Why I no longer use Booking.com (and you shouldn’t either)

So you’re going on a holiday this summer and want to book a hotel or an apartment? Do yourself a favour: don’t use a site like Booking.com. If you book directly with the hotel or apartment itself, you can usually get a 10-30% discount. That’s the money that would otherwise go to Booking.com.

In some countries, Booking.com has an arrangement with the hotels and apartments saying they’re not allowed to give discounts. In that case you can ask to have transport from or to the airport included in the same price, for example, or one or more meals if you’re staying at a hotel with a restaurant.

Before a few years ago, I always used Booking.com. Then, I wanted to change a reservation, because someone I knew had died. The hotel was fine with it, but those money-grabbers at Booking.com refused to change or cancel my reservation. I had to book again, and pay for a hotel stay that I never got to use.

The same year, I discovered that if you book on Booking.com using your credit card, they’ll just pass on that data verbatim to the hotel, where I saw my credit card information printed on an unprotected piece of paper. It begs the question: what does Booking.com even do, besides pocketing 20 to 30% of your reservation payment?

It’s such a waste. Booking.com once started out as a promising start-up. But it usually contributes no added value whatsoever compared to booking directly. And as we’ve seen, it’s often actually more expensive than if you’d ask the hotel for a discount yourself.

If Booking.com wants to remain a successful company in the future, they seriously need to work on their added value. They need better service, they need to cancel or change reservations with no charge, and they need to be more secure with sensitive credit card information.

73 responses to “Why I no longer use Booking.com (and you shouldn’t either)”

  1. Check out our new site https://www.hostelbay.com/. We had the same idea so we started this.

  2. Eithne J

    Hi Danny
    I’m coming late to this one, so forgive me, but I felt I had to add a comment. I’ve no shares or other interest in booking.com, but I have used them in several countries and I’ve found them to be straightforward and helpful. I accept I might be paying a little over the odds when I book through them, but I find that’s more than worth while for 1) convenience of getting all that choice and info in one spot and 2) in most cases the option to cancel shortly before check-in date. And on the one occasion when I forgot to cancel a booking in time when I’d found a more convenient place to stay (stupid, my own fault), they coordinated with the hotel in question to refund my credit card. So I’m still happy to use them.

    1. Lu

      i find u are quite lucky. Last year I used booking.com for a conference overseas. When I arrived at the hotel, front desk told me that the website double booked the room, and later on, I found out an email that was sent a few hours prior to my arrival that Booking.com canceled my reservation because they have double booked. Not even a phone call, just an email…..

    2. tyse aziza

      I booked through bookings.com and somehow ended up booking through reservations.com and then when my plan changed i was told that my booking is not modifiable nor refundable. I read online that many have had that issue and some went as far as reporting them to the better business bureau. I will never use them again

  3. Mr t

    booking.com have been making hotel nights more expensive. since the hotels pay so much fees they have raised prices generally. Never use these booking sites.

  4. Tariku

    As a hotel owner, Booking are expensive and prevent me from communicating what needs to be communicated with the customer beforehand. They also leave me with any no shows that I have to pay. As a result, I make sure I charge people considerably more when they use Booking.

  5. Jaco

    Tariku i fully agree with you stay away from booking have such bad experiences as a owner they presume they are the owner of your property without any communication on forehand with the guest.

  6. Alex

    I save a hell of a lot of money by booking through booking.com, I find the hotel websites themselves are usually far more expensive and don’t offer me the same cancellation policy. Booking.com gives me discounts, lets me search for hotels that offer the specific requirements I want and see honest reviews. I’m sure hotels don’t like them but it is their choice to advertise with booking.com and agree to the terms, otherwise do without the customers they provide, or get out of the hotel industry altogether.

    1. Jisgrif

      1 bookong lie about hotels being almost booked out..
      They own agoda and other companies and want to monopolize the worlds bookings
      They keep the cancellation fees even though the hotel prepares a room for you and buys the food..
      Late cancellation also stops the hotel from renting the room…
      But hey its convenient for you…
      Amazon is a great company also..

  7. Sandra

    I use booking.com a lot. My last booking, the appartment owner was not pleased that I’d used them and tried to charge insurance. She then visited us several times during the week and almost bullied me into giving a good rating. I gave a good rating because to appartment deserved it. Something needs to change. On another booking I was given the worst rooms because I’d booked on free cancelation and the hotel thought we wern’t going to show up, I got the rooms changed as I’d arrived early afternoon. I agree that the hotels are just raising their prices because of the rates they are being charged by bookings.com I would like the hotels to get together and find another solution. I don’t like paying a third party.

    1. Victoria

      I have just had the worst, most horrendous experience using Booking.com and will NEVER use them again. The apartment that I stayed in was not the one at all that is listed on the site as Unique Apartment, Kokrobite, Ghana.
      All the photographs, description of the property and reviews are actually from the womans’ – Anie (Abena Mensah’s) – other property (Crown Apartment) where she lives and also rents out a room! I sent all the photos to Booking.com and they have done NOTHING.
      Worst of all it is STILL listed on there with the false photos and information! The place was a mess, nothing as described and mouldy walls and ceilings, rain coming through the ceilings, often no electricity as she hadn’t charged card, no running water for 13hrs, one dirty, smelly towel for 2 people for 2wks, no change of sheets etc, etc.
      It was one of the worst experiences of my life and Booking.com are not listening.
      What can I do?

