Booking.com Review

Booking.com is a travel website that began in 1996. Originally it did business as booking.nl. In 2000 Bookings Netherlands merged with Bookings international and became Booking.com. Later in 2005 Booking.com joined the mega travel empire Priceline. Incredibly, Booking.com reports 75% of nights booked are by guests who have already booked more than 5 times on their site. Now that’s loyalty!

With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, they connect travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay – including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs, to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses, and even igloos.

Booking.com has expanded its website and mobile app to be available in 43 languages. Of the 29 million listings less than 1.5 million are short-term vacation rentals. As the #1 highest traffic travel website expands into the short-term vacation rental market, both hosts and guests are likely to get value. Every day more than 1,550,000 room nights are reserved on Booking.com. 42% of the nights booked are for one of their homes, apartments, or other unique places to stay.

Families love to make reservations on generic travel websites versus individual company sites. With Booking.com travelers can plan seamlessly with flights, rental cars and restaurants. Competition is fierce in the travel industry. Booking.com offers the best vacation rental homes integrated with complete trip planning resources. Your one stop for every travel detail.

Pros

Zero customer paid fees
24/7 customer support
Full vacation planning resources

Cons

The payment system is not in place
Low inventory of vacation homes
The low number of reviews to base booking on

Platform Stats

Founded: 1996
Founder: Geert-Jan Bruinsma
Countries in: 230
Properties: Under 1.5 million
Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Number of Employees: 17,000+

Features

Search functionality on Booking.com doesn’t immediately show you vacation rental homes as an option. When looking for accommodations you can search for up to a group of 30 travelers. Your first results will show pricing for eight separate hotel rooms for a group of 30 individuals. After four hotel results, Booking.com has a banner ad promoting, ‘Traveling in a group? Want more space? Our vacation rentals might be the best option for you.’ Savvy users could also filter the property type to only show vacation homes, but only after searching for all accommodations.

All vacation rentals on Booking.com are instantly bookable. Guests are much more likely to reserve a location that allows instant booking. Instantly bookable properties also allow Booking.com to push vacation home availability to google and airline consumers traveling to the area of a home. Targeted advertising using traveler data is likely to be a huge benefit to hosts.

Booking.com emphatically believes great properties deserve to be discovered. Part of their vetting process for new properties involves sending a secret code to the address being listed. This additional step helps prevent fraud that exists on other platforms. With over 143,344 destinations represented they have been busy with paperwork over at Booking.com. It appears Booking.com is positioning itself to introduce a mass amount of new short-term vacation rental properties soon.

Happy Booking.com Guests

There’s is an interesting phenomenon with Booking.com security. The vetting process is strong to verify properties listed. A vacation home host has to have a confirmation postcard mailed to the physical location being listed for rent. There also has to be additional proof that the person listed has the right to rent the property. While Booking.com can’t guarantee a vacation rental is legitimate, they make a solid effort to ensure guests have a valid property to sleep in.

On the flip side, there is a high level of spam rental requests that hosts have to respond to. Hosts receive regular requests asking if they will accept certified checks and to provide a mailing address or banking information. Classic Craigslist scams have taken over Booking.com hosts email inbox.

Guests should be aware of the high level of scams in case a host seems suspicious of you. Sometimes it is hard to identify real guests. A couple grammar mistakes or a slight change in story from a traveler is enough to keep a vacation host on edge. Don’t take this extra caution personally. In exchange for a little extra vetting from the vacation home host, you will be rewarded with zero added fees! Your vacation budget will thank you.

Customer Price

Great news! Reserving a vacation home on Booking.com comes with no additional guest paid fees. The price a host lists is the price a traveler sees. It is not clear how much a host raises their prices versus other vacation home websites to cover their own fees. Transparency of accommodation costs is a great benefit for first-time vacation home renters.

Eliminating service charges, cleaning fees and additional costs per guest is smart. It mimics the process of travelers who book hotels. The closer vacation homes can get to matching the hotel booking process, the better. An average guest will be expecting taxes as an additional cost, but not all the other additions that make short-term vacation homes seem confusing.

Host Income and Fees

The host is responsible for all Booking.com platform fees. Host fees are not revealed prior to registering as a host. Instead, an individual host commission percentage is given during the agreement process. Because there is no explanation given we are unsure if our example property commission of 15% is typical.

