César López3 minutes read

Booking.com is now offering third-party inventory with Booking.basic

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booking basic 0

We are used to Booking.com’s inventory appearing re-distributed in endless places. The surprising thing is when we come across the opposite finding which, up until now, has gone unnoticed in the industry media: rooms on Booking.com provided by third parties. This is called Booking.basic and we do not currently know its current scope. For now, we have come across it intermittently in accommodations in Asia, provided by Agoda or CTrip. With this novelty, Booking.com has crossed a threshold with potentially enormous consequences.

booking basic results

In all cases, what we have found is a non-refundable prepaid rate at a lower price than the one offered directly by Booking.com.

booking basic conditions

Since March, Booking.com refers to it in its Privacy Policy, which therefore recognises this novelty and makes it official:

Booking.basic: You may be able to make a Booking.basic reservation. Booking.basic reservations are facilitated by third party business partners. During the reservation process, we are required to share some relevant personal information for that reservation with the third party business partner. Please review the information provided in the book process or the reservation confirmation for more information about the third party business partner and how they further process your personal data.

We made a few bookings to check how it works. You book it on Booking.com and it does not allow changes, requests or comments, it has limited customer service and confirmation is not immediate. A subsequent email from Booking.com confirms our booking for definite, and informs us of the partner supplier, in this case CTrip:

booking basic ctrip

The confirmation email also indicates that, for the hotel, the booking has to be identified as made by CTrip, not Booking.com.

booking basic wholesaler info

CTrip, on its website, offers the accommodation from our booking for the same price of 57€ we saw on Booking.basic:

ctrip result

Without making a booking, anyone can see which wholesaler is behind a Booking.basic rate. All you have to do is open the source code from the booking’s page and search for ‘wholesaler_id’. In our case, we see ‘ct’ under ‘wholesaler_id’.

booking basic ct

For another hotel, we can see Agoda is the partner supplier:

booking basic agoda

The source code on Booking.com indeed states ‘ag’.

booking basic agoda

Mirai’s opinion: What would happen if Booking.com offered third-party wholesale rates en masse?

It is nothing new that inventories are re-distributed and re-sold on different levels by successive links. Many OTAs supply themselves with third-party inventory sources. It is not surprising nor should it be a shock that Booking.com also resorts to others to improve their competitiveness where it does not have the best price. However, this piece of news leaves us with many questions, which we have raised here:

  • The main question: is it a limited test or does Booking.com have the intention to extend it to accommodation from other countries?
  • Which third-party wholesalers will take part? Agoda is a brand from Booking Holdings and CTrip is related too, therefore the collaboration seems normal. Will we see Expedia supplying rooms to Booking.com?
  • Booking.com is the top OTA in Europe. It has the client in its possession. However, it does not always offer the best price, as anyone can easily check on metasearch engines. What would be the impact if the main OTA, already having the client, definitively guaranteed the best price with Booking.basic?
  • If metasearch engines manage bookings and OTAs like Booking.com provide the best prices from third parties, is the boundary between them disappearing?
  • What about price disparities? Up until now, Booking.com has shown to be exemplary by respecting the hotel price. The fact that its model is based on the client paying directly at the hotel prevents any price violation. Booking.basic should not shock or surprise whilst it deals with legitimate rates which comply with the conditions or restrictions signed with the hotel. We understand that Booking.com makes this verification with the same professionalism that it respects hotel prices with. However, is Booking.com aware of the restrictions which usually go with discounted rates and does it verify this compliance with Booking.basic? Otherwise, it would be co-responsible for the price disparities which anger hotels so much.
  • Are the accommodations on Booking.basic notified of their participation? Do CTrip, Agoda, etc. know that the bookings were made on Booking.basic? Does the Booking.com extranet or its communication channel with the hotel include Booking.basic results? Can a hotel refuse to participate?

In any case, any hotelier which sees his hotel on Booking.basic should be worried. There are two possibilities as to why his hotel is there, both negative:

  1. Either his discounted rates are being re-distributed with conditions which are being breached (de-packaged without authorisation, do not comply with minimum markups if they are net, shown in markets which they were not directed to, etc.).
  1. The hotel/chain has signed distribution contracts with no sense or control and therefore two potential clients are being shown different prices for the same conditions.

Whether it is one reason or the other, something is going wrong. If it is a test carried out in Indonesian hotels, then it may end up as a curious anecdote. However, if Booking.basic one day arrives at your hotel thanks to the largest OTA there is, you have a serious problem on your hands.

19 thoughts

  1. Yes, I notice it’s appearing for my hotels too. The only thing I can do is re-select my OTA partners (stop sell), some partners have low conversation but high cost. Any advice from your end?

  2. I found your article because i just found out about this booking basic. After made an update on extranet, i always check how it shows up on booking.com website. I don’t even know what i clicked, then this booking basic showed up. It put an old pictures of my property & give lower room rates than the one i set on extranet. Booking.com definitely didn’t notify the accommodation owner about this. This is definitely a serious problem.

  3. I got a booking.com reservation through abreu. Client called us, as he was worried about booking confirmation. It is not only though Agoda and Ctrip then. Now I send different rates to each B2B depending on their net rate. If the take 22% net, their base rate is 4% higher (22-18)%. If they do not want to work with me anymore, it is their problem as if they cannot sell by underpricing, they cannot sell at all.

  4. So if I did a reservation via booking basic, it is not even sure, that I can check-in my hotel? What does this booking basic mean to me? Actually I am kinda worried because of this, because I thought, that booking basic is just a cheaper option because I have to pay in advance.