    2. Jusgrif

      I was thinking the same sandra…maybe we could go into bisiness…
      I own a small guesthouse….booking is universally disliked by every hotel owner i know…they also own agoda and intend to monopolize the worlds bookings….a friend has a tiny giesthouse and couldnt pay his last bill…bookimg showed him as being fully booked…he was bankrupted out of revenge…they are bullies and liars
      Im happy to see others are wakimg up…
      Im here collecting data…all the bad stories from people…
      The parent company of booking is a huge conglomerate…

  8. Sylviane Prigent

    According to the countries and properties Booking.com commission can be anywhere between 13 to 50%, hotel owners even have a tool to momentarily raise the commission in order to appear on the first page, so don’t be fooled: YOU end up paying for it, they paid billions to google to make sure they’d always come on top of your search results whichever your destination, they do not check ANY new property so yes, you can end up booking a fraudulent non existing accommodation who charges 20 times your credit card and, well, good luck to you trying to get all the paperwork from your bank before they bother assisting you, lovely multilingual customer service agents basically exploited and more and more reduced to slavery, terror management and an unfair pressure on hotel and guesthouse owners, welcome to Priceline capitalist greed= booking.com= agoda= kayak and so on….and if the photos were taken 30 years ago or if you are overbooked good luck speaking to 30 different overstressed and underestimated call centre agents. Some people take risks, they manage a hotel, realize their dream of opening a guesthouse, please make the traveling industry fair again and never book through parasite greedy booking.com

  9. Andrew

    I always used booking.com because it was convenient and I thought cheap. I’ve just booked a 2 night stay at the Holiday Inn in Lincoln for city break and was horrified to discover it was over £350 on booking.com. I was about to give up on the idea but checked IHG’s (Holiday Inn’s parent group) own website and the exact same booking came in under £200 ! FFS booking.com, I thought you were a discount site not a rip-off site. I’ll never use them again because they’ve burnt my trust.

  10. Erik

    I can’t say booking is useless but general rule would be re-check prices on other sources (for example directly on hotel website). I’m pretty sure you will get it much cheaper. I stayed in hotel for $185 via booking, and five days later stayed in same hotel for $105 via booking directly (via phone).

  11. Chris

    To find the best deals in a place you want to go to, you’re going to have to do a hell of a lot of work, especially if it’s a big resort with a lot of hotels etc. And you still won’t find the smaller, cheaper places which don’t have the resources to advertise widely. Bookings.com is a comparison site which does all that legwork for you, and if you end up paying a bit extra, that’s what you’re getting in exchange. I’ve used them regularly for years, and always got a good deal by choosing carefully and being aware of the traps and pitfalls, and never had any problems.

    1. Panos.R

      Booking.com is not a comparison site. It is a B2B reservation by payment system and a property promoting platform.

    2. Daniel

      Yes, you can’t beat the website interface and the 1-click booking off the phone is so convenient….how lazy we are all becoming!!! So the logic there would be, once you have found the place to book on Booking.com, quickly Google it for the direct website, to double check if it is a better offer. It takes a minute…..In my B&B (London), it is always cheaper direct, without fail. Breakfast included and mostly no deposit policy. We increase as much of a percentage as we can on the agencies, in the summer usually up to 30-35% higher. Using the agencies own rate managers to scan the area’s average rate. The 10% discount vouchers you are made to believe you are saving with, do not matter. This may sound harsh, but as indicated in comments here and elsewhere, consumers book with B.com and the like with the knowledge that accommodation providers are happy to pay (and deserve) the high commissions.

  12. Kelly Catteau

    Clearly people are getting poor treatment if the use the service based on other comments and my own experience. I booked twice through the service. One time I got put into the only room where the plumbing and ac was broken. It was an awful battle.

    The second time, the refuse to acknowledge my booking for the days I had reserved. I had to get another room elsewhere for the night and I never received retribution.

  13. Mogens

    Double price by booking in Bangkok, do not use it!!

    Director of http://www.eneret.dk

  14. Peter

    now this is really public info!
    People still believe booking.com is the best place to book… WRONG
    You pay more per night.

    People are stupid, why dont they think booking.com needs to make some money also, and who pays? The hotels? no…. it’s the guests who pay this commissions.

    How hard is this to understand?

  15. Kat

    All true except one thing: Refunding is actually hotels executive decision, and not B.com’s. First-hand information, since I work in hotel reservations.

  16. fifi

    Yes, I had the same problem at booking.com, they kept the money and refused to return it back to me even the hotel said they won’t charge me.

  17. LetBeBetter

    I was frequent traveler at Booking but will never use Booking in the future! They poisoned our vacation! Berto was the hotel we booked on the seaside of Croatia in Crikvenica town. We’ve got no room but hole in Hell, no air, no natural light, small leakage (light) opening to the covered stairwell. Right under the light was the smoking place in staircase and there were a lot of people smoking with no stop—-. Only one blanket for two people…The host (lady) copied all our personal documents and pressed us to sign additional papers in Croatian (we do not speak Croatian) in spite of our definite objection and all GDPR restrictions. When we refuse to place our signature on the papers in Croatian language – which we can’t neither read nor understand – the lady wanted us to leave the hotel after paying on site the reservation and illegal sanctions we will never know what for. At the end of the day nothing confirmed by Booking was true! Our complain addressed to Booking was never replied, we have been never remunerated…Never more Booking for sure.

