Guests complain unfairly about booking.com and partners

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    Katerinka12

    Would you mind to mention this site name? I don't think its prohibited here.

    Number one lie is to say that the host has access to their credit card. Even after several weeks of explaining that we don't have any access to their credit/debit or any card, they still feel we do

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    Zoinks

    I mentioned it - it is at the bottom of the post. I have to write it like that as it will be automatically blocked but you can still understand it :-)

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    Leandri Klopper

    Hey Joey ,

    Proposterous indeed. 

    But my question regarding the family who booked and cancelled last minute... what did the property owner do from their side to ensure that these people were actually coming? Was there correspondence? Were they in contact or did the property owner just sit back and assume all is well and good?

    Because some of my guests have let me know that it's sometimes very confusing to know whether or not they have actually booked, and that what they have booked is what they intended to book. Which then becomes the property owner's responsibility to ensure the client is on the correct page. 

    For instance, I have a booking now in one of our apartments which can sleep max 4 (it's advertised everywhere on the site) and the client has booked for 4 adults and 2 children. My website states on every step of the way that there are no extra beds, nor do we allow overoccupying due to insurance reasons. When I phoned the client he said he didn't even know that he booked for that group, it's just him and his wife. If I had just left it and they were actually 6 people, they would have been refused entry when they arrived. Which would mean I receive a bad review.

    So yes, you get those guests that can really be Mean/underhanded/etc but a good property owner will follow all the steps to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

    Have a good week!

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Leandri The site only gives reviews from guests (if they are true) and I only know what the guest wrote. That was just one example. There were literally dozens of 1 star 'reviews'  because the guest did not get their money back or not all their money back because they cancelled at the last minute because of a 'family emergency'. 

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    Thuild - Your world of creation (franchise)

    I feel like that site is only there to bash companies. 

    Other than that, yes, BDC and the WHOLE travel industry sends CC information in an unsafe manner and many people have access to that information within those companies.

    If you can "capture" the XML messages, you would be amazed what information is traveling there and how easy it could be the get it.

    How do you think those CC thefts happen by hackers?

    And again, it's the whole industry, but it might be more than that.

    Some software companies now do try to encrypt the XML communication and data, so when viewed you cannot access the CC informaton, but many still don't do that.

    Hope that clarifies it,

    Zsolt - www.thuild.com

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    I find myself returning to that site. I think reading the hundreds of bad reviews helps me understand guest psychology better. I've already come across several reviews which gave booking.com one star but then the writer says something like "I've always used booking.com but this time it was a disaster". Most people, it seems, feel less inclined to write a good review if everything went well, but the moment that they dislike something they rush to their keyboards to trash a business. 

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    "Most people, it seems, feel less inclined to write a good review if everything went well, but the moment that they dislike something they rush to their keyboards to trash a business."

    Correct! And there is something more to that. There is a sickness which is called Complainant. Aka Reviewer. No matter what you do, you can't stop that.

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    Sara Jarvis

    I agree Joey sometimes when everything goes well no review at all.

    i don’t understand your cc security complaint as I have never seen a guests cc details BDC pay me directly.

    i would not be bothered with collecting money as so many hosts I know in USA have hundreds of no shows.

    Mainly because they want to be paid by the guest.

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    Sara Jarvis

    Katerinka those people have nothing better to do with their lives.

    the problem is with this forum unlike Abb we have no right to reply.

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    Jessie & Jay (B&B in Canada)

    Some good points made by everyone so far.  From our 1st year in business here are my thoughts:

     

    Reviews:

    From my own research for someone to seek out another website other than BDC to leave a negative review would more likely be someone who had a bad experience. They feel the need to vent and so look for other sites to publish their rants.  Good reviewers seldom go beyond BDC to leave their review unless they are in a business that is review driven as the hospitality industry.  

     

    Guest Communication:

    When we receive a reservation from any source we email a copy of our Guest Policies which clearly states our cancellation policy and the details of their stay.  We ask the guest to reply back to acknowledge they have read and understood them.   We then send an email request asking if there are any food allergies or dietary restrictions.  Then 1 week before they arrive they receive an email reminding them of their upcoming stay.  On the day they are to arrive if they have given us their cell phone number I text them to confirm their ETA or ask for their ETA if not already provided.  

