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Old Jan 5, 17, 3:14 pm   #1
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booking.com

Looking for opinions: booked a FL hotel last Oct. Obvious mistake rate of $22/night for this friday. Got an email a day ago that they caught the mistake and they would allow me to have reservation for $159. I declined. I asked for a further reduction, reached out to FB and nothing . I called again today and was offered $25. Apparently it is being sent by check. I am not holding my breath. Am I lucky,lol?
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Old Jan 5, 17, 3:18 pm   #2
  
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yup

Over the past year or two I've noticed booking.com become less and less competitive.

Nice website, good info - but I can almost always find a cheaper price elsewhere. Couple of times I reached out to them and - nothing. IIRC were not interested in matching.

So, not too impressive.
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Old Jan 11, 17, 12:25 pm   #3
  
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Its up to the hotel's manager. If you can't negotiate with the hotel, booking won't support you further, they just collect the 15% provision
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Old Jan 12, 17, 11:51 am   #4
  
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Really ? 15 % ?

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Originally Posted by MixalisK. View Post
Its up to the hotel's manager. If you can't negotiate with the hotel, booking won't support you further, they just collect the 15% provision
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Old Feb 3, 17, 11:45 am   #5
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"Over the past year or two I've noticed booking.com become less and less competitive."

I've noticed this as well. Agoda in particular sometimes offers pre-pay rates on their mobile app that beat booking.com, on occasion by a considerable amount if they're offering "budget" rooms not listed on booking.com. And yes, I know they're both owned by the same parent company.
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Old Feb 6, 17, 12:25 am   #6
  
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Probably the only good thing about booking.com is they make it easy to cancel your reservations. Up to, I think, 2 days before the trip. Otherwise you can usually find better deals elsewhere.

Many of the popular OTAs get a commission between 10-15%, last time I booked on booking.com through my affiliate I saw they were taking 11% on my stay.
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Old Feb 8, 17, 3:17 am   #7
  
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Expedia group takes 25% commission, depending on hotel of course.
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Old Feb 8, 17, 11:18 pm   #8
  
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Booking.com is only good for browsing the inventory, and you can then book directly or elsewhere once you know what's available. Also, their customer service is fantastically bad, although chances are you'll never need it; if you do though, it'll be a pythonesque experience.

I've never found Agoda.com to be cheaper than Booking.com once you factor in all the "service" fees, etc. listed separately. They do seem to have more properties listed in the super low-end of the market though.

And surprisingly enough, I've found Expedia to be cheaper on a number of occasions, which I would have never expected to be the case.
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Old Feb 18, 17, 7:59 pm   #9
  
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I looked at a HI in London on booking.com and found it cheaper than the HI/IHG website. About $20 less. I always thought the hotel sites were the lowest. This is for August.
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Old Feb 24, 17, 6:53 am   #10
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Originally Posted by CosmosHuman View Post
I looked at a HI in London on booking.com and found it cheaper than the HI/IHG website. About $20 less. I always thought the hotel sites were the lowest. This is for August.
Many hotel chains have a way to get them to match the price you found and give you either an additional discount or a bunch of extra points. You should check the HI rules on this.
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Old Mar 7, 17, 12:09 pm   #11
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Also, their customer service is fantastically bad, although chances are you'll never need it; if you do though, it'll be a pythonesque experience.
I disagree with you on the customer service aspect. They have always come through for me.

For example, a couple of years ago, I booked a room at the Appart'City hotel in Valence, France, at the last minute via Booking.com.

It was late at night when we arrived there and it turned out that they did not have a 24 hours front desk. The instructions for the self check in process and accessing the subterranean garage were all in French (mine is limited to reading menus and road signs). No one answered when we called the phone numbers posted on the locked entry door.

One call to Booking.com US customer service 800 number took care of it. The representative first made sure to find us alternate accommodations for the night. He then proceeded to make arrangements to refund the cost of our prepaid reservation well after the cancellation deadline.

Once I got off the phone, I found a flurry of text messages in French - probably from the hotel - which arrived during the call. To this day I am still clueless about how I was supposed to have checked in and accessed the garage.
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Old Mar 8, 17, 1:21 am   #12
  
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I disagree with you on the customer service aspect. They have always come through for me.
Good for you. I was in a similar situation very recently, only for a different reason. In my case, after I made a guaranteed booking with "instant confirmation," I got a message from the property trying to make me move to a completely different place than the one I booked. I didn't agree as this was not what I wanted and the offer was inferior. Instead, I asked them to honor the original reservation, or to cancel it otherwise. As they were not willing to go for the latter, they pretended to play along. For the record, it was all discussed via website messages, which can always be reviewed by Booking.com staff at any later time.

