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.








i completely agree, I have a similar complaint composed! We are a very small business and feel the way that booking.com is cutting us out of the loop with MY financial decisions is absolutely astonishing. I do not think my business will make it out the other side as a result.



I am so sorry yo are also going through this.

We need to express our concerns untill we are heard and we are allowed to manage our own business and also untill the platform treats us like partners not idiots.

Good luck and stay safe.


 for non refundable rates, indeed people will lie and already have, and try to debate why they should get 100% refund.


Simply be clinical and state , one or more of these:

  •  Offer reschedule with in the same calendar year, subject to date aavailability;
  • Offer a credit voucher via email subject to date aavailability
  • Offer partial refund 30-50% ,and message finance team or support team to action where BdC hold the payment.
  • Offer full refund 

Thank you for this valuable information. And your proposed solutions are very fair and wise.

Albyn Townhouse

hi! Thank you so much for putting this is words as i feel so overwhelmed by the loss of earnings on my small business and being forced to actually refund bookings booked over 6 months ago is terrible as now it is putting not only my livelihood but my home in jeopardy.

The worst is that Booking.com agents ahem told over the phone to my guest to quote the virus and they would get a refund, then they cancel the booking and I refund and Booking.com is STILL CHARGING THE COMMISSION!!!!! make sure you look at your invoices very thoroughly.

Booking.com is acting and always has as far as I am concerned, as if we work for them.....sad hey, I work for me, i work hard to offer a beautiful product and i pay them to sell it.....that simple.

May I ask if i could use your letter or part of it to send to Booking.com? I urge that we ALL do it with no exception.

Thank you again, good luck all.



The only way we will make a change is if we all stand together  

Please feel free to use my letter and send to who ever you like. 

This hopefully will be over soon.  

In the future we need to make sure the platform understands what it's role actually is 



I just received this mail from.HOME AND AWAY 


This should be an example to other platforms 

This is s fair and proactive approach to this horrendous situation. 


Surely asking booking.com to allow it's partners the same options would be a fair and reasonable solution 


Updates to help with COVID-19 cancellations

Dear John,In HomeAway's nearly 25 years, we’ve been through a lot, but nothing comes close to the current challenges facing our travelers, partners, and team members around the world. HomeAway is a two-sided marketplace, so for every traveler who paid hard-earned money for a getaway they may not take, there is a partner who is experiencing a loss of bookings and a large number of cancellations. Despite this, the vast majority of you are rising to the occasion and giving credits and/or refunds to travelers in these extreme circumstances. Thank you for exemplifying hospitality — even when it means a financial hardship.Today, we are introducing our COVID-19 Emergency Policy, a series of measures designed to help navigate these extraordinary circumstances. For our part, HomeAway is refunding 100% of money it makes through traveler service fees when someone must cancel a trip due to COVID-19. For your part, we ask that you handle cancellations for trips booked before March 13 with stays that fall between March 13 and April 30 in one of two ways (even if those trips are outside of your set cancellation policy): Option 1 (Default): Offer a credit for full value and flexible stay dates within the next year (at no additional cost) to travelers who can’t take trips now due to COVID-19. Option 2: If a traveler is unwilling to accept a credit, we advise you to issue them a refund. If you are unable to accommodate a full refund, Vrbo expects you to provide at least a 50% refund if the traveler cancels during this time.Our intent is to reward HomeAway partners who offer travelers flexibility during this time of uncertainty with additional visibility in traveler searches on HomeAway and Expedia Group. The idea is that the more you do now for travelers, the more we will reward you moving forward (so a 100% credit/refund will count more than 50% refund and so on).Here’s more on what HomeAway is doing as part of our COVID-19 Emergency Policy: Full Refund of HomeAway’s Fees: HomeAway is refunding 100% of money it makes through traveler service fees when someone must cancel a trip due to COVID-19, whether the cancellation is government-mandated or not. This goes in effect for all stays booked before March 13 with a night between March 13 and April 30. Travelers don’t have to do anything to collect the refund; it will happen automatically over the next few weeks. They do not need to call and confirm.Rolling Out Automated Refunds: Our teams are also working to make refunds and date changes to bookings easier for you. Details on this new process will be communicated in the coming days, so we ask that you wait to call our customer service line until that happens. We acknowledge that credits for future dates will be administered between our partners and travelers, so we only ask that your teams acknowledge the arrangement in writing — ideally via our secure messaging system.Automatically Waiving Related Cancellation Penalties: If you need to cancel due to this event, we will automatically waive the cancellation so it does not impact your ranking metrics or your Premier Partner status. You no longer have to call Customer Service to get the cancellation waived, just select COVID-19 as the cancellation reason code and refund at the minimum 50% to be eligible.The new policy we are implementing is not perfect, but in this unprecedented time we believe it strikes the best balance of protecting travelers, partners, and the public. I am sure many of you have questions. We primarily want you to understand the spirit of how we hope to address this situation. Please review our help portal and Discovery Hub for the most up-to-date information. These resources will be updated every 48 hours with new information.We have been in contact with thousands of you in the past days and I am humbled by your willingness to rise to the occasion and appreciate your sacrifices. The skies will clear and families will want to travel again. We will be there with open arms to provide spaces to heal and recharge when this is over.With admiration and appreciation for your partnership, Jeff President, Vrbo

