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This is really easy. I have been doing this for 20 years as of April 1st. As much as I like the personal interaction there are times when it's not possible, such as this case. What I do is leave them a note, with their room key enclosed, stating where their room is located (PLEASE be quiet-there are other guests staying), have them select breakfast time and leave it where they can find it. I also send ALL of my Reservation Guests a brief message through Bookings, upon making a Reservation, to please CALL-ME if they are going to be late. I also have last minute guests, same day, to call-to-confirm. I know it sounds like a lot but the last minute bookings have become SO less stressful. I also discourage same day Reservations as I have had guests sit in my driveway, make a Reservation, walk through the door saying I have a Reservation and if I rented the room want to guess who pays?? I am also starting "Self-Check-Ins" where I leave them a message on the door. So far people are loving it. They come when they want with no "Check-In" times. You might want to try that. I also have a 1-day (no same day) cut-off.
Let me state first by stating what my policies are. When you book, there is an automatic 50% NON-Refundable deposit with a 14-day cancellation. So you book a room I charge 50%. If you cancel days 14-8, you will receive a credit good for 1-year, not transferable. If you cancel days 7 or before you lose your whole stay, including taxes. Now let me state this is for the WHOLE STAY, not 1-night, the 50% deposit etc.
Doing this for 20-years now, my policies have evolved from reaction. By this I mean if someone calls with a "valid excuse" I will work with them BUT if they call to cancel with their guns drawn, they are going to sue me, I am going to give you a bad review etc I will not budge.
I am honest and if I can re-rent the room I only keep a nominal $30.00 fee, and there are times when I have refunded 100%. Once again I react to how the customer reacts to what I say.
I am calling Booking today @the Virtual CC but from what I am hearing it's not for me. This is MY business and I want control. Having someone else tell me how to run my business, gives it away and I lose control.
State your policies and stick to them. People do not read anything so state your policies and be consistent. I do not believe that "we" are in the business to get bad reviews or screw people. You book on an airline, they take 100% right there on the phone and it's gone. Why are we different.
Sorry this is lengthly.. I had a guest cancel on the spot, they called Booking and Booking said to them, tell the hotel (B&B) if they will also cancel we will not charge anyone any fees so Booking looks like the good guy and I'm the bad guy... NICE huh?? I had a very serious, continue to do business with them talk and I was not nice either after I was told thats their policy... It had not happened since