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Is your property self-contained / self-catering? Do you provide anything extra for 4 or 6 people such as breakfast / dinner, where the costs to you will be higher than for 1 or 2 people?
If you have a hotel / B&B, you will be feeding guests, so it's important to charge for each guest. If you have a self-catering property and do not provide food etc, the guests are paying for the property, and if you have different pricing depending on the number of guests, you'll get people booking for one person, but arriving with a family of 6. They do this with my self-catering properties, but as we charge the same amount regardless of whether it's 1 or 6 people, it doesn't matter to us - we get the same money regardless.
I prefer them to book direct, payment by bank transfer - they get a discount as there are no % fees from Booking.com and we get the money sooner - win win!
Hope that resolves the problems for you! Make sure you set every date in your calendar to non-refundable!!
I'm giving myself a headache by setting up another property with BDC and starting the fight to get them to add Payments by Booking.com .... banging my head against a brick wall isn't much fun .....
Have you checked all of your payments and invoices carefully? BDC put payments for multiple bookings together and send as one amount .....
Why will paying for accommodation at the time of booking deter guests? Anyone who books through AirBnB, TripAdvisor, HomeAway and other sites has to pay at the time of booking.
If someone books and doesn't pay, your rooms are blocked and cannot be booked by someone else. If the booker then doesn't show, you're stuck with an empty room and no money. Why put yourself in this position where you end up spending time chasing payments that you're never going to get?
We use Payments by Booking.com, so guests pay at the time of booking, just as they would with other OTAs. We also use AirBnB, TripAdvisor and HomeAway. Everyone pays at the time of booking. We had 2 no-shows, both from Booking.com - but because the bookers had paid and we used non-refundable settings (from the calendar), we still got paid. We have been fully booked all year so far (just winding down now).
Increase your fees ......
You can also take bookings on AirBnB, TripAdvisor and other OTAs, which have lower fees .... just set different rates on them so you get the same payout regardless of where the bookings come from ....
If it's available, use Payments by Booking.com and set every date to non-refundable. You will get the bookings, you will stop the fake bookings and you will get paid whether the guest turns up or not. Taking payments yourself by credit card exposes you to the very high risks of fake bookings through Booking.com and the very high risk of no-shows, leaving you with empty rooms and no time to take other bookings and of course, no money. Payments by Booking.com has a high commission rate, but just increase your prices to cover that. Others will have other ideas and solutions ....