As a legitimate OTA (online travel agent) site, Booking.com can be of great help when you’re planning your next vacation. From the cheapest rates to the best accommodation, you can create your dream travel plans on this OTA site.
However, like most things in life, Booking.com is not without its flaws. And fake reservations just happen to be one of the many things users of the site are dissatisfied with. Read more to find out what Booking.com fake reservations are, and why they happen.
Fake Reservations – What’s This?
A fake reservation can be many things. On Booking.com though, it usually means that a reservation was made at a property, but with fake information. Whether this is phone number, card details, address, or email address.
Guests booked under a fake reservation have a history of not showing up, of course. Since they are fake, when property owners try to get in touch with them about their “booking”, they usually realize that the contact details given in the reservation are invalid, and there is no way to reach out to the guests at all.
Does this happen a lot on Booking.com?
A quick Google search will be able to answer this question. For this article, we have browsed through the Partner.Booking.com site for information, and it turns out, fake reservations on the site are an everyday occurrence.
New property owners would typically receive a higher number of fake reservations than others. Some owners have complained that their property was entirely taken up with fake reservations throughout the whole season, meaning they generate no income and was detrimental not only to their business but also to their means of living.
Though fake reservations do seem to happen to owners depending on which country their property is located. But there are also partners on the site mentioning they have never experienced fake reservations in their time working as a partner with Booking.com. So, it is hard to say if the issue of fake reservations is an issue for new partners, long-term partners, or those partners that generate more revenue on room rates than others.
What does a fake reservation do to travelers?
A fake reservation still shows up as a reservation on Booking.com. Meaning it will take up space in the property of your choice no matter what. So, for a traveler, a fake reservation means you won’t get to book a place at a property you want if most of them are clogged up with reservations that are fake.
This can no doubt be annoying when you have your whole trip planned out. And no one wants to organize a vacation around the status of your booking on a hotel room. Compared to what fake reservations do to property owners themselves though, we would argue it is much better to experience the inconveniences fake reservations pose as a traveler and not a property owner on Booking.com.
What does a fake reservation do to property owners?
As you can probably imagine, fake reservations will have a significant impact on the revenue of the hotel itself. As fake reservations take up space in the hotel’s letting schedule as a legitimate reservation, it means properties might not be able to generate any income over a period of time. This can be detrimental to a business and a person’s means of living.
The main issue with fake reservations for property owners is that they cannot cancel any reservations they find suspicious themselves. And Booking.com has a track record of either ignoring owners’ requests for help in these situations, or simply won’t cancel the booking for their partners. This means a fake reservation would take up a significant period in the hotel’s letting schedule, and it is usually unlikely for owners to find another guest for the room if there is a no-show.
This means owners could miss out on traveler traffic during peak seasons like Christmas or over the summer months if fake reservations keep clogging up their schedules. They may end up earning a lot less than they had first wanted.
Of course, you may ask, can’t the owners just send a message to the guests who made the reservation to cancel it? Well, you might recall that we have mentioned these reservations are made with fake contact details.
So, even if the property owners do reach out, we have yet to read a comment on Partner.Booking.com that is optimistic. Usually, partners will be stuck with a fake reservation with no show and no way of reactivating their listing for that “fake” booked period on Booking.com
Why do fake reservations happen on Booking.com?
There are a few reasons why fake reservations may happen on Booking.com. Owners have also speculated on the site as to why this happens. We have gathered a few potential reasons here that seem to be the major cause for fake reservations at Booking.com partners’ properties.
One partner mentioned that fake bookings tend to come in more on holidays and weekends. So, they speculate that these are made by their competitors to sabotage their business. Although this commentator had no hard facts to back up their comment, we think their reasoning seemed reasonable enough to include in this list.
As we have mentioned, fake reservations still count on Booking.com. So, when you’re browsing through the listed properties on the site, and one property is entirely taken up by fake reservations, you would simply see it labeled as full or no rooms available. This is effective in killing competition for sure. Because if your competitor is entirely unavailable for the whole duration of a holiday with fake reservations, this naturally drives all the traveler traffic to your property instead.
As a prove of accommodation when traveling
Most of you will be aware that to enter certain countries, you will need a visa. This doesn’t matter if you’re going on vacation, visiting family, working, or relocating. Especially when applying for a visa to go on vacation and relocation, the government or immigration officer will ask for proof of accommodation in order to process your visa request.
Now, it is difficult to talk about this issue without getting into politics. But travel restrictions and other social issues aside, fake reservations can be incredibly effective for those wanting to apply for an entry visa for whatever reason.
Because Booking.com remains a credible and recognized online travel agent no matter how many scams or fake reservations there are on the website, and that is why we have also included this reason on the list.
Is there anything property owners on Booking.com can do to resolve this issue?
By reading through the comments of various Booking.com partners, we have concluded that there is little they can do to counter this problem. Many have reached out to Booking.com directly about the issue of fake reservations over the years. And many have come back with the comment that the support staff at the site are less than helpful when faced with the issue of fake reservations on their website.
Setting up Payments by Booking.com
One user suggested that all property owners should make sure that they have set up Payments by Booking.com right from the start. All owners should have this set up before their properties go live on the website as bookable entities.
This basically gives owners the option to request pre-payment from their guests when they make a booking. Think of this pre-payment as a deposit you pay when you book at official hotel websites, or directly with the hotel through phone call or email. This additional commitment usually wards off most fake reservations, as scammers usually are not keen to pay for their scams.
Changing Your Hotel Policies
Another user has pointed out that changing your hotel policies might help to stop the number of fake reservations your property is getting. For example, we have already mentioned that requesting pre-payment from your guests will drive away those wanting to make a fake reservation at your property.
You can also change your policies to state that your hotel offers only non-refundable rates. Meaning guests who make the booking will have to pay for the entire duration of their state up front when making the booking, and this rate will not be refundable if they don’t show up, or if they decide to cancel on the day. With the cost of the whole stay on the line, people looking to make fake reservations will stay clear of your property when searching for their next victim on Booking.com.
Calling the Booking.com Support Team Directly
Although many users have commented that Booking.com are not entirely helpful when it comes to preventing fake reservations from happening on their platform, they seem to be more diligent when it comes to resolving the issue after it has happened. So, if you encounter fake reservations, simply call the Booking.com support team directly and ask for help.
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