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What you need to know about Risk-free Reservations

Hi everyone,

I'm the Product Marketing Manager here at Booking.com for the Risk-free Reservations program. We noticed a lot of conversations in the Community on the topic! So we gathered the top three most asked questions to answer here, in order to provide more clarity. We want to enable you to make the most of this program. 

How can you make sure that the payment is guaranteed?

In the event of a cancellation, Risk-free Reservations provides you with a full, risk-free experience if you allow us to resell the cancelled room nights. To do so we need continued availability for the corresponding rooms and a compelling price. This is the commitment we ask from your side to guarantee the payment.

Receiving your Risk-free Reservations, what is the process, timing and amount you can expect to get paid?

Process:

The majority of guests that book flexible policies don’t actually end up cancelling, so in most cases you’ll be able to handle payment as normal, charging the guest once they are liable according to the policy terms. 

If the guest cancels outside the free-cancellation window and their means of payment is invalid, you mark this in the system as per usual and we’ll search for a replacement booking. If we are unable to find a new guest for those reservations we’ll still pay you for the room nights according to the payment solution you have signed up for. 

If a guest doesn’t show up on the day of arrival and again has not provided valid payment details, we will pay you straight-away as there is no time to find a new guest. 

Booking.com will only pay out for the room nights we were unable to find a replacement for and when the guest who cancelled is liable but fails to provide a valid means of payment. 

Timing:

 If we fail to replace the full reservation we’ll pay for the loss on the day of check-in.

Amount:

We will pay you the amount that was expected from the unfilled room nights in the original booking.

What are the benefits of Risk-free Reservations?

One of the top selling points for Booking.com guests is having the option of free cancellation. With Risk-free Reservations you’ll be able to attract those guests by adding more flexibility to your existing cancellations policies, with the guarantee of a risk-free experience. Adding more flexibility will boost your conversion and help you secure bookings quicker.

How can you join Risk-free Reservations? 

To join Risk-free Reservations you need to be a part of Payments by Booking.com. We use this solution to ensure your payment. If you have ticked all the criteria we will enroll you for this feature and confirm via an Extranet inbox message and/or an additional email. You can also enable/disable it here if you’ve not been automatically enrolled or your business strategy changes.

For more answers to frequently asked questions visit our FAQ Help article

We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 


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The Flying Pen… 2 years ago

Hi again, 

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate that, I truly do. However, I think I'm still not being clear. I am not asking about cancelled bookings under this program. I understand what happens if a guest cancels during the free cancellation period. 

 

I am asking about non-cancelled bookings. It seems that the first time I can effect payment for a non-cancelled booking is after the free cancellation period lapses ie in the 4 days prior to arrival date.

 

 

In which case, do I use the BdC virtual card (seems not, from the info provided in the booking)? Or do I use the guest's own card, which is obviously not an assured payment as it could fail (and often does)?

 

If there is an issue with payment of a non-cancelled booking which I will only realize at some point in the 4 days prior to arrival, does BdC guarantee this guest payment? Or am I out of pocket completely?  

 

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pibomarco 2 years ago

"Virtual cards have an activation date tied to the reservation policy. Always make sure the card is active before you charge it."

 

To my understanding you can charge virtual card once the free cancelation period is over. 

 

If guest cancels during the free cancelation period you do nothing.

 

If you opted for "Online Payments" you dont receive guest CC info, but you receive Booking's VCC.

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The Flying Pen… 2 years ago

OK it becomes clearer now inasmuch as I'm starting to piece together all the bits of this puzzle.

 

I reviewed my channel manager tutorials regarding their interaction with booking.com. It appears that (according to them and they are usually pretty accurate) that there are 4 methods of payout with BdC: Guest pays establishment with card, guest pays cash, Virtual Card and "Payments by Booking.com".

 

They differentiate between Virtual Card and "Payments by Booking.com". This is where my confusion obviously lies. I do have the Virtual Card option, but in my case I also have the capability for guests to pay using their own credit cards. And I can't find "Payments by booking.com" on my extranet. So on the one hand it isn't clear whether I do belong to "Payments by booking.com".

 

However, on the other hand, it seems that one cannot belong to "risk free reservations" without belonging to "Payments by booking.com" .

 

If indeed I belong to "Payments by booking.com" then all I need to confirm with the call centre is that I can use that virtual card to effect payment and then all is resolved. 

 

Clear as mud on BdC documentation/FAQs :-).

I think I at least now know what to ask the BdC call centre. Asking the right questions definitely helps. 

 

Thanks for your patience everyone, helping me solve this mystery.

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pibomarco 2 years ago

Collecting payments directly from the guest always comes with a potential risk of insufficent funds or declined CC, fraudelent bookings, no-shows etc.. Semi-solution is pre-authorizing their CC for the amount on the time of booking and setting your policies more strict. 

 

Unfortuantely Payments by Booking.com is not avaliable in some countries.  I remember last year before I switched to Payments by BDC, I could choose "Online Payments" (VCC) in extranet under the Policies section.  

