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Complying with European Union consumer law

Updated 1 month ago
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On 1 September, 2019, we changed the way we show prices to Europe-based customers.

This change is to ensure all properties on Booking.com comply with European Union consumer laws, which aim to provide transparency in the prices displayed by online companies. To avoid any confusion for guests, listings on Booking.com will now reflect all mandatory charges, even if they were previously set as excluded. On top of this, listings will no longer show any mandatory charges as incalculable or may vary.

 

While only Europe-based bookers are affected for now, we believe that transparency is a good thing for all guests. So whether or not you regularly get bookings from European guests, please update and if necessary update some settings on the extranet. Keep in mind that without these updates, your listing may not comply with European Union consumer law, and we’ll have to remove the aforementioned fees from your listing(s).

To make sure your listing is compliant with these laws, check your pre-authorisation, extra fees (including local taxes and other additional fees) and child policy settings on the extranet. You’ll find step-by-step instructions below.


1. General requirements for setting discounts

We need to make sure that discounts shown on our site represent actual savings for guests.

This means the price you use as a benchmark for the discount is or has been available for bookings on our platform for a reasonable period of time.

You’re required to make sure this is the case if you set discounts on Booking.com.

You can also view the CTSI Guidance for traders on pricing practices, sections of the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing, and Guidance on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive for more info about prices.

If you don’t comply with the discount criteria mentioned above, you may experience issues with guests and you may fail to comply with EU consumer laws. If we receive complaints about or become aware of issues with the discounts you set on our platform, we’ll be required to investigate and if necessary take appropriate action.


2. Additional discount requirements that may apply under the Omnibus Directive

New EU/EEA consumer legislation – known as the Omnibus Directive (part of the Consumer New Deal) – is due to be applied by individual member states by 28 May 2022. It aims to improve and modernise consumer protection legislation and strengthen its enforceability. To find out more about the legislation, take a look at the EU’s website.

Discounting is one of the topics that the Omnibus Directive covers. While article 2 of the Omnibus Directive only refers to the sale of ‘goods’, local laws in a number of member states also apply the 30-day rule to the supply of services, which includes the services offered by partners on our platform. Whenever you set up a discount on our platform, existing regulations already require you to indicate the previous price, as explained in section 1 above. Under article 6a of the Omnibus Directive, when applicable that previous price must now be the lowest price you’ve offered during a period of at least 30 days before you begin applying the price reduction.

We encourage you to check whether this new rule applies to you. If it does, you must make sure you comply with it when you set discounts on our platform. For further guidance on interpreting this article and whether it might apply to you, take a look at this notice on the EU’s website.


3. Pre-authorisation

EU law requires all partners to state whether or not they pre-authorise guest credit cards. If you pre-authorise guest credit cards—even if you only do so occasionally—you’ll need to display:

  • The amount you pre-authorise and:
  • Which booking policies you pre-authorise for.

If you don’t pre-authorise cards at your property, you’ll need to indicate that, too.

To update your pre-authorisation settings, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Extranet and go to the Property tab.
  2. Click Policies and scroll down to Pre-authorisation preferences.
  3. There, click Update preferences and select your preferences.
  4. Click Save.

Update my settings


4. Extra fees: Local taxes and other additional fees

To comply with the regulations, you’ll also need to specify all mandatory fees, taxes, charges, and other price components, including the price your guests have to pay if they’re travelling with children. Price components like taxes or extra fees for towels can no longer be set as incalculable.

Which extra fees are included in this?

  • All mandatory fees. This includes any fee the guest is expected or required to pay by default—either to you or through you to other authorities—by virtue of booking your property or staying there.
  • Optional or conditional fees are not included in this. These are defined as any fee that the guest incurs only after explicitly asking for a service, such as fees for spa facilities or an extra cleaning service that the guest explicitly requests and agrees to pay for.
  • Keep in mind that, as a result of the regulations, all fees marked as mandatory will be included in the overall price that the guest sees on your listing. Any fees marked as incalculable will now be considered opaque mandatory fees, and your listing won’t comply with the regulations. As a result, we’ll remove these fees from your listing(s), and you shouldn’t charge guests for them – unless you choose to re-add them later as mandatory fees with specific prices.