  18. Tryphena Perry

    Don’t ever book through booking.com, we booked an apartment and agreed a time of check-in. The owner never arrived at this time and after standing at the meeting point of the apartment for 50 minutes, 4 phone calls and 3 emails we decided to find a place to shelter from the rain. Charged 50% of the booking as they were available for checkin 2 hours later than agreed. We even had email and phone record evidence but booking.com wouldn’t assist. Bye bye 750 euro. Be very careful when using the site and the terms and conditions as check-in for apartments can be at any time preferred by the owner, even if prior arranged. Make formal complaints with booking.com and wait at the location for a few hours for any progress before finding alternative accommodation.

  19. Nick

    I run a B&B in West London UK. If you are able to find our phone number or website (like the good old days) amongst Booking.com and Expedia’s huge visibility on Google, you will get the following: 1) a guaranteed cheaper rate (by 20-30% in the summer) 2) no deposit policies and flexible policies 3) we assign you our best rooms.
    But hey, you can’t fault the “all-in-one-place” user interface and the clever marketing….

  20. Toby

    I just read this article on booking.com
    I started doing a search on them because the motel owner told me that the room was $13 cheaper than i paid through booking.com, as a standard rate.
    His comment when i paid was “geez they realy took a bite out of you”

    Toby, Australia

  21. Ally

    It’s true booking.com have problem,It happen many times, While searching hotels they advertise free cancellation no credit card needed, but during booking you will be asked card details!, why?… And also if you decide to cancel, you are told about cancellation charges!. This what happen to me very funny!. I was in Melbourne Australia, The hotel I booked “Peppers” stayed two days and had no rooms for my extra days, And I have to move. I book through Booking.com and got Apartment hotel, free cancellation. I had bags and took Uber to the apartment address, We didn’t found the apartment and we call, They told me you need first to come in our office and pick the keys and also apartment is not yet cleaned!, I was upset and decided to cancel and told him and he said fine, Later he called me and told me if you cancel you loose the whole amount because no cancellation allowed!. I complain to booking.com , They told me they will contact them, I don’t know if they took the money or not, But my credit card seems very less money remain and use only for booking and usually pay cash. I came Australia on 15 th oct, 2018 in my card was 5000$ but today I check my balance is 1200$?…. I don’t know what happen?,…. And on 23rd oct, 2018 I decided to go Sydney I made booking by booking.com, I choose The great southern hotel in Sydney but end of it , the system reject to go through and said try again, When I search again I choosed another hotel called Four points by Sheraton, After couple of minutes I received email from Booking.com saying they notice I made booking two hotels same dates and place, I cancel The great southern Hotel , but what happen, They told me I have to incur cost because no cancellation. I contact Booking.com and explain what had happen and I will be stupid to book to hotel withe same days in same place , Same they will work for it….

  22. Faruk

    What does Booking.com give you??

    If you are a traveler: simplicity, straightforwardness and clear information. Imagine that you are booking a hotel in Dubai and want to check what each of them offer…now imagine what amount of time you would have to spend trying to locate the website for each of hundreds/thousands of hotels, open them each in a separate tab and try to compare their prices and what they all offer…. isn’t it so much more convenient and simpler to just use booking.com and get it all in one place, neatly organized!? You just have to read and ACCEPT the policies. Once accepted their policies are just like any other contracts in our lives, you violate them and you pay the penalties…unless you deal with a good friend which I doubt will be sitting behind the booking.com desk handling your case… I personally NEVER had any issues with booking.com as long as I READ and followed each of the policies!

    If you are a hotel or accommodation partner:
    In one word: Marketing!
    It is rather simple, they (just like any other popular site) grew big enough to be the marketing board themselves! Everybody knows Booking.com. Nevertheless, apart from marketing they offer very little other benefits, cause as a partner you cannot easily change currencies, cannot cancel the reservation if you need to, have to comply with a crapload of their rules, etc. etc.

    I am both, traveler and a partner and, as with anything else in our lives, dealing with booking.com is an activity that requires you to be patient, to compromise, etc…

    Also, be not misguided, they ALL take a very similar commission!! For example, booking.com charges me 12% for each booking through their site, while at same time Airbnb charges me 3% and the remaining 9 % comes as a reservation fee from the customer… and, in order to be competitive, the overall price on both sites remains the same…in the end, they all work for money and not for FB likes!

  23. Lakeside Hostel & Guest House

    We have received bookings through booking.com, but the company is a real problem. They consistently change our rates without our permission, add promotions that can not be deleted, even if you contact them about it. As a result our guests are paying 30% less than our published rates which is already the cheapest rates in town. I find the company very unethical.

  24. Su

    Booked a house in Sydney through Booking.com, described as “Stunning Eastern Suburbs Coastal Home” – it was filthy, stank of cats’ urine and faeces, had mildew on curtains and furnishings, every surface was covered in dust, when we complained to the property manager he turned aggressive and used profanities demanding the key back. We had to find alternative accommodation for 6 nights, not easy at New Year. Booking.com can’t get hold of the owner. We are £6,400 out of pocket. Barclaycard fraud are investigating. Horrified that there seems little we can do.

