Top5 Review

Booking.com Review

Last updated November 10, 2018

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.

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.

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. In the case of Booking.com, there is the added benefit that there may be some confusion about fees in comparison to other platforms. Travelers could potentially score some great deals as the Booking.com vacation rental category grows.

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