How do I update my settings?

There are a few sections that you’ll need to check. You should start with your Additional fees section. Your next steps will depend on your property type. 

If your property is a home, apartment, or any other non-hotel accommodation, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the extranet and go to the Property tab.
  2. Click Policies and select Additional fees and charges.
  3. If you have any fees set as incalculable, enter the appropriate fee.
  4. If you have any optional fees (i.e. non-mandatory), delete them by clicking Remove. Only mandatory fees should appear in this section.
  5. Click Save.  

If your property is a hotel, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Extranet and go to the Property tab.
  2. Click VAT/tax/charges.
  3. If you have any fees set to incalculable or charges may vary, get in touch with your local Booking.com team, who can help update your info.

The second section to check is your local taxes. Depending on where you’re located, you may have to pay a tourist tax or other extra fees for each guest. Under European Union consumer law, this number can no longer be set as incalculable.

As of September 1, 2019, we’ve adjusted any taxes or fees currently marked as incalculable or charges may vary (e.g. different tax rates for nightly prices, not applicable for children, not applicable for more than x nights). For these fees, we’ll set a value that corresponds to the highest possible tax for that category. This is so that the tax (or other local fees) are never shown with a value lower than what the guest might have to pay in reality.

As of September 1, 2019, you’ll need to check that the adjustments we’ve made to the info for your local taxes and fees are correct. To check these settings, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Extranet and go to the Property tab.
  2. Click VAT/tax/charges.
  3. If any of the fees were configured incorrectly, you’ll need to contact your local Booking.com team so they can help you update these fees.
Note:

As per European Union consumer law, mandatory fees can no longer be set as either “incalculable” or “charges may vary.” Only optional, non-mandatory fees can be added to “The fine print” section of your property description. Mandatory fees need to be added to the options mentioned above, not in “The fine print” section.

 

Update my settings


5. Extra fees: Cleaning fees

To comply with EU consumer protection laws on price transparency, all mandatory cleaning fees will be removed from 'The fine print' section of property listings by 1 June, 2020.

As a result, all Booking.com accommodation partners are requested to include all mandatory cleaning fees as part of the total price displayed to guests. If you charge your guests for cleaning, make sure to add the fee to the total price by following the steps below.  

If your property is a home, apartment or any other non-hotel accommodation:

  1. Log in to the extranet and go to the Property tab.
  2. Click Policies and scroll down to Additional fees and charges.
  3. Click Edit and select Yes under Alongside the room/apartment(s), will guests need to pay any other fees for their reservation?
  4. Select Cleaning fee under Type of fee and fill out the details.
  5. Once the details are entered, click the blue Save button.
Note:
Hotels aren’t able to add a cleaning fee themselves. If you run a hotel, reach out to our Customer Support department to set up your cleaning fee.

 


6. Child policies

As per European Union consumer law, all prices on Booking.com need to reflect the total amount that guests will pay for their stay. If you allow children to stay at your property, you’ll have to check that your policies are configured correctly to ensure you’re in compliance with the regulations.

As of 1 September, 2019, fixed prices for children staying in existing beds (i.e. not extra beds added to the room) were added to the total price on Booking.com and were no longer subject to commission.

Note:

It’s no longer possible to configure variable charges such as percentages.

 

To check and update your child policies, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the extranet and click the Property tab.
  2. Click Policies and scroll down to the Children & extra beds section.
  3. You can specify if children are allowed at your property here.
  4. Set the maximum number of children that can stay in each of your room types as well as how much you charge per child, per night, and click on Save. Be sure to only use fixed fees per night, since percentage pricing is no longer allowed.
  5. Click Preview to check that your information is all correct.
  6. Click Save when you’re done.
Note:

Each section must be configured and saved as you go.

 

Update child policies

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