Cozy & Bright …

Thank you for this letter! 

I completely agree with you. People are cancelling now way outside the lock down and Booking.com is letting them, uncontrolled by the host itself.

I'll be filing a complaint similar to this one. As a young business owner, this is a financial problem that will balance between bankruptcy or not.  For now I don't give any refund for cancellations that are outside the lock down date. I do offer a reschedule of the trip (although this is also a financial loss, as it won't return).

My support goes to all the small business owners who are trying to keep their heads above the water!


We need to apply as much pressure as we can or it won't change 

Good luck. 


Nicola Plowman

I am so confused. Is there any way to stop Booking.com from cancelling a reservation and refunding the deposit over my head? 


Currently no 

Sadly they are taking no notice of partners requests and issues 

The only thing we can do in continually voice our opinions. 

We need to enforce compliance with the GTD.  And we have every right to do so 

I hope this mess is over soon but we need to do everything we can to protect our business and our guests. 

What the platform seems not to understand is the fact that the guests are OURS they are not guests of the platform. We are the partners that pay them for a specific service 

We have policies in place to protect ourselves 

Guests have a choice of terms to accept when booking and also have the option of travel insurance 

I am being inundated by bookings that are cancelled immediately with a full refund

This is being done by people who need accommodation reservations to get visas into the country 

This has always been a problem as it is an easy way for terrorists to get into the country. 

The platform is completely ignoring this very obvious risk   




yes get ahead of it by contacting the guest yourself and offering alternative options.

  • Credit Voucher;
  • Change Dates;
  • Partial refund 30-50%




We can't do this if the guest is allowed to process the cancellation themselves and are automatically refunded. 


Can a petition be started against Booking.com?


At least Expedia allowed you to opt out of their automatic free of charge cancellation policy.





I have been mailing everyone I can. 

I have sent messages via the messenger system on the extranet. 

And continues to respond while they continue to dismiss this issue. 

I would suggest as many people do the same as possible. 

Please feel free to copy paste. Edited or not.  The mail I have already sent 

This is a very important matter. We can't allow this to continue, the consequence for the future is too serious 



Expedia when opt out offer voucher for same value , for 12 months.


Forget petition, it's in our contracts, either arrange alternative with guest or let guest deal with BdC directly and get 100% refund


So make the effort to contact guests


You make a good point.  

However the issue is not that simple. 

There are more very important consequences for us to think about. 