Booking.com does not have tax relationships in place to remit transient occupancy taxes to vacation home jurisdictions. Property owners are responsible for setting prices and tracking remittance of local taxes in relation to the short-term rental activity.

Pick the Best Booking.com Rental

Booking.com has a comprehensive host vetting process. You can reserve a vacation rental home that does indeed have a physical address and a real person creating the listing. When you’re making the switch from hotel to short-term vacation rental homes, confidence in the owner vetting process should make you feel better. You’ll find fewer investors and more real folk renting their homes on Booking.com. As a traveler, I consider this a plus for the sharing economy.

International options are plentiful on Booking.com. The wide array of language options make it easy for hosts to appeal to an international audience. A host in Japan might not be able to communicate with a traveler from France, but Booking.com bridges that language gap. Listings aren’t filled with as many narrative details as other vacation rental platforms. Your best source of information will be the Booking.com reviews.

As you travel the world make sure to read carefully to check for minimum necessities. Some countries find it absolutely necessary to have air conditioning while it is virtually non-existent in other areas. There are vacation homes that require toilet paper to be put in the waste bin and not flushed down the toilet. Some toilets are not in the main residence. You may even run into compost toilets in a vacation home. There is a wide array of culturally acceptable bathroom options and it is your job to ensure you don’t end up renting a home that is beyond your bathroom comfort zone.

New Horizons to Pursue

Immersing yourself with another culture is one of the biggest benefits of staying in short-term vacation rental homes. In years past travelers might have stayed in one location for months to integrate with the “locals.” Now a vacationer can have instant local friends with Booking.com. The tourist trap pizza joint might offer a great photo opportunity and a decent tiramisu, but a local will have the inside scoop on the REAL best-kept secret pizzeria. Hotel concierges get financial compensation for promoting specific attractions, restaurants, or shops. You’ll get to avoid those less desirable referrals by utilizing your no vested interest vacation rental hosts.

For vacation addicts, the desire to see the world is impossible to fulfill. There are endless picturesque streets to walk down and limitless stories to hear. Every new location can make you feel alive and small at the same time. Unless you’re a secret trust fund child your adventures will happen gradually over a lifetime. Breathe them all in with reverence and appreciation. Learn, laugh, and fall in love with every corner of our great Earth.

Read Booking.com Reviews

As you search for your perfect Booking.com vacation rental you will notice a lot less narrative descriptions. Pictures speak a thousand words and reviews fill in the blanks. Booking.com reviews are much more comprehensive than you’ll find on other vacation rental platforms. Guests on Booking.com seem more invested in telling their story and helping future guests have a memorable vacation. Read every review before you commit.

There have even been occasions where I have personally messaged review writers to get clarification on something concerning. Being part of the trust economy is all about community. In a world where we don’t know our neighbor’s names, a website like Booking.com can connect us to strangers around the world. When they show kindness to strangers who came before us, they build their credibility and ultimately increase their income. The Hilton’s and the Marriott’s won’t be sending you a card at Christmas, but your new best friend around the world might.

Final Verdict

Booking.com is the global travel industry leader in online vacation reservations. As Booking.com enters the vacation home rental market it is positioned to convert travelers from hotel guests to short-term rental home guests. With more eyes searching Booking.com than any other travel website, this change could happen quickly. Homes are vetted daily causing traveler options to expand rapidly.

With 68% of bookings coming from groups of two or more, the privacy and space that home rentals provide are ideal. Groups no longer have to depend on a hotel to block four rooms right next to each other. While it is an interesting feature to show the price of multiple hotel rooms to accommodate a group, vacation homes will likely become their new top result.

Eliminating guest fees makes Booking.com a real up and coming competitor in the vacation home rental marketplace. From an owner perspective, they will have to re-work their pricing structure to fit into Booking.com’s host program. The money still has to come from somewhere. Making a reservation will simply feel more transparent from the traveler perspective.

We highly recommend vacation rental hosts get on board with Booking.com as an early adaptor. Early homes have the opportunity to stack positive reviews quickly and position themselves as a premier listing. Travelers should keep checking Booking.com for great deals as new hosts are trying to gain credibility on the site. When a home first lists itself on a platform they typically start with low prices to build positive reviews. Travelers could potentially score some great deals as the Booking.com vacation rental category grows.

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