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What if we have a problem with booking.com?

What if we have a problem with booking.com?

Which service?

During the year, when planning our trips, we spend a certain amount of time working with various portals to book accommodation. There aren’t either many options. There are a few leaders that monopolize the market.

However, let’s focus today on how the leader behaves when it fails.

Now and then we do a review of such aggregators of offers, looking for new advantages and checking old disadvantages. Here you will find an interesting article (Polish version) that is worth reading. Generally, the prices of accommodation are quite similar everywhere. It’s all about temporary promotions and bonuses. So when we plan a longer trip, we prefer to have a complete set of reservations in one “place” of the service. It’s harder to lose your accommodation, for example. And in the process of completing the accommodation for the rundown, it is not difficult. Moreover, it nicely absorbs the booking confirmations from the mail to Google Travel.

When you plan a trip, the aim is rarely to have fantastic accommodation locations, which are usually much more expensive. We focus on sightseeing in historic and scenic places. Accommodation is traditionally used for sleeping. We often choose a place to sleep outside of large, expensive city centres to minimize expenses. What is essential, however, is a good (cheap and fast) access to the city centre. Of course, the trip is often complemented by accommodation in the castle chambers, or the top floor of the apartment building with a view of the sea, where fragrant tomatoes complement the excellent pizza. Another time, browsing through the offers, we can take advantage of accommodation in a caravan or an apartment in an old tsarist school. If there is an opportunity for adventure, it is worth to take advantage. All this exoticism is offered by the service mentioned above. Usually, but not always. In the summer in northern Sweden, the service camping.se was much better for us rich in facilities. Another time we were also looking for campsites in Norway directly because it was more effective. And knowing that we can always pitch our tent “wild” allowed us to relax in terms of accommodation.

Our winter expeditions, however, dictate that we should reasonably have a safe overnight stay, and the route should be well described. The last thing we would like to do is to look for a living soul at -30 degrees, somewhere behind the polar circle, to take us in. Of course, it can be a one-time adventure, but when we have time constraints, this certainty of accommodation becomes essential. This certainly is, on the one hand, a restriction of the freedom of choice here and now on the spot. It is true. However, this freedom is a luxury, which often costs more than the carefully selected good deals significantly earlier in the season, when often in January “good” sales for the summer disappear. Interestingly, in countries where carcation and camper tours are popular, places in popular camping centres can quickly end in the spring.

Pros and cons

Our choice of the first check of offers has already become a permanent booking.com. Deciding on one place to book a typical rundown, we get a standard package of benefits, which is not difficult to find in the competition:

  1. Reasonable offers in one place with a visualization of the continuity of the booking in the calendar;
  2. Payment by credit card through a safe channel;
  3. Exact GPS coordinates of the location of the place. The addresses are different;
  4. Loyalty programs within one agent;
  5. Reasonably checked opinions with the given rating profile. E.g. family with children, single or pensioners;
  6. One way of contacting the host of the property via the booking portal.
    (Check if not Russia, where contact was more popular and preferred by WhatsApp.).

Moreover, in the case of booking.com, I am somehow better looking for and browsing the offer than on e.g. Airbnb. That’s a habit to the mechanics of the website.

Customer Service

In the case of booking, there is another aspect – customer service. It is really effective. If there is no consultant currently available who speaks our language, English is always available. And for roaming calls, and outside the EU in particular, that is already very important. And the customer support mentioned above is not essential when everything is going well. Worse still, when a problem starts, and we need a response within an hour at most. And here’s where booking.com hasn’t failed yet. We have more than 200 bookings behind us, and it is not a surprise that problems had to happen. And they occurred several times in different countries. After all, in the tourism market, there’s always something you can’t play on this scale.

What happens when, for example, our host avoids contact or refuses to accommodate us?

Either he has a problem with something, but does not know or has just forgotten foreign languages? Once we heard that the host has to refuse accommodation because he has a funeral. And I understand that. I sympathize. I hang up the phone, and I’m still in Constanța, Romania, in the middle of the season, where the first better night is costly. In a typical direct booking, I have a problem. Sometimes local people will help, sometimes there will be an opportunity, but sometimes we just have to choose an emergency accommodation search, which is not usually cheap or pleasant. I remember when in Sweden we were looking for a relatively inexpensive campsite on a rainy evening, in August (and it’s all expensive here). It was not fun. And to avoid such situations, you can think about insurance. But it rarely makes sense, or it’s just not possible. That’s why we started to pay attention to how booking portals handle such cases.

Booking.com, for the time being, is an excellent, useful tool for us, because:

  • Safety first;
  • Takes on the problem with the accommodation supplier;
  • Watch and guarantee the price, with our original reservation. Even when the accommodation he needs to offer is significantly more expensive;
  • Helps with contacts (or negotiations) with hosts
  • The whole operation usually takes about 30 minutes, where the complete logistics and the execution of the procedure is on the side of the booking;
  • The service of keeping an eye on your service providers is included in the booking price;
  • Such assistance also applies to bookings that are paid locally;
  • So far, it has not happened that we have not received satisfactory aid. Either it was a replacement night or convincing the host to come up with the right solution for us.

What’s more, it was also useful during the preparations for the winter trip to Scandinavia – at our request, the consultant was able to check whether all reservations are up to date, called the locations and confirmed that it will be okay. It turned out that not everything was ready for us, and booking.com had to offer other places of similar standard and location.

If you feel like it, you can use our referral link.

At the end

I am curious about your adventures in the situation of a problem with the reservation of accommodation. If you have the experience, I would be grateful for your comments. Any tips on how to cope with the difficult situation on the trip will be precious.

A hint: during the preparations for the trip to Russia, we decided to go through the procedure of obtaining a visa ourselves. It resulted from several facts. First of all, we saved money with a small amount of time. Besides, we already assumed then that we would go to the east several more times. And here we found a typical example of a win-win-win-win-win business. Yes – four times. If we make a reservation using this affiliate link, the St. Petersburg Tourist Agency will collect the usual referral bonus. For that we will receive the official Tourist Voucher necessary for the visa. The same one for which we would normally have to pay a dozen or so zlotys. At the end of the day, Booking will earn commission from the landlord and the landlord will have a customer, i.e. us. In a word, the whole thing makes sense and works.

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