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M Adamopoulou 2 years ago

I just want to add that my guest didn’t ask for cancellation...there was an issue with billing his credit/debit card and BDC canceled the reservation.  

Sorry for not using the reply window...it is too narrow and long and it’s impossible to write...

Have a good day all.

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Brixtony1 2 years ago

I had a risk free cancellation cancelled due to credit card not valid. 

 

This is the message showing against it. This seems to contradict the idea that we are completely protected in the payment fails The cancellation was processed due to invalid payment using the correct method for this.

 

19 - 20 December

Standard Rate

Canceled after Risk-Free time frame

Since this room night was canceled after the Risk-Free period ended, it remains non-refundable and the guest should pay for it.

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pibomarco 2 years ago

That's why Booking.com offers payment methods such as "Payments by Booking.com" and "Online payments" to avoid the issues with CC's that are nto valid.

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Brixtony1 2 years ago

The process states that we should be covered whatever payment method we use. It's right at the top of this message thread. It doesn't make clear is needs to be payments by Booking.com or Online Payments

 

If the guest cancels outside the free-cancellation window and their means of payment is invalid, you mark this in the system as per usual and we’ll search for a replacement booking. If we are unable to find a new guest for those reservations we’ll still pay you for the room nights according to the payment solution you have signed up for. 

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pibomarco 2 years ago

Perhaps the difference is, that you canceled the booking and not the guest himself? (if I understood correctly).  If you are able to charge CC's why don't you opt in for Online payments (VCC)?

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Brixtony1 2 years ago

I also have a minimum two night booking. A risk free cancellation, booked on these terms was cancelled. I will not be protected as I want the new booking to also be two nights as per our terms.

 

20 - 21 December

Standard Rate, genius rate (Standard Rate -10%)

Availability restriction

Due to the restriction(s) you set for this room night, we're unable to replace the guest and pay for it.

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pibomarco 2 years ago

Yeah that's quite lame. The replacement should be searched under the same conditions as the original booking..

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BrookAve 2 years ago

Hmm strange I'm pretty sure I have had overlap replacement and paid for both via BdC payments including the dates the new guest does not take.

 

Though my minimum is 1 night so I suspect that's why yours was treated differently

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Athena Bradridge 2 years ago

I am new to booking.com. I do not understand how I am to be paid the guest *** booked on 9th Dec and stayed one night. I am due for payment into my account 10 days after guest leaves. The monies has not been paid by booking.com. The guest had a receipt saying she had paid and yet on my booking it said payment not yet received. I have other guests coming but will not honour bookings if I am not paid by your company. You have my account details for The Breezeway. Thank you Athena Bradridge 

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BrookAve 2 years ago

Hi Athena, welcome.

You dont need to include guest details like their names, the BdC moderator will strip that out.

Partners cant look such details up either so you should instead link your listing into your forum profile .

As new partner you really should enable under Finance section on your admin dashboard aka extranet, Get Paid, Payments By BdC. Enter your bank IBAN info.

 

If guest has already prepaid BdC then will process and pay out.

 

We need to see the listing or you need to tell us the rate plan used, cancellation policy setup , was prepay enabled etc

 

 

 

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pibomarco 2 years ago

Did you activate feature "Payments by Booking.com"?  

To see if your property is already active on Payments by Booking and for more info on associated costs, log in to the Extranet and click on the "Finance" tab.

  • If you see the "Getting paid" page in the drop-down menu, you're currently active and can find more info about this service. 

  • If you see the "Payments by Booking.com" page, you're eligible but not yet active, and can activate the service at the bottom of the page. 

  • If you don’t see either the "Getting paid" or the "Payments by Booking.com" pages in the drop-down menu, your property isn’t active or eligible for this service.  

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Marcel Tripsa 2 years ago

I had a 3 day reservation under risk free cancelled by the guest.

I do have Payment by bookings.

Then I get a request to book on another platform for the last 2 days of the initial reservation.

I called Booking and ask, and initially to be told that I can and should take the 2 days reservation, and when I specifically asked if Booking will pay for the 1st day (uncovered still), I was told yes, Booking will only pay for the first day if they can't find someone.

Skip fwd a little, I talk to someone else, whom told me that if you 'close' any of the 3 days from the initial reservation, then Booking will not pay anything!

Also, instead of my initial 3 days booking, I may get 3 x 1day bookings from Booking, which is not the same as now you need to do changeover and cleaning x3.

Is this correct?

 

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pibomarco 2 years ago

I think this is correct. To my understanding the point of risk-free bookings is for BDC to be more competitive, so that the canceled rooms are not sold on other booking portals. 

 

The question is once the booking is canceled, when is the latest time that you must set a minimum stay to 1 night to be eligable for risk-free payout. Is this the same day or a day before the arrival..? If this really is the case.

 

It's a difference if you have set a minimum stay for 1 night but you received a booking for three nights. Then it's logical if booking is canceled BDC must be able to find replacements at least for one night (for all three nights).

 

But if you have a general restriction set to 3 days minimum, does that mean that you must change to 1 day minimum after the risk-free booking is canceled? If yes, then this is wrong in my book. 