  25. Jiri

    I’ve used booking.com for a while and never had issues with them. Now though, they’ve updated their privacy policy meaning they share all your info across the booking holdings group (Kayak, Priceline, OpenTable, RentalCars.com etc.). I have started using Booking.com as a comparison site only. I punch in my city and dates and criteria, review the information and reviews from customers, check out guest pictures etc. and then go to the hotels own website and purchase there, asking for discounts or extras which I normally get. Always comes out cheaper or with more value and I don’t have to book through booking.com. Once my last booking.com reservation expires in May I’ll be deleting my sensitive data off their system so I can use a ghost account to simply use it as a comparison site.

  26. Chris

    I hate booking.com. I used them for several years and gave them a lot of business but they have no respect of their clients. They are supposed to have a price match guarantee and admitted that their price was higher. But to claim my ‘price match”, I had to ask the hotel for a bill, pay the hotel, then upon returning home, ask booking.com for a “credit refund”. I guess they hope I’ll forget, which I think, most people do. When I complained about this, they basically told me to go look elsewhere – to put it politely.

    Here is their reponse:
    We’re sorry if our Price Matching conditions are not convenient for you. Thank you for taking your time to provide us with your feedback.

    Unfortunately, we’re not able to change the price of your current booking and we would only be able to refund you the price difference after your stay.

    Once again, we’re really sorry if that is not convenient for you and we’d like to let you know that your claim is still valid. A refund of 18 CAD is confirmed to you after your stay.

    Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

    Kind regards,

    Sandra N.
    Booking.com Customer Service Team

  27. Jdys

    I’ve seen some Paris apts on booking.com but can’t find a way to ask the owner a question? Can anyone tell me how to do this pls?

  28. Louise Temkin

    I will never use booking.com again without checking the rates offered direct by the establishment first. We have just been charged double here in Jerusalem for 5 apartments. the rates offered directly on the website are exactly half of what we have paid to boooking.com. As it is everything in Israel is overpriced- probably one of the most expensive places anywhere to visit so I have learnt a very expensive lesson,,

  29. Larry

    Has anyone tried Bidroom ? Thanks

  30. Boyce Hannigan

    Well-written piece. I just now forwarded this on 5/18/2019 to a coworker who has been involved in a little research of their own on this subject. To say thank you, they just bought me a drink! So, I guess I should say: Thanks for the meal!

  31. Mark from London

    Thought you might like to hear a Booking.com experience from a customer’s viewpoint . Three times now, they have double-charged for a reservation, and twice have cancelled said reservation AFTER double booking. You have to contact them for refunds, which take 14-21 days. After the first fiasco, we made a concerted effort to never use them again. Regardless, I was involuntarily rerouted to Booking two more times when trying to finalize payment. Each twice we were screwed over. Although we haven’t seen the claimed 10-30% savings mentioned by booking directly with the properties, at least we have a guaranteed room! FYI, several places here in Europe specifically referred us to Booking when we called directly to make a reservation. It’s interesting to note that Booking does not pay the properties until later, because they charge customers immediately. So reservation or not, Booking gets to play with our money for two or three weeks.

    In each of the double bookings, the properties in question showed via Booking displayed the warning message: “Hurry! Only one room left for this date!” Attempt #1 doesn’t complete, and displays an ‘Unknown Error’ message. Attempt #2 (or #3) transacts properly and we receive a confirmation. Because I have a good security policy with my bank card, I receive an immediate text message about any purchase over a certain amount. It’s then that I realize that I’ve been double booked. Shortly thereafter, my reservation is cancelled. No explanation is ever given for the cancellation, and Booking customer service is, as you all know, worthless.

    Interestingly, in each case when Booking claimed a property was nearly full, it has been nearly empty. Just last week, I reserved a bed in a 15-bed hostel room, and although Booking said I was taking the last available bed, the room was empty. During my stay, no more than 2 other people stayed there. So either they are suffering a 90% no-show rate, or Booking is fudging occupancy numbers to make places appear fuller than they are to create a sense of urgency with customers.

    Finally, it seems almost all gripes come from the European division of Booking and not the US-based site.

  32. Fiona Wilson

    I run a 3 bed B&B in Portugal
    Hate booking .com
    We have had 5 cancellations over the past 2 days no way to run a business
    But can’t do without them
    Customers are being conned about price

    1. Christina Schulz

      Booking. com makes unauthorized reservations even though there is no contract with ParadiseGarden Backpackers!
      In the beginning of January I was researching who in Windhoek is on booking. com as I was thinking of maybe join them. But what a surprise
      Paradisegarden Backpackers was already listed without us having signed a contract with them nor given any authority to do so. When clicking on Paradisegarden as if I wanted to book a room it said fully booked!!!!!!
      The truth was we were half empty!!!!!
      Ut of cause then booking suggests another establishment which they really offer.
      So they were making publicity with Paradisegarden and giving wrong information.
      But that was not all. A few days later I got what’s app from a possible guest saying they wanted to make a reservation for a 5 bed room for 4 nights but it didn’t go through. ParadiseGarden was not notified of any intention of a reservation. Some hours later the same person contacted me and told me now the reservation was confirmed. But we never got a reservation request nor did we confirm it. I asked if she could send me a picture of the confirmation. And it was confirmed by booking. com for a price of 1.053,60 ZAR = N$ for 4 nights 5 beds whereas we charge 200,00 N$ pp & night.
      Even though we never signed a contract with them
      I have sent booking.com 4 mails but the only answer I guess is an automatic one, saying that I should fill in the booking number, a pin code etc all what I do not have as I am not contacting them for a booking. They are so big you do not get anybody to talk to, to explain why we were on their booking portal. This is just scary. These big companies they do whatever they want and take over everything.
      Please share this with whoever you would like to

