An important message for our partners
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. 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
In support of this, last week we shared that our Force Majeure conditions wouldn't apply to bookings made Monday, April 6, and forward. 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 message to you on Friday, April 3).
Force Majeure Guest Agreements
We're also working to help you protect revenue from reservations made before Monday, April 6, when our Force Majeure conditions still applied. If guests are seeking a cancellation, we'll support you by exploring their alternative options with them, 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 worth the value paid by the guest or a higher amount at your discretion, or
- A full refund of any prepayment/deposit.
We won't charge commission in cases where the reservation is canceled due to Force Majeure.
Minimizing Force Majeure Cancellations
While we share the desire for having as many guests as possible stay with you, the current situation is preventing them from doing so. That's why we're actively encouraging customers to choose the date change option wherever we can. We do this by highlighting the opportunity to reschedule, making this option the most prominent on our site, app, and via our Customer Service teams.
We've 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 needing to call our Customer Service teams. For more info on 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 be updating 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, keep checking our Partner Hub.
Yours in partnership, Booking.com
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 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 – and, as such, the risk they're taking when making new reservations, particularly Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable bookings.
Therefore, for all new reservations made as of April 6, 2020, we will no longer apply Force Majeure conditions for guests seeking to cancel or modify their bookings 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 related to Non-Refundable and Partially Refundable reservations. As such, you'll 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 will introduce extensive new messaging across our website 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 evolves constantly, we reserve the right to reinstate our contractual Force Majeure policy. If we do, we will 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 say your property must be closed. Should a guest book 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 information about our Force Majeure procedures, including where they are 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 will 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 can 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 becomes safe to travel again.
- We're continuing to work 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 – as partners.
Yours in partnership, Booking.com
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 amidst 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 ahead.
- We're leveraging all marketing channels possible to source, secure, and funnel any demand that exists in the market right now.
- Our Customer Service teams continue to work around the clock to respond to hundreds of thousands of inquiries 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're continuing to monitor the global situation, as more and more governments around the world implement regulations that restrict peoples' movement. Taking these regulations into account, we've implemented Force Majeure procedures in many countries in accordance with our GDTs. This enables our mutual customers to postpone or cancel stays that may not be possible due to local travel restrictions. Booking.com of course receives no commission for any stay canceled under Force Majeure.
- We've 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 minimize the operational workload that date change requests are currently generating.
- We're working on a plan to energize travelers to start booking for 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 and continue to be incredibly challenging times, but remember that we're in this together. We don’t take 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, Booking.com
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