Booking.com. insane not to use.

38 Replies

I have been using booking.com and Airbnb mostly. People complain about booking.com cancellations. I have fixed that completely. 

Airbnb types are seeking cheap and deeply discounted. Booking.com people pay a premium pricing and are good guests. I don't get a huge amount, but it is a good stream.

My secret is I use the one-hour window to allow cancellation. They made an error or are just confused, it weeds most of them out. I use strict / flexible cancellation policy. Any cancellation within 60 days I get the full payment.

I realize there are Regional differences. Booking.com leaves Airbnb in the dust in my area.

Originally posted by @Ken Latchers :

I have been using booking.com and Airbnb mostly. People complain about booking.com cancellations. I have fixed that completely. 

Airbnb types are seeking cheap and deeply discounted. Booking.com people pay a premium pricing and are good guests. I don't get a huge amount, but it is a good stream.

My secret is I use the one-hour window to allow cancellation. They made an error or are just confused, it weeds most of them out. I use strict / flexible cancellation policy. Any cancellation within 60 days I get the full payment.

I realize there are Regional differences. Booking.com leaves Airbnb in the dust in my area.

It’s been a few years but I found it to be a total waste of time. Perhaps that’s changed but it was enough to make me lose interest in ever trying again.  

I found the setup and management process on Booking.com to be horrendous, not intuitive, time-consuming, fees are expensive, I had to manually process credit cards, and only got a few bookings for my trouble.  Like @Lucas Carl, it's been a few years, but it was not worth my time.  

Perhaps one day I'll get around to trying it again, and hopefully their interface has become more user friendly, but I was hugely turned off by them last time.

I didnt find airbnb much easier to set up. And so it takes a little longer. I get 4 expensive bookings from them for every 1 from airbnb. As for 15% commission, I add 15% fee to booking. They pay.

I have booking.com about 30% higher than airbnb and get a good set of more expensive bookings.

"Its been a few years" makes a world of difference. I find it very supportive and obviously there is set up with every listing site. I use their payment method and they deposit into my account and it's very simple. They pay like clockwork.

And like every listing site, sometimes one or two may dominate in a particular area. But it is my opinion you should try Airbnb, VRBO, booking.com and FlipKey and give it a chance to see if it is adding business.

@Ken Latchers

Booking.com is terrible in Tucson IF your properties aren't on "payments by booking" where they collect the money for you.

It brings all local people for short stays. And there's been MANY times I get bookings that come through for same day check-in and they "pay" with an invalid card but because Booking simply collects and passes along the card number, if I don't notice the card declined in my system they get a check-in code and I'm chasing people down for money. Remember, this is ONLY if the units arent on their program.

So, why wouldn't I put all my units on the program? Good question! Because they have to select EACH of your units for the program (not just your account) and there's no one there that can override this apparently computer generated selection criteria (trust me I've "let me speak to your managered" the hell out of this and gotten nowhere).

Another thing that I don't like about Booking is that Ive got to remit taxes on my own. It's not that big of a deal, but it's just another thing to do that Airbnb takes care of for me for a lesser fee.

Just my 2 cents.

@Julie McCoy

Nope! Interface is still terrible. Every unit has its own "microsite" of sorts with seperat msg threads and you can't write your own descriptions (which is understandable as they don't have seperate websites for different countries so they write "translation safe" descriptions for you), but still, it's no Airbnb.

Yes. Airbnb here, is mostly discount seekers

Yes, I have them collect payments. Problem solved.

All my guest messages flow thru to my email.

Complaining about interface when booking tens or hundreds of thousands seems odd. They have help pages and support.

Airbnb has a multitude of problems, including their extenuating circumstances auto refund to guest.

Booking.com help I find very useful.

@Ken Latchers I think we can all agree that it depends what area you're in. I complain about booking BECAUSE in my area it doesn't bring tens of thousands. It does provide some bookings but in my opinion who's to say that those dates wouldn't have been booked if left open on Airbnb?

There's also something that I've noticed. I manage a "shared space" for a friend of mine. It's just a room and private bathroom and that unit KILLS on Booking but not really on Air or Homeaway/Vrbo.

All of my 1-3 bedroom "whole unit" listings do good on Airbnb but not so much on Booking or Homeaway/Vrbo.

And I have a 5 bedroom unit and it does nothing on Booking, but pretty good on Air and Homeaway/Vrbo.

I think bigger units that facilitate large groups do well on Homeaway for some reason. (Not to get off topic but I think it's interesting).

Definitely. Area really matters. I am convinced because listings sites pick markets they think make them more money to advertise.

I tell newer people they should be in all four, booking.com, Airbnb, TripAdvisor FlipKey, VRBO / HomeAway. Of course using a freetobook, owner res, smart BNB type channel manager.

decide which of those you want to be on based on your results for at least 6 months. But choosing a head not to be on one or two may turn out to be the one that gives you activity

Originally posted by @Ken Latchers :

I have been using booking.com and Airbnb mostly. People complain about booking.com cancellations. I have fixed that completely. 

Airbnb types are seeking cheap and deeply discounted. Booking.com people pay a premium pricing and are good guests. I don't get a huge amount, but it is a good stream.

