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Luggage Transfer Correos

Forced Booking Cancellations

2020 Camino Guides

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 4/5 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
I have had the same experience, and I think I know which Booking site you're talking about. I still use them when there aren't alternatives, but grumble a lot.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am not surprised that this happens, but my experience with the unnamed Booking and Hotel sites has been excellent.
That has been my experience as well. However, given the difficulty of finding lodging in the locations I want to be at, in the various cities we will visit, I don't want to worry about last minute, cancelled reservations from a Booking site. :)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I had no idea! :eek:
But always try to book directly, anyway. People on the Invierno this year were grateful, as they pay a sizeable percentage to Booking and Hotel sites.
I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.
Yeah, it is what it is, but I have to say I admire your equanimity, Dave. The day before you leave is busy enough without having to deal with that.
Buen camino, you two!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
I think that the massive commission charges** applied by *ooking.com lead to facilities bumping their bookings first of all. Additionally, even if a facility is showing ‘no availability’ on that site it’s always worth making contact direct.

** facilities know what they are when they sign up, but always like the option of bypassing them.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Additionally, even if a facility is showing ‘no availability’ on that site it’s always worth making contact direct
I agree. I've preached that message for quite awhile. Sometimes it is easier and quicker to use the 3rd party Booking apps. But I am certainly reconsidering the importance of those two factor. ;)
 

Don Camillo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 04-16
Norte/Primitivo 09-16
VdlP/ Sanabres 02/3-17
Levante 09/17
Ruta de la Lana 09/18
I have used that third party booking company quite a lot on my travels and get the points raised above. I n their favour - a couple of weeks ago whilst in Badajoz tried to book a Hostel room in Seville using my mobile phone. All was going well until one of their ap's flashed up at the time I was putting my card details in - consequently I somehow booked twice, at the non refundable rate - which at 40 euros a pop was not something I could afford. I phoned b*****g.com in UK they were helpful and basically got the second reservation cancelled and my money refunded. Of course they are making money and I have heard that going direct will get you a cheaper rate. However this may not always be the case. I stopped off in Merida at a Hostel booked through the site and as I decided to return a few days later booked at the desk. The cost was the same. In balance whilst staying at a private albergue booked through the site I stayed an extra day and the cost reduced by 3 euros ie they took off the commission they paid to the site.
Overall I am positive about them but like everything else you need to apply common sense and have an open mind.
Don
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I echo @VNwalking in commiserating for what has happened to you at this late stage. I learned last year that businesses who register, as they almost have to for publicity, pay a sizeable percentage to the online booking companies. You have sorted your problem, @davebugg, but for those who might not be so aware: I generally use the booking companies and county tourism websites to identify possibilities, and then either email or phone directly to the accommodation to make my bookings. Well, to be exact, that is what I did last year walking in Ireland, and this year walking the Ingles.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have used the same booking company for 5+ years and have only once had a problem. Last spring I booked my full 30 days with "them" and did have one cancellation...my first ever. I was given enough notice to choose an alternative, so although surprised I didn't give it much thought. I speak little Spanish and find it very inconvenient to navigate some of the lodgings directly when I have tried. I like the way the booking shows all of my choices in chronological order at a glance. I am now more wary, but will continue to use them for the convenience and "cross my fingers".
Thanks, Dave for informing us that problems can exist and sorry to hear about your last minute scramble!
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I use ‘that’ site all over the World, and here at home for business travel.

I’ve only ever had one experience like yours.

in sjpdp!

the hotel cancelled my booking to make way for a tour group!

maybe it’s some kind of game played on Caminos?

i should add, I had 2 or 3 days notice.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
There have been more and more instances of onesie reservations being unilaterally cancelled by properties. In my informal investigation, while on the ground in Spain last spring and summer, I determined that if you have a reservation, and a tour group, travel agency, etc. needs the room for their group, the proprietor will likely toss you out in favor of filling their property with the one group. Loss of your one reservation is less a concern for the proprietor than losing the filling up of their entire property in one go.