  33. Michael

    As a hotel owner, Bookings.com attracts alot of customers that is good but then charge alot too. They charge in dollar, and when the dollar is strong, the commision can be up to 40% since I get paid in another currency. I don’t have a salary from my place (i work extra), since I need to pay my employees. My self, I always book directly at the hotel I want to visit. Also, if someone email me for a booking, i give them discount if they stay more than 2 nights.

  34. Gina M

    We just had a nightmare of a holiday through booking.con. the owner stalked us and bullied us and we had to call the police on him.
    We asked booking.com to change our accommodation considering all this but they refused. This destroyed our holiday and when we get back home we will take them to Court over this. Booking. Com is only for the profit they don’t care about the customers who pay for the accommodation. They were questioning us instead of the accommodation owner and my two children were terrifdied. Considering all this we will take thme to Court!

  35. VLacerda

    I have made a payment using Sofort, that is a method of payment when you pay in cash. Although the money went out from my account, I didn’t receive the confirmation by Booking.com. I tried contact them and they just send me emails with me same information and asking me for a PIN number or a confirmation number, Wich I don’t have because they didn’t give me… It is been very stressful. I tried contacting by phone but guess what?!?! The same problem …. Nobody actually contacted me, it is just already done messages.
    Do a favor to your self and don’t deal with them.

  36. Stephen Brookes

    booking.com is a ******* organization! They took money from me yet failed to provide the service promised. They left me without accommodation just before my wedding. They charged me double for the replacement accommodation which turned out to be a kennel unfit for humans. They still have not refunded my money. They are shysters

  37. Harry

    I just woke up to the fact after 5 years of booking.com that it is always cheaper to book direct with the establishment you are staying at.whilst I understand some money has to exchange hands for a service,but 15%+ is greedy
    They will show you a price and you book it then you get an email from the establishment with the additional charges
    Booking.com should know the charges and let you know
    booking.com if you read this lift your game
    You are losing a valuable customer

  38. UM

    Think your analysis is hollow and ridiculous. Yes Booking.com sucks, but the fact that you expect them to be able to cancel or change reservations at no cost proves how little you know of the concept of hospitality. Maybe you should not be giving business advice so easily


    I use booking.com begrudgingly they really are a necessary evil. One thing I would say a CRM tool is an excellent way to increase your direct bookings and trying to beat booking.com and the other OTAs at their own game. I use Experience Hotel, my direct bookings have increased by x2 and revenue increased by 25%

  40. Amanda Helen

    I have a small hotel. We really sell rooms to bookings (I mean that really do take those room nights off sale and you own them if you book, I have no ‘walk’ policy because I am not selling more rooms than I can actually offer to more people that I can actually accommodate, like a big hotel can) That’s not a problem when the booker actually intends to stay, but what if they are just ‘locking in a great rate’ (being greedy) and don’t have a full intention to stay? What makes someone think that they can get the hotel to commit to removing their product off the shelf for their arrival when they only want an option, they are hoping to be able to cancel last minute ? Hotel rooms have a shelf life, a sell by date! This is a very damaging menality and something that’s spreading to all types of activities notably restaurant tables, it’s the ‘free cancellation’ promise on big booking sites that has promoted it I think. Do you know how the promise of free cancellation is actually met? by overselling! Selling more nights than you really have! It’s the only way to stay in business for a big hotel I imagine. So many people book and cancel, so many people no-show that a hotel that sells a room type (and not a specific room) is going to oversell or go out of business. With cancellation rates via sites like booking dot com at around 40%, why would the hotel take your room ‘off the shelf’ for real? If you are hoping to protect yourself by booking on a site like booking dot com then the hotel will also be seeking to protect themselves from ‘your sort of booker’. Hotels have an expectation that you are going to cancel (and cancel late) at 40% of the time, so I would imagine that the overselling might be up to 40% to compensate on those booking types?! The hotel owner is going to take a booking much more seriously when the booker books direct with the hotel on the other hand, and probably upgrade right away and certainly not oversell (sell more availability than they have) at the same level to those booking types. The difference is not only financial either; the guest type is different. We see that our direct bookers engage with us (ask questions, make requests, build rapport) whilst the booking dot com guests remain anonymous. I know it’s because they want to keep their options open. We give the best rooms, rates, nights and policies to direct guests and only dispose of less desirable periods and last minute through booking dot com therefore. I spoke with a booking dot com guests recently asking why they used this ‘service’ over booking direct with me where they would have got a better room at a lower rate and better policy than the non refundable that they booked and they told me that they had no idea that since 2017 the best rate and policies (in most of the world) are no longer guaranteed to booking dot com.. so the price match guarantee is a mirage in those places.. and of course the rates have increased to cover the commission.. no such thing as a free lunch! In addition, I have to admit I am biased against the booking dot com bookers particularly those seeking a boutique experience in a small hotel – we’ve heard it all before, remember – you forgot to include your child on the booking form, you need late cancellation at much higher percentages than the rest of the world..we hear the same stories day in day out and we don’t take you so seriously…when booking a small family business you will be facing the owner/boss/front of house daily…he sees the difference in attitude and comportment of the direct booker vs the indirect booker and he pampers (or not) accordingly. We say ‘if you want to book a boutique hotel, be a boutique booker; book direct and raise your standard!

