Free Cancellation - rate plan loophole?
I have recently self-added "Free Cancellation" Room Only & Breakfast Included rate plans as suggested by Booking.com, while keeping my existing partially-refundable and non-refundable rate plans. The point of these plans is to offer a free cancellation option for guest bookings, and I derived this plan as having a 15% price increase from my standard "partially refundable" rate plan, since it makes sense that guests should pay a premium for having free cancellation compared to guests that do not have this option.
For your information, my "standard rate" requires nonrefundable 30% prepayment and there are 2 versions of the rate plan: a breakfast-inclusive one and a Room-Only rate derived from it. My problem is with the new "Free Cancellation" versions of these plans that I created, which I programmed on Booking.com to be 15% higher than the equivalent standard rate plans .
I have just received 2 bookings since adding the Free Cancellation plans, and I find that Booking.com has allowed the guest to place a booking for which only the first night is at the Free Cancellation plan (15% higher than standard rate), and the remaining nights of their bookings are at the standard (partially refundable) rate.
This doesn't make any sense because now the Booking.com cancellation and prepayment policy now shows that the guest has free cancellation and no prepayment required for their full stay, when it should only apply for the first night for which they paid the "Free Cancellation" rate. If this is the case, every guest can essentially get Free Cancellation since Booking.com will just calculate the first night at the 15% "Free Cancellation" rate surcharge, and offer the guests all the other nights at the lower standard rate that normally requires a prepayment and is only partially refundable.
Even more puzzling, Booking.com allowed the guest in one of the two bookings to book the first night at a "Room Only Free Cancellation" rate plan, and the remaining nights at the Standard Rate that includes breakfast. This has never happened before as Booking.com would only offer guests either a rate that includes breakfast or is Room Only, and one booking cannot be switched between two such rates, as our hotel staff would have a difficult time determining which days the guest gets breakfast included during their stay. This seems highly unusual.
As an example of the actually problem this created: a room is $100 USD a night at the standard Breakfast Included rate which is partially refundable and requires 30% non-refundable immediate prepayment. I programmed in a new "Free Cancellation" breakfast included rate of $115 USD a night, and a new "Free Cancellation" Room-Only rate of $107 USD a night. A guest made a 14 night booking, which Booking.com gave to them with the first night at the "Free Cancellation" Room Only rate of $107 and the remaining 13 nights at the partially refundable breakfast-inclusive standard rate of $100 a night. This means that for paying only a $7 surcharge for the first night, the guest was able to get free cancellation and no prepayment for their entire stay, as shown in their booking record in the extranet. This certainly obviously is not the intent. Either the guest should have only been allowed to book all nights at the Free Cancellation rate, or all nights at the partially refundable/prepayment required rate.
Has anyone else had a similar issue? Can you tell me if the rate plans need revising to function as they were intended by me, or do I need to remove the Free Cancellation rate plan if Booking.com allows such a loophole for making long bookings completely free cancellation for all nights by offering the guest to book only 1 night at the Free Cancellation rate and the remainder at a lower nonrefundable or partially refundable rate? This is quite irritating as the 2 new bookings are during our New Year peak season and now they have free cancellation without paying the intended rate premium for having that option. Thank you.