This phenomenon is caused by the increasing popularity of the Camino, writ large, among commercial tour agencies, companies, and even some of our colleagues in the Forum who arrange group Caminos, offering a complete Camino experience. In my experience, these groups hardly EVER use albergues (except for the odd private albergue), and the folks who pay a lot of money for their package "taste of the Camino" want private rooms wherever possible. I understand this.

The issue is clearly worse during the peak Camino months from May to October. But, the effect is spreading out, as more and more pilgrims choose to walk in the hip seasons. The availability of hotel / hostal beds is not increasing any time soon.

This is yet another sign of the Camino becoming a victim of excess, or of its own popularity. It also suggests that, eventually, if things get really bad, some of us might have to restrict our Caminos to the winter months (or the months immediately to either side of the hip months - the ex-hip months), leaving "the Season" to the tourists and warm weather pilgrims. This means Camino in November - December or March-April (before Semana Santa).

We shall see what the years after the coming 2021 Holy Year bring. Let's get through that first...

So, this situation is, IMHO going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. One solution, though not really a good one, is for individual or coupled pilgrims to make two reservations at different places and cancel one at the last minute. Just be sure you cancel it so another pilgrim can have the room.

I disagree that the cancellations are not consequential. To someone with allergies and a proclivity to catch whatever someone sneezes out in close sleeping conditions, I NEED a private room to the maximum extent possible.

However, this all falls under the rubric of ALWAYS having a plan B. So, if my reservation is cancelled unilaterally, I will do "B." This could be skipping ahead to the next stop to get ahead of the group causing this problem, having a backup reservation, or simply a good idea of where to go to find a bed.

Hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It is my understanding that the standard percentage rate that hostals, hotels and private albergues pay the largest Booking site is 15 percent. Many times, you can contact the property directly and get a better price. FYI, Gronze.com frequently has better direct contact information, albeit only in Spanish.

But, if the proprietor can get the same amount of Euros from a direct reservation via their website or via email, versus paying the commission to an internet booking site, that is an additional 15% in their pocket. Beyond favoring groups over individuals, this could well be the impetus behind the onesie reservation dumping as well. To a small business-person, this could be the margin of success or failure to their business.

It might be helpful to the rest of us if we compiled a list of places that have dumped reservations unilaterally. Then we would better know where we need to make a contingency reservation. Any further ideas on this listing?

My idea is that a simple list of the Camino route, place (town / city) and name of the property that engaged in unilateral reservation cancellation would suffice. As an example, Frances / Leon / Hostal Mi Casa... (make believe place).

This is NOT a shaming list. I propose it merely as a resource we could review. Forewarned is forewarned...

Hope this helps.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Not a bad idea.
i would certainly not risk using the hotel that dumped me in 2018 In sjpdp.
i had stayed there in 2015 and liked it.
but you only do that once to me I’m afraid....

the most precious currency in any business is trust.
and they broke it.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I try to book directly, when it is possible. Problem is, sometimes the local reservation webpage services make me nervous. Little companies offering this service to hotels and albergues can o can't offer a strong safety. I have never reserved albergues beforehand, but I frankly would do that only if the establishment webpage
don't ask for my credit card data, or if it links with a solid digital system.
My reluctance comes from experience. Some years ago, in a travel in France, I was fraudulently charged with almost 1000 euros, after reserving a couple of hotels and a train ticket. I recovered the money after many phone calls to my bank, but it was very annoying.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Just because a particular lodging is listed on one of the booking sites is no guarantee of even minimal quality, even it it does receive some rave reviews. My experience just last month was of a pension with old falling down furniture, mattress with large holes infested with bed bugs. It was prepaid with my credit card. The property refused my request, also one from the booking site for a refund, saying they did not see there was a problem. I moved across the road to a lovely albergue.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I have used that third party booking company quite a lot on my travels and get the points raised above. I n their favour - a couple of weeks ago whilst in Badajoz tried to book a Hostel room in Seville using my mobile phone. All was going well until one of their ap's flashed up at the time I was putting my card details in - consequently I somehow booked twice, at the non refundable rate - which at 40 euros a pop was not something I could afford. I phoned b*****g.com in UK they were helpful and basically got the second reservation cancelled and my money refunded. Of course they are making money and I have heard that going direct will get you a cheaper rate. However this may not always be the case. I stopped off in Merida at a Hostel booked through the site and as I decided to return a few days later booked at the desk. The cost was the same. In balance whilst staying at a private albergue booked through the site I stayed an extra day and the cost reduced by 3 euros ie they took off the commission they paid to the site.
Overall I am positive about them but like everything else you need to apply common sense and have an open mind.
Don
You brought up a good point, Don. I failed to note that the Booking place did try to offer solutions. The solutions would have required Jill and I to walk an additional 5 and 8 miles off of the Camino (if we didn't want a taxi), but they did try to fix the boo-boo. :) They do assume that customers have transportation and are not walking from town to town, :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
I had a somewhat different problem that is worth sharing: On booking a room I was told by the booking company that there were no single rooms left but I could have a triple, at a much greater cost. Since I was desperate I accepted this. When I arrived at the accommodation the receptionist asked why I had booked a triple when they had singles available.