The problem is not the policy. It is the process of implementation that is the problem




ok  You can also find my information at namaste apartment torremolinos


Hi Barry 


The policy is not the question it is the process that is the problem 

And if carefully read the policy. You will see that the process is in breach of the policy. 


yep totally agree.


I take a lot of things into consideration, seen all sides ,spoken with  plenty of people mainly from the partner side .

I just don't see anything changing except our own civil and government services making offerings to the travel industry in our own countries.


These measures if offered will not be equal nor will everyone be able to apply for them.


I can only hope while we crack on with what we need to do to survive, that hope fully OTAs and government bodies will at some point help us all out .


For now I am assuming its never going to happen as I can then stay focused on what I need to do next.


Kind Regards, Be Safe, Be Well


Has anyone who has actually responded as detailed above actually received the following notification from B.Com in relation to the abve and if so has anyone actually actioned the instruction or like me writing to them to challenge their actions. If so I would love to hear about this as I have  said I am writing to challenge their actions and have also copied all information I have about this from them to My B & B Association (UK), FSB, UK (Fed. of Small Businesses) and Official Visit Scotland Organisation (who also link to B.Com).The B & B Assoc. represent thousands of businesses such as mine and are taking the matter up with government as in the UK (ike all other countries throughout the world) B.Com are operating and paying little or no taxes in this country........These bodies can only act on our behalf if everyone gets behind them otherwise Booking.Com will continue to increase its gung ho /bully boy methods over the bodies that give them jobs and unfortunately ultimately the power to appoint upper handed bully boys to do and implement whatever they like.  I have been with B.Com for 11 years and what started off as a good platform, has now resulted in an organisation so out of touch with reality and the partners that put them where they are.  Unless all the partners (small B&B's, small hotels, guest houses, small operators of which there are hundreds of thousands of us throughout the world) raise a voice together the exercise that B.Com is executing at this time is just fodder to them for what else they can do in the future. By allowing B.Com to carry on in the manner they are will see us all Bankrupt in a very short space of time

I really would like to hear from you and if you have a)received the above instruction and b) if you have responded by complying with the above 


Forced Circumstances Cancellation - booking no. ............. - Action required

Wed, 18 Mar at 17:34

  • Dear partner,

    A guest has cancelled a booking to which Forced Circumstances apply.

    To protect the health of our partners and guests, we have declared Forced Circumstances as a result of official travel advice related to the Coronavirus for all properties and guests affected.

    Within 5 business days we expect you to refund any prepayment and/or waive any cancellation costs for all reservations cancelled within the Forced Circumstances period.

    Booking.com will waive commission in these cases.

    Kind regards,


    Forced Circumstances Cancellation - booking no. *** - Action required




Feel free to contact me privately and I will update dates you on measures I have already taken 

O Villas Seminyak

We have just received and challenged it was from a customer we had already agreed a credit for. It is appalling to completely disregard what terms and conditions are in place and puts into question the whole purpose of travel insurance, I wonder if they are enforcing this on major hotel chains that have come out and published about credits or just selected properties? 



1. the system notification will not be valid nor created by the guest. Ask the guest and you will find they have not requested anything.


2.until you see the payout drop to zero its still going to pay you. if the check-in date has arrived and is day 2, mark it as no show to prevent refund.


3. travel insurance does not by default cover FM payouts. only if its specifically chosen or add-on will they cover it.




The Bridge Cas…

I just received the same email and the CS agent tells me that the property confirmed the cancelation free of charge which is not true, I didn't have the time to open the email since I received the cancellation first. I’m familiar with their system (TED) and it records all notes and actions in it as well as from which IP address the confirmation for waiving fees comes from.

In this case they have modified the system that it tells the agents that we have confirmed the free cancelation even though we haven't even opened the email.

This could truly be a case for some regulatory agency to take action.


Hi the Bridge

I would think it is a case of fraud if what you are saying is correct. Please have a look at my post below as we need more and more accommodation providers on board to make a stand against them


You are correct.  They have no right to change data in our profiles. 