  41. Mr J

    Booking.com recently compromised my credit card details. They were the only site I’d used the card on so it cannot be anyone else. Complete disregard for personal information/bank details. Don’t leave yourself open to them. 90% of the time owners will tell you for repeat visits book direct it’s cheaper.

  42. Frustrated With OTAs

    Good Day Danny,
    Can you take an interest in writing or redirect me to a source
    that bring to the public’s attention(property owners) that these
    OTAs such as Booking.com, Expedia, Airbnb and others keep
    forcing new rules and restrictions on the fly upon property
    owners – making our daily ability to manage through these
    sources more and more difficult?

    I’m having a huge beef with Booking.com right now regarding
    a new property I brought online on 28 June 2019. Even though
    I’ve been doing business with Booking.com for over 10 years,
    this OTA is slapping all these extra restrictions upon me that
    make no sense, given that Booking.com does not have any
    documentation to back up these new hoops they want me to
    jump through.

    Thank You

  43. zaax

    I always check the accommodations website and it is always more expensive than the likes of Booking.com

  44. Creed

    As a property owner I also have a beef with booking.com, I registered and listed my property, during the registration process I got a notice I had been banned, no reason given, I called their help line the said they will check got a call from them after 15 minutes, they confirmed I had been blocked/banned I asked the reason they told me they cannot reveal the reason !!!! What kind of retarded policy is that ? I insisted but the flatly refused, what a way to run a business !

  45. Adrian T

    AVOID anti-customer #Booking.com and #MyCoventGardenPenthouse (London) at all costs

    #Booking.com “empowering you to have terrible experiences”

    As a seasoned international traveller, and sophisticated consumer and business professional, I understand travel experiences won’t always go right, but I feel the need to share this experience which has given me a whole new perspective of Booking.com (who I have used successfully in the past)


    • Visiting London for 4 nights with check-in date 2019-06-26, and check-out date 2019-06-30 in June 2019 with family of 5 and looking for 2/3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms
    • Find suitable apartment in Covent Gardens which is expensive but ticked all boxes and worth it for the location
    • Booked “My Covent Garden Penthouse” (Reconfirmation number: 1589890907), via Booking.com, had usual confirmations from the owners and was asked to pay 100% via direct transfer to secure booking some months in advance which was immediately done – “locked in” !
    • 23 June owners confirmed booking and check in details for 26th June arrival
    • 25 June, we are notified via Booking.Com that the apartment will not be available and proposing an alternate apartment in lessor location and drastically inferior apartment from images
    • My family are about to leave for 30 hours travel from Sydney to London…..panic !
    • With around 4 hours for a sleep before getting on the long hauls, we rejected Booking.com alternate apartment who then came up with a second significantly inferior alternative
    • With just hours before our flight departure, having lost all confidence in Booking.com who provide no continuity of customer service agents (different person each time), we were left with no alternative but to get our travel agent to book two interconnecting hotel rooms – inferior location, poor quality, but at least it was booked
    • Of course, being the start of Wimbledon, availability was low and prices had moved significantly higher than when we booked and paid months earlier…


    • It’s worth noting the owners who had been clear communicators, completely went to ground at this stage and although we had the contact number of the lady who was meant to let us in etc, she stopped taking our calls, texts etc and went “dark”
    • We had been informed that the apartment needed urgent repairs and would be unusable for our stay period
    • I visited the apartment the day after arriving and the windows were open from guests, and there were NO signs of any works underway
    • In the weeks / months that followed, Booking.com informed me they had not received a refund of the full payment we had made, so Booking.com were also about to be out of pocket
    • We noticed Booking.com did take down the #MyCoventGardenApartment listing shortly after we started meaningful dialogue with them
    • In following conversations, we have come to learn there is a practice undertaken by some Booking.com owners to take and confirm bookings and then re-advertise their property on alternate sites (or the same site if they have multiple properties) at much higher rates. If someone is prepared to book at the higher rate, they do late cancellations on the earlier booking and increase the yield on their investment……It appears this is what happened to us despite our full prepayment


    • Its interesting but when you look at your rights on the Booking.com web-site, nearly all the language is about what the customer is obligated to do
    • There is NO CONCEPT of what happens if Booking.com cancel on a Customer ! It’s as if this is not even contemplated. This is hard to believe that in this day and age, a large sophisticated company with a Netherlands HQ takes such an anti-customer approach

    • Following our return to Australia 3 weeks later I commenced the process with Booking.com to get our refund for the cancelled apartment

    • Emailing Booking.com is an exercise in complete futility as they have a practice to:
    o Have a different person reply each time
    o Delete all content of the prior message, so its’ not clear what history is in view their end
    o “Customer service” agents clearly do not then read the history in spite of my requests in bold and underline to do so before replying to me. Consequently, I regularly received non-sensical responses that fail to show any understanding of the matters at hand and even when they had read them, they must have done so quickly and make multiple mistakes
    o We dealt with over 12 “Customer Service” team members, who are not recontactable and do not give their surnames in correspondence – really – who does that ??? Its like a ghost organisation – I’m not really sure if we were dealing with bots…only one person, Yannis who I spent a couple of hours with on the phone over several nights was any real help at all..

