Booking.com Host Guide for Beginners

Booking guidelines

By The Hospitable Team

You listed your vacation rental property on Airbnb but are not sure whether it is worth it to create a listing at Booking.com?

We’ve written this article to help you make an informed decision. Read on to learn why you should consider Booking.com, how this platform differs from Airbnb, and how to list your property there. We’ll provide answers to the most common questions below.

Why You Should Consider Booking.com

Today, Booking.com is one of the largest accommodation booking platforms, with more than 28 million listings in 226 countries and territories across the globe. It’s very popular with travelers, and more than 1.5 million nights are booked there every day.

Booking.com is available in 43+ languages and has become the most-visited travel site in the world because it offers everything a traveler needs for their upcoming vacation. Not only do they provide a wide selection of vacation rentals, they also offer hotels, vacation packages, flights, and transportation options.

As you can see, Booking.com is a great option to get your vacation rental in front of a significantly larger audience than any of the other platforms. And it offers you more flexibility – as a property owner or host, you get to set your prices and your policies.

That’s why you should definitely consider adding your property to Booking.com. Many Airbnb hosts have already set up their listings on the platform, and that’s allowed them to increase their daily revenue and occupancy.

How Does Booking.com Work and What Are Your Benefits?

Setting up an account on Booking.com is rather easy, especially if you are an experienced Airbnb host. Here are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy.

  • You can list any type of property for free.
  • It’s possible to import many of the details from your existing listings, so you can save some time.
  • You can set your own house rules for guests, and they must agree to them before they make a booking.
  • The platform offers 24/7 support that is available in 43+ languages.
  • You can protect your property by setting a damage deposit and feel more secure.
  • Guests can contact you using the Booking.com messaging system before they book.
  • You may vet your guests by setting specific criteria they must meet to book your house or apartment, for example, having a verified phone number and address.
  • If you had a poor guest experience, you can report guest misconduct to their team and block problematic guests from your property.
  • All hosts have access to Extranet, the administrative dashboard for their property.
  • You can use Pulse, the mobile app for managing your property on Booking.com on the go. It allows you to manage reservations, check your calendar, and respond to guest messages.
  • You can connect your Booking.com account to your channel manager.

Hospitable will automate your Booking.com communication.

Send scheduled messages, team messages, and replies to booking confirmations and booking cancellations.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about adding your property to this platform. But if you want to learn more about how Booking.com works, there is an online Help Center with step-by-step guides, tips on the best practices, and other things to consider.

How to Join Booking.com

Make sure your property is optimized for short-term rentals. This is essential for listing on any platform. Check our guide to make sure you’re ready. It will save you from costly mistakes.

First, you need to register on the platform and provide your first and last name and email address. Configure your extranet login and password.

Before you start registering your property, make sure you have the following ready:

  • Details about your property, such as a correct and complete address, list of facilities and amenities, types of rooms, availability
  • At least one high-quality photo, but it’s better to add as many pictures as possible
  • Payment details

Then you have to create your listing and wait for approval. The Booking.com team will review it to make sure that you have provided them with all the information required to activate your account.

When you receive a confirmation email, you’ll be able to access the Extranet and update the availability calendar. You can also set the prices and add any details about the property (including photos) required. When you finish, you can set your property to live on Booking.com. You will be able to update your registration details at any time.

Booking.com Extranet

Extranet gives you access to all information displayed on your property page, including policies, payment options, photos, descriptions, rooms, rates, and reviews. Besides, here you’ll find a record of your past and future reservations and analytics to get a better idea of how your property performs. You’ll also have an opportunity to set up deals and much more.

booking com extranet

Booking.com Fees

You can add your property to Booking.com for free, and then you pay a commission for each booking. You’ll see the commission percentage at the Agreement step of the registration process. The commission percentage varies in different countries and can range between 10% and 25%. Their global commission rate average is 15%, with no hidden costs.

Booking.com doesn’t take a commission from your bookings automatically. They’ll send you an invoice via email with the amount of commission you have to pay during the first week of each month. You can also find invoices in the Extranet – they are available in PDF format. You’ll find them in the Finance tab under Invoices. The payment date is due within 14 days of the invoice date. And if your current payment method is by Direct Debit, the commission will be taken out of your account automatically.

You will pay commission on confirmed stays after the guest has checked out and paid. But what if a guest doesn’t arrive for their booking? Then you won’t need to pay a commission if you choose to waive the fee. You should also make sure you mark the reservation as a no-show either in the Extranet or on the Pulse app.

But keep in mind that the commission will be charged on non-refundable bookings, no matter whether the guests stayed at your property or not.

How Can I Handle Guest Payments?

Perhaps it’s the most important question to ask when listing your property. Unlike Airbnb, Booking.com doesn’t always charge your guests, so you may have to do it yourself. You can choose your policies and payment offers. If you don’t accept credit cards, your guests will pay on arrival or departure in your local currency.

And if you accept credit cards, you can either charge your guests before arrival or at check-in/check-out, depending on the policy they booked under. Besides, you can charge a prepayment on the card the guest booked with by setting up prepayment in the Policies section of the Property tab in the Extranet. You can also use and set a payment processor, such as Stripe or Square.

It’s possible to charge a prepayment deposit even if you don’t accept credit cards. You’ll need to decide on the payment deadline and contact your guest to arrange the payment.

Now, Booking.com can handle guest payments for you as well for a small fee. But this payment service is not yet available everywhere. By choosing to use their payment solutions, you’re guaranteed payouts according to your policy and won’t have to deal with fraudulent online bookings. They offer you alternative payment methods like PayPal, Alipay, WeChat Pay.

