An important message for our partners
We’re starting to see very early but encouraging signs that some parts of the world are beginning to book travel again. To help you attract as many guests as possible, as soon as possible, we want to help you get your property recovery ready.
Displaying precautionary measures
A lot of properties are introducing new precautionary measures to protect your teams, communities, and guests. This might include things like being open only to reservations from essential travelers or guests from certain countries (in line with local regulations), or the unavailability of facilities like pools, meals, or transport. We introduced a way for you to display these measures on your property page, helping you set guest expectations while reducing their need to contact you with questions. To find out more, visit our Partner Hub.
Capturing current demand with flexible rates
Given the current uncertainty, travelers are looking for flexibility. Where it makes sense, we’re promoting flexible rates to help make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. To ensure your property benefits, we recommend offering the maximum flexibility possible. To help you do so without the manual workload usually involved in switching policies, we launched a new tool that enables you to change the flexibility of your policies in just a few clicks, significantly reducing the workload usually involved. To find out more about ensuring your property is best positioned to attract bookings right now, visit our Partner Hub.
Travelers are still dreaming
While the coronavirus (COVID-19) has stopped many travelers from booking, it hasn’t stopped them dreaming. Booking.com customers have created millions of wish lists since March, “liking” properties they want to stay at when they can travel again. To encourage even more customers to wish list properties like yours, we’re launching a campaign to reward customers who download our app and “like” three properties with a saving on their next stay, funded by Booking.com. We’re also investigating how we can support partners like you to convert these “likes” into bookings, when the time is right.
We’ll soon reach out with more info about what we’re doing to stimulate travel demand, and what you can do to ensure your property is best prepared to capture it. For the most up-to-date news and info, continue to check our Partner Hub.
Yours in partnership,
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on your business, just as it has on ours. We’re committed to supporting you as best as we possibly can, so our teams have been working around-the-clock on solutions to help you retain as many reservations as possible in these challenging times.
Suspending Force Majeure
To support this, last week we shared that our Force Majeure conditions don’t apply to bookings made from Monday, April 6 onward. This means you’re in control of how to respond to cancellation requests for reservations made on or after this date (as explained in our communication to you on Friday, April 3).
Force Majeure Guest Agreements
We’re also working to help you protect the revenue from reservations made before Monday, April 6, when our Force Majeure conditions still apply. If guests are seeking a cancellation, we support you to explore their alternative options with them, as outlined below.
For these reservations, we expect you to respect the inability of guests to stay as intended. We ask that you—to the satisfaction of the guest—arrange:
- New dates for a future stay through Booking.com (different rates may apply), or
- A voucher issued by you for a future stay, for the value paid by the guest or a higher amount at your discretion, or
- A full refund of any prepayments/deposits.
We won’t charge commission in cases where the reservation is canceled due to Force Majeure.
Minimizing Force Majeure Cancellations
We share your desire for as many guests as possible to stay with you, though the situation is preventing them from doing so right now. That’s why we’re actively encouraging customers to choose the date change option wherever we can. We do so by highlighting the opportunity to reschedule, making this option the most prominent on our website, our app, and via our Customer Service teams.
We also built tooling to make these date changes happen as quickly and easily as possible. Both you and your guests can now modify reservation dates without having to call our Customer Service teams. For more info about managing date modifications, visit our Partner Hub.
To ensure as many guests as possible choose a date change over a refund, we encourage you to make sure your availability is up-to-date on our platform and loaded as far into the future as possible.
We’ll continue to update you regularly about our ongoing work to support you as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold. For the most up-to-date news and info, continue to check our Partner Hub.
Yours in partnership,
Last week, we promised to share more details about our ongoing work to support you, our partners, in these incredibly challenging times.
Today we’re announcing changes regarding our Force Majeure policy on guest cancellations that are due to government travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.
By now, we can expect that our mutual customers are aware of the risk of further COVID-19 spread, along with the risk they’re taking when making new reservations, particularly Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings.
For all new reservations made as of April 6, 2020, we’ll no longer apply Force Majeure conditions for guests seeking to cancel or modify their booking due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. These reservations will be treated like any standard booking, according to our policies and procedures.
What this means
For reservations made on or after April 6, 2020:
1. The COVID-19 Force Majeure procedures that we implemented due to government travel restrictions do not apply.
2. Our standard procedures apply, including those relevant to Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable reservations. As such, you will be in control of whether, when, and how to refund COVID-19-related guest cancellations for reservations made on or after April 6, 2020, based on the policy chosen by your guest, your individual, legal and governmental situation, as well as mandatory consumer law.