My secret is I use the one-hour window to allow cancellation. They made an error or are just confused, it weeds most of them out. I use strict / flexible cancellation policy. Any cancellation within 60 days I get the full payment.

I realize there are Regional differences. Booking.com leaves Airbnb in the dust in my area.

 In NYC, Booking.com runs nonstop TV commercials. Can’t watch a show or game without seeing Booking.com ads. I see occasional Airbnb or VRBO TV ads, but nothing compared to the volume of Booking.com ads. For whatever that’s worth...

Yeah, it makes it harder to determine which of the big listing sites that impacts you. You can't just look at where there ads land in the Google results for your property area. it depends on the big markets that come to you.

my luxe 3br apt. $295 nightly booking.com+15% fee. Nicely filling in the autumn bit by bit. Airbnb is 195 nightly plus 9% fee. Nothing but crickets.

Just do this: set up booking.com with a property that also is on Airbnb.

set booking.com price 20 or 30% higher. Don't worry what others are charging in your area. Booking.com goes places that others do not such as Europe. Even then, all of my booking.com clients are American

I offer a 25% discount 0-3 days out.

add a 15% fee which essentially covers your commission.

set up with one hour to cancel, flexible / strict option but no refund 60 days out or later.

sync it with Airbnb and or the other ones you are doing. Either through the sync calendar feature of the listing sites and or a channel manager.

let booking.com collect the payment. They will put it in your bank account.

at a higher price, Airbnb is mostly crickets and booking.com continues to bring in good traffic

booking.com has been very smooth and the whole review mantra with Airbnb is almost non-existent

yes somewhat complex to set up. They have some guidance help are you going to ask as many questions as you need and they will answer or sometimes change things for you if you don't get it

or maybe you like making less money

I see we have a battle here between airbnb and booking. Can someone chime in with comparisons on VRBO and any other similar websites please? I'm toying with the idea of a vacation rental. 

Eastern PA.

Point was, all those people who are Airbnb only are mostly just uninformed and not open to other better possibilities 

Originally posted by @Brendan Curley :

@Ken Latchers where are your properties located?

@Ken Latchers I had a similarly crappy experience with Booking.com a couple of years back like several others described above BUT... I never actually went live on the site because of the 15% fee they wanted. I am open to trying what you do with the higher price on one of my properties just to test it. I'm definitely interested in seeing if I get a new type of clientele. I'm on the Emerald Coast of FL. Question: do you happen to know how easy or hard it is to discontinue listing with Booking.com if I don't like it? Also, would you be willing to message me a link to one of your Booking.com listings so I can see the format, etc from a customer point of view? I would really appreciate that!

 I don't pay the 15% Commission. I slapped it on as an extra fee and none of the guests has complained.

I turned off several of my listings in Airbnb and booking.com. In booking.com, I just closed it for all dates. I completely disagree with anyone who is saying that there's a crappy experience on booking.com. Yes it's a little onerous to get started, but the guests or a better class than my Airbnb guests for the most part.  They only book at low prices here.

I said many times. Vacation rental owners should be on all four listing sites. Airbnb, booking.com, VRBO, TripAdvisor Flip Key. With a channel manager to make sure no double bookings.

then, raise your prices on all four and stop chasing 90% occupancy.






Originally posted by @Villy Ellinger :

@Ken Latchers I had a similarly crappy experience with Booking.com a couple of years back like several others described above BUT... I never actually went live on the site because of the 15% fee they wanted. I am open to trying what you do with the higher price on one of my properties just to test it. I'm definitely interested in seeing if I get a new type of clientele. I'm on the Emerald Coast of FL. Question: do you happen to know how easy or hard it is to discontinue listing with Booking.com if I don't like it? Also, would you be willing to message me a link to one of your Booking.com listings so I can see the format, etc from a customer point of view? I would really appreciate that!

Sept is seasonally slow here in South FLL. Then you add the compounding effect of hurricane Dorian and it was crickets. So I added one of my listings on booking.com and got my first booking coming up this week for 4 nights. I am curious to see how it goes and will provide an update when it's completed. 

Setting up the listing really wasn't that difficult. They did have an extra step to make sure that you were the owner of the property, but otherwise it was not bad at all. One thing I forgot to do was jack up the pricing to account for the 15% commission, but I've since corrected. Hopefully this will be a consistent booking channel going forward. 

@Ken Latchers how do you manage the security deposit? Do you meet your guest at check-in and collect it then? How do you do a key exchange? 

Also slower than last month in central coastal Florida, like @Anand S. , but this is a slower season, with kids back in school and hurricane season still “on.” 

Just finished setting up with booking.com. It took me longer to set up in the app than Airbnb or VRBO/HA, but it was very thorough.  While doing this, I got a booking through VRBO. So that’s good. Will post back how long it takes and the “compared to what” responses as it happens. 

Thanks @Ken Latchers for the idea

I've collected thousands in security deposit from my guests who've caused damage. It's an integral part of keeping me whole and keeping the guests in line. This is from ABB and HA. I wouldn't rent without a security deposit.