Fake bookings from Booking.com
As of this morning, we are up to 9 fake bookings over the last three weeks and we believe they are all from Booking.com, trying to worm their way out of meeting their own Smartflex cancellation obligations. The names are a nonsense (particularly when related to the supposed countries of origin), the phone numbers are all incorrect or unobtainable and they are all no-shows.... We only get them towards the end of the virtual card charging period for guests who have cancelled due to COVID, family bereavement etc. (most of whom re-booked later in the summer).
I've raised this with 'Customer dis-service' and they are not doing anything. "The system says....", "we cannot cancel the booking because it might be genuine...." are the two most common responses I get. But this leaves our rooms blocked and us unable to sell them via any other channel. It started after we declined their new card validation service to "prevent fake bookings" (quoted from their marketing email) and stinks of a cynical action on their part to force users into taking away payment options from guests. Is anyone else seeing this behaviour at all, and if so, any ideas on what to do about it will be gratefully received :-)
Also, if anyone has found where the option is buried in the Partner Centre to switch off Smartflex nonsense, please do let me know :-)
Have a great weekend everyone