The GTD regarding the Forced Circumstances
I am having countless bookings cancelled due to this horrible situation with regard to the COVID19 Pandemic.
I have no problem with this however I am very disturbed by the way the platform has implemented a process for a guest to cancel and process a refund without any input from the property.
I am being denied the right to offer an alternative solution.and have absolutely no control of my own policies and processes. I am sure we all have our own policies in place that protect our business, employees and also maintain excellent guest service.
In a recent discussion with the help desk this is my letter to them.
Notification of breach of GTD of the agreement between myself and Booking.com.
The GTD with regard to Force majeure states the following.
Section 2, point 2.9 of the contract cover all that we describe as "force majeure" events. COVID cases fall under that category. Your obligations in such cases, as per contract, are as follows:
"In the event of a Force Majeure Event, the Accommodation shall not charge (and shall repay (if applicable)) the Guests affected by the Force Majeure
Event any fee, costs, expenses or other amount (including the (non-refundable) rate or the no-show, (change of) reservation or cancellation fee) for (i)
any cancellation or change of the reservation made by the Guests, or (ii) that part of the reservation that was not consumed, due to the Force Majeure
Event. In the event of reasonable and justified doubt, the Accommodation may ask a Guest to provide reasonable evidence of the causality between
the Force Majeure Event and cancellation, no-show or change of reservation (and provide Booking.com upon request with a copy of such evidence). In
order for Booking.com to register any cancellation, no-show or amendment of the reservation due to a Force Majeure Event, the Accommodation shall
inform Booking.com within 2 business days after (a) the scheduled check out date of the no-show or cancellation, or (b) check out, the number of days
actually stayed. Booking.com will not charge any commission in the event of a registered no-show or cancellation or over that part of the booking which
is not consumed due to the Force Majeure Event."
While I have no problem with this, and the intention is certainly wise. The application of this process is in direct breach of this agreement and has resulted in sever financial loses to myself and severe job loses to the employees that work for my business.
According the agreement I have the right to request proof. I also then need to notify booking.com of these situations with the specified time frame and the payment will be processed accordingly.
However, BOOKING.COM has initiated a process whereby the guest can request and process a refund without any input from the property or booking.com.
This denies me the right to ask for proof. This is in direct conflict and breach of your own GTD.
It also denies me the right to offer my guests an alternative solution such as date changes etc. There are always many alternative solutions other than simply returning the money.
And most importantly it denies me the right to an interaction with MY guest to try and mitigate damages and try to build a relationship with MY guest.
This is also very open to abuse and fraud.
In Spain as in other countries. Some citizens of other countries require a booking or invitation to acquire a travel visa. Your system now allows someone to make a booking then cancel it without payment and then apply for a visa. This is a very serious situation that could allow terrorists to enter a country unchecked.
I have been in the tourist industry for over 35 year and I very aware of how to handle these situations myself. While I appreciate your attempt to make my life easier, I utterly object to you excluding me in the decision-making process of my business.
This entire situation is terrible and certainly unprecedented. However, BOOKING.COM is still required to honour the GTD. And the application of processes needs to protect ALL parties.
This situation is affecting all aspects of the tourism industry. Even airlines, cruise lines and major hotel chains are refusing refunds but are offering date changes or other compensations, as deemed appropriate at the time. It remains the right of the individual business to determine what is appropriate at the time.
When I guest makes a booking, they have a choice to book either refundable or non-refundable rate. They are fully aware what this means, and the conditions are very clear before booking as well as in the booking confirmation they receive. The guest also has the additional option to take travel insurance to protect themselves in difficult situations.
As a business, mine and countless thousands of businesses around the world have policies and process in place to protect themselves in difficult situations. You have denied my the right to protect my business.
I have very clear policies in place to protect myself. However, your incorrect application of the GDT has put my business at serious risk. This is unacceptable and neither in the spirit of partnership nor in alignment with your own policies. You are in breach of your own terms and as I result you have caused my business financial damage.
As a result of this breach, please be advised that I will hold you completely responsible for any damages sustained due to you not following your own GTD and I reserve all my legal rights to protect my business, employees and guests.
I would strongly suggest that you change the way in which you implement the process of handling these affected bookings and include a step which allows the property to handle the situation themselves if required.
I advise you that if any other booking is automatically cancelled without my permission or without me having the opportunity to offer MY guests an alternative, I will expect you to refund me the money.
Booking.com needs to understand that these guests are NOT your guests. They are guests of MINE. I am your partner. I would think it is both morally and economically sound to remember this.
You have no right to remove me from the decision-making process that enables me to manage my business.