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I've booked an apartment via booking.com (in Yerevan, Armenia), the host has even confirmed the possibility of check-in time that I have specified. I did not pay anything, because this was a "no credit card required" listing (as many are in Armenia).

Now, a day before checking in, the host wrote to me via booking.com asking to contact them via whatsapp and giving their phone number. I contacted, and they informed that they will not be able to host me. I replied that any such information should go via booking.com chat so that booking.com support will see it. They did not follow up on booking.com chat.

I've contacted booking.com support, informing them of this situation. At the beginning they were very helpful, and after trying to contact the host they suggested two alternatives. However, one was just a room in a hotel far from the city center, while my original booking was a full-equipped apartment right in the city center, and the other was an AirBnB (sic!) apartment that lacked some amenities that were present in my original booking.

After I explained this to booking.com support staff, they told me that I can book something myself, and they will refund the price difference, but they specified an upper limit on this refund, which turns out to be ~3.5% of the initial booking price. Obviously, I can not find any good accomodation on short notice with such a tight price bound.

(And I've tried to book the AirBnb listing that they have suggested, but it turned out to be not available.)

So, is this a typical booking.com compensation policy? I would expect them to be more generous, and at the very least compensate the price difference up to some 20-40% or more.

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    There was a question asking virtually exactly this very recently, but I can't find it now. Oct 15, 2022 at 17:46
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    @DJClayworth maybe travel.stackexchange.com/questions/176658/… (and the location is the same, Armenia), but I've done all the suggestions from there (and, in fact, these suggestions were what I would anyway do).
    – Petr
    Oct 15, 2022 at 17:54
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    @DJClayworth in fact, that's rather expectable for Armenia now, as with high influx of well-paid Russians the prices go insanely high and the hosts try to cancel old bookings to re-rent the same flat for a 50% higher price. However, I thought that with booking.com I'm rather safe...
    – Petr
    Oct 15, 2022 at 17:57
  • That's it. Not a duplicate. Oct 15, 2022 at 18:36
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    Yeah the standard response must be "I do not have email/whatsapp/skype/whatever alternative method, we can communicate just fine here". The whole point of tearing you off the booking.com app is to trick you into canceling, so you'll pay the booking.com cancellation fee instead of them. Oct 16, 2022 at 7:48

2 Answers 2

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is this a typical booking.com compensation policy?

Booking.com doesn't cover this case in their customer facing Terms & Conditions. Their partner rules put it squarely on the accommodation. See links below. As typical with third party bookings, you end up with two set of terms and conditions which are often in conflict: Booking will say "it's the hotels problem" and the hotel will say "it's Bookings problem".

I personally found these things to be negotiable. I had a booking (not Booking.com but similar) cancelled last minute and was offered a small-ish voucher with very restrictive conditions. I let them know that this was not acceptable and they actually provided a much better voucher as a result.

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To report about the result.

I've finally booked a different apartment right on booking.com that was ~60% more expensive than the initial booking (so much for the last-minute booking). After a lot of negotiations with booking.com support¹, they agreed to refund only 15% of the initial booking price, that is, about 1/4 of the price difference.

¹ The negotiations were not only about price. The support required me to provide the invoice for the cash payment for the substitute accommodation (despite it being booked via booking.com too), while the owner of the substitute accommodation was saying that he does not issue invoices, and I was trying to make them sort this out without my involvement. Finally either the owner send something to the support, or the support decided to go without an invoice, I do not know.

Next time I will think twice before booking something via booking.com :(

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  • Thanks for reporting back. Using an online travel agent (here, booking.com) always carries an increased risk of triangulation if something goes wrong, where the online travel agent and the actual provider of the accommodation or service each says the other is responsible. Nov 3, 2022 at 19:38

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