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We joined the preferred program to be more visible, at top of the page and you pay more commission to BC and it's worth that contribution. It is ideal when your property and services are of very good quality and this really helps to influence clients' choice. This is not a definite status and you have to maintain a level to remain in this program. Booking.Com has an assessment period and they can remove you from there if you do not perform (one of the criteria is the revenue generated and therefore the amount of their commission).
The genius program is more an incentive for the client. You grant 10% discount on your best seller unit type and clients benefit of some advantages under conditions. You may extend this to your other rates or unit type. They are targeted by the secret deals that you can set as promotion.
Both plans have contributed to increase activity and 'Genius' status is not necessarily the most reliable type of client you will have. They also make fake reservations without guarantee (invalid credit card), no-shows, and multiple units reserved for same period just for fun as they know they have nothing to pay and payment cannot be processed with the information or status of credit card provided. Genius is not that 'clean' and they are allowed to keep that status no matter what they do on Booking.Com. The way this status is awarded is opaque. The facilities offered by BC to prospective visitors consequently increase activity but also higher cancellation rate, fake reservations and no-shows without compensation.
This is the main issue with Booking.Com and their system which presents major weaknesses in genuineness of reservations and therefore reliability of payment . So far they will allow the visitors to make these fake and fraudulent reservations and all the burden remains on our shoulders.
We share our last experience: we received a last minute booking at beginning of this week with arrival next day. As the payment was due, we processed the credit card on morning of arrival day and it was successful. Later, a person showed up and presented his passport, was not same name of reservation, and said that the person who made the reservation will show up 24 hours later. He presented himself as the colleague, sharing the house, and showed us a copy on his cellphone of passport of person who made reservation. We had some doubts and asked for more clarifications with that person. Finally, it was an attempt to fraudulently stay at our property and that person just left discretely while we were processing some verification which confirmed that status. We had also to revert the credit card transaction to avoid further problems later.
When we cancelled the reservation, we got immediately a phone call from Booking.Com for inquiry. The lady operator informed us that they will contact person who made the booking but never reverted back as she found it was be a dead end as everything was fake.
Actually for our property we have above 60% of cancellation rate: fake, invalid credit card details, cancelling some days before free cancellation period ends with 'genius' status clients involved.
Booking.Com for some destination applies now direct payment to them upon reservation. They will process payment with the client and repay you later (generally at end of month) the amount less commission by bank transfer. You may on the Extranet select that method or call your account manager for support. This will guaranty your reservation as visitors won't accept to pay immediately for fake reservation.
Also, you must have a cancellation period and policy. This will filter your reservations and put a reasonable period that will allow you to get other reservation if there is cancellation.
High speed, no capping and free are options expected by guests.
We have reservations which will result in about 6 on 10 to be cancelled either by the client or by us. This is done within free cancellation period and sometimes when it happens to take the prepayment, we find out that the credit card is invalid. Despite contacting the client and reporting to Booking.Com, many result to be fake and you have any mean to get your rightful cancellation fee if it should be applied. We lose more 24 hours before being able to cancel the reservation and it should be instant as if the client is serious, he will book again promptly and provide genuine credit card details to secure his reservation. Booking.Com has implemented, for some selected properties, a virtual card payment same as Expedia or Agoda. This is at first stance a good initiative to stop the fake reservation as client pays Booking.Com at reservation. However, the client still has the choice between paying directly Booking.Com who will then repay us with the virtual card or provide us their credit card details to be charged (later) as per set conditions, then leaving the gate still wide open to fake reservations. Why do the policy makers at Booking.Com still allow these practices that cost us money and time and less commission for them.