    • Following around 25 emails with many many duplicate requests for the same information, I did receive a refund for the amount I paid directly to #MyCoventGardenPenthouse on 8 August – exhausting !

    HOWEVER, we are still out of pocket for 1258.24 GBP (2253.04 AUD or $1,645USD)) between the original property and the property we needed to book following Booking.com’s cancellation – largely as a result of being caught out in peak season. On top of this we arguably have claims for having to stay in inferior accommodation, and if you were in court, for various other losses….

    I was eventually offered a refund of ~10% of my shortfall. Whilst I have provided a clearly articulated response confirming how the Booking.com alternatives were materially inferior, I get another inane email simply stating “the decision is final” and yet they have not refuted or provided any colour on the decision.

    Lessons for Booking.com

    *Sadly, Booking.com’s corporate culture is not based around customer experience – they don’t care, they don’t want to know, their attempts to help are pitiful, and so on it goes

    They could increase their screening of accommodation providers – but its clearly poor. Guess what – they have now reinstated #MyCoventGardenPenthouse onto their listings – unforgivable and irreprehensible ….

    As a sophisticated corporate, it could be so much different, but they designed their systems to deliberately keep customer contact to a minimum and not to engage when difficulties inevitably arise

    All I would say is, read the other reviews from those when things don’t go to plan

    Think very carefully about using #Booking.com if the trip is important to you – unless you can afford to be left without a roof over your head !

  46. Cary

    I used booking.com. The listing was placed by a private owner of a unit in Miami I. A mixed building; 1/2 privately owed rooms/condos and the other half hotel rooms. One centralized front desk. The issue is that the front desk relies on the unit owner to notify them of the reservation and grant the guest permission to use the property. In my case I arrived for a confirmed 4 pm check in. The front desk had no reservation. For five hours they and me tried to contact the owner. The hotel rented me another room and I paid so I could finally sleep. Booking.com would not help. They rely on the owner to cancel the reservation or try to trick you into cancelling the reservation so you pay. Despite me having them confirm the room was unavailable with email confirmation from the front desk they would do nothing to cancel the reservation because the owner refused to confirm it she failed in your duty to notify the front desk. It’s complete fraud. Do not use booking.com once you book you’ll never have any options if something goes wrong. Unbelievable.

  47. Gary Walmer

    Booking com should be banned. They have no ZERO customer service.

  48. Cuc Foscue

    It’s hard to say

  49. Tori Tippit

    I agree with you

  50. David

    I am a private property owner. I closed my account. They still made a booking even though the account is closed. I cannot cancel the booking. I don’t get paid until after the guest leaves. I have Deleted my account Booking are still Using It.
    I responded twice to booking that I no longer use them. The guest has not contacted me. I don’t have any details as I have closed the account and I am not reopening it because it is closed.

    I closed the account because I had no control over who stayed. I am not a hotel this is a private residence and booking’s Policies do not suit my situation. So I closed the account a long time ago. Yet they still accepted a booking and some unfortunate person is going to turn up and not have access.
    I am hoping that they call me soon do they can cancel. I don’t have their details as I have closed the account.

  51. christchurch accommodation

    This is an explosive idea; this is most probably the best and most successful thing about no longer use booking com shouldn’t either. I love this blog and really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing!!

  52. Helen

    I will never ever book with Booking.com again. When I got to the hotel they had no reservation for me and my family. We were in town for a funeral. It is a small city and they had no rooms available. I finally found a motel with one room left. I took it, I had no other choice. To be honest the room was very very clean and it was $100 dollars cheaper.

  53. AJ

    I used them last week and will use them again in a couple of months why you ask? Because they have been consistently cheaper even compared to the hotel itself and yes even after I called. I don’t know maybe something has changed and they’ve gotten their act together but then again maybe because I’m using them domestically and not internationally. Crossing my fingers and hoping everything will still be ok in a couple of months because now these reviews even tho they’re old are making me question it all

  54. Nero

    Yes, Booking.com in some cases can go as high as between 30% to 40% more expensive than direct reservation rates, learn that the hard way before…..

  55. Linda Baumann

    Dear Linda Baumann,

    Thank you for choosing Booking.com.

    I am writing to you from our Senior Relations Team about your reservation 3922772461 at Comfort Inn Wytheville, check-in on 2021-07-01 and check-out on 2021-07-02.

    I have received your concern submitted to the Better Business Bureau and sincerely apologize for the delay in receiving your owed refund back. As the property has denied issuing the owed refund of 288.93 USD we will proceed to refund you this amount back on their behalf. Within the next 7 business days you will receive an email with instructions on how to claim this amount back to a card of your choosing. Note, the email may be received much quicker if it goes to automation but if it does go for a manual review it could take up to the 7 business days. Unfortunately, our payments team has a large backlog for manual reviews. How the refund is processed is determined by the system and out of my control.

    Once more, I apologize for the delay.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you.

    All the best,

    Ty W.
    Booking.com Customer Service Team
    CS Senior Relations Specialist

    How would you rate your interaction with Ty W.?

