All you need to know about double-bookings

If you have a double-booking, here's a quick overview of what you need to do:

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overbookings flow chart

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Double-bookings (a.k.a. overbookings) happen. We're here to explain what to do when they take place, and how you can prevent them from happening in the future. We'll also help you understand what causes double-bookings and what impact they have on both your business and guests.

When a double-booking occurs, you need to resolve the situation for your guest as soon as possible. We recommend these timelines to resolve a double-booking:

  • If your guest is arriving in the next 24 hours, try to resolve the double-booking within 30 minutes.
  • If your guest is arriving in 1 to 7 days, try to resolve it within 2 hours.
  • If your guest is arriving in more than 7 days, try to resolve it within 24 hours.

You're also responsible for all costs your guest might incur due to a double-booking. To learn more, read about the costs of a double-booking.


What is a double-booking?

It's a situation that occurs when multiple reservations are made for the same room on the same night at your property. Our research shows that 25% of our partners will get a double-booking during their first year on our site. Even if you haven't experienced a double-booking, it's worth reading our advice so you’ll know exactly what to do if you get one in the future.


Instant booking

When trying to avoid double-bookings, remember that when a guest books a stay at your property on Booking.com, their reservation is confirmed instantly – you won't be asked to accept or reject it. This means the booking experience is easier for your guests and makes it more likely they'll book a stay at your property. In fact, about 30% of our partners get their first reservation on their very first day of going live on Booking.com.

Related article: Can I cancel a reservation?


What causes double-bookings?

It’s important to pay close attention during the initial setup of your property. Mistakes in this process can lead to double-bookings. These are 2 of the most common causes:
  • Not syncing availability across channels

    A double-booking can occur when a guest books your room through Booking.com, but the same room is still available for the same night on other platforms. If a different guest later books that same room through one of those platforms, you'll have a double-booking. To learn more, read our article on how to export or import a calendar.
  • Incorrect calendar set-up

    A double-booking can also be caused by incorrectly setting up your availability on our site. For example, if you indicate that you have 2 rooms available when you only have 1, the same room can get booked twice. To prevent this, double-check your availability and policies before opening your property for bookings. You’ll find these settings here.

Related articles:


How do I avoid double-bookings?

There's a number of ways you can prevent double-bookings.

  • If you can't always keep track of bookings on a computer, we recommend downloading our Pulse app onto your phone. It lets you manage your bookings and availability anytime, anywhere.
  • If you're a new partner, make sure your calendar is up to date before going live on our website. As soon as you're live, your property is instantly open for reservations.
  • When you receive a booking, make sure you update your availability across all platforms to prevent any double-bookings.
  • If you use iCal, your bookings won't sync in real-time, so you'll have to sync your calendars manually. If you have iCal, set up a 2-way connection and update your calendars before opening for bookings.
  • If you have a channel manager, your availability should sync in real-time, which reduces the risk of double-bookings significantly. However, technical issues can cause delays in syncing times, so it's always worth double-checking. Learn more about the differences between iCal and channel managers in this article..

How do I resolve double-bookings?

If you get a double-booking, it's essential to act fast, so your guest doesn't end up without a place to stay.

Do you have other rooms of the same or better standard available?

Yes: To make sure your guest still has a great experience at your property, it's best to accommodate the guest in one of these rooms – at no extra cost to them. You should also provide them with all the facilities they had in their initial booking. For example, if they booked a room with a balcony, try to put them in another room that also has a balcony.

To mark a reservation as a double-booking, you'll need to contact Customer Service. You’ll find the number for your local Customer Service team in the Extranet inbox.

No: To make sure the guest still has a positive experience, you're responsible for finding them accommodations of the same or better standard – and cover the costs. We also recommend organizing transportation to the new accommodations, otherwise you could later be invoiced with the costs of reimbursing the guest. If you need to relocate a guest, call our Customer Service team to tell them what's happened, so we can contact the guest. We'll need to know:

  • The guest's full name.
  • The details of where the guest has been relocated.
  • Their room type in the new location.
  • Any other useful details (e.g. additional costs the guest may need to pay on arrival).

What if I can’t find any accommodations nearby?

Call our Customer Service team – they'll be happy to help out. We'll do our best to find alternative accommodations for the same price. If we can't, you’ll be invoiced for any additional costs incurred by the guest (e.g. price difference).


Costs of a double-booking

Will I be charged commission?

If your property has been live on Booking.com for less than 30 days, or you've had less than 4 double-bookings in 12 months, no commission will be charged. Otherwise, your property will be charged commission for the reservation.

Are there any other costs I might need to cover?

It depends on what you're able to offer the guest. If you have another room or apartment of the same standard (with identical or better amenities), then you won’t have to cover any costs. If you don’t, then you’ll need to relocate them.

Here are some costs you might need to cover (they'll vary from case to case):

  • The cost of the new accommodations.
  • Relocation costs (e.g. cost of transportation to alternative accommodations).

If there are circumstances you want to tell us about, you can always get in touch through your inbox, or by calling your local Customer Service number.