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Coronavirus and your cancellation policies

Dear Booking.com,

This is our response to your policy regarding cancellations due to the Coronavirus. Please whoever reads this, take this up to your supervisor or director. We are living through an unprecedented situation worldwide. This is not a local natural disaster but affects the entire world and has enormous consequences for the travel and tourism industry. In your mail you speak to your partners and guidelines we, your partners must submit, free cancellation for your / our guests and we your partners don’t agree with that. By setting this policy you take the side of clients and for sure they are very important, but you are letting down your partners and leave them in an incredible difficult situation. Of which many and perhaps we ,don’t not recover. A partner stands by in times of need and a working relation is a two-way street. You state in your email the following:

In this situation, for payments facilitated by Booking.com, we refund guests who cancel their reservations. In turn, you are required to refund the money to the virtual credit card payout you receive from us.

We are an agency and use your site for extra exposure on properties. These properties are not ours. The money charged the secure the reservation has been paid to the owners of the villas and therefor this money is not on our bank account. And as many companies in this industry we highly depend on cash flow. Your policy regarding cancellation is not a policy opted by airlines, tour operators, villa rental agencies. They/We give our clients the option to re book should they have travel restrictions or if we can’t receive them due to travel restrictions. After this we can always take a more personal approach to the clients if they have severe problems.   If you stand by your policy which of course you have every right to do so we will take the right as your partner to pay back the client when and if it’s possible for us.

Kind regards,

Your Partner

Johannes van Roden


11
BrookAve

 

Hi Johannes,

 

I had phone calls from management teams of both Booking and Expedia yesterday.

 

I have spent a lot of time absorbing online articles on :

  • Force Majeure & Legallity by region / country/ EU.
  • Travel Insurance Polcies

 

I can tell you categorically BdC aka Booking.com, who have a Force Majeure section in their GTD contact with Partners, can and will enforce it.

 

However OTAs, BdC and Expedia will only do so if the Guest asks them for a refund instead of contacting you.

 

It is important to recognise and understand that distinction.


 

So where does that leave us?

 

Simply put you can and should manage the relationship directly with the Guest so as to offer alternative arrangements.

 

Example

  • Offer Partial refund up to 50%
  • Offer credit voucher for future bookings
  • Offer change of dates

 

By doing so you can reduce the likelihood of them contacting the OTA to demand a refund.


 

Being a 3rd party property management service to a Property Owner

 

In this scenario, being very unique, it does seem to put you in an awkward position and complicates things a bit more.

 

But the same ideas still apply. You should contact the owners and discuss the refund policy.

 

Both of ye are obligated to refund if you cant get the guest to agree to one of the alternative methods.

 

If cannot ask them to use their insurance, as not all insurance cover Force Majeure, and may have a clause to prevent paying out.

 

 

Some food for thought.

 

Be Safe, Be Well, Kind Regards

 

 

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johnannes van roden

Hi Barry,

 

I am aware of all you have said and also aware we have to compIy with their policy. I have put question marks with the word partner. Cancellations should be handled in a different way, not just because of our situation but for all working in the tourist industry, hotels , airlines etc if all people can cancel and receive refunds we all go bankrupt as does Expedia and Booking.com. Lot's of people will be fired and it's better to get this industry on its feet instead of bringing it down even more by their policies. If more businesses complain we might be able to turn things around, and I think they can listen especially when they are making 15% ex VAT on reservations. Special times require special measures.

11
BrookAve

indeed.

just to clarify BdC are not making money on cancellations. and not charging commission either.

 

But Force Majeure is exactly that so unless you can directly converse with the guests to come to an arrangement of alternative offer to them , then they can claim a full refund directly with BdC.

 

 

2
Nfiser Fiser

Dear Holiday rental Provider Peers,

I've been shocked by the behaviour of booking.com (BdC). Clients reservation cancelled with 0payout for those who made NON-REFUNDABLE reservations. NO FM/FC is applicable for the dates of their check-in. According to BdC FM/FC is applicable to check-in dates until 3April (we are in Italy) but the cancelled reservations are in June and July. I sent them meassage to ask explanation, BUT BdC IS MUTE SINCE 5 DAYS! Still stated on the cancelled reservation, that "guest will be charged the total price of the reservation if they cancel any time". It couldn't be more clear!  ZERO PAYOUT FROM NON-REFUNDABLE CANCELLATION IN JUNE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. We were not informed, that a non-refundable booking was cancelled without payment, just received a cancellation notification email. We asked them politely to inform us. No response to us. 

