I recently called Booking.com about a situation where I had booked a hotel on booking.com and received a confirmation email from booking.com, but when I showed up at the hotel they couldn't find my reservation and I had to pay a second time for the room.
One of the questions the customer service representative asked me was whether I had booked a partner offer. I did not know.
At the end of the call, it was still unclear as to whether I had booked a partner offer. But the representative wanted to give me some advice. He said I should never book a partner offer. He said whenever he books his own personal trips, he always avoids partner offers. I asked why, and he said something about the partner offer being run by a department at the hotel that doesn't tell the front desk about it. I didn't completely understand what he was saying because his native language was not English, and after already spending over 1 hour on the phone, I didn't feel like chatting anymore.
I tried looking up "partner offer" on Booking.com, and I found an FAQ:
What is a Partner offer?
To offer you more competitive prices, we sometimes partner with other companies. These offers are always paid for in advance and can't be booked in combination with other offers. Additionally, any changes to your personal or booking details after booking aren't possible.
Unfortunately that doesn't clear up what the representative tried to tell me.
Then I looked at hotel listings on Booking.com for the city in which I stayed to see if the hotel would appear as a partner offer or not. It did not appear at all, and the hotel's page on Booking.com says "This property isn't taking reservations on our site right now." Then I looked at all the other listings to see if there would be any indication as to whether any of them was a partner offer, but I did not see any.
So basically my questions are:
- Is it a bad idea to book a partner offer?
- How can I tell if a listing on Booking.com is a partner offer?