All you need to know about a double booking

If you’ve just received a double booking, here’s a quick overview of what you need to do:

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Overbooking flow chart

 

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Double bookings (also known as overbookings) can sometimes happen, but we’re here to explain what you need to do when they take place and how you can prevent them happening in the future. We’ll also help you understand what causes double bookings and what impact they have on your business and your guests.

When a double booking takes place, we ask you to resolve the situation for your guest as soon as possible. We recommend the following timelines when resolving a double booking:

  • If your guest is arriving within the next 24 hours, try to resolve the double booking within 30 minutes.
  • If your guest is arriving in-between one to seven days, try to resolve the double booking within two hours.
  • If your guest is arriving in more than seven days, try to resolve the double booking within 24 hours.

You’re also responsible for all the costs your guest might incur due to a double booking. To find out more, read about the costs of a double booking.


What is a double booking?

It’s a situation that occurs when multiple reservations are made for the same room on the same night at your property. Our research shows that 25% of our partners will receive a double booking during their first year on our site – so even if you haven’t received a double booking, it’s worth reading our advice so you’ll know exactly what to do if you get one in the future.


Instant booking

When trying to avoid double bookings, it’s important to remember that when a guest books a stay at your property on Booking.com, the reservation is instantly confirmed and you won’t be asked to accept or reject the reservation. This means the booking experience is easier for your guests and makes it more likely for them to book a stay at your property. In fact, around 30% of our partners get their first reservation on their very first day of being live on Booking.com.

Related article: Can I cancel a reservation?


What’s the cause of a double booking?

It’s important to pay close attention during the initial setup of your property as mistakes can sometimes lead to double bookings. These are two of the most common causes:
  • Not syncing availability across channels

    A double booking can occur when a guest books your room via Booking.com but the room is still available for the same night on other platforms. If another guest then books that room through one of these platforms, you have a double booking. To find out more, read our article on how to export or import a calendar
  • Wrong calendar set-up

    Another possible cause of a double booking is not setting up your availability correctly on our site. For example, if you indicate that you have two rooms available when you just have one available – and then both rooms are booked. To make sure this doesn’t happen, double-check through your availability and policies before making your property open to bookings. You’ll find these settings here.

Related articles:


How do I avoid a double booking?

There are a number of ways you can prevent double bookings taking place.

  • If you can’t always keep track of your bookings on your computer, we’d recommend downloading our Pulse app on your mobile device. It allows you to manage your bookings and change your availability anytime, anywhere.
  • If you’re a new partner, make sure your calendar is up-to-date before you go live on our website – because once you’re live, your property is instantly open for reservations.
  • When you receive a booking, make sure you update your availability on all your platforms so you don’t get double-booked.
  • If you use iCal, your bookings won’t sync in real time so it’s important to sync your calendars manually. If you have iCal, make sure you set up a two-way connection and update your calendars before being open and bookable.
  • If you have a channel manager, your availability should sync in real time, which greatly reduces the risk of double bookings. However, technical issues can cause delays in syncing times, so it’s always worth checking. Find out more about the differences between iCal and channel managers in this article..

How do I resolve a double booking?

If you realise you have a double booking, it’s key to act quickly so your guest isn’t left without somewhere to stay.

Do you have other rooms of the same or a better standard available?

Yes: To make sure your guest still has a great experience at your property, it’s best to accommodate the guest in one of these rooms with no extra cost to them. We’d also ask you to provide them with all the facilities they had in their initial booking. For example, if they booked a room with a balcony – try to make sure they have one in their new room..

To mark a reservation as a double booking, you need to contact Customer Service. You’ll find the number for your local Customer Service team in your extranet inbox.

No: To make sure the guest still has a positive experience, it’s your responsibility to find them accommodation of the same or a better standard and cover the costs. We’d also recommend organising transport to the new accommodation, otherwise you might be invoiced with the costs to reimburse the guest for it later. And if you do need to relocate a guest, make sure you call our Customer Service team to let them know what’s happened so we can get in contact with the guest. We’ll need to know:

  • The guest’s full name.
  • Details of where the guest has been relocated to.
  • Their room type in the new location.
  • Any more useful details (e.g. any additional costs the guest may need to pay on arrival).

What if I can’t find any nearby accommodation?

Call our Customer Service team, who’ll be happy to help you. We’ll try our absolute best to find alternative accommodation at the same price – but if we’re not able to, you’ll be invoiced for any additional costs incurred by the guest (e.g. difference in price).


Costs of a double booking

Will I be charged commission?

If your property has been live on Booking.com for fewer than 30 days, or you’ve had fewer than four double bookings in 12 months, no commission will be charged. But if this isn’t the case, your property will be charged commission for the reservation.

Are there any other costs I might need to cover?

It depends on what you’re able to offer your guest. If you have another room or apartment of the same class (with identical or better amenities), then you won’t need to cover any costs. If you don’t have a better alternative to offer them, you’ll need to relocate them.

Here are some costs you might need to cover (it will vary depending on the specific case):

  • The cost of the new accommodation.
  • Relocation costs (e.g any costs incurred transporting the guests to the new location).

If there are circumstances you’d like us to know about, you can always get in touch with us via your inbox, or by calling your local Customer Service number.