Booking.com has just changed its policy making it more difficult for home-owners to ask their clients to pre-pay a certain amount to secure their reservation.
As a private home owner, and not a hotelier, I have been using the pre-payment option with sucess, but now booking.com wants to limit this feature.
The pre-payment is very important for someone that rents a private apartment. If a guest does not show up at a big hotel where he has a reservation, no damage is done. If a guest does honour its reservation for a private apartment the owner loses real money. And it is no use having a cancellation policy if you cannot enforce it.
I understand that Booking.com is reluctant to allow new hosts charge pre-payment before creating a confidence track. But I have two other properties in the same town for more than 2 years and dozens of 5 star reviews. I have always used the pre-payment policy in these cases with no problem at all. This should count for something.
Booking.com argues that they want to visit the apartment before allowing a pre-payment policy to be implemented. Although this might work in Europe, where their offices are located, it will now work in more remote place, thus becoming a descriminatory policy. I ask them how soon, and with which regularity, are you planning to come to the islant of Santiago in Cape Verde where I happen to live? There was no answer but I guess not very soon, and not heat often, and that poses a problem for us.
Finally, Booking.com policy does not define a specific period after which the pre-payment will be allowed. It can be 2 weeks, it can be 2 years. This is particularly annoying and unfair, as the process of certification is not a transparent in any way.
LET’S CHANGE THEIR POLICY NOW! FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO email@example.com NOW:
As a private home owner, I ask you to change your policy and allow home-owners to implement a pre-payment option now.
The possibility to ask guests to pre-pay a certain amount of the reservation as a requirement to reserve your property is very important for someone that rents a private apartment. If a guest does not show at a big hotel with a 50/ occupancy rate, no damage is done. If a guest does not show up in for a private apartment the owner loses real money. And it is no use having a cancellation policy if you cannot enforce it.
You say say that your collaborators need to visit the apartment before allowing a pre-payment policy to be implemented. That might work in European cities, but what about more remote locations? This requirement actively discriminates these group of home-owners.
Finally, your policy does not define a specific period after which the pre-payment will be allowed to ask for pre-payment and does not take into consideration previously built reputation of home-owners. This is particularly annoying and unfair.
Based on these points I kindly ask you to review these aspects of you policy and allow home-owners to implement a pre-payment policy now.