3. We’ll introduce extensive new messaging across our site and app—both pre- and post-booking—to make customers even more aware of the risk they’re taking by booking Non-Refundable or Partially Refundable reservations on or after April 6, 2020.
4. As the COVID-19 situation constantly evolves, we reserve the right to reinstate our contractual Force Majeure policy. If we do, we’ll communicate this to you and the change will only apply to reservations made after such communication.
5. You remain responsible for making sure your availability on our platform is up-to-date, including when government restrictions mean your property has to close. If a guest books a room that isn’t available, the guest must be given a full refund unless they agree to a different solution.
For active reservations made before April 6, 2020, regardless of future check-in date:
1. There is no change. Our Force Majeure procedures—implemented due to government travel restrictions and based on our contract—still apply. For more info about these procedures, visit our Partner Hub.
2. We anticipate that more governments around the world will implement binding regulations that restrict the movement of people. Our Force Majeure procedures will apply as normal to any reservations made before April 6, 2020 for any future check-in date where government travel restrictions make it impossible, illegal, or prevent guests from traveling to or staying at the accommodation they booked. We’ll continue to update our Partner Hub with the most up-to-date info about our Force Majeure procedures, including where they’re in place around the world.
Beyond the updates outlined above, we’ll continue to work on new ways to support you, our partners.
- In these uncertain times, customers are looking for flexibility. For the time being, we’ll therefore be making it as easy as possible for customers to find flexible options. To help your property benefit, we recommend putting flexible policies in place. To support this, we’re building new features that will enable you to easily switch policies to fully flexible.
- We’re working on a campaign to incentivize customers to rebook properties they canceled due to COVID-19, once they’re able to travel again (Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings only.)
- We'll soon share details about new tooling that will enable you to change the dates of many reservations yourself when requested by the customer. You'll no longer need to call our Customer Service teams.
- We're continuing to work on our plan to motivate travelers to start booking once this crisis is behind us and it’s safe to travel again.
- We're working on our Recovery Preparation Toolkit, which we'll publish to help you get back to business and growth as soon as possible, once countries begin to show signs of recovery.
For the most up-to-date news and info, check our Partner Hub.
We hope that the updates outlined above reassure you that our teams are working around the clock to support you in these challenging times. We promise our support will continue once this crisis is behind us and it becomes safe for the world to travel again. Because we remain in this together – as partners.
Yours in partnership,
We’re all living in extraordinary times. The pace, scale, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the world, our industry, and our business. Our teams have been doing their best amid such rapidly-evolving global uncertainty, trying to simultaneously protect our mutual customers, you, our partners, our employees, and our company. To that end, we know many of you are anxious to hear what we’re doing to support you today and tomorrow.
- We’re leveraging all marketing channels possible to source, secure, and funnel any existing demand in the market right now.
- Our Customer Service teams continue to work around the clock to respond to hundreds of thousands of questions from both our mutual customers and you, our partners. While we understand that wait times are long, those Customer Service teams are there for you if you need them, along with our Account Managers and Credit Control teams around the world.
- We’ll continue to monitor the global situation, as more and more governments around the world implement regulations that restrict the people’s movement. Taking these regulations into account, we’ve implemented Force Majeure procedures in many countries as per our GDTs. This enables our mutual customers to postpone or cancel stays that may not be possible due to local government travel restrictions. Booking.com of course receives no commission for any stay canceled under Force Majeure
- We published comprehensive coronavirus-related content on our Partner Hub, including regularly updated info about our Force Majeure procedures, along with answers to partners’ most frequently asked questions.
- We’re focused on how to best reduce coronavirus-related cancellations by encouraging date changes, while devising new ways to reduce the operational workload we know date change requests are currently generating.
- We’re working on a plan to stimulate travelers to start booking again once this crisis is behind us and it’s safe to travel again.
- As countries begin to show signs of recovery, we’ll publish a Recovery Preparation Toolkit to help you get back to business and growth as soon as possible.
We’ll share more details about the ongoing work listed above, plus many other initiatives that are already underway as soon as we can.
For the most up-to-date news and info, check for updates on our Partner Hub. We know these have been and continue to be incredibly challenging times. But please know that we’re in this together. We don’t take our use of the term partner lightly and will continue to work around the clock to support you both today, and when the world begins to travel again. Yours in partnership,
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