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Booking.com identifies ‘small bug’ in system update

Online travel agent Booking.com has said it has identified a “small bug” in its latest system update, resulting in a number of hoteliers seeing changes to their booking policies.

The bug resulted in a number of properties experiencing changes to their prepayment and cancellation policies without warning. Some hoteliers said they experienced “no deposit and free cancellation”, despite their policies not stating that.

Booking.com would not confirm how many hotels has been affected.

Heather Bradley Tsopanoglou, who owns Gabrielle’s hotel, which was affected by the bug, told Hotel Owner: “We just wanted to say how pleased we are that Booking.com have now found the computer glitch that caused prepayment/cancellation policies to change on their site, and that they are changing these back.”

The OTA said the bug was part of a “technical issue as part of a tooling improvement”, adding that the problems for the “majority” of affected partners have now been resolved.

A spokesperson for Booking.com said: “We are constantly innovating our products and tooling to be as convenient, efficient and user-friendly as possible. As such, we have recently made some enhancements to the interface of our policies tooling for partners, designed to provide them with a better user experience.

“We have identified a small bug associated with these improvements and are working to fix it as soon as possible.

“As always, if partners have any questions about these recent updates or are experiencing any issues whatsoever, we encourage them to reach out to their local contact directly for 24/7 support.”

About Tom Davis

Tom Davis
A graduate from Staffordshire University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies, Tom enjoys photography and is a keen cyclist. Please do drop him an email with any potential new story ideas.

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12 comments

  1. We were affected by this apparently the software upgrade on 15th December 2015 caused the problem, but the customer service team seem very reluctant to admit to the problem, it would be assumed that this is a worldwide problem with any accommodation provider that did not have their policy set at no cancellation fees.

  2. We were affected by this too.

    Essentially the new system also is incredibly restrictive and you can only choose options from a pre selected menu. It has changed our terms completely It is quite clear that Booking.com ultimately want no deposit, no personal information and cancellation on the day of arrival as their ultimate goal. There should eb an enquiry into the power exercized by the OTA’s

  3. It was hardly a small problem. They have still not informed any hotel about the problem, just waiting for us to stumble across it by accident after a guest raises a problem. Worse still a non-refundable room only booking when modified is suddenly Free cancellation and breakfast included, which meant we had to refund the booking which should have been guaranteed for us. It seems some of our rates became breakfast included (not room only as originally set up), which has cost us money too. Speaking to other hoteliers in the area they are all suffering and some were not aware now over a month on.

  4. Thank you HotelOwner for putting this matter into the public domain – my affected guests had assumed I was trying to pull a fast one on them by changing the terms under which they had booked.
    When I told Booking.com of the problem they did not admit it was their fault, so thanks for telling me it WAS.
    Booking.com did not put the matter right with me: they told me to change the terms on their extranet myself, and in doing so one is restricted in what terms can be applied. It is unfair that an OTA can determine terms and conditions of sale, and at the same time demand rate parity.

    • We to have been affected and Booking.com would not admit fault saying we must of made the mistake and made the changes. We are a small family run concern and can ill afford to suffer losses. They take a large chunk of our money via commission we are there customer but sometimes there customer service is apauling. We want our terms and conditions transparent so our customers can clearly see when making a reservation Booking.com are making this very difficult and as such have received negative feedback from some customers through no fault of our own.

  5. From those I spoke to at Booking.com customer service it was a change that they did deliberately so that (supposedly) it made the t’s & c’s and policies easier for the guest to understand. Accommodation providers were not informed and we only found out when we took our normal first night deposit for a booking to then get a quite nasty email from the guest saying how dare we, and that no money should have been taken until they arrived to check in. This has never been our policy but changing it back to how we, the accommodation provider, wish to operate our business is proving impossible. We can now only have the deposit as the same amount as the cancellation fee regardless of when the guest cancels. Our policy has always been like many B & B’s, that we take the first night as a deposit with the balance due on arrival – its as simple as that and widely accepted. The cancellation fee is the deposit amount if cancelled between 7 days and 30 days before arrival and the full amount if cancelled less than 7 days. This gives us a chance to re-let the room. This is now no longer an option with Booking.com.
    They now also dictate our pricing as they advertise that they are the best price and therefore we cannot advertise cheaper prices even on our own website – this now means that there is no competition and they dominate the market by their expensive advertising.
    We wish that we could operate without them, but unfortunately so many people world wide use them we have no option other than to continue.

  6. Removing our deposit and cancellation policies is hardly a “small bug”. Most companies suffer unfortunate problems, but good companies admit to them and inform their clients. It is a shame that Booking.com feel unable to adopt an honest and open approach, even when their actions have a seriously adverse effect on their clients’ businesses.

    Regretfully Booking.com are intent on promoting, ‘no deposit’, ‘no cancellation charge’, ‘no guarantee card’ bookings. This approach can only lead to a massive increase in no-shows, with no means for the provider to make a penalty charge. This will put a lot of B&Bs, Guesthouses and small hotels out of business. You can’t book a flight without making a payment or submitting card details, so why should you be able to book a room?

    What is required is more publicity around the commission rates, and restrictive practices of the OTAs so the guests are better informed.

  7. We have been affected too. We’ve gone from a 24 hour cancellation policy to a 30 days one – quite a difference! Still waiting for a fix one month on… 🙁

  8. Yes I completely agree with all of the comments on this topic, we have been forcefully made to refund a customer as the terms on their site are so restrictive they don’t match our own. Certain conditions of a booking result in it being non refundable – not according to booking.com !,! Not happy

  9. This is why it is so important to keep an eye on the online forums such as Bedposts.org.uk this was picked up a month ago and all members were informed by email by the forum – easy way to keep up to date. As a small business owner already paying them 15% I certainly don’t want to loose out any more – also not just booking terms and conditions some people in my area lost key selling features such as free car parking and so on so may sure you havn’t been affected in that way as well.

  10. Our policy was also changed we only found out when we needed to refund a guest and it was for the full amount. When I rang booking.com I received no help. They have the worst customer service I have ever come across they told me you must have changed it and they had not. They still have not changed mine back. Like a few previous comments wish I did not have to use them but guests are using them more and more. I was with them when it was active hotels many years ago all booking.com care about is money they don’t care about the hotel or the guest one word AWFULL.