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How do other hosts handle these situations (credit card declines)?

Hello! I am just wondering how other partners handle the following:

Winter is low season here but I recently had what would have been 2 very good bookings for the time of year.

However, both had "credit card declines" when I tried to process the bookings at time of reservation (These were at our non-refundable rate).

I always wonder if, in such cases, and given that we don't expect to be busy, whether I should take a "wait and see" attitude, although this is risky.

What do other people do with such bookings, especially when there may be 1-2 months to go, before the arrival date? My practice has been to cancel when the credit card doesn't go through. What do other hosts do? Deborah

20 Replies

B.
Community Admin

Dear Dovercourt Village Mews, thank you for posting in the community! In the cases that the credit card is invalid, you need to mark it in the system. When you do that, the guest will automatically receive an email and a text message requesting new card details within 24 hours. You’ll get an email when the guest updates their details, but if you don’t receive these within 24 hours, or the guest provides invalid credit card details again, you can cancel the booking through the Reservations tab. You can find more information in this link:

https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/policies-payments/how-do-i-mark-credit-card-invalid

Best of Luck!

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2 months ago
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Dovercourt Vil…

Hello! While I appreciate your reply, I wasn't writing about that.

I was interested in hearing from other hosts as to whether, with a booking that is a month or more in the future and a guest whose initial card declines, whether they actually do go and cancel, or whether they "wait and see".

This was not a question about cancelling bookings. I've done that many times. But we do have the option,even with a credit card decline, to hold off on cancelling. I think this question is best answered by other hosts. Deborah

2 months ago
7
fluff

I think you develop a sense, that works most of the time, for which declines are mistakes by the booker and which are intended as "dummy" cards. 

I always send the automated "invalid card" message (so that I can cancel if required) but I also send a very polite message explaining in much more detail ( some of these are templates now ) why the card has been declined (the decline code tells the exact reason) and what the booker should do to correct it. I also state that the booking IS NOT confirmed until their card passes payment. My account is set to deposits with booking in low season and full payment with booking in high season.

In high season, if I don't get a response from the booker within the 24 hours (but allowing for time zones also) I will usually cancel them so that I free up the space a.s.a.p. for a genuine booker.

In low season I'm far more lenient and will allow the "sense" to take over, if I feel it's simply an error of circumstance I'll let the booking go until check in, then it's "cough up now sunshine" ;-) or the no-show button. If I have the feeling that the booker is " 'aving a laugh mate" then I will cancel them off at the first opportunity.

So far my sense to give leniency has been approx. 80% correct and gained the booking in the end.

 

+2
2 months ago
1
Dovercourt Vil…

Thanks for the very helpful answer. I will re-consider my approach in low season.  Have a great year in 2020!

2 months ago
8
pibomarco

Since there are not many guests in this time of the season there still are some costs, such as preparing the room before arrival, pre-heating, etc. So I am not willing to take that NO-Show risk.

 

I would notify the guest to update their CC information while you can let them know that in case of a cancelation you'll be willing to make a refund if notified at least few days before the arrival (if you have empty rooms in general during low season). 

2 months ago
1
Dovercourt Vil…

Good suggestions. I will think about the option of a refund (or equivalent) option... 

2 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

We use Payments by Booking.com - guests must pay at the time of booking, just the same as they would if they booked through AirBnB, TripAdvisor, HomeAway etc. Our settings on Booking.com are for non-refundable - that applies to all bookings on all properties with Booking.com.

We do not take credit card bookings through Booking.com - there is too much risk that people will book, which blocks your calendar, preventing you taking other bookings, and then they just don't show up. There are too many fake / fraud bookings through Booking.com with credit card payments. Look through this community and you'll see people complaining again and again about this.

Using Payments by Booking.com stops the fraud, stops the no-shows, stops the fake bookings, and best of all, you get the money, just the same as you would if you took bookings through AirBnB, TripAdvisor, HomeAway etc.

Make life easy on yourself.....

