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first things first, that way you'll be able to change it right away:
Update your policies in the policy section of the extra-net. You can choose to make it mandatory for the guest to provide a valid credit card number with CVV to complete the reservation. In the same section, you can also check the box for the complete address and a valid phone number of the guest which supposedly booking.com then verifies (I am not too sure about that, though). Booking.com will then include the CC information on the reservation. However, they DO expect you to authorise the card yourself, which for us was not possible. No bank has been willing to provide us with terminal given that we only have two rooms. We were thinking of Paypal as a way to accept CC payments but then discovered that Booking.com now offers the complete handling of guest payments though their system - for a price, of course....they will charge 1.1% of every transaction that is through them. The room charge, excluding 15% commission and 1.1% handling fee will be deposited directly into your account, approx. 2 weeks after the end of the month in which the guest stayed. You might have to wait for your money for up to 6 weeks.
We have switched to that option only recently and have not had a payout yet, so I cannot recommend this way of working with them with a clear conscience. I am secretly dreading the day things go wrong, but we had no other choice: it was either this option or closing down due to revenue loss. I will keep you posted as to how things went as soon as we had a payout.
It has had an impact on the number of fake bookings, though, reducing the number of cancellations to almost 0.
I believe we all have the same problem here: small establishment, no CC terminal.
Booking.com is NOT HELPFUL at all, stringing us along as CASH only, taking their commission per Direct Debit out of our bank account, which I find unacceptable.
Needless to say that we have lost an unsupportable amount of revenue to fake reservations (be it for a visa application, mostly by North Africans) that turned out to be no-shows.
By necessity, we had to learn how to identify these fake bookings as soon as they came in because booking.com straight out refuses to process cancellations of the false reservations in a fast and uncomplicated way. Just the opposite: it still takes up to a week or more and several messages/phone calls/emails to customer service to get them to cancel the most obvious phoney bookings and even then, one has to watch the extra-net like a hawk to have them removed. Over the last two years, we have lost approx. 50% of our revenue only by "people" blocking the availability. Which made us wonder if booking.com is the partner we wanted.
In my opinion, this business practice is just wrong and keeps us as a small B&B dependent on the OTAs.
But we all know who has the longest breath and profits from our work in a way we never will: booking.com