     

    Credit Cards:

    We use Cloudbeds (MyAllocator) as a channel manager and we only ever see the card type, last 4 digits and expiry date of the guests' credit card for BDC guests.    It is our policy to never write down credit card details but if taking direct bookings to enter the details directly into Cloudbeds.  Our payment gateway (Stripe) integrates with our channel manager to process the charges so we don't need to see all the details  Both Cloudbeds and Stripe use SSL communications  All other data is shown as "xxxxx". For direct bookings, the credit card details screen requires a password that is unique and only used to view all credit card details. When the guest arrives we do ask to see the credit card to confirm the card matches the information we have on file to prevent fraud.

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    Katerinka12

    Great observations! Yes, sending house rules before the stay is so important and so beneficial for hosts. Everything in Written form, and especially with their signature people understand.

    However there is one exception... The person who doesn't know how to read... Those Complainants are bad readers. Even pictures they can't see well... Almost blind, you know :) And yet they know how to write to multiple sites, as you mentioned, and their writing/complaining/reviewing skills that are so great, that Shakespeare is silently smoking in corner...

    "the problem is with this forum unlike Abb we have no right to reply."

    Those with score and no words. Do not forget, according to Booking they look "realistic" 😭😅 And do you reply to those with words?

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Jessie & Jay (B&B in Canada)  My guests, the moment they book receive an automated greeting with some basic and vital info. I also ask a question in this template greeting - could you please give me your approximate arrival time? I do this so as to see if they have read it. Quite a large chunk of guests do not reply and I have written about this problem before. I've asked some of them whether they received my emails and they assure me that they did not. One explanation might be that they use an email address which they don't check often whenever they sign with any online site. 

    I am always wary of writing too much as people (including me) are now less patient with long text - it is a consequence of the 'byte sized' info to which we have become used on the internet.

    I sometimes use whatsapp as I require all guests to supply a telephone number and that is an app which everyone seems to use.

    Katerinka -You are right I have a couple of bad scores from guests (one of them was a businessman) who knew what they were doing. They left low scores but no comments so I could not reply and say what they did. 

     

     

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    There are really different kinds of people on Earth. What I think is "right", "normal" and "usual" is not necessarily applicable to other people.

    As for me I will not even go on travel without having enough cash. Travel is another way of spending money for me. I will stay in safe place, pay well and spend well.

    But that's not the case for other people. They can spend their last money, not thinking about their kids and partner in life... And Wow! Book very expensive place without having extra cash... And even having evil plans to stay in luxury place for free!

    You will be surprised, but Instagram is full of such people. Magically (well, at our expense) they become Genious, stay here and there...everywhere...

    And the truth is... Just what happened to Joey.. The guest asked for a receipt... Because he had his evil plan - to earn money on the property (or making his stay free).

    We also had such cases. They just pop out regularly. One lady complained about the ants in the bed. Well, we are not in the forest to have ants in bed. And bedsheets go to professional laundry almost every day, so there is no chance for ants.

    We found out that this lady is professional free traveler. Few hosts in our area were cheated by her. But legally it's not a cheating. They just got so scared of her threats, that they have returned the money.

    It was easy for me to check with other hosts just because in our area everyone know each other. But how about hosts, who do not have such possibility?

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    If you will follow your communications, then you will see interesting trend: on arrival date and especially hour guests suddenly know how to read, how to dial a proper number.. And if they need to wait just 10 minutes, they start to scream like a baby who needs milk right here right now.

    And they Do check emails! How they could not check email if the payment confirmation goes to that email? Even if you collect cash, they still need a confirmation that they will have a roof above their heads when they travel. So, it's a serious reason to check their email.

    I am also surprised, that majority of guests will not communicate through email when it's beneficial for them and not to us. My welcome message keep asking guests to add us on Viber or WhatsApp. Only minority did that...

