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My property was bombed with false reservations this July

The first reservation came from China, the others came from the USA, China and Canada. All the reservations were for 2 people staying for 1 night. When the first people did not show up, I decided to try to cancel the other false reservations. I know they are false because it is unlikely that so many people from China, the USA and Canada are planning to stay for one night in our small city approximately 100 km from Cape Town. First I sent out messages already stored in my templates, using Pulse and the Extranet. The frustrating part is that I can't successfully cancel a reservation, even after submitting a cancellation request on the Extranet. It is not possible to request a cancellation on Pulse (or am I in the dark?). 

The biggest problem is that the "future" reservations remain on the calendar until I receive a cancellation.  The only thing to do is to make another room available for the same night (which feels risky since I only have a few rooms). If the cancellation comes through after opening the second room, then one quickly has to go back into the calendar and reset the number of rooms to the correct number!

It would be great if one could cancel a reservation more efficiently. Surely serious guests will communicate proactively and be keen to know that their reservation is secured!  All in all, it was a harrowing week, with no less than 19 false reservations for this month alone.

6 Replies

8
Leandri Klopper

Hi there,

Thanks for sharing, that does sound quite harrowing.

It's a very fickle thing, fake reservations. Because one never knows why they pick your property nor how to get rid of them.

What I read on the forum was phoning Booking.com and asking them if 19 reservations from three countries seem normal. (The facts are in front of them so the consultant should pick up that it's fishy). Then ask the consultant to see if they can phone some of them to check the validity. Then they hopefully will cancel it quickly without you having to add and remove rooms to your calendar the whole time.

If you get a better suggestion please let us know!

(I don't use Pulse that much, but it will be nice to know if we can use it for cancellations etc)

Keep well.

10 months ago
5
monet208

Pre autherise the card as soon as you get the booking

If it is declined then 90% of the time it is a fake booking especially if its from overseas and for several nights

Advise the guest the card is declined,they have no booking and unless they contact you direct the booking does not exist

Immediately open up that room on every other site you are on

After 24 hours cancel the booking on this site

10 months ago
1
Giselahw68

Thanks for the comments in response to my post!

I thought it was good to just advertise on Booking.com, but now I realise that it is commonplace to be on other sites as well... thanks monet208 :-)

Cassid, I decided from the start not to be inflexible with cancellations, so I have a very friendly cancellation policy, but it is taking some work as I have learned that there is no such things as "over-communicating" ! A strict policy requires a credit card facility which can process cards without the card being in your hand. I have a very simple but effective mobile credit card machine, and unfortunately it does not work without the card being available. I am reviewing this strategy, and looking into a different type of credit card facility. Once I have that, I will update my cancellation policy and take the non-refundable deposit route.

Leandre, thanks for your comment, I didn't phone booking.com consultants this time, but I did e-mail them, and I got one of those standard "step by step" responses regarding how to record a "No-Show". After that I didn't really feel like speaking to anyone :-) My bad! I'm really happy with booking.com and their website and especially PULSE, but this experience has forced me to re-evaluate some of my policies!

10 months ago
8
Leandri Klopper

Hi again,

Goodness, yes I would also not be in "the right mind" to phone them if I had received a No show step by step if the problem I'm having is Fake bookings and the effort it's costing me. Sorry to hear that they didn't go above and beyond for you.

Policies is everything but like you now know, you then need the tools to back it up (such as the cardless ... card machine..). I'm sure you will get there though!

monet208 , are you referring to the Pre-Authorize option you get on the Property -> policies page? How is that different from what Booking.com does when the card is loaded? Because Booking.com validated the card immediately and marks it as invalid if there is something weird.

Hope to hear from you!

10 months ago
2
Mr. Fay(费伊恩)

hi, friends, there are 3 very simple way to block faked reservations come to your house.

1. Authorize Booking.com to take online reservation payments(Credit card, Paypal, wired transfer etc,.) on your behalf, that Booking.com have the ability of ensuring the payment has been received and cleared.

2. Setting up your policy with Non - refunable

3. Never accept a guest's request of paying a payment upon arrival

Cheers!

10 months ago
1
Leblancp01

30% of my June Reservation where Fake. That is Bad Credit Card, No response to Phone or E-Mail and then No Show. I do a Credit Auth. on Card and than work the slow cancelation process via Booing.com. It Holds up a room for a few days and cost me a lot of time checking each reservation. Is there a way to have Booking.com collect a deposit of say $1 and leave the rest to the property manager to collect. The Idea being if Booking.com can not collect the deposit should reject the reservation and not pass it to me. This than would avoid the Fake issue.

10 months ago