Booking.com is reportedly not paying hotels, leaving some with thousands of dollars of unpaid fees.
Booking.com works by accepting payment from travelers and then forwarding that on to the booked hotel. The site takes a commission for handling the deal. According to The Register, hotels in Europe, Indonesia, and Thailand are reporting issues with payments dating back months.
“There was one chunk that got delayed, separate from the rest, and then all payments disappeared. So six months without payment,” Loren Infeld told the outlet. Infeld is an American operating hostels in Koh Phangan. The lost income amounts to $3,500, a significant sum for Thailand.
Infeld ultimately ended up losing one of the buildings he used as a hotel due to being unable to pay the rent because of Booking.com’s failure to pay him. Throughout the ordeal, Infeld has been unable to get help from the website.
“There is no way to contact them. Online it says you must talk to finance or credit control, neither of whom have a phone number or email address.”
Unfortunately, Infeld’s experience is not an isolated one. The Guardian reports that Australian Emily Stanley only received payment for $11,000 owed since March when she tracked down a Booking.com finance officer on Facebook.
“I feel like that’s the only reason, because I tried everything else. I was calling, emailing and everything but nothing. And then it just was funny that the day after he replies, the money’s in my account.”
What is not clear is why Booking.com is not paying its partners. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the company’s most recent financial report would seem to indicate the company is doing well. In its most recent quarter, the company reported $5.5 billion in revenue, up 27$ YoY, and $1.3 billion in profit, an increase of 51% YoY.
When The Guardian inquired of the company, a spokesperson provided the following statement:
“We understand the frustration of the accommodation hosts and owners that have been unduly affected by an ongoing technical issue and can confirm that the system errors that affected the payments have now been corrected and the transactions of most of our partners have been processed,” the spokesperson said.
“We acknowledge that for some this has taken longer than it should have and continue to work urgently to finalise the rest of the transactions. If any partner has an issue, they can contact us through the Partner Hub.”
Unfortunately for Booking.com, it has already hurt its brand enough that some hoteliers say they will never work with the company again.