The penny dropped. The booking company may not have had my requested accommodation available to them but the accommodation itself clearly did.

I was refused any form of redress because I had already paid online for the triple. Since then, where possible, I have always opted to book directly with the accommodation.
 

Annet2020

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
What a pity this is happening. I have made a lot of reservations using booking. com. Most important reason being it's easy to book, easy to change and easy to cancel a reservation. I usually don't cancel reservations just before arrival, but being the kind of person who likes to have reservations months in advance, just to be sure and have more choices, something can always come up that would require cancelling the whole trip.

A lot of hotels/hostels, especially smaller places, don't have online booking systems, requiring you to use email (difficult if they want creditcardnumber) of phone (I really dislike doing that, especially in a spanish-speaking country) to make a reservation directly with the property. And they usually don't mention any free cancellation-option. And if they do have cancellation-options it's up to email or phone again.

Making 2 reservations for each night could be a solution, but it won't always solve the problem. I made several reservations that can be cancelled for free, but will charge you if you cancel within 3 days of some even within 14 days of arrival. When you cancel one of your options before that, the other property can still cancel your reservation, leaving you without any reservation anyway.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles, June (2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Le Puy-Santiago (2023)
I feel your pain, good luck. I was on the CI a couple months ago, happy to share places that you can book direct if it will help.
Buen Camino.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I had a somewhat different problem that is worth sharing: On booking a room I was told by the booking company that there were no single rooms left but I could have a triple, at a much greater cost. Since I was desperate I accepted this. When I arrived at the accommodation the receptionist asked why I had booked a triple when they had singles available.

The penny dropped. The booking company may not have had my requested accommodation available to them but the accommodation itself clearly did.

I was refused any form of redress because I had already paid online for the triple. Since then, where possible, I have always opted to book directly with the accommodation.
When that sort of situation happens to me I will contact the property directly to see if indeed they do have single rooms available.
You will notice that the booking sites do say X# of rooms available on their site. They don't say that they have access to all of the inventory.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago March 18 , Camino Frances June 18 Camino Frances May 19
All I can say is during peak season last year I used them and there was never an issue, I even showed up in Gonzar and the Albergue was open but in complete disarray and would not let us check in for 2 hrs so I cancelled there and then and walked on and there was no question of the deposit being paid .
What is well known is the hotels , b+b etc would like it both ways the , booking agency to advertise their property but for the customer to contact them privately and then they save the commision .
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Last time in Burgos I booked a hotel through this bookingsite for my last night on the Vasco Interior.
Normally I just call the hotel but that day no one answered at reception.
When I mentioned it at reception the guy cancelled the booking himself ( with no extra fee for me ) and I paid the lower fare directly.
Fact that I helped him out with an urgent English telephone while he was helping another customer might have helped ... :)
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I was pretty sure that was it, but why can't we just say it?
So I've used them for many years and so far, no problems.
Is it THEM or is it the hotels?
I have no problem saying Booking.com or Hotels.com or AirBnB or Expedia, etc. I did state that it was the lodgings that had cancelled. :)

:) I understand the nature of Booking sites. . . they are just like third party airline Booking sites. In both instances, you are the customer of that third party site, you are not the hotel's or the airline's customer.

