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I feel your pain. I think something does have to be done about this subject and, at a higher level. Their booking policy encourages fraud for which they gain financially. A company of this size with their market standing, should be made accountable. Guest and Booker details should be verified by them as a standard protective measure for us property providers.
I had to contact my merchant provider again today for another chargeback on a booking that took place in September. In this case, the guest did stay but were able to claim a chargeback months later.
Our booking policy insists on guest personal details but this means nothing as they provide false details that are not verified by the booking channel. The merchant provider can only verify that the card number is genuine and the required funds are available. They are unable to verify the cardholder.
Fraud is on the increase and I think legislation needs to be put in place to protect small business against this.
My merchant provider told me they get chargebacks on a "regular" basis relating to accommodation bookings made through booking.com.
Personally, I think us small companies need to make a stand and protect ourselves first in order to force companies such as booking.com to change their policy.
By us all insisting on guest photo id that matches the booker and cardholder, booking.com will have to take a look at streamlining this to prevent profit margins dropping.
If Airbnb can verify their bookers so can Booking.com,
It is so refreshing to know we're not the only ones pulling our hair out on this subject. It never ceases to amaze me that people just don't read the info they are given.
Personally though, I think guests get too much info. on the b.com site there is far too much information not to mention the constant updates guests receive before arrival. I stayed one night in a serviced flat and I received about 5 updates from booking.com before I checked in - that's just overkill and, I have to say the information received differed to what the property provider told me.
To expect the guest to read the fine print is pointless - why is there a fine print? all the information a guest needs should be in the main text of the booking confirmation. The booking confirmation if sent by booking.com or us as providers, should be posted on the extranet so we can all read what the guest has received. We then have the opportunity to correct any info if needed.
It isn't clear when guests receive the key code info from b.com. They shouldn't get it before the cancellation period has ended or, until they have paid. This is particularly important to us as we are not located on site.
To ensure this doesn't happen, we do not provide this information until the day of arrival. For some of our sites, we simply can't as a key code is generated when keys have been returned by exiting guests. The earliest we issue these details is midday on arrival date, we then send this info by text and request confirmed receipt from the guest.
We also request an ETA and follow this up if we haven't been provided this info. Not all guests appreciate the difference between an apartment, an apart-hotel with a hotel and we do not offer 24hr assistance.
Unfortunately it doesn't get easier. I have listed on booking.com for several years now and still face hurdles just by trying to log in. I am mobile most of the time so use different devices. The booking.com site doesn't seem to like this as I have to verify who I am every time I use my tablet or phone even though my password is saved on these devices.
With the payment process. I have to agree, Airbnb are by far superior and so simple. Booking.com are way too over complicated and I am not impressed with their credit control dept. They have closed my property without notifying me so I cant take any bookings in a very busy period, this is over an invoice payment they claim hasn't been paid. This is not the first time they have claimed payments have not been made. What is more infuriating is that they didn't even give me the courtesy of a phone call before they did this.
I had to get my bank to provide a tracking number for the payment. 2 days in and I still haven't had a response from booking.com and the property is still closed.
In my opinion booking.com do not earn their commission I have now limited the properties I advertise on their site.
Sometimes life would be so much easier if guests were educated about the different types of accommodation they can book. A serviced apartment is not a hotel and it is not run like a hotel. It also isn't an apart-hotel either and the services offered can be miles apart.
Booking.com spend an absolute fortune on marketing. Its about time they spend some money on educating the bookers, There is such a vast range of accommodation and services available now. Maybe then, guests wouldn't feel disappointed about their accommodation choice. If they knew the type of service they were going to get they wouldn't feel the need to leave a low review score.
It all comes down to the type of accommodation and service level being offered as to what freebies one should offer.
I think properties should be categorised so guests know the levels they are paying for and welcome packs should be standard. A person paying less than £100 a night for an apartment in the UK (for example) shouldn't expect a lot of freebies whereas someone paying upwards of £140 should expect a decent welcome pack.
Regardless of price Free Wifi should be standard unless you are in the middle of nowhere where you pay a premium. Personally, I think the wifi service should only be mentioned if its a chargeable service.
When I travel and look for an apartment, I look at the accommodation and where it is, I'm not interested in whether they provide a bottle of wine or chocolates or even scones on arrival. I would see this as just a gimmick. If it was offered however and I wasn't expecting it, then that makes a good welcome, depending of course if I am travelling for pleasure.
We don't really have a peak season in the traditional sense. Our "peak" season changes every year.
We find that as long as you maintain and equip your apartments to the highest standard possible, restock inventory items regularly - teaspoons always seem to go missing; stock a decent welcome pack and a household pack, then guests will appreciate the quality of accommodation.
For us, we don't entertain yo-yo rating. We found it more trouble than it was worth. A few years back we trialled it, but found it only attracted the less favourable guest. Our repair/maintenance costs went up and to add insult to injury, those guests were the ones who left lower review grades.
We now keep our rates steady throughout the year and just offer genius bookers and last minute bookers a discount. Our repair/replacements costs have reduced.
We are in the industry where people will always criticise what they believe is value for money. As long as you are confident that you provide a good all round service and quality of accommodation and you are on top of your admin, then you shouldn't really need any special preparation.
There are pros and cons to both sites. Neither of which, are geared up specifically for apartments so there will always be flaws. Until both sites are updated and terminology changed there will always be issues to deal with.
Airbnb encourage relationship building with the host before arrival. Where guests can try and negotiate on price because they are renting on the cheap. After-all why would you stay in a strangers house if they could afford a hotel?
Booking.com are geared up for hotels where you have to list whether there are meal options, if a guest can pay on arrival, and there is 24hr assistance. None of these apply to whole apartments that are exclusively used as a short let.
I would like to see more control on both sites and protection for the property owner/manager.
I think my set up is exactly the same as yours but I am based in the UK.
My business name manages apartments for several private owners. I manage a few in the same building which are grouped together and others listed individually at different addresses.
If your business name is on the account than that belongs to you, the owner of the property surely cant pick up where you left? Booking.com will have all your details attached to that account. You need to contact booking.com and instruct them to close the property account. If you don't get any help, speak to a human it usually works.