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We joined the preferred program to be more visible, at top of the page and you pay more commission to BC and it's worth that contribution. It is ideal when your property and services are of very good quality and this really helps to influence clients' choice. This is not a definite status and you have to maintain a level to remain in this program. Booking.Com has an assessment period and they can remove you from there if you do not perform (one of the criteria is the revenue generated and therefore the amount of their commission).
The genius program is more an incentive for the client. You grant 10% discount on your best seller unit type and clients benefit of some advantages under conditions. You may extend this to your other rates or unit type. They are targeted by the secret deals that you can set as promotion.
Both plans have contributed to increase activity and 'Genius' status is not necessarily the most reliable type of client you will have. They also make fake reservations without guarantee (invalid credit card), no-shows, and multiple units reserved for same period just for fun as they know they have nothing to pay and payment cannot be processed with the information or status of credit card provided. Genius is not that 'clean' and they are allowed to keep that status no matter what they do on Booking.Com. The way this status is awarded is opaque. The facilities offered by BC to prospective visitors consequently increase activity but also higher cancellation rate, fake reservations and no-shows without compensation.
High speed, no capping and free are options expected by guests.