A difference, though, between the airline third party sites, and the hotel versions, is that the airline tickets and reservations actually exist when the purchase is made; they are guaranteed and assigned to the purchaser.

The Booking sites are convenient. I have used them a lot over the years. I will likely use them for less 'critical' stuff than for this occasion. And the occasion I am talking about is not the Camino, but the European trip afterwards..

It is the hard-to-get, good hotels within the cities of the various heavily touristed areas around Europe that we will be travelling to where I don't want lodging surprises to pop up. Especially when driving, finding properties with parking, and within desired locales, is difficult when you are looking for reservations months in advance. Last minute cancellations even more so.

The difficulty is proving itself now, as several hotels that I used Booking.com for. . Florence, Marseille, Salzburg. . reports no available rooms on their own websites and in emails. So, I will be prepared to deal with any last minute cancellations.

It is all part of the Adventure :)

Of course there will always be alternative lodgings, even at the last minute. But they may be well away from the locations we want to be in.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Whoa. Time for a deep breath. I think the bottom line here is that we are all dependent on, and occasionally screwed by, hotel sites, booking sites, etc. I have never had a cancellation from a room I booked through Booking, but I have had several Air bnbs cancel on me at the last minute. One was for a Paris rental for three weeks, and the cancellation came three days before departure. Air BnB offered us a 10 percent “upgrade” at no extra cost, but you can imagine what was available three days before a May departure to Paris! I have also had cancellations thrown at me by the host of AirBnBs in San Juan, New York, and Austin. Maybe I am just unlucky, but I think we all need to be aware that property owners, be they owners of private rooms/houses or hotels will occasionally be unethical. That said, I do think that booking directly with the hotel owners is usually a safer bet than using booking or other sites.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
A difference, though, between the airline third party sites, and the hotel versions, is that the airline tickets and reservations actually exist when the purchase is made;
Actually, there are quite a number of third party airline sites that will take your payment for a "booking request"at the advertised price. It is definitely not clear that payment is for a "request" only. When the price can't be honored because that fare no longer (or never did) exists, because the third party site doesn't have access to live airline pricing, the third party agent will come back to the purchaser to let them know that they now need to come up with more money to complete the purchase. I would trust large well known companies like Expedia, Travelocity, etc., but there are dozens of third parties out there that are much less scrupulous.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Actually, there are quite a number of third party airline sites that will take your payment for a "booking request"at the advertised price. It is definitely not clear that payment is for a "request" only. When the price can't be honored because that fare no longer (or never did) exists, because the third party site doesn't have access to live airline pricing, the third party agent will come back to the purchaser to let them know that they now need to come up with more money to complete the purchase. I would trust large well known companies like Expedia, Travelocity, etc., but there are dozens of third parties out there that are much less scrupulous.
Great points.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
How weird. I got a two notices. One said you responded to my OTHER post, and one notice that you were responding to THIS post, but I wasn't the one who posted this.
Now that's a first!

Anyway, I'm not attacking and I certainly believe you.
I just wondered why you didn't just say it was booking.com.
:) :) :) :) :)
Mea Culpa
What happened is that I somehow captured quotes from your post, along with another post, and they ended up in a post I made in response to someone else. After I hit the 'Post Reply' button, I saw the mistake and edited out your quote. Please ignore that flub, it was not directed at your postings. 🤪
 