2 months ago
1
Dovercourt Vil…

Hello, Thanks for your useful tips. One of the reasons I haven't gone full-tilt into the Payments by Booking.com (online payments) is that they won't release the deposit at time of booking but hold all the funds until 2 weeks prior. (Given that our deposit is non-refundable, I am not sure why they cannot set up two VCCs to allow for this...) Waiting for the deposit has played havoc with our cash flow, relative to paying  taxes etc. I am monitoring the situation but will take your thoughts under advisement. 

2 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

Payments by Booking.com ensures that guests pay at the time of booking, same as they would on other systems. It can take longer for Booking.com to pay out, sometimes up to 6 weeks later, but, you save yourself a lot of hassle and in the long run, you'll earn more as you won't have idiots booking and not paying and not showing up. If cash flow is a problem, use AirBnB - they pay out the day after the guest arrives. Don't try and fight "the normal" or "best" or "easiest" ways of doing things. Don't make life difficult if you don't need to.

2 months ago
1
Dovercourt Vil…

Hello, again! Thanks for your further thoughts.I doubt if we could wait until 6 weeks later. As of now, we haven't had too many issues with credit card bookings, it's more about guest intentions and people who aren't seriously planning to stay here. You know, "Fantasy Shopping"... I was on AirBnB, years ago, at a different property and would likely never go back to them. Issues with AirBnB have led to a lot of legislation here and I've been glad there's a bit of distance between me and them. It may be different where you are, as there is a much longer tradition of BnB type accommodation in the UK and Europe. Over here, the term "BnB' has been used to wriggle around provisions of the Innkeepers Act. AirBnB doesn't have a great reputation, due to all the partying and damage associated with their rentals, but they are working to address that.

2 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

There are many other online booking websites - it's not just AirBnB and Booking.com.

If you *really* want to stop fake bookings / no shows, then you need to change what you do ..... and if you don't change, you will keep getting the fake bookings, the no shows, the non payments etc ....

 

+1
2 months ago
8
pibomarco

Chanel that is popular among users acumulate more bookings which also means there is a bigger chance to receive more fake bookings. Chanels that don't acumulate that many bookings in general you'll most likely to receive less fake bookings if any. I think Booking.com and AirBnB.com are one of those channels that are a must for optimal business performance.

 

About the Payments by Booking.com. You can receive a bank transfer four times a month. After your guest checks out, you'll be paid by bank transfer within 10 working days.There can be extra transaction fee for that, about 1,2%.

 

And as Isle suggested already, I think it is worth to use Payments by BDC, because no hassle with fake CC's, 0 no-shows and saves lot of work and nerves.

+1
2 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

Payments by BDC is an excellent solution!!!

 I have been using it and have no problems...

Wish you all a beautiful day.

2 months ago
7
fluff

... but not available in many countries unfortunately.

2 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

If it's not available or BDC refuse to set it up for a host, the host should simply use another system like AirBnB .... such an easy solution ....

2 months ago
7
fluff

I hear you but not all of us have such faith in the likes of AirBnB, I have found them to be truly awful.

2 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

Each system has it's pros and cons .... none of them do everything we want .... but most will do most of what we need .... and it's a choice .... we either put up with the fake bookings, fraud bookings and no-shows on BDC, or we do something about it like switch to another OTA ....

We have a lot of properties .... all of them are listed on AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway .... some are also listed on BDC .... every time we add a property to BDC, it's a battle with BDC to get Payments by Booking.com set up .... and then there's a battle to get changes to The Fine Print .... and then battles over other things .... and if BDC don't allow this or that, the property doesn't open on BDC for bookings .... simple ....

+1
2 months ago
7
fluff

Can the down-voter to the above post add something? Critical or otherwise.

It's an opinion founded on experience even though my own is the opposite.

I have used similar tactics with Airbnb having just disabled the account for the third time.

Agents do vary in the service provided by country or region it would seem.

EDIT, either the down vote was removed or cancelled out by an up vote.

+1
2 months ago
8
pibomarco

BDC, AirBnB, Expedia, (others not worth a mention) are working very well for me in their own way with basicly no problems what so ever. Perhaps sometimes some small issues with BDC guests (human nature) and it stands out a little bit more just because in general I receive more bookings from BDC comparing to other chanels.

I am waiting to join HomeAway but not before they develop API integration for syncing with chanel manager, because calendar syncing is lame. 

2 months ago