To activate this feature, click the Finance icon on Extranet and select “Getting paid”.

booking payment

You can set up cleaning fees and damage deposits in the Policies section if you go to Additional fees & charges. Remember that Booking.com gives you more flexibility when adding additional fees and charges than Airbnb.

What Happens if My Property Is Damaged by a Guest?

As a property owner, you can request damage deposits from your guests. Deposits can help cover any potential damage that guests might cause, so you’ll be able to feel sure that your property will be treated respectfully. And if anything does go wrong, you can report it to the Booking.com team through the platform’s misconduct reporting feature.

To set up this feature, select “Policies” under the Property icon on the Extranet.

damage deposit

How to Set Up Cancellation Policies

You have an opportunity to create your own cancelation policies on Booking.com. This way, you can let guests know what to expect if they cancel or change their booking. Moreover, you’ll be able to protect yourself from a potential loss of income.

Here is how you can add or change cancellation policies.

  • Click on the Property tab in the Extranet and choose Policies.
  • Press the Edit button of the policy you would like to modify.
  • Change the settings of the policy – you can specify if there is a period when a free cancellation possible and specify how much the guest will be charged if they cancel or don’t arrive.
  • When you are done, click Save.
booking com policy

If you like, you can set cancellation policies on Booking.com to be exactly the same as the existing Airbnb options. Or you can make them even stricter; for example, you can set up a non-refundable policy. And you may offer a discount (e.g., 15%) on your prices to encourage guests to book reservations with non-refundable policies.

But remember that you need to connect your policy to your rate category. You can do so if you go to the Rates and Availability tab, choose Rate Plans, and then click on Edit under the rate you want to attach the new cancellation policy to.

Can I Cancel a Reservation?

Unlike Airbnb that allows hosts to decide whether they want to accept guests or not, Booking.com only accepts instant bookings. That means that when a guest makes a booking, their reservation is confirmed immediately, and you will receive a confirmation by email or on the Pulse app. But you have no option to reject a reservation. And in case of double-booking, it’s a host’s responsibility to relocate a guest.

Depending on your policies, a guest may cancel their reservation – they can use a link in their confirmation email or do it via their Booking account. And in some cases, you may initiate a cancellation request, but only if a guest asks you to do so, or if there are problems with guest payments.

What Happens if a Guest Cancels?

If a guest cancels a reservation and your property has a free cancellation policy, then the guest will pay nothing, and you won’t pay commission. But if your property doesn’t have a free cancellation policy, the guest will pay a fee, and you will pay commission on the amount that the guest will pay you.

How to Avoid Double Bookings

It’s crucial to have accurate availabilities and rates on Booking.com because otherwise, you may get an overbooking. That happens when more than one guest confirms for the same room for the same date.  Then it’s your responsibility to resolve this problem. So what should you do?

Don’t worry about double-bookings!

Hospitable will synchronize your calendars between Booking.com, Airbnb, and Vrbo in a fraction of a second.

The easiest way is to accommodate your guest in another of your rooms. And if it’s not possible, you must find accommodation nearby that’s of a similar or better standard. You are also expected to provide private transport to the new accommodation, cover the cost of phone calls and the cost difference between your property and the alternative one.

As you see, it may be expensive, so you should always keep an eye on your rates and availability. If you list your property on several platforms and receive a booking via another website, you need to close or adjust your availability on Booking.com. You can do it manually, and Booking.com recommends hosts who work with many other platforms use a channel manager to manage their rates.

Manage all your listings in one window!

Manage all guest communication, bookings, and calendars in one place.

What Are Risk-Free Reservations and How Do They Work?

Booking.com’s Risk-Free Reservation program was developed to give travelers more flexibility and help you maximize your earnings with minimal risk. The platform offers travelers an extra-flexible cancellation policy on their behalf, and if a guest cancels, they’ll look for a replacement guest for you or take over the payment obligation.

If you join the program, Booking.com will upgrade your strictest policy to include free cancellation. If you already offer a free cancellation policy, they will extend it.

You can join the Risk-Free Reservations program. Just log in to the Extranet, select Opportunities, and then click the Risk-Free Reservations program. But keep in mind that you need to be enrolled in Payments by Booking.com to be eligible for the Risk-Free Reservations program.

And you’ll be enrolled in the Risk-Free Reservations program automatically if you’ve already signed up for Payments by Booking. But that only happens if your property isn’t in mainland France, French Guiana, Mayotte, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Pierre, and Miquelon or Réunion.

If the Risk-Free Reservation program doesn’t fit you, you can also opt-out of it at any time. You just have to go to the Opportunities tab within your Booking.com extranet, choose Risk-Free Reservations Program, and then select the Leave this Program option.

Final Word

Booking.com is one of the leaders in the vacation and short-term rental field and offers a large array of services to its clients. The platform attracts more than 1.5 million paying customers per night. Property owners who use Booking.com have an opportunity to maintain a steady flow of guests. The key to getting more reservations is listing your properties on multiple channels. By adding your rental property to Booking.com, you’ll be able to increase your visibility and create extra revenue.

Make sure to read our guide on preparing your property for STR business.

Booking launch

[New Feature] Integration with Booking.com

We have great news for our hosts! We are thrilled to announce that we have added an integration to the list with hospitable’s new integration with Booking.com.

If you have an account with Booking.com, the new integration will allow you to use hospitable’s automated messaging and channel management features for your Booking.com listings.

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