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Using booking.com on your Camino

Time of past OR future Camino
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OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Yep! Sometimes I love to "wing it" and sometimes - especially if I am planning to do an unusually long walking day or double stages that day - I want to prebook that morning to make sure I don't get in too late to find a bed. I try to email or whatsapp the albergue - but sometimes the response is just too slow for comfort if trying for a same day reservation (better if trying 24 or more hours in advance). That is when I go to booking to book.

The other downside of booking is sometimes you think you are booking a place to stay close to the Camino - but you really are further away from the Camino than you think. Not a problem in small towns - but in the big towns/small cities it can mean a lot of extra walking when you are already tired! I found the best way to avoid that problem is to pair using booking .com with gronze .com. I go to gronze to see what lodging is available - and then if they have their own webpage I book directly through them. Or I might attempt to email/whatsapp directly (I avoid telephone calls since my Spanish is terrible). And then - if I need to use booking .com - I click on the booking .com link on the Gronze .com page. Using gronze first - I have never accidentally reserved a place a mile or more off the Camino even in a big city (and most are less than a half mile away from the Camino route). But not using gronze and going through booking - I have had quite a few issues. Likewise - I have had a few places booked directly through booking .com where the booking .com map shows the place to be within town limits - but really the place was before or after town limits. I have had a bit of trouble a couple times finding a place I reserved because the booking .com map was incorrect. This was mostly on the Norte/Primitivo.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Yep! Sometimes I love to "wing it" and sometimes - especially if I am planning to do an unusually long walking day or double stages that day - I want to prebook that morning to make sure I don't get in too late to find a bed. I try to email or whatsapp the albergue - but sometimes the response is just too slow for comfort if trying for a same day reservation (better if trying 24 or more hours in advance). That is when I go to booking to book.

The other downside of booking is sometimes you think you are booking a place to stay close to the Camino - but you really are further away from the Camino than you think. Not a problem in small towns - but in the big towns/small cities it can mean a lot of extra walking when you are already tired! I found the best way to avoid that problem is to pair using booking .com with gronze .com. I go to gronze to see what lodging is available - and then if they have their own webpage I book directly through them. Or I might attempt to email/whatsapp directly (I avoid telephone calls since my Spanish is terrible). And then - if I need to use booking .com - I click on the booking .com link on the Gronze .com page. Using gronze first - I have never accidentally reserved a place a mile or more off the Camino even in a big city (and most are less than a half mile away from the Camino route). But not using gronze and going through booking - I have had quite a few issues. Likewise - I have had a few places booked directly through booking .com where the booking .com map shows the place to be within town limits - but really the place was before or after town limits. I have had a bit of trouble a couple times finding a place I reserved because the booking .com map was incorrect. This was mostly on the Norte/Primitivo.
Use Google StreetView to scout out the area. Pins dropped on Booking can be very inaccurate.
 
Or, use booking.com to find your accommodation and then book direct with the owner.
Ok, sometimes I feel guilty about using this strategy.

I tend to use apps like Buen Camino for my navigation... they share links for destinations, using booking.com. My guess is that this is their chief source of revenue... referrals.

Maybe I should just donate and not worry about it?
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I tend to use apps like Buen Camino for my navigation... they share links for destinations, using booking.com. My guess is that this is their chief source of revenue.
Isn’t that the model for the entire “internet economy”? Everybody gets a slice of the pie, whether it’s their pie or not.
“Hey, you run a hotel? G’is 10% or you won’t appear on our “maps”; every review will be a bad one; you’re lucky it’s only 10% ‘cos we’ve got people to pay. Oh, and we’re doing you a favour.”
“ Believe and pay”.
 
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My main argument against Bookingdotcom is that they treat their groundstaff as dirt and they find all kind of ways to avoid paying taxes.

I booked a hotel for this Thursday directly with the wonderful owners. 84 € for bed and breakfast whereas trough BDC it would be 107 €.
 
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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Ok, sometimes I feel guilty about using this strategy.

I tend to use apps like Buen Camino for my navigation... they share links for destinations, using booking.com. My guess is that this is their chief source of revenue... referrals.

Maybe I should just donate and not worry about it?
I use booking.com from time to time, but if I can book direct then I do.

One practice which it tacitly encourages, which I deplore, is booking (and in many cases booking multiple alternatives for the same time), with ‘free cancellation’, often up to the day before the reserved stay. That reduces the apparent pool of available rooms and must result in empty room nights.

One of Booking’s Ts and Cs with the accommodation providers is that they don’t offer a lower price for the same room listed on their site whilst one is available. The encouragement for repeat customers to book direct is almost ‘under the counter’.

Having said all that, it’s a contract freely entered into and the accommodation providers must see value in the relationship.
 
I do not believe it is a “contract freely entered into”. If you’re not on Berking then you do not exist for the majority, if not the entirety, of the market.
Was a time I’d have ‘phoned a Town Hall, Tourist Office or even a Chamber of Commerce and asked what was available. Was a time I’d have just walked into the pub and asked the same. Now the free-market is a stitched market where the value is in information that once was available, with a little effort, for free.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Or, use booking.com to find your accommodation and then book direct with the owner.
That’s what I did mostly. If I was booking rooms I would usually save at least 10%. And usually I wouldn’t even call, I would just walk in the door and ask. Worked well on the france until after Sarria. In Albergues I would often book ahead, because I was usually a late arrival.
 
The other downside of booking is sometimes you think you are booking a place to stay close to the Camino - but you really are further away from the Camino than you think. Not a problem in small towns - but in the big towns/small cities it can mean a lot of extra walking when you are already tired!
I made that mistake once, early on. All of the listings on Booking have a line saying "at City Center" or "300m to City Center" or "2km from City Center", etc . Choose the listing closer to center or you could end up North or South of the trail and have to double back in the morning, or have to navigate a highway and a roundabout to get to your accommodation.
 
There is a lot of guilt-inducing lecturing on the forum about using booking.com, but I think it is an excellent service. I don't mind paying a bit extra for the convenience, and I suspect that the hotel/hostal owners often have a similar attitude.
Yes fully agree. I use them pretty much non stop and I find the app and the customer service to be of the highest order!
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
My feelings about booking.com are mixed. Like @TravellingMan2022 I have found their customer service to be excellent. However, I use it to see what is about in a pueblo and, about half the time, I just call directly (my practice is to call the night before as I am now at an age where I let Correos carry my pack) to book. My Spanish is execrable (a friend calls it John Wayne Castellano) but communication is always possible for something as simple as getting a room and getting the cost-- as with others, I have found that as a repeat customer in a few places, discounts and upgrades came easily-- a bowl of fruit or an aperitivo may not impress travel writers, but it's a nice thing to have after 25km. What is even nicer is the welcome from an innkeeping family who realize that their work is rewarded by repