether they indeed read them or not LOL. (See the picture) so they cannot argue if they said they have no acknowledgement about whatever. It really saves us plenty of headaches.

We keep sending until they read it or we send SMS after that (we have same system that can show us whether customers have read the SMS or not)

1 year ago
2
European Connection

I dont thing juts sending fine print and inssit they open it helps.

Recently we began printing out our rules, and asking that guests sign it before check in. They also receive a copy.

Result?

2/3 of people don't bother to read what they sign(if I would be a pranker, I would give them a paper saying that they agree to become my sexual slaves).

Own copy of rules goes to the trash can instantly after they check into their rooms.

1 year ago
3
hector

We agree.

Pleople don't read room descriptions, terms and conditions nor fine print.

But also now Booking.com has creeated an environment where guests no longer feel that they have to be accountable for their actions in agreeing to a hotel's terms and conditions. At every moment they have been given 'get out of jail free card' and unfortunatly the result is that many guests feel that terms and conditions are not binding and that they should be able to break them at any moment without any form of repercussion.

1 year ago
4
Pita Lie

@Hector BDC does not even have tickbox so customer has to agree with term and condition when makes booking. Customers of BDC are not binding to anything so it is our jobs to do it. That's why I limit my customers coming from BDC by putting more expensive price here.

@European Connection it helps in our case as we always get reply to inquire things. It does smooth up many things.

1 year ago
2
Nino Jejelava

the more people demand and the more you do worth ranking they write. And when they dont demand anything usually rating is excellent.

I had a guest who wanted to cancel because we dont have swimming pool well i have no idea where she got idea from that we should have had one and since we dont have means to process credit card she just didnt pay very last minute it was very fishy at first place because out of no ware she asked one day before arrival if we have a pool :) we said no and she made bookings com call ask as for a compensation :) they didnt even checked we have not had pol listed its unbelievable how much bookings com supports guests but not hosts....

1 year ago
3
hector

We have often received calls from BDC agents who have not even read the hotel's policies before asking questions.

For example, we only serve breakfast from May to September. This is written on BDC profile. Once an agent called to ask if we served breakfast in March. When we said no, they asked if a guest could cancel free of charge beacuse they want breakfast. The agent said that the customer said that there was no information about breakfast on the hotel's profile. We had to tell/show the BDC agent how to find the information on the extranet for them to tell the guest.

1 year ago
7
pibomarco

How did you manage to put this information in to the description regarding the breakfast served from May to September? Did you put this info long time ago or recently? Is it in your main description or fine print? I had to put in the fine print that breakfast is not available due to maintanance in the kitchen (lol) till June.. because I couldn't mark that we don't serve breakfast in low season.

1 year ago
3
hector

It used to be in the main description many years ago and then they moved it to fine print.

Non of our policies from October to April include breakfast and we have to make sure that 'Meals' and 'Price for Meals' are turned off from October to April. It also means that we can't do things like inlcude free breakfast for Genius guests.

Considering that many many hotels are seasonal, it is a shame that BDC doesn't allow hotel services to be 'date ranged' on the extranet. The last time we asked if they were thinking of doing it they said no. Shame.

1 year ago