Following last weeks developments regarding the “small bug” in Booking. com’s latest extranet update I have taken the time to investigate what and how is effecting properties.
What has been updated?
In order to reduce the work load for their hotel support team, Booking. com have introduced self service policies so properties have the ability to make changes to there own policies without having to go through the hotel support team. Policies cover lots of things like, cancellations, prepayments/deposits, meals, children, extra beds and supplements for internet/parking etc.
How has this effected my property?
In order to allow properties to service policies themselves though the extranet and “to make the system easier to use” Booking. com have simplified (or “reduced”) the number of policies options available. This has particularly effected properties who charge deposits of fees to cancel the reservation. Properties with these type of policy may have seen their cancelation and deposit terms change during the latest Booking .com extranet update.
Child policies have also seen a change during the recent update and you may not have noticed this yet. If your property accepts all children (of all ages) then you are ok. Previously your property you state the minimum and maximum ages of children accepted at the property. This has been replaced with an On and Off facility so your property can either accept all children or none at all. If you previously accepted children with a restriction on the ages then you will probably find that your properties child policy if now “off” meaning you will not be shown in search if children are selected. Unfortunately there is now no way to turn the child policy on without accepting children of all ages.
Why has this been done?
Booking. com account managers will tell you that this has been done to make things easier for you and the hotel support team. Given that over recent years Booking. com have been to encourage properties to:
a. Make the booking process as easy possible for the customer by removing the requirement for certain information, like addresses, and even payment card details.
b. Not imposing cancellation policies as Booking. com are heavily promoting “free cancelation” as part of their brand marketing.
Given that Booking. com are tying to drive as many booking with very little commitment from the guest and most/all of the risk taken by the property itself, this surly raises suspicions on how accidental the “small bug” in their latest update actually was.
Please take the time to check your policies are correct. If you would like any further information please contact me.