This is in breach of protection of privacy laws

Cozy & Bright …

I've also received multiple messages concerning the 5 business days. I've answered with the original letter of this topic. (Thankful for this).

My policy remains now, I won't pay back but the guest can change dates. It's to hard to keep up.

Thanks for all the support here!




Yes. I have received several of these. And have challenged all. To no avail because the consultants you speak to are of no help. 

I agree with everything you said. We need to enforce our rights 

B.com is a platform to market our properties.  We do not pay them to run our business.  

They have no right to unilaterally make decisions about business. 

Count me in on what ever actions you embark on. 

You are sure to have many partners join you 



So are you saying when you have challenged these you have had no further communication from B.Com and that you have ultimately paid out the refund or do B.Com collect the monies on your behalf or by virtual credit card.  I collect all guest payments myself.


I challenged it to no avail. The money was refunded   I had absolutely no say. 

I have challenged it, hense this blog. 

I have also mailed countless people. 

All say it is out of their hands and is a policy contained in the contract 


Hi again - cant make direct contact as this forum does not display private e-mail addresses

My property is Kilmichael House B & B on Loch Ness and I have a separate website under that name with full details if you want to get in touch


Dear Jcwren,

Please contact us too. "Pure Riads", Marrakech we are experiencing exactly the same. We are a group of three properties

Nicola Plowman

I have emailed the company that they have no right to cancel a booking for me. I have received no reply from them. Most of my bookings are after may, so i have yet to receive a cancellation, but they will come. Feel free to email me too. I have The White House on Brac in Croatia.



Hi Nicola

Firstly as if the virus was not enough for us all to put up with. Now you are also in the aftermath of an Earthquake I  hope all is well with you.  I will make contact with you tomorrow and pass some info to you. For now though stay safe and look after yourself - thoughts are with you and your country 


This is my latest mail to various people. Feel free to use it if you choose.



It was sent to Glen *** the CEO and other customer service departments


Dear All,

I am again writing to you as you have not yet bothered to reply to my return mail to you.

I think this is a little bad mannered and unprofessional.


I decided to contact you again to update you on recent events with regard to this issue and also AGAIN explain the situation.

Since my last mail I took this issue to social media. I was shocked as to the amount of responses I got from so many angry partners.

The momentum is growing fast. There are many angry people.

Once again let me state that I do not have an issue with your policy regarding Force majeure.

Myself and many other of your partners have a very real problem with the process you have initiated to handle this policy.


I am interested to find the Force majeure policy that protects your partners. I don’t seem to be able to find this.  It would be rather sad if you did not have such a policy protecting the partners that actual pay you.

I will again explain the situation

Your policy states the following


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)


Your process is as follows.


The cancellations process

Should a guest look to cancel or modify the dates of a reservation, either through our website, our self-service tool or via Customer Service, we will facilitate the completion of that action. 

By using the self-service app, guests can cancel the reservation themselves without requiring additional actions from either the property or Booking.com. 

If a guest reaches out to your property to request a cancellation or a rescheduling of their reservation, you can handle this request yourself. There is no need to refer guests to our Customer Service Centre.


This process completely ignores the first step in your policy. This step would allow the property to contact the guest and offer alternative, appropriate solutions to the situation. Not only does this make sound business sense but builds good relationships with our guests.

Obviously we can contact the first and most of us are, however many guests are simply being allowed to bypass the entire system without any contact at all.


Considering each of your partners has unique and individual problems in this situation it is rather pathetic that you think a one process solution would be appropriate for ALL your partners

In addition, I am very surprised and a little concerned that a company the size of Booking.com can only come up with this process.  Is this really the best you can do?


This clearly puts you in reach of the agreement and has caused me and many other partners a huge amount of damage. For which you will be held accountable.


I have already listed many reasons why this policy is a problem but I will again list them. But first I want to highlight a recent incident that your process facilitated.


  • I had a booking from a guest staying in the area but could not leave due to the restrictions and needed a safe place to stay.  I have been offering out my properties at almost no cost to guests in these situations.

The guest after 4 days cancelled the booking as per your process and was refunded the entire amount of the booking. And left the apartment without telling me.

I only discovered when I went to make a courtesy call to make sure there where safe and comfortable.  The guest has simply moved to another apartment that was a little cheaper. Nd does not in anyway fall under the FORCE majeure situation.

Under normal circumstances this would not be possible. But your policy makes it possible and clearly open to abuse.


  • People have also been trying to make bookings in order to get a travel visa into the country. Then they cancel and get a full refund. This has been an ongoing problem as it is a very common way terrorists are gaining access to counties.


  • Any guest that makes a booking, be it at a hotel, or with an airline is  clearly made aware of any cancelation terms. The customer then has the right to decide whether to accept these or not. He also has the right to take travel insurance in case something goes wrong.

Your partners protect themselves by having policies in place. These polices are clearly visible to the guest at all times.  Your process is destroying the very partners that provide your income.


  • Your process completely overrides your partners ability to protect themselves.  This is really very reckless behaviour for a partner. And completely unacceptable.
  • YOUR process now also allows  a property to cancel a booking when the guest arrives and get the guest to pay cash for the booking.


Are these really the desired outcomes of your process?


There are many other reasons why your process is damaging and inappropriate.


I think you need to clearly understand that the guests are OUR guests, NOT yours.  WE are your partners and we pay you to provide certain services and to offer guidance should it be required.

You have no right to dictate how we will run our businesses.


The increasing number of partners that are affected by your policy (and others) is growing fast by the day. The anger is staggering.

We have been approached by several high profile law firms in the EU who are happy to proceed with a class action law suit.


Clearly under the current crises this is not want we want. We therefor insist that you make appropriate changes to your processes in order for them to be of benefit to all partners and aligned to the spirit of the our partnership.


Hi Jcwren1966 Have not been in communication with you for a while as your posts seem to come and go on these sites (don't know why) but just wondering if you have had a response to the above letter you sent to the CEO (of Booking Holdings and Booking.Com) Glen Fogle. 

I am refusing to pay B.Com any refunds they have made without my authorisation (they can no longer access my bank accounts nor can they make chargesbacks through the banks - by law only the card provider who submitted their details and made the booking can do that) and I also quote the following which is applicable to UK Law

Our reservations with B.Com are  contractual reservations – prepaid, non-transferable and non-refundable – as their website T&C’s, they told me it was in OUR contract with Booking.com T&C’s paragraph 2.10 Force Majeure Event.
We point out to you the following:

There is no statutory, or common law definition of force majeure or a force majeure event in British Common Law.

Also, according to OED and Chambers Dictionaries the definition of FM is…superior power (Covid19) an unforeseeable or uncontrollable course of events, excusing one from fulfilling a contract.

Which meant in effect that as Booking.com was making our contract with the customer null and void then, by the same logic and LEGAL principle, the Booking.com contract quoted as giving them the power to make refunds on our behalf without permission was, effectively, null and void also.

Finally, we got a positive response from Lisa O and Sergei (on the Booking.Com Partners Community Forum) admitting this was indeed the case and they would contact the customer to inform them that a change of dates was the only option.

They admitted they can’t have it both ways, if the contract with the customer is null and void because Booking.com has issued a state of FM, then, the contract with Booking.com is also null and void.

Any payment made by Booking.com to a customer without our permission, is a liability ONLY for Booking.com. We are not legally obligated to then refund Booking.com.

As usual they just spit out there standard notification when entering communications and answer to questions raised. So it will be interesting to hear if you received a reply from Messers Fogle & Co.


Charlotte Kilmichael House Loch Ness Scotland