doctorherman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances*3, Ingles, Primitivo, Finisterre, Baztan, and Portuguese
I use booking.com and agoda all the the time for travel and find the convenience out-ways any negatives.
It is so much easier to have all bookings on one site and instantly cancelable if needed, rather than going to each individual establishment to work out their system for booking directly and then facing a more complex process i.e the need to email direct / make a call / an online form that then requires additional confirmation time / pre-payment by bank transfer etc etc.
I accept the risks of non-refundable bookings past a certain date and have lost out on occasion by not being able to show up. Otherwise, all the way for me, it's booking.com or the cheapest option found through tripadvisor / hotelscombined.
I've stayed in hundreds of hotels and only ever been booted from a place twice. The first time was to be offered an upgrade from the Zenit to the Ayre in Seville because of renovation work and the second time I just kicked up such a fuss in front of a busy reception that the manager booked me a better hotel just to be rid of me.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
What a hassle for you @davebugg - just what you don't need when you're about to set off on a big trip with many bookings. I have heard of this kind of thing happening, it is very unethical and totally infuriating for the customer who booked months ago only to be booted at the last minute for a group booking. I wonder whether this might have happened anyway, though, even if you had booked direct? The occurrences I've heard about have not particularly been associated with third party platforms, as I recall. I'm not sure that it's really more likely to happen to bookings made through Booking.com or the like, as opposed to with the provider direct. Doesn't really matter though - it's extra stress you don't need at such a time. And if you suspect that it was having your booking through the third party that made the difference, then re-booking your other stops as you have done will be worth it for the peace of mind.

I hope this is the last last-minute problem, and that you have a wonderful Camino Ingles and post-Camino trip!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We had a bad expeience with 'venere' , now defunct, and picked it up because we always phone ahead the night before to confirm our arrival time. On that occasion the hotel had closed around the time we booked and we had no notification. We made a new booking direct with the Garelos in Betanzos and it cost more as it was their last room and a triple, but it was great for the 2 nights we needed.
Someone has since said that if that happens you can claim the difference in accommodation costs from the booking firm (venere in our case) . However we did not now and so don't know if this is correct.
If it is true and those 'dumped' did claim then I assume, if it is the hotel at fault, that the booking service will try to reclaim their costs, so making the practise less attractive.
We have had no problems at all with booking.com and have found them easy to use and to deal with. Sometimes it is easier to phone direct, others to use a booking service especially if trying to organize things before leaving home.
Sorry this happened to you @davebugg and hope you have a great Camino
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
We had a bad expeience with 'venere' , now defunct, and picked it up because we always phone ahead the night before to confirm our arrival time. On that occasion the hotel had closed around the time we booked and we had no notification. We made a new booking direct with the Garelos in Betanzos and it cost more as it was their last room and a triple, but it was great for the 2 nights we needed.
Someone has since said that if that happens you can claim the difference in accommodation costs from the booking firm (venere in our case) . However we did not now and so don't know if this is correct.
If it is true and those 'dumped' did claim then I assume, if it is the hotel at fault, that the booking service will try to reclaim their costs, so making the practise less attractive.
We have had no problems at all with booking.com and have found them easy to use and to deal with. Sometimes it is easier to phone direct, others to use a booking service especially if trying to organize things before leaving home.
Sorry this happened to you @davebugg and hope you have a great Camino
Thanks, Tia. :)

Booking. com has worked well for me, too, over the last ten years or so. I have had one other cancellation previously, but it was rectified fairly quickly. For this trip, I wanted things to go really as smoothly as possible for Jill.

While there may have been no further cancellations, I wanted to make sure that, with limited email and phone, that we didn't arrive at a hotel, hostel, casa rural, etc, only to find a cancellation had been done, leaving us to scramble. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2 Camino Frances, next: April 2020 Primitivo
Oh yes, it has happened to others too. Last year, in Madrid, the first day: Reservation cancelled, but the payment was taken and we had to find another place in the evening. Luckily we did find one. I'm sorry for your trouble, it is always good to have a plan B 😊👍
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
And on the other hand.....

My husband used booking.com for a hotel in the UK Lake District this Sept. When he got there, he found that there were 2 bookings for a single room in his name, done by booking.com. He had only ever had 1 confirmation email. Apparently, that was not the first time that it had happened to the hotel. It's not just guests who need to be cautious!
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I have always used said company and have never had a problem like this. As stated above I'm sure you didn't need this at the last minute.
Maybe I'm thinking too legal, but once you book a reservation (They promise to provide a room) and obtain a confirmation (You promise to pay) wouldn't that be creating a contract with that company??????
Sorry to hear about this happening. I will be more so open minded when I book in January.

