Which settings do I need to check to comply with European Union consumer law?

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 display of prices by online companies. To avoid any confusion on the part of 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 you regularly get bookings from European guests or not, we ask you to make a few updates to some settings in your extranet. Please be aware that without these updates, your listing may not comply with European Union consumer law, and we will have to remove the aforementioned fees from your listing(s).

To make sure your listing is compliant with these laws, please check your pre-authorisation, extra charges (including local taxes and other additional fees), and child policy settings in your extranet. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to do so.  

1. General requirements for setting discounts

We must ensure that price comparisons which are shown on our website as a discount, represent genuine savings for our consumers.

This means that the price that you use as a benchmark for the discount, is or has been genuinely available to consumers to book on our website for a reasonable period of time.

You are required to make sure that this is the case if you set discounts on our Booking.com website.

You can also visit the webpage ‘CTSI Guidance for traders on pricing practices’ and the sections of the ‘UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing’ that relate to prices.

If you don’t make sure to comply with the above mentioned discounts criteria, you may experience issues with guests – and even fail to comply with EU consumer laws. In that case, we will have to take appropriate action.

2. Pre-authorisation

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

  • The amount you pre-authorise;

  • When 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 on 'Policies’ and scroll down to ‘Pre-authorisation preferences’.

  3. There, click ‘Update references’ and select your preferences.

  4. Click on ‘Save’.


Update my settings


3. Extra charges: Local taxes and other additional fees

To be in compliance 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 are travelling with children. Price components like taxes or extra charges for towels can no longer be set as ‘incalculable’.

Which extra charges are included in this?

  • All mandatory fees. This includes any fee which 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.
  • Please bear 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 charges, and your listing will not be in compliance with the regulations. As a result, we will remove such fees from your listing(s), and you should not charge guests for them, unless you later choose to re-add them as mandatory fees with specific prices.

How do I update my settings?

There are a few sections that you’ll need to check.

  • The first is your additional fees. 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 your extranet and go to the ‘Property’tab.

  2. Click on ‘Policies’ and select ‘Additional fees and charges’.

  3. If you have any charges set as ‘incalculable’, enter the appropriate fee.

  4. If you have any optional charges (non-mandatory charges), delete them by clicking on ‘Remove’. Only mandatory charges should appear in this section.

  5. Click on ‘Save’  

If your property is a hotel, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your extranet and go to the ‘Property' tab.

  2. Click on ‘VAT/tax/charges’.

  3. If you have any charges set as ‘applies, charges may vary’, get in touch with your local Booking.com team, who can help to update your information.

  • The second section to check is your local taxes. Depending on where you’re located, you may have to pay tourist tax or other extra charges for each guest. Under European Union consumer law, this number can no longer be set as ‘incalculable’. By 1 September, we’ll adjust any taxes or charges that are currently marked as ‘incalculable’ or ‘charges may vary’ (e.g. different tax rates for different nightly prices, not applicable for children, not applicable for more than x nights). For these charges, we’ll set a value that corresponds to the highest possible tax for that category. This is so that the tax (or other locality charges) are never shown with a value lower than what the guest might have to pay in reality.

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

  1. Log in to your extranet and go to the ‘Property’ tab.

  2. Click on ‘VAT/tax/charges’.

  3. If any of the charges have been configured incorrectly, you’ll need to get in touch with your local Booking.com team so they can help you update these fees.

Note: As per European Union consumer law, mandatory charges can no longer be set as either ‘incalculable’ or ‘charges may vary’. Any optional, non-mandatory charges can be added to the fine print section of your property description.


Update my settings


4. 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.

From 1 September 2019, fixed prices for children staying in existing beds (i.e. not extra beds added to the room) will be added to the total price on Booking.com, and will be 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 your extranet and open the ‘Property’ tab.

  2. Click on ‘Policies’ and scroll down to the ‘Children & extra beds’ section.

  3. Here, you can specify if children are allowed at your property.

  4. Set the maximum number of children that can stay in each of your room types and how much you charge per child, per night, and click on ‘Save’. Please only use fixed fees per night as percentage pricing is no longer allowed.

  5. Click on ‘Preview’ to check your information is all correct.

  6. Click on ‘Save’ when you’re done.

Note: Each section must be configured and saved as you go.


Update child policies