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Frequently Asked Questions About: Booking.com

 

Frequently Asked Questions About: Booking.com 

Below you'll find some commonly asked questions, and answers, about Booking.com:

 1. A reservation came into ThinkReservations from Booking.com, but there was no credit card on file and/or no deposit was charged. How is this possible?

► 2. I received a Booking.com reservation where the room rate is lower than it should be. Why is the rate lower?​

3. Booking.com reservations don't allow me to see the real guest email address. How can I effectively market to these guests in the future?

4. What happens when a Booking.com reservation is canceled?

 5. I received an email from Booking.com about a canceled reservation, but the reservation still active in ThinkReservations?

6. Can I change the name of the rooms that I have on Booking.com?

► 7. Can I charge for Breakfast or a resort fee or similar to my Booking.com guests?

► 8. A Booking.com guest wants to stay longer. Should I modify the reservation in ThinkReservations?

► 9. A Booking.com guest wants to add or purchase items or packages from me. Should I modify the reservation in ThinkReservations?

► 10. Can I give Booking.com guests a different confirmation email?

► 11. Why doesn’t this Booking.com reservation have the guest's full address?

► 12. How can I encourage guests to book direct instead of with an OTA?

 

1. A reservation came into ThinkReservations from Booking.com, but there was no credit card on file and/or no deposit was charged. How is this possible?

When a reservation is made on Booking.com, Booking.com does not wait to see if the credit card is valid before accepting the reservation. This is the case even when Booking.com does validation on the credit card. They simply make sure it appears to be a credit card number. Once Booking.com sends the reservation information to ThinkReservations, it's created in your ThinkReservations account, and the credit card information is sent to your processor to validate the card and, if applicable, charge the deposit. If ThinkReservations finds that the card is not valid, or if the charge is declined, the following will occur automatically:

 

1. ThinkReservations sends an email to the property to let you know that this reservation came through with an invalid card. You have some options in these cases: 

  • If the guest doesn't upload new credit card data on Booking.com within 24 hours, you can cancel the reservation. Optionally, you might reach out to the guest and get a different card and run it in ThinkReservations while you have them on the phone.

  • You can cancel the reservations after 24 hours. The status of the reservation in the reservation overview table in your Booking.com account will show “OK to cancel” so you know the timer is up. For last-minute reservations, the timer might be as little as 2 hours before you can cancel.

    If the card has been updated by the guest, it will say “Updated credit card”.
    Check to make sure the guest hasn’t updated their card information and had the card retained and a deposit charged before you cancel the reservation is Booking.com

    To cancel: Open the reservation in Booking.com and you will be able to cancel with a button. As soon as you do, the reservation in ThinkReservations will be canceled. Don’t forget to refund the guest if they have a refund coming to them.

 

2. ThinkReservations also simultaneously sends a notification to Booking.com to alert them that an invalid credit card was received. This starts the 24-hour timer. This triggers an email from Booking.com to be sent to the guest. If the guest has a Booking.com account, a notification will be put into their account as well. Their message includes a link for the guest to click through to update their credit card information in Booking.com. If this is done, Booking.com sends the updated credit card number to ThinkReservations, the card is retained, and the payment, if applicable, is charged.*

 

*Please note that in these instances, ThinkReservations does not currently have a way of alerting our customer that the credit card number has been updated. There may be times where you'll check the reservation and see that there is, in fact, a credit card retained and a deposit paid. No further action is needed.


2. I received a Booking.com reservation where the room rate is lower than it should be. Why is the rate lower?

If the rate isn’t lower because of a promotion or genius booking, it could be because the additional guest fees are not set up properly on Booking.com. Booking.com does not receive information from ThinkReservations regarding additional guest fees. These need to be configured in your Booking.com account. If they are not configured, here is an example of what occurs:

 

A guest makes a single night reservation for 3 people to stay in a room that is normally $150 per night, double occupancy. The additional guest fee is configured in ThinkReservations as $50 per person, per night. Because additional guest fees were not configured in Booking.com, the guest was able to make the reservation for $150 instead of $200. When the reservation is received by ThinkReservations, and we see that the total paid for 3 guests was $150, ThinkReservations will update the pricing to set aside $50 for the additional guest fee. The result will appear as if the room rate were $100 and the additional guest fee was $50, as intended, for the total price of $150.

 

In order to prevent this, and other potential policy inconsistencies, from occurring, It is important to make sure all of the following are configured in your Booking.com account, as this information is not synced:

  • Extra guest fees/Derived pricing

  • Child occupancy settings and fees

  • Cancellation policy

  • Meal plan

  • Minimum notice for online reservations

  • Room photos and descriptions

Please reach out to your Booking.com Market Manager or send an Inbox Message requesting that Derived Pricing is enabled to ensure extra guest fees are charged appropriately.