    Amazing.. They are not local tourists. They are 24 hours away by flight. And yet they are doing such self damage? And most of them have next flight next morning... Obviously, they can't afford to look for a new place during short stay over.

    By the way, I am planning to start new tactics. I will add information on "bad review" in my welcome message. I do not charge cancelation fee. If they don't like my "no bad review policy", they can cancel for free. And book hotel which is 1 minute of walk from us... 10(!!!) times more expensive than us.

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    "When we receive a reservation from any source we email a copy of our Guest Policies which clearly states our cancellation policy and the details of their stay. We ask the guest to reply back to acknowledge they have read and understood them."

    How many people do actually reply back?

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    Leandri Klopper

    Hi all,

    Thanks Jessie & Jay (B&B in Canada) , very informative! I see on the Extranet, one can now schedule a message to go out at a specific time. Do you make use of this for the Prior to arrival message or do you send one message at a time?

     

  • Avatar
    Leandri Klopper

    Hey Joey ,

    You wrote: I find myself returning to that site. I think reading the hundreds of bad reviews helps me understand guest psychology better

    Ah see now I understand a bit better. 

    I was asking the long list of questions to play devil's advocate. I think a site like that is quite poisonous and gives the industry a bad name, but people need a place to vent I suppose. You won't find a site like that where property owners sit down and badmouth their guests or the platforms they use, so we do guests get to do that? 

    I just wonder if sites like that would actually exist if Communication was better. You know... 

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    Zoinks

    Leandri, thanks as always for your input. But we have been over the communication issue several times. Take my damage deposit - I set it at at a ridiculously low level of Euro 50. It is printed in the booking,com site before they book and as booking.com staff suggested  I send guests a reminder about it before they arrive. I have NEVER had a guest who offered the deposit without prompting. 

    Before others chime in to say that I should use credit cards; there is an advantage in paying a refundable damage deposit in cash. Think about yourself - don;t you find hat you sometimes overspend when using a credit card but you are more careful with actual cash? I find that when guests hand me over hard cash makes it sinks in that they will not get it back if they lose the key or do anything stupid.

     

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Leandri - you are right that site is toxic. I a m not one to hold back from criticising BDC in this forum and in private messages when I felt like criticism was due but such sites are of questionable legality, to say the least.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Katerinka12  While I agree with you that we should have enough cash to pay for our holidays. I sometimes travel on a tight budget - but when I book a hotel for Euro 50 a night I don't then go and write a horrible review saying that they did not serve me champagne for breakfast. For 50 Euros in a 3 star hotel, the fact that I have good internet, a mini fridge, a plunge pool, the room is clean and nice etc is already more than enough. It is just a question of managing expectations. But if I had to pay Euro 1000 a night (not that I ever did) and the AC was one degree lower than what I wanted I would kick up a fuss :-)

    Many people are unable to compare what they paid with what they get.

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    Zoinks

    "By the way, I am planning to start new tactics. I will add information on "bad review" in my welcome message. I do not charge cancelation fee. If they don't like my "no bad review policy", they can cancel for free. And book hotel which is 1 minute of walk from us... 10(!!!) times more expensive than us."  You're joking, right?

    Just ONCE I put a printed out sheet saying thanks for choosing us bla bla bla if you have any problems please tell us and we'd be happy if you left a review

    This was followed by ' We are registered with guestchek and any unacceptable behaviour will be reported' 

    It was the first time that I put such a printed out sheet on the bed as one of the hosts here suggested. I got the worst review ever - but he was also the guy who lied about everything and is a criminal. I knew that something bad was in store when I saw that he had taken the sheet with him (together with two towels and some other things)

     

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    Sara Jarvis

    Wow what a horrible site, that Joey told us about ;just now had time to peruse it.

    I booked a hotel in Leicester through BDC and it was awful, really dirty and disappointing in every way although it was expensive and 4 star rated, I did not review at all, the list was too long, but every complaint ( no central heating in winter dirty curtains and filthy windows ) when I did try to complain was told to complain to BDC .....I will never go back there.

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