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A sure-fire way to stop all this Agoda nonsense is to report it to your local Trading Standards, and take it up with any trade associations you're with (in UK, the Bed & Breakfast Association) and put messages on Booking.com's Twitter account. It's outrageous that they let this happen.
I had a look at your photos and they all look good (if I was being hyper-critical, I'd say tidy up the bed a bit and take the throw off). Seems that the biggest problem you have is competition locally. The other place near you is cheaper, bigger and smarter. I'd ask them to send their overbooking to you, and drop my prices.
Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but you have got to get some ratings on B.com before people will trust your place, so drop your prices to get the ball rolling.
Best of luck.
We serve fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries from the garden when in season, with a selection of c20 cereals (at least five are gluten-free). We're hoping that next year we will also have kiwi fruit. There's also home-baked croissants and pain au chocolate and almost always hand-baked wholemeal/walnut bread. At the moment we have a glut of blackberries in the local park, so we're eating a ton of them and juicing the rest!
It's very simple. Charge in full when the guest books.
Appreciate your prompt reply. Many thanks - I'll adapt this for my own use.
Awful experience Monet.
Would you mind sharing the 'damage & charges' text you put in your information folders?
Many thanks for your reply Zsolt, but ...I don't actually make 40% profit, so it would be a loss leader if I were to do it. I already have a good rating (9.7), so that in itself brings in a lot. The Opportunities tab is driving me nuts - it says every day that I have one unread "Opportunity", which, when I click through, tells me I've completed them all. Cust Serv told me it's a known issue.
Re "We don't want to become a non-trusting establishment" . Nobody would ever call you a non-trusting establishment just because you take payment up front. People have come to expect that, as they are almost always paying with credit cards. I charge everyone 100% as soon as they book. Booking.com has no problem doing that for virtual bookings and guests are aware that it is part of the process. Refunding cancellations (assuming their booking actually allows cancellations) is a small price to pay to avoid losing out due to guests walking away without paying.
I do agree, however, that Booking.com should be obligated to give you the information in this scenario (by asking the guest to supply it again or blocking guest from ever booking again).