An important message for our partners
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on your business, just as it has on ours. We are committed to supporting you as best we possibly can, so our teams have been working around-the-clock on solutions to help you retain as many reservations as possible in these challenging times.
Suspending Force Majeure
In support of this, last week we shared that our Force Majeure conditions do not apply to bookings made from Monday 6 April onwards. This means that you are in control of how to respond to cancellation requests for reservations made on or after this date (as explained in our communication to you on Friday 3 April).
Force Majeure Guest Agreements
We are also working to help you protect the revenue from reservations made before Monday 6 April, when our Force Majeure conditions still apply. If guests are seeking a cancellation, we support you to explore their alternative options with them, as outlined below.
For these reservations, we expect you to respect the inability of guests to stay as intended. We ask that you, to the satisfaction of the guest, arrange:
- new dates for a future stay through Booking.com (different rates may apply), or
- a voucher issued by you for a future stay, for the value paid by the guest or a higher amount at your discretion, or
- a full refund of any prepayment/deposit.
We will not charge commission in cases where the reservation is cancelled due to Force Majeure.
Minimising Force Majeure Cancellations
We share your desire for as many guests as possible to stay with you, although the situation is preventing them from doing so right now. We are therefore actively encouraging customers to choose the date change option wherever we can. We do this by highlighting the opportunity to reschedule, making this option the most prominent on our website, our app, and via our Customer Service teams.
We have also built tooling to make these date changes happen as quickly and easily as possible. Both you and your guests can now modify reservation dates without needing to call our Customer Service teams. For more information about managing date modifications, please visit our Partner Hub.
To ensure as many guests as possible choose a date change over a refund, we encourage you to make sure your availability is up-to-date on our platform and loaded as far into the future as possible.
We will continue to update you regularly about our ongoing work to support you as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. For the most up-to-date news and information, please continue to check our Partner Hub.
Yours in partnership,
Last week, we promised to share more detail about our ongoing work to support you, our partners, in these incredibly challenging times.
Today we are announcing changes regarding our Force Majeure policy on guest cancellations that are due to government travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
By now, we can expect that our mutual customers are aware of the risk of further COVID-19 spread, and as such the risk they are taking when making new reservations, particularly Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings.
Therefore for all new reservations made as of 6 April 2020, we will no longer apply Force Majeure conditions for guests seeking to cancel or modify their booking due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. These reservations will be treated like any standard booking, according to our policies and procedures.
What this means
For reservations made on or after 6 April 2020:
1. The COVID-19 Force Majeure procedures that we implemented in view of government travel restrictions do not apply.
2. Our standard procedures apply, including relating to Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable reservations. As such, you will be in control of whether, when and how to refund COVID-19-related guest cancellations for reservations made on or after 6 April 2020, based on the policy chosen by your guest, your individual, legal and governmental situation and mandatory consumer law.
3. We will introduce extensive new messaging across our website and app, both pre- and post-booking, to make customers even more aware of the risk they are taking in booking Non-Refundable or Partially Refundable reservations on or after 6 April 2020.
4. As the COVID-19 situation evolves constantly, we reserve the right to reinstate our contractual Force Majeure policy. If we do, we will communicate this to you and the change will only apply to reservations made after such communication.
5. You remain responsible for making sure your availability on our platform is up-to-date, including when government restrictions mean your property must be closed. Should a guest book a room that is in fact not available, the guest must be given a full refund unless they agree to a different solution.
For active reservations made before 6 April 2020, regardless of future check-in date:
1. There is no change. Our Force Majeure procedures, implemented in view of government travel restrictions and based on our contract, still apply. For more information about these procedures, please visit our Partner Hub.
2. We anticipate that more governments around the world will implement binding regulations that restrict the movement of people. Our Force Majeure procedures will apply as normal to any reservations made before 6 April 2020 for any future check-in date where government travel restrictions make it impossible, illegal or prevent guests from travelling to or staying at the accommodation they have booked. We will continue to update our Partner Hub with the most up-to-date information about our Force Majeure procedures, including where they are in place around the world.
Beyond the updates outlined above, we continue to work on new ways to support you, our partners.
- In these uncertain times, customers are looking for flexibility. For the time being, we will therefore be making it as easy as possible for customers to find flexible options. To help your property benefit, we recommend putting flexible policies in place. To support this, we are building new functionality that will enable you to easily switch policies to fully flexible.
- We are working on a campaign to incentivise customers to rebook properties they cancelled due to COVID-19, once they are able to travel again (Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings only.)
- Very soon, we will share details of new tooling that enables you to change the dates of many reservations yourself, when requested by the customer. You will no longer need to call our Customer Service teams.
- We continue to work on our plan to stimulate travellers to start booking once this crisis is behind us and it becomes safe to travel again.
- We continue to work on our Recovery Preparation Toolkit, which we will publish to help you get back to business and back to growth as soon as possible, once countries begin to show signs of recovery.
For the most up-to-date news and information, please check our Partner Hub.
We hope that the updates outlined above reassure you that our teams continue to work around the clock to support you in these challenging times. We promise our support will continue once this crisis is behind us and it becomes safe for the world to travel again. Because we remain in this together - as partners.
Yours in partnership, Booking.com
We are all living in extraordinary times. The pace, scale and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the world, our industry, and our business. Our teams have been doing their best amidst such rapidly-evolving global uncertainty, trying to simultaneously protect our mutual customers, you, our partners, our employees and our company. To that end, we know that many of you are anxious to hear what we are doing to support you today, and tomorrow.
- We are leveraging all marketing channels possible to source, secure and funnel any demand that exists in the market right now.
- Our Customer Service teams continue to work around the clock to respond to hundreds of thousands of enquiries from both our mutual customers and you, our partners. While we acknowledge that there are long wait times, those Customer Service teams are there for you if you need them, along with our Account Managers and Credit Control teams around the world.
- We continue to monitor the global situation, as more and more governments around the world implement regulations that restrict the movement of people. Taking these regulations into account, we have implemented Force Majeure procedures in many countries as per our GDTs. This enables our mutual customers to postpone or cancel stays that may not be possible due to local government travel restrictions. Booking.com of course receives no commission for any stay cancelled under Force Majeure
- We have published comprehensive Coronavirus-related content on our Partner Hub, including regularly updated information about our Force Majeure procedures, along with answers to partners’ most frequently asked questions.
- We are focused on how best to reduce Coronavirus-related cancellations by encouraging date changes, while devising new ways to reduce the operational workload we know date change requests are currently generating.
- We are working on a plan to stimulate travellers to start booking again once this crisis is behind us and it becomes safe to travel again.
- As countries begin to show signs of recovery, we will publish a Recovery Preparation Toolkit to help you get back to business and back to growth as soon as possible.
We will share more detail about the ongoing work listed above, plus many other initiatives that are already underway, as soon as we can.
For the most up-to-date news and information, please check for updates on our Partner Hub. We know that these have been and continue to be incredibly challenging times. But please know that we are in this together. We don’t take our use of the term partner lightly, and will continue to work around the clock to support you both today, and when the world begins to travel again. Yours in partnership, Booking.com
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