Other Reasons the Rate is Incorrect:

If the rate isn’t lower because the additional guest fees are not set up correctly, it could be a price override that happened on the Booking.com side. Booking.com has a feature that allows you to set promotions for your property. You can create and manage these from within your Booking.com account. If you notice an inconsistency with pricing in your Booking.com reservations, you should login to your Booking.com account and first, verify if there are currently any promotions active on the reservation. You will need to click Show Details on the reservation to see this. You can disable these promotions from within your account settings if you'd like. If you need assistance with this, you should reach out to your Booking.com Market Manager or send an Inbox Message from within the Booking.com Extranet. 
 

3. Booking.com reservations don't allow me to see the real guest email address. How can I effectively market to these guests in the future?

This is a feature Booking.com has implemented to protect the guest's email address. We suggest reaching out to the guest directly to obtain this information and update the guest file. You can also get this from the guest direct when on-property. Another way you can do this is by creating a new email template in your ThinkReservations account that can be sent to guests after you see their Booking.com reservation come through. We have a sample that we think you'll find really helpful to get you started, located here: Booking.com/Expedia Information Request Email

 

If you need a refresher on creating new email templates, please click here or contact us at support@thinkreservations.com and let us know you'd like the Booking.com Info Request Template set up.*

 

*If you also connect with Expedia through ThinkReservations, you may find setting up a similar template for those reservations just as helpful!
 

4. What happens when a Booking.com reservation is canceled?

Guests should cancel their reservation through the channel where it was originally made. In the event that a Booking.com reservation is canceled this way, Booking.com alerts ThinkReservations, the reservation is then canceled in ThinkReservations, and we send an email to you to let you know. Booking.com will add a cancellation fee line item to the reservation, but no refunds will happen automatically.

 

If you mark a reservation as a no-show on Booking.com, you will need to manually cancel in ThinkReservations as Booking.com doesn’t treat a no-show the same way as a cancellation.

 

5. I received an email from Booking.com about a canceled reservation, but the reservation still active in ThinkReservations?

 

The reservation in question is likely a reservation that was imported from your previous system and isn’t linked to the ThinkReservations like new reservations are. Because we cannot automatically cancel the reservation for you, we ask that you login to your Booking.com account and verify the reservation details and compare it with the reservation in your ThinkReservations account. Then manually cancel the reservation, and add any applicable cancellation fee, and refund the guest if necessary. Reservations marked as a “No-Show” will not cancel in ThinkReservations and need to be manually canceled in ThinkReservations.

 

6. Can I change the name of the rooms that I have on Booking.com?

 

If you ask Booking.com they will typically allow you to specify a unique name for your rooms. Generally the options for the room names that Booking.com provides work but if not, they can update these for you at their discretion.

 

7. Can I charge for Breakfast or a resort fee or similar to my Booking.com guests?

 

Booking.com supports charging for Breakfast at a fee. This is set up on Booking.com under “Facilities & Services”. If you offer a meal add-on, make sure that an item with the same name exists as an Item in ThinkReservations:

  • Breakfast

  • Lunch

  • DInner

The price for the meal can be $0 and we will correct the price when we get the pricing from Booking.com, but the name must be exactly as above. The item does not need to be added to the rate type.

Other Options: 

ThinkReservations can add line items to the reservation based on the Rate Type. If you add an item to the “OTA Rate” or equivalent, the item will be added to the bill in ThinkReservations after the guest books. However, it must also be set up on Booking.com so the guest is aware. When a fee is set up on Booking.com this is not communicated to ThinkReservations. When the item is set up on ThinkReservations in the rate type that is not communicated to Booking.com.  It is the property's responsibility to ensure that the item added to the rate type is also correctly configured on Booking.com.

 

8. A Booking.com guest wants to stay longer. Should I modify the reservation in ThinkReservations?

 

Please understand that if you modify the bill or dates of an OTA reservation these changes are not communicated to Booking.com. Booking.com also periodically audits reservations and changes made to the bill will revert to what Booking.com has for the reservation. If the guest would like to lengthen their stay, please create a new separate reservation for this. This ensures that you are not paying commissions on sales won by your property. However, if the guest shortens their stay, update on the Booking.com side so you aren’t paying commissions for those extra day(s).

 

9. A Booking.com guest wants to add or purchase items or packages from me. Should I modify the reservation in ThinkReservations?