    Very dissatisfied
    Very satisfied
    Herengracht 597, 1017 CE Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Manage booking
    Privacy & Cookies
    Empowering you to experience the world I Have been fighting for a refund July 3rd 2021. My bank says booking made the charge and they are trying to blame the hotel?

  56. RainDancer

    All hotel websites charge more and most ask for your payment on the spot and no cancellation . .

    For all who complain about booking.com

    Just call or email the same hotel you want to book at before using the booking website and compare and do what’s best for you . . Simple voila . . done and stop the whining

  57. Dee Dee Maggs

    I hate Booking.com. In addition to being of no help — zero — when something went wrong, they have tricked me out of AA points three times. I’ll never use them agan.

  58. Tina

    I’ve only book once in Eastbourne what a disgusting hotel when I was booking in the manager told me I had to clean your room and make the bed. I wiped the floor with him then he told me we will get a cleaner in. I told him to stick his hotel to we’re the sun did not shine.
    This company is the worst company I’ve ever deleted with complete morons. Avoid them like the plague. They take your money and that’s it they do not check out the hotels.
    They should read the reviews

  59. Philip

    For all of you out there please be careful with booking.com. Somebody brought to my attention my holiday house is advertised for holiday rental in booking.com. when I applied to the email address provided the person claim to be the owner and offers my house for a ridiculous small price plus in the wrong street. I have tried to get in touch with booking.com to report it, unfortunately it is impossible to make contact with them.
    If this is one case they must be many more similar so stay away from booking.com

  60. Andrew

    Booking is owned by Priceline who are no longer ethical. Both Booking and Priceline swindled me out of money recently. The hotel lied about their offering and booking refused to issue a full refund even though I had pictures confirming the fraud. Priceline uses an Indian partner that tried to charge me 5x the price for seat selection. I should not have had to pay anything but they conned me into buying a ticket that afterwards I had to pay additional for any seat selection. I went to the airline instead. These are REALLY bad people and their customer support does nothing but talk at you instead of answering very simple questions.

    Here is a very simple solution for everyone: Use a US credit card. Submit a formal complaint with your bank who in turn will forward it to the Federal Reserve’s account file for the company. If they get enough of these, the company will be removed from the use of Visa/Master card system. That will cripple the company.

  61. Sue Ross

    I booked a room in London for a friend 2 nights and they cancelled the room 45 minutes before he arrived.I contacted the room owner and they said contact booking .com for refund he also paid £100 in taxi fares to reach the property.
    Customer service number is dead and so difficult to make contact with any to ask for a refund.Furious and upset at leaving the friend scared and upset with no where to sleep.

  62. mary

    Yes! Booking.com STOLE $600 after I cancelled two bookings ONE MONTH before.. I am now trying to contact the CEO Glenn Fogel. Neither hotel had issue with my cancellation but was told by a Hotel Manager that Booking.com has a bad habit of charging customers when the shouldn’t according to their own policy. Tried to contest with my Chase credit card and was denied supposidly due to Booking.com’s own policy. What do we expect these axxxxxxxs are all Bankers!

  63. Frank

    Yep, coming late to the party here and can confirm, no value added and only an extra layer of administrative headaches. Almost could not check into my unstaffed service apartment because of them. Kept getting repeat requests for upload of my ID, No help or hint as to what the problem was, only repeated requests. Bad photos? I dunno. After three attempts and a midnight online chat session from the lobby I finally found out they needed the ID from the person who paid, not the person who’s in the room. This was actionable information that Booking didn’t provide. Oh yeah, and my name was on the room, even though the hotel said it was not – screen shots from booking. Something did not connect right. Gets even better – lost my wallet while fumbling half asleep for this info that could have been sorted much earlier.
    Save yourself the trouble and deal DIRECTLY with the hotel or apartment, not Booking dot com. If something goes wrong it’s an administrative nightmare and for what? A middleman and rent seeking behavior? This is what’s wrong with our system – nobody cares & only wants to skim easy money.


    I am 8 years late to this.
    My child is 7 by the way.
    Anyway, Booking.com should be avoided forever and ever. Amen.
    I am a partner (as in I put my property out on their site).
    I have been scarred for life by the way they run things/do business.
    Most of my clients now, I deal with them directly. Saving each other so much money and more importantly experiencing zero stress.

    I cannot get into everything. But yeah, avoid booking dot yeah.

  65. Tonya Baxter

    I was trying to figure out a place to air my recent experience with booking.com. I booked 2 nonrefundable rooms for a trip to Venice, Italy. I filled out all necessary information regarding the booking and when I finished and was prepared to pay for the rooms, it said that no prepayment was required and that I would be paying the property 3 days before arrival. I received a confirmation from booking.com letting me know that my booking was complete and confirmed. Then two days later I received an email from the hotel that my reservation had been cancelled. I had been away from email for a day and apparently they sent me a payment link and the email said that if I didn’t pay within 24 hours they would cancel. So what happened to the “pay at property 3 days before reservation”? Called booking.com and they said they couldn’t help me. Emailed the hotel and they said sorry, can’t do anything once it’s been cancelled. They told me I’d have to start over and reserve the rooms again and pay any difference in the price. I booked the rooms for $450 a night and only 3 days later they were asking $1100 a night per room. I WILL NEVER USE THIS COMPANY AGAIN.

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