When I tried to check in the following day and found the door locked with nobody inside, Booking.com initially offered to do what they did for you but then someone did answer the "property" phone when called by them, and stated that I "already checked in." Although at the time I was standing in front of the locked entrance, Booking.com took this at face value without even asking for a proof, and refused to do anything at all for me. (In such circumstances I was expecting them to cancel the reservation.)

The next day, the property reported me as a no-show, and Booking.com had no problem with this clear contradiction either. Since I could not leave a negative review, the owners are free to use the same bait-and-switch tactics on their next unsuspecting guest without ever having their reputation affected.

It is possible this situation would have been handled better had it happened in the US or the EU, as Booking.com employs a lot of their staff locally and service standards are inconsistent but it's important to realize that the reason it doesn't happen more often is that the vast majority of property owners and their employees are decent people, and not because Booking.com provides any protection against the rest. In particular, a reservation guaranteed by credit card involves a sanction for the guest only but not for the property should they decide not to respect it, so I'd think twice before making these through Booking.com. They're also the only large company I've encountered that would outright ignore emails to customer service and leave them unanswered.

Booking.com is a good way to see what's available to narrow down the choices but most of my reservations these days (even before the described incident) have been directly with the properties whenever practical, as there is no benefit for me from letting Booking.com earn a commission on my stays. Still, I would have assumed they provide more than just a pretense of customer service, although come to think of it, since most people fortunately never need to verify such an assumption, it makes perfect sense for them to run their business this way as long as they can get away with it.

From what I know about Booking.com, I think you can consider yourself exceptionally lucky to have had the situation resolved the way you described. Time to play the lottery?
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Old Mar 8, 17, 9:39 am   #13
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Originally Posted by ProleOnParole View Post
From what I know about Booking.com, I think you can consider yourself exceptionally lucky to have had the situation resolved the way you described. Time to play the lottery?
That's why I call the US customer service number as opposed to messaging or calling the regional number.

I've booked through Booking.com dozens of times, mostly in the US and Europe. The incident that I cited above was the only problematic booking that I experienced.

On a couple of occasions, I called a property directly to book accommodations after checking the prices and availability on Booking.com. One hotel matched the Booking.com price, another insisted that the rate that I was looking for was not available and quoted a much higher rate (50%). One guess as to how I booked that room.
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Old Mar 8, 17, 5:15 pm   #14
  
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I always use booking.com when I book hotels that do not belong to hotel-groups as Hilton, IHG, etc.

I had good experience with booking.com also when I had to cancel.

But (a funny story): A few years ago I selected on TripAdvisor a small hotel (I did not know how small) in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I went to booking.com to book and it was flashing "Only 4 rooms left". When I got to the hotel I discovered that this "hotel" had a total of 4 rooms

BTW: Priceline owns booking.com and Agoda and Kayak.
Expedia owns Orbitz and Travelocity (bought 2015).
And, to best of my memory, Expedia bought hotels.com about 2001.
So the OTAs market for hotel booking is really a duopoly.

Last edited by HotelRatePro; Mar 8, 17 at 5:33 pm
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Old Mar 8, 17, 10:39 pm   #15
  
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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
That's why I call the US customer service number as opposed to messaging or calling the regional number.
That's what I did too, their "Genius" line to be precise but eventually the local staff got involved anyway to deal with the property owner in the local language. I don't think there was a way for me to bypass this, although I also didn't expect it to be a problem at the time. I think it's not unreasonable to expect their customer service should be more or less consistent worldwide, as it's all under the same brand.

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I've booked through Booking.com dozens of times, mostly in the US and Europe. The incident that I cited above was the only problematic booking that I experienced.
I could say exactly the same. I think it's rare to run into any issues in the first place, regardless of the OTA involved.

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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
On a couple of occasions, I called a property directly to book accommodations after checking the prices and availability on Booking.com. One hotel matched the Booking.com price, another insisted that the rate that I was looking for was not available and quoted a much higher rate (50%). One guess as to how I booked that room.
Had this happen to me as well. I guess if I really cared I would have offered a screenshot but I just booked a different place instead. For me this is actually the advantage of trying to book directly as when I have to contact the property I can get a rough idea if they are responsive and reasonable to deal with or there could be some potential problem looming.

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Originally Posted by HotelRatePro View Post
BTW: Priceline owns booking.com and Agoda and Kayak. Expedia owns Orbitz and Travelocity (bought 2015). And, to best of my memory, Expedia bought hotels.com about 2001. So the OTAs market for hotel booking is really a duopoly.
There is also Ctrip emerging as a bigger player now but spot on. More competition would be welcome. The lack of it is probably the biggest reason why booking engines haven't really improved much over the past couple of years. Booking.com, which arguably has the best technology now, is in some ways inferior to what Venere.com offered a decade ago when I used it (merged into Hotels.com since).
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