Come on,  we gave clients discounts and they selected enjoying discounted price in exchange of risking their money if they cancel (=non-refundable price). So these clients reserved our calendar with their booking, giving us no further option to sell those days at normal price. But this is fine, this is the deal. But how come, that BdC is stating no payment will be made from these cancelled NON-REFUNDABLE reservations IN JUNE when FM/FC time is UNTIL 3April???

 

We are really suffering -you can imagine- and zero revenue from non-refundable reservations? Than what does it mean non-refundable? I understand there is crisis but exactly that is the point. Next time a local natural disaster would wipe out again all non-refundale reservations? Than when non-refundable is non-refundable? WHY TRAVELLERS ARE FAVOURED WHO ALREADY GAVE CONSENT TO LOSE THEIR MONEY IF THEY CANCEL A NON-REFUNDABLE RESERVATION???

PLEASE RAISE YOUR VOICE if you have the same issue. I'm not talking about cancellations of standard priced reservations but it is about the NON-REFUNDABLE RESERVATIONS WHICH ARE NOT SUBJECT OF FM/FC.

 

Booking.com!

Since you charge us with a sizeable commission and additional surcharge for handling payments, you MUST STOP THIS ACTIVITY OF RELEASING NON-REFUNDABLE RESERVATION CANCELLATIONS IN JUNE WITH ZERO PAYOUT TO US! WE HOPE THIS IS JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING and the payments from cancelled non-refundable reservations will be remitted to us, as it is set and agreed  in the cancellation policy!

Thank you

11
BrookAve

if this is actually true you need to message finance team not support team

 

indeed May and onwards bookings do not qualify

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johnannes van roden

Barry, we are in a very bad situation worldwide this is not going to be okay and back to business in May, June. Hopefully July although seriously doubt that. Because as long there is no vaccine or medicines available travelling and by this tourism will be restricted. I don't know where your business is located but we are in Ibiza with 6 months of season and all of us live of tourism. That's why policy of booking.com should be first re booking. Letting the client decide it will free cancellation. Also for non refundable bookings. What I would like to achieve businesses working with booking, airbnb and expedia unite against that.

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Nfiser Fiser

Thanks Barry,

I sent the CLAIM to finance as well (although messaging system advised me again towards support).

 

Noemi Fiser.

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Nfiser Fiser

Thanks a lot for expressing in a professional way the unacceptable behavior of Booking.com

The case is clear. I also insist on not only stopping this behavior immediately but PAY OUT the cases and DAMAGES caused so far to us.

Again, I'm not talking about refundable cancellations and cancellations under proven force major cases but THE FACT THAT BOOKING.COM REFUNDS IF A NON-REFUNDABLE RESERVATION IS CANCELLED!

 

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johnannes van roden

I have contacted big hotel organizations in Ibiza to stand up against the policy of refunding non-refundable reservations.  Let’s hope they stand up too and contact other large hotel companies. It’s a disgrace how Booking.com acts on this. Priority should be re booking to later in the season or next year. Too many people could lose jobs and also at Booking.com. The approach of airlines and tour operators is much better. Booking.com should not hide behind the Force Majeure clause with this global disaster.

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Nfiser Fiser

Thanks Johnannes!

Booking com made their decision on their behalf without giving us the option. So they are liable for their actions with all damages caused for us. Plus they hit themselves too because there is no commission applied on waived reservations. 

I still hope it is a coding error in their markeplace business rules and not an intentional misconduct. But the end result is the same: liability. and the quicker they rectify the lower the claim on damages Will be.

Noemi

2
Nfiser Fiser

Dear Hosts,

I found the loophole BdC is referring they let non-refundable clients walk away with a full refund.

 

PLEASE CHECK ASAP YOUR POLICY SETTINGS!! There is a bloody cancellation exception part deep inside this menu. There is a (default) setting of 4-8-12 week cancellation option before the trip. You can switch it off completely in the upper left corner than this is not applicable.

do you remember BdC has ever informed you about the introduction of such cancellation exception and they set it for you????

 

Hope this helps!

 

Noemi