Pun intended. So after close to 2 dozen bookings since last year for 2 of my properties, all but one (future stay) have fizzled out or cancelled. Not to say that this lone remaining one will not cancel too once we get closer to non-refundable period. Is that everyone's experience too?
FWIW, this is the insight I have collected about dealing with Booking.com cancellations. Most from one post. Maybe here on OR or elsewhere - don't remember:
• Unless you choose the very strictest policy ("no refunds whatsoever of any amount paid at any time", regardless of how early they cancel -- which I wouldn't advise as it will alienate many potential guests and cost you a lot of bookings) then the next strictest setting is "full refund for all cancellations at least 60-days in advance", with all options after that being more and more lenient.
• There is a lot of cancellations from overseas, as people will try to use your address to show an American (or other country) address, for a variety of immigration or other reasons. Russian, etc. On the other hand, they are a really great source of foreign bookings, if that is your cup of tea...
• Guests tend to book and cancel quite easily and do not expect to hear from you unless and until it is within the "no cancellation refund" period. I've learned to charge the deposit amount and then only contact them once it is less than 60 days before check-in (or whatever your policy is)
• Must contend with some "deadbeat guest" bookings who seem to be unreachable or irresponsive after booking or whose card are declined or missing info; I've learned to avoid frustration by trying to bill their card once only and if declined, mark card as "invalid" then send them a link to the invoice letting them know they have 24 hours to pay (at least the minimum due) or their reservation will be canceled
This blog post also may be useful in managing booking.com to your advantage.
Ross C, thank you for your reply. In their push to soften the cancellation policies, apparently b.com does not give some owners all the options you describe. I have 60 days must pay in full and 60 day cancellation. They do not offer non refundable policies at least not till your listing is well established. The info about dealing with deadbeats is useful but this is not what I am asking- I am asking about statistics - does anyone get any bookings that actually "stick"(ie stay happen) from b.com.
My destination (TN Smoky Mountains) is not frequented by foreign travelers so that has not entered the picture at all.
I am just not understanding how this is a good business model even for them. if none of the bookings "stick" they do not get their commission either. So I do not get this "free for all" cancellation model which seems not to be intent on actually having ANY bookings.
I have not had any activity from b.com since early Dec.
Thinking of pulling the plug altogether, just wondering was it worth it for others.
Ross C said:This blog post also may be useful in managing booking.com to your advantage.
Resurrecting the topic. so among now 3 properties listed on BDC (two of them for a year) - three bookings maybe. That , to me , does not look like "industry leader" or whatever they call themselves. I think the issue lies in the how potential guest has to search BDC - i.e only exact dates. Seems like they cannot just search and then see what is availability of the place they like. This may work for hotels as people have exact dates for their business trips but often vacationers are quite flexible by 1-2 days in my drive to destination.
What kind of experienced any of you have with BDC?
Booking.com was the worst about canceling, all but one reservation canceled. PLUS there site is NOT set up to handle homes. We stopped using them.