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1

Tons of fake bookings - warning for new partners

I’ve published my guest house as new partner couple months ago. One message I want to share with everybody considering to join Booking to rent a guest house is the huge amount of fake bookings that can ruin your business.

As new partner Booking.com does not offer their payment service to you. This will take about 2-3 months (or up to 1 year in some cases) to be activated. In the meantime there is no option to ask for a pre-payment. This means no commitment from guest who book to show.

I’ve started with a pretty high rate in off season as a try out and was surprised by the huge amount of bookings. Most of them from Ghana or India filling my booking agenda for a period of 2 months. Unfortunately I found out that non of these guest have showed up, causing me a lack of income for almost the entire period because I was not able to find new guests on the short term after a no show. What I discoverer is that these are people who want to enter the country for other reasons than having a holiday or business trip and use the booking confirmation at the border to try to get a visa or enter the country.

I’ve had several calls with Booking.com but they are not willing to cancel future bookings from similar guests (who all didn’t show looking back). And in case of a no show it is your risk, costing you lot of money because you where not able to find another guest.

I still have 20 days of these kind of booking. Does anybody has a recommendation what to do to cancel these bookings? I’ve requested to cancel it but if the guest does not respond there is not an option to cancel it myself.

for all potential new partners who want to make use of Booking, please watch out and wait before publishing your property u till the payment service has been activated.

 

9 Replies
287 Views

7
Isle of Wight …

I've posted so many times about this .... you need to set up Payments by Booking.com, or switch to AirBnB etc .... view my profile and scroll down to read the comments I've posted about Payments by Booking.com and fake bookings etc

11 months ago
10
BrookAve

As new partner Booking.com does not offer their payment service to you. This will take about 2-3 months (or up to 1 year in some cases) to be activated

 

That is not the case for all new partners and must be country specific . As I got it straight away, and use prepayment via BDC always.

 

 

+2
11 months ago
1
Rogier de Vries

I've red the comments you posted and recognize your situation. I also have a 'self catering model' where guests can pick-up  the key. Maybe this is causing that I can't use the payment by Booking.com right from the beginning. Or maybe it has to do with the country. Still in both situations I recommend to consider couple of times if you want to publish your property right from the beginning after registering because I want to prevent anybody from having a similar experience.

 

I do understand Booking.com want to validate if a property is real but there are several ways of doing this. It might be a consideration to also protect the host (or at least warn them) for fake booking in case you are not allowed to make use of the Payment by Booking.com service. I'm a super host at a competitive service and never had any fake booking or last minute cancelation using their service and hosted over 100 guests last 1,5 year.

+1
11 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

Unfortunately, Booking.com don't care how wonderful you are .... ask them to set up Payments by Booking.com .... if they don't set it up, use AirBnB / TripAdvisor etc .... if you try using Booking.com without online payments, you'll just get more and more fake bookings, hassles and grief ....

+4
11 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

Hi! Rogier and welcome to the Partner Community.

Thanks for sharing your experiences in fake bookings...

I also had some last year and it certainly is very annoying. To minimize fake bookings and cancellations I changed my policies.

 I have added  non refundable rates...so fake bookings stopped. Maybe this can help you...

Wish you luck.

 

+4
11 months ago
1
Rogier de Vries

Thanks for your recommendations. I'm lucky to have the Payment by Booking.com activated in the meantime and good tip to change the policies what I've done in the meantime. For any future request I expect not to face any more fake bookings based on these settings. Unfortunately I still have to deal with couple guests who already made a booking based on the old terms...

+1
11 months ago
1
Kathy Vasudevan

Hi Rogier de Vries,

Due to lack of the support from BDC finance department on commission issue, I have switched the Payment by BDC to prepayment requested by me on non-refundable and 14 days cancellation booking after the reservation completed. After I have changed the payment method, I do received so many fake bookings mainly from Albania, India & Pakistan. What I noticed all these fake bookings are using the same Agoda office address of Singapore with different countries name and also non-reachable telephone number. I have contacted BDC on these fake bookings and they confirmed these are from their partner Agoda (yes Agoda & Booking.com are from the mother company Priceline) and the BDC just replied to me saying they will be sending email to these bookers and requested me too to send a message to these bookers for requesting the prepayment. So I will send the message thru BDC to request a prepayment to be transferred to our bank account with dateline (mostly 2 days). After 2 days dateline,I will call BDC to cancel these fake bookings due non-received prepayment. For last minute bookings, I'm only accepting if I have more than 2 rooms availability. In case no show, I will mark no show or call BDC to cancel the bookings after timeline (CET 18.00)

Payment by BDC is great however if we are not getting any support with BDC finance then everything will be screwed up. BDC just direct debit their commission payment from your bank since we have Payment by BDC agreement. I still have issue with my commission since Nov 2019 and have sent more than 10 messages but still no action or replies from BDC Finance even though the BDC Finance is located in the Netherlands and I'm in the Netherlands too. 

 

9 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

Sounds like your best option is to switch back to normal Payments by Booking.com so that guests pay at the time of booking, just like on AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway. It stops the fake bookings, it stops the no-shows, it saves you a lot of problems. You can also set all bookings to non-refundable so you get paid regardless. Yes, you have to wait for payment, but that's far better than having your calendar blocked by fake bookings where guests don't show up and you don't get any money. You get very little support from Booking.com at the best of times. Don't make things even more difficult for yourself!

9 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

Hi! Kathy and thanks for sharing your experience.

Cancellations are a pain in the head....last year I had many of them... I Payments by BDC but that doesnt sVtop cancellations.  I had to make my policies more strict to stop them.

Very sorry to hear about your finance problems.

Wish you well.

 

9 months ago