 

Please understand that if you modify the bill or dates of an OTA reservation these changes are not communicated to Booking.com. Booking.com also periodically audits reservations and changes made to the bill will revert to what Booking.com has for the reservation. Reservation notes are not removed when a reservation is updated, however. We recommend creating a separate invoice to charge your guests for any items or packages. Use the notes section to alert you and your staff that there is another bill with items for the guest. In turn, use the notes on the new bill to mention the confirmation ID of the overnight reservation. This prevents the risk of having purchased items removed from the bill.

 

10. Can I give Booking.com guests a different confirmation email?

 

Guests that book through an OTA like Booking.com will still get the same confirmation email and other automatic emails as set in the Email Rules. Because they get the same confirmation email, you may want to ensure your policies include an extra line with a disclaimer. For example: “Please note that if you booked through a third-party, such as an Online Travel Agency, you are beholden to the booking and cancellation policies you agreed to when booking with them.” This is helpful as most businesses have a cancellation policy that is more strict on the OTAs than for those booking direct. You can manually trigger an additional email for Booking.com if you need to. We have a sample that we think you'll find really helpful to get you started, located here: Booking.com/Expedia Information Request Email.

 

11. Why doesn’t this Booking.com reservation doesn’t have the full address?

 

Booking.com doesn’t always collect the guest’s full address. It’s possible that you have an exception on your Booking.com account that says you don’t require a guest address when booking.com. Sometimes we have seen where Booking.com doesn’t ask for the State. Please reach out to Booking.com and ask if they can adjust these settings for you.

 

12. How can I encourage guests to book direct instead of with an OTA?

 

Generally, guests that book through an OTA are not going to visit your website. Therefore they don’t know that the pricing and policies you offer on your own website differ from what they see on the OTA. It’s not common knowledge that properties pay large commissions to accept these reservations. However, you do have quite a bit of control over your OTA reservations. You can only provide availability for rooms and dates when you need help. If you get an OTA reservation, it’s because you provided the OTA availability for that room and date. You are not forced to give the OTA any availability. You also set the price. If you don’t like the net rate you get after commissions for OTA reservations, you can adjust it. Make sure that you are still netting a profit for OTA reservations. If you aren’t, then you have incorrectly set your rates and availability.

 

Having said all that, sometimes a prospective guest will navigate to your site. Also, for guests that start on your side, you want to prevent them from going back to the OTA to book. This is done by having a sort of “book-direct” campaign on your website and doing your own advertising for your property and website. Here are some tips:

 
  • Technically the rates, availability, and restrictions have to be the same as what you have on your own website. However ThinkReservations does not enforce this. Booking.com and Expedia have told us they would rather have a client than lose one because of rate parity that they don’t even enforce. Booking.com checks Expedia and vice-versa, but they don't check your own website.

  • Have your policies more strict on the OTAs. If they are looking at your website and the OTA, the policies shouldn’t encourage them to book with the OTA, they should encourage them to book with you directly.

  • Only ask for help from the OTA's when you need it. You can cherry-pick what rooms and days to give availability to the OTAs as often as you wish.

  • Set minimum night stay requirements with the OTA's so that when they do book, especially during busy seasons, they have to book several days. This is something you likely couldn't do before as this isn’t supported by other channel managers.

  • Maybe your lease expensive room isn’t available, or maybe it’s price the same as the next least expensive room. This is a popular tactic for TripConnect.

  • Amenities don’t have to be the same as when booking direct. So… When you book direct, maybe the guest gets better or free amenities. Maybe you mention this, but in reality, all guests are treated the same, maybe not.

    • Free Breakfast

    • Free Wi-Fi

    • More room choices

    • Free cookies/snacks

    • Early check-in (normal check-in)

    • Lake check-out (normal check-out)

    • Coffee/tea/water

    • Free Parking

    • Guaranteed room (as opposed to a type.)

    • Etc.

  • Consider using TripTease to show off to prospective guests on your own website that the pricing you offer is the same or better what is seen on the OTAs so they don’t have to check.

  • Consider using Tipadvisor’s TripConnect. Even for clients that don’t like Tripadvisor, this is still a very powerful tool to help guests book direct. ThinkReservations doesn’t charge to use this at all, but we highly recommend it. If you aren’t using it, you aren’t doing everything you can to get direct bookings.

  • Show your OTA Rate to your guests. Instead of calling it “OTA RATE”, call it a “Standard Rate” or similar. Then when guests book on your own site, they see they are getting a deal (your normal Best Available Rate). You might even consider renaming your Best Available Rate to “Book Direct Special” or similar.

  • Last, but not least, simply charge a higher rate to the OTAs. You can use yield management rules on the OTAs so that the amount you charge varies based on how far out guests are booking and how busy you are.

 
 
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