Enjoy your trip anyways !!!!!!!!!
 

miwmaple

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2019) Camino Francés
One more day before departure to Camino Ingles, and this evening I received two emails from a commonly used, online hotel/lodging Booking site. I won't mention which one but this Booking site is pretty commonly mentioned and used by members on the Forum.

There are two pre-booked lodging reservations that I had made during time on the Ingles. This Booking company notified me that both had been cancelled due to 'overbooking'. I had made the reservations months ago, and had reservation confirmation numbers. Fortunately, I was able to find AirBnB replacements. And the option of staying at alburgues in both locations is available, so the cancellations were non-consequential. It just meant last minute head scratching and time spent to make new arrangements.

I'm just glad we had only booked two locations thru that Booking company.

I've learned that what this Booking site did is not unusual at all. So I'm passing this on as an awareness. The Booking site wanted to be sure I understood that it was the hotel, not the Booking site that cancelled my reservation. My response was along the lines of, 'well, I guess I'd better just skip Booking thru you, and book thru the lodging sites directly.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware of this happening with Hotel and Booking as third party booking agents. I just never really thought about it, but it would be similar to the risks of booking thru a third-party airline booking agency.

I am now busy re-doing the reservations I had made on Booking site for our Post-Camino European Road Trip lodgings. I am making them again, but on the actual hotel websites. Once that's done, I will cancel the Booking faux reservations, since I am still able to do most of the cancellations before the cut-off date for free cancellation.

Hey. . it is what it is :)
That popular Booking site did the same to me. Twice. The first time was on the day of arrival. I knocked on the door and when the owner came he said he only had 6 beds and I was the 7th. I had made my reservation 5 months in advance and they cancel that day??? My guess is that someone showed up paying cash so the owner canceled my reservation.
They tried to replace it with a hostel that had 2 ½ stars on their site for the same amount I was going to pay for my highly rated private room. Nope.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
That popular Booking site did the same to me. Twice. The first time was on the day of arrival. I knocked on the door and when the owner came he said he only had 6 beds and I was the 7th. I had made my reservation 5 months in advance and they cancel that day??? My guess is that someone showed up paying cash so the owner canceled my reservation.
They tried to replace it with a hostel that had 2 ½ stars on their site for the same amount I was going to pay for my highly rated private room. Nope.
Let’s not let this thread descend into the sniping posts that we had to delete a few days ago. People should be careful to separate the booking site from the hotel site. This post accuses the “booking site” of “doing the same thing,” but the story that unfolds is that it was the accommodation itself, and not the booking site, that actually cancelled. I know it is frustrating when it happens, but I don’t see how booking can be faulted in the story you tell. My guess is that there were not too many options beyond the 2 star place for them to offer you, and I am not saying that you should have taken that option, but there are limits to what they can do for you when the hotel wrongfully cancels on you. I have heard of the rare instance in which booking actually takes down places from its platform because of practices like this, so it’s a good idea to make as much noise as possible when it happens.

And yes, the hotel has broken a contract, but it would be way too much hassle for you to sue, and the hotel knows that.
 

Annet2020

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
It might be helpful to the rest of us if we compiled a list of places that have dumped reservations unilaterally. Then we would better know where we need to make a contingency reservation. Any further ideas on this listing?

My idea is that a simple list of the Camino route, place (town / city) and name of the property that engaged in unilateral reservation cancellation would suffice. As an example, Frances / Leon / Hostal Mi Casa... (make believe place).
I still think this would be a very good idea.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Two days ago, a hotel in Burgos had some "problem" with our reserved room. They were very apologetic and fixed us up with another hotel. It happens!

Personally, I would not put any energy into compiling a forum list of naughty hotels, verifying the situations, and passing appropriate judgement on them. There are plenty of websites (including the booking sites) already doing that.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I have always used said company and have never had a problem like this. As stated above I'm sure you didn't need this at the last minute.
Maybe I'm thinking too legal, but once you book a reservation (They promise to provide a room) and obtain a confirmation (You promise to pay) wouldn't that be creating a contract with that company??????
Sorry to hear about this happening. I will be more so open minded when I book in January.

Enjoy your trip anyways !!!!!!!!!