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Community Admin 2 years ago

Dear pibomarco, thank you for posting in the community! If you are part of the Risk-Free program that doesn't mean that all the reservations that you are gonna receive will be Risk-Free. The system randomly upgrading the Non-refundable or Flexible cancellation policies to Free Cancellation. 

If the Risk Reservation is cancelled the system will try to replace them for the same dates. At this point is important not to make any changes since the system will stop searching and then the reservation will not be paid.

 

You can find more information to the link below:

https://partner.booking.com/en-gb/help/first-steps/faq-risk-free-reservations

Best of Luck!

 

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pibomarco 2 years ago

My comments were towards Risk-Free bookings and I am part of the program. If I understand correctly I don't have to modify restrictions such as minimum stay if risk-free booking is canceled.

Cool.

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Marcel Tripsa 2 years ago

Hi Pibomarco,

Yes, I have a min 2 day policy. 1 day advance booking.

I had a 3 day booking under risk free..... cancelled.  I absolutely agree that B (and us!) should try to work TOGETHER and minimize impact on us or our partner, Booking.  But in a transparent way .... (trust?).

what really is annoying is that this is not stated upfront when you sign Risk free, if anything, is misinforming us that 'we will be in the same position'.

Clearly doing 3 cleaning + 3 lots or welcome wine/hampers, instead of 1, is a difference.  Also, my cleaning crew needs 2 days notice ... 

What I find astonishing is that if B. gets 1-2-or3 one day bookings, they force it on us (or you lose the balance payment ....) but, if I HELP and find a booking on another platform for 1 day, I need to decline it there as B (instead of having to find 2 nights now instead of 3) are saying 'look, you get a breadcrumb elsewhere, so nil from us for further days lost....  So really are asking me to go find clients elsewhere and, then what,  see if I can persuade / 'steal' customers from other platforms to ask them to re-book on B ... really? ... I am better off to pretty much keep the days closed on all other platforms, leave booking try to sort it out (which may involves 3 times costs for me ... which is NOT the same as before, which is how they sell the program).

I love B from many things they do, but not this one. so I pulled out of Risk free, at least for now...

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M Adamopoulou 2 years ago

Very good question pibomarco!!!

Maybe Community Admin. should give us more definitions about this matter as it a little complicated.

Thanks pibomarco.

 

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Craigdarroch H… 2 years ago

 

My scenario : i offer a non-refundable rate -  they get a discount , i get cash flow.  Simple!

 

With risk free they get a discount for a non-refundable  booking which they get refunded and i don't get the cash flow. 

Seems a situation i just lose from. If they want a refundable rate they can get one!

What's the point in having a non-refundable rate?

Or

do booking.com keep the first guests money hope that the room resells at which point they get to keep the first lot of money?

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pibomarco 2 years ago

Risk-Free reservations will display your strictest policy as having a free cancellation.

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Noren Mouton 1 year ago

My parents are renting out on Booking.com and had activated the risk-free cancellation modus and NEVER got an answer from booking when a cancellation happened. Neither did they get a refund. Just to let you know as you did not answer their request.   

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Cannara B and B 6 months ago

How do we opt out of Risk free reservations? Not working for us as latest cancellation shows £0 value on VCC

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BrookAve 6 months ago

 

contact partner support.

 

 

 


Friendly reminder : we cannot help with account nor invoice/payout issues here, you must message Partner Support to open a case and then if urgent follow up with a phone call. see contact options below.

 

Reminder partners should NOT use Customer Services methods on main website,, use Partner Support.

 


 

Simply report to BdC Partner Support , see below 3 methods. They will never see any post on the Partner Hub.

 

Message or Call BdC PartnerSupport 

 

  1. In the extranet, go to the ‘Inbox’ tab.
  2. Select ‘Booking.com messages’.
  3. Right Pane - Click on ‘See Contact Options’
  4. Choose Account
  5. Now choose Other
  6. Then at bottom , See all contact options, and click Message or Call
  7. As there is no one number for all partners, the number for your nearest BdC Partner Support is then revealed.
  8.  

    *** public main lines via Where you can reach us

     

     


    how to contact partner support via private assigned number in inbox

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Boquete Apartments 6 months ago

Besides the fact that BDC does not offer "Payments by Booking.com in Panama" so we have no way to adhere to this program, I don't see how we could notify BDC of a no-show if the guest cancels the reservation on the very afternoon of their expected arrival, after the time limit for cancelation and after the expected time of check-in, against our registered cancelation policies. Once they have done this, the reservation is closed and we cannot access it anymore to register a no-show, not even to denounce the damaging behavior of the guest or to access their credit card data to charge a penalty (the latter is hypothetical as our POS system does not allow us to charge cards that are not physically present). We cannot even block them from booking us again. How does BDC protect us against such fraudulent behavior? Apparently not at all.

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Franca Fortunato 3 months ago

I have free risk planned and since 2020 did not arrive any reservation with that planned.  only in this month I received one...and the guest arrived, they did not change or cancelled the booking.  So I don't relay think that you are using for us, because I have received a  lot of cancelation but any 0 risk,  Thank you. Franca