Below you'll find some commonly asked questions, and answers, about Booking.com:
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 validates 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 guest has updated the card, 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.
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 a credit card retained and a deposit paid. No further action is needed.
There are several reasons what the rate would be different than what you might expect.
- A common reason is the the rate is lowered because of a promotion on Booking.com you might not be aware of. Check out the reservation on Booking.com for details about what, if any, promotions were given for the reservation in question. You will need to click Show Details on the reservation inside of your Booking.com Extranet to see this. You can disable these promotions from within your Booking.com 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.
- The reservation could be for a "Genius Guest" if you participate in the Genius program. A genius booking is generally where Booking.com takes the rate we provide and lowers it by a percentage. We find that sometimes properties are not aware they are enrolled into this program. Please reach out to Booking.com support if you would like to opt-out.
- Perhaps 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 three 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 ThinkReservations receives the reservation, and we see that the total paid for three 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.
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. It's not something that we can do for you or you can do on your own. Booking.com employees are the only one's that can set up your adult additional guest fees.
Booking.com has a feature that allows properties to create a rate plan that is based on an existing Booking.com rate plan. Booking calls these "Non-XML Rate Plans". This is similar to ThinkReservations' derived rate feature. The benefit is that pricing for this new rate plan is connected to another. The problem is that restrictions like minimum nights may not be! These rate plans are not connected to the ThinkReservations channel manager.
It's a problematic oversight on Booking's part to not mention the lack of linked restrictions for these "Not XML" rate plans and to not link restrictions by default. If you would like to offer an alternative price option where creating an additional rate plan on Booking seems like a good idea, please keep these two considerations in mind.
- Consider the possibility of instead using a derived rate in ThinkReservations.
- Work with Booking support to ensure that restrictions are connected. In our experience, Booking support has a way of making some back-end changes that link restrictions to these rate plans.
Only XML rate plans are able to be mapped to ThinkReservations, and therefore we cannot see these other rate plans.
Restrictions for "Not XML" rate plans can only be updated manually from within Booking's Extranet (unless linked by Booking support staff.)
You can identify these rate plans on the Booking Extranet calendar with the flag "Not XML". Hovering over the flag wil tell you the following:
This rate plan isn't linked to your connectivity provider and is based on your Standard Rate. To update this rate plan's prices, edit your Standard Rate, then this one will be updated automatically. You'll still receive reservations through your connectivity provider.
On the Rate Plans page, only Rate Plans that are listed as Mapped from ThinkReservations are fully linked or mapped.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Booking.com will send ThinkReservations an update to have the reservations cancelled when a guest cancels a reservation, or when you or your staff cancel from within the Booking.com Extranet. Guests should cancel their reservation through the channel where it was originally made. If 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.
If you cancel a reservation in ThinkReservations, but not on Booking.com, you are setting yourself up for a potentially very large problem! This is because Booking.com doesn't allow the channel manager to cancel a booking.
When you cancel an OTA reservation in ThinkReservations, the reservation on the OTA is not updated to reflect this. In fact, it could be reopened automatically. Cancel on the OTA to prevent issues.
The only time you should ever cancel a Booking.com reservation in ThinkReservations is if it was made before you connected to ThinkReservations's channel manager, or if it is a no-show.
- The price of 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.
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 other channel managers don’t support this.
- Maybe your least expensive room isn’t available, or maybe it’s priced 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)
- Free Parking
- Guaranteed room (as opposed to a type.)
- Consider using TripTease to show off to prospective guests on your own website that the pricing you offer is the same or better than 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 a yield management plan on the OTAs so that the amount you charge varies based on how far out guests are booking and how busy you are.
Please note that disconnecting Booking.com from ThinkReservations will stop the communication of rate, availability, and restriction data from ThinkReservations to Booking.com. Also, it will stop the communication of cancellations, reservation updates, and new reservations from Booking.com to ThinkReservations. Disconnecting Booking.com from ThinkReservations will not remove any rate, availability, or restriction data at Booking.com, nor will it cancel your Booking.com account. If you wish to cancel Booking.com you will need to reach out to them for assistance.