I agree with you construction of a contract obligation. BUT, you try to argue that with someone who has the proverbial upper hand, in a language, which you either do not speak at all, or not fluently enough to go toe-to-toe with him/her.

Better, to plan ahead, and to ALWAYS have a Plan B - everyday...
 

Annet2020

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
Better, to plan ahead, and to ALWAYS have a Plan B - everyday...
Nice idea, but most places require cancellation at least 24 to 72 hours in advance, so how to have a plan B then?
I don't have the budget, and I'm not willing, to pay for two places, just to make sure one of them won't be cancelled.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Plan B might include staying somewhere that would not be your first choice, like a private albergue, in place of a hotel or hostal. Similarly, the alternative might be to stay at a public or parochial run alburgue, if nothing else is available.

If THEY cancelled on YOU, then your money will be refunded...eventually. A property cannot unilaterally cancel your reservation and keep your deposit. That is called theft, in any society. If that occurs, dial 112 and summon the policia.

But, even if this happens, you still may have two choices, pay for a second place, or move to the next lesser desirable option, as I mentioned above. Everything is relative.

As a general rule of thumb, tourists complain, while pilgrims are grateful...

We must all make the best plans we can, then remain flexible and open to last minute changes of experience... It is part of the Camino's "charm."

It is what it is...

Hope this helps.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Why on earth would anyone, pilgrim or otherwise, be grateful if their accommodation was cancelled at the last minute or got bad service or got a bed full of bed bugs, I don't know who came up with this gem of a saying but its just a big let off for bad service IMO.
 

Annet2020

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
Plan B might include staying somewhere that would not be your first choice, like a private albergue, in place of a hotel or hostal. Similarly, the alternative might be to stay at a public or parochial run alburgue, if nothing else is available.

If THEY cancelled on YOU, then your money will be refunded...eventually. A property cannot unilaterally cancel your reservation and keep your deposit. That is called theft, in any society. If that occurs, dial 112 and summon the policia
I understand my money will be refunded if the property cancels on me. I meant that if you want a plan B and book a second place, just in case, you either have to cancel it 24-72 hrs before arrival to prevent having to pay for the night, still risking your other booked property cancels on you. Or you keep both reservations but then you end up paying them both.
So, even knowing these things happen, I will still book just 1 place for each night.
I don't consider finding another place when they cancel on me a "plan B". If that happens finding another place last-minute is simply the only option left. Not a plan I can have ready, unless you mean having addresses of alternative places and/or phone available to arrange something (which to me doesn't sound like a 'Plan B').
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
If the hotel is at fault then that could be flagged with the booking site. Ours usually asks for a report/review but there must be a way to report cancellations like this if one wants to do so.
If it is truly the booking site then in our understanding you can claim the difference in cost if the replacement booking costs more.
IMO phoning the booked hotel the night before is a good idea, or prior to the cancellation time. That confirms to the hotel that you are coming and also confirms time of arrival.
At least the OP had sufficient warning to re-book
 

gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
but the story that unfolds is that it was the accommodation itself, and not the booking site, that actually cancelled.
I think this may be closer to the truth. I had made a reservation for a hotel just before Pontedueme a few weeks before my trip, but then received an email from Booking saying that the hotel was requesting that I cancel my booking. Apparently Booking itself cannot cancel the reservation if there is a problem, things still have to be worked out between the individual and the property.
 

Constantine

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014
Just tell us who you're talking about?
Yes! So many of you seem to know exactly who is being discussed but some of us don't.... Why can't you say? Internet reviews are common across the board! Sure would like to avoid problems if I can, thanks!
 

Dochim

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 July - April 2018 Francés
June - July 2018 Primitivo
I've used that booking website extensively over the last few years. I've had a couple problems (not on any camino) where the hotel has taken payment prior to the "cancel by" date and then we've needed to cancel. which we are entitled to do. Another time the payment was taken twice. In both instances, I contacted booking.com and they sorted it all out, without any fuss. In the first instance, they got the hotel to refund the money but in the second example, they failed to get the hotel to refund so they refunded the money themselves and said they'd get it back.
 

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