  5. how does hotel get the booking confirmations

  6. Anyone who was searching for this fkin scammed Basic booking, Don’t book it, I repeat Don’t book it
    I booked it, and I feel regret. Firstly, The hotel won’t find your reservation and you will stay in a hassle and bustle between you and booking customer service who will not help you.
    The idea of it as I grasped from the E-commerce manager at the hotel, there are many intermediate operators so Booking.com is a fake image for that. Long story..
    If you want anything messages me on Zeyad.elhalaby instagram

  7. is there a possible way to check and do same on trip.com site?

  8. What is happening at my Hotel in Brazil is as follows: The customer arrives at the hotel with a Booking Basic voucher. The booking for this voucher is not entered into the Booking extranet, the source of the voucher is unknown and who is guaranteeing payment for this booking. When you contact Booking, you inform me that the Hotel “must know” where this booking originates from. But I have already received five bookings that do not send any document informing the booking, that is, we have no guarantee of receipt. Booking also does not know where the reservation originates because the Basic system only looks for the lowest fare and passes it on, being the sale always Booking Basic, and by my understanding those OTAs that do not inform are not very satisfied with this. “theft of others’ charges”. Booking Basic has brought a lot of headache to our Hotel. This is a fact !

  9. It’s changed now. I found it under bs_ws_code: “ag” for example. Line 541 on google chrome source code

    • Thanks Cesar! mine is coming up with “hb”. Do you know who this is? All I can think of is hotelbeds.

  10. Ctrip does not take rates only from agoda, it takes rates also from other wholeseller, so the question of if it will be limited only on agoda, ctrip is NO

  11. I would like to say i have been subject to this awful service. I placed a booking costing 92 pounds on the 14th August to a hotel in Spain . In 5 minutes it was declined even though i had paid in full. THE HOTEL HAD LOADS OF SPACE AND THEY NEVER EVEN RECEIVED THIS THROUGH THEY DID NOT DECLINE IT .
    So i was 92 pounds out of pocket.. no hotel room booked.. a very expensive phone bill with holding online to booking.com for 30 mins and 2 calls to the hotel. FINALLY 14 days later my money 92 pounds has just arrived back. AN ABSOLUTE JOKE>> NEVER USE THIS SERVICE EVER ITS A RIP OFF.
    I contacted the hotel i booked direct and this basic booking never even got to the hotel. To me its a way to keep my money for 14 days only . I lose respect of booking.com allowing another 3rd party to even be allowed on their site and unpsetting customers like myself.

  12. I am a partner of Booking.com .
    I made for myself a reservation of a hotel room in Barcelona for 1-2 October.
    The notification Booking.basic doesn’t say to much to the Booking.com customers. We are used to get our money back in some conditions. Under Bookin.basic the reservation is not reimbursable .
    Unfortunately my IPhone made a double reservation of the same room. I got two confirmations.
    That means I have to pay twice for the same product.
    If Booking.com makes changes they have to inform the mass media , being super important for their customers the fact that their money can be completely lost under the protection of Booking.com
    Indeed the Booking.support cannot give any support in a case of a Booking.basic. reservation .
    Booking.com must refrain for accepting this kind of reservation.

  13. Please do not use this site. I booked three nights in Prague, £114, booking ‘declined’ and my refund will take seven working days to process. Ten working days later I am still waiting. Like others on here I have called Booking.com, who took the money from my account, only to be put on hold for over thirty minutes and when I finally speak to someone there is ‘nothing we can do’!

  14. As an independent hotelier, the moral of the story is….book direct 😉 My direct pricing is cheaper by about 8-10% in low season and up to 25% in the summer. Direct bookers have free breakfast, have a lenient cancellation policy, get our best rooms and availability. I have zero tolerance policies with our expensive Booking.com guests. Serves you all right for booking with these guys when you knowingly cost us. Our occupancy was doing just fine without these agencies before they took over most of our bookings.

  15. Appreciate the info here. I tried to do View Source and searched for wholesaler. All I saw was a bunch of letter and numbers. Our property is selling this unknown booking.basic rate and I really want to find the culprit OTA/wholesaler. How else can you find it?

  16. Booked our hotel through Booking.com, we received a message saying the hotel would confirm our booking and if they could not money would be refunded, we did not receive an Email and so I contacted the hotel directly to be informed on the same day the room was booked it had been cancelled, I discovered this the day before we were due to arrive in Venice, the hotel then informed us the Agent working on behalf of Booking.com had cancelled our reservation, but no refund was processed as per the instruction given when we first booked this hotel, we have contacted Booking.com however they have sent a generic Email saying they are sorry for any inconvenience, no other explanation offered, I now need to pay for a different hotel as Antico Panada cannot accommodate,
    I guess my question is will we receive a refund?
    Is this a scam?

  17. thank you very nice website article

  18. I did reservation on booking.com with this “basic” and charged twice… By booking.com and the hotel due they didn’t get payment confirmation.

    Here is answer from booking support:

    “We understand that you were charged twice, once by Booking.com and once by the hotel directly. This type of reservation is Booking Basic, which means that while you received an excellent price, it does limit our ability to assist you ourselves. In this situation, we can advise you to contact the hotel directly, as they are the ones who collected erroneous payment in this instance, and thus the party who should refund you.”

    So, it seems you are highly unprotected. Not to mention that you have money
    blocked somewhere and even credit card is blocked due limit is reached..

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