Suspension due to suspicion of fake reviews and increased cancellation rate
This is Bharat from Shimla, India. I own a resort named Woodays Resort with a limited inventory of 16 rooms. My property was opened last year in 2019. I got a warning notice on 16th June, 2020 that there is some fake review. After I called the Booking.com team, they stated that it is an automated un-monitored checkup done by the system using some algorithm and they cannot do anything about it. They even had my reply score as low as 40% although I had regularly replied to all guests on time. Later, they modified my response rate to 100% and also, the fake review case was closed for good.
I got a message yesterday from Booking.com team that they are suspending my property due to violation of Article 7.4 of their contract and termed this to be because of Fake reviews again. I replied to the message asking for proof and even stated that if this illogical allegation turns out to be true, I will not object to anything as after 16th June, 2020 I was monitoring the property myself and there was no chance of any pilferage or such unethical act. After talking to them over the call for over 20 minutes, they said that it is done from the back-end and there is no way to contact them and there is nothing they can do and I will have to sit back and wait.
Due to covid, already the hospitality sector bled the most and still, they went forward and suspended my property. They also claimed that there is a high cancellation rate in my listing. Now, this is because of Booking.com policy. They are to be blamed for this.
Firstly, they have no provision by which the property owner can charge the guest directly, they themselves also don't collect for us. Now, the guest makes the booking from this platform as other platforms charge the amount upfront but here, there is no compulsion. Despite mentioning this on the listing that pre-payment is a must, still they send a message/mail to the guest that the booking is confirmed. Even automated template don't help and when we ask the guest for an advance amount, they cancel or at the worse, don't cancel. We need to contact the booking.com team to get it cancelled, that too if the call gets connected successfully. Due to this, there are blocked rooms which cannot be offered to other guests and when uest doesn't show up, there is no means to charge him/her the cancellation fee. All booking.com team does is just feel sorry for us instead of stepping ahead and doing something about it. Charging the guest directly like other platfroms : expedia, airbnb, agoda, mmt, goibibo, oyo does is simple. Still, booking.com doesn't want to take any responsibility and puts the entire burden on us. If guest misbehaves, still they don't help and lets him add a bad hate review. they don't do anything about that but in case, a guest genuinely puts a good review, they term it as fake. No machinery or algorithm can determine for sure that the valid booking made on the platform is fake. Due commission is charged by Booking.com team for it and still, they threaten us with suspension/termination.
Calling us their partner and then behaving in such a way is not justified.
Seriously, either fix the issues or else don't make the property suffer because of such wrong assumptions and your own inefficient work process.
My contact number is *** in case anyone from the Booking.com team wants to reach me regarding this although I am sure the team is already low in number now due to covid scenario and even if it hasn't been so, still they would have not cared about this. That's their way of functioning.
Its so wrong that property owners have to suffer in this point of time when the industry had just started to revive. Considering the partnership nomenclature, there should have been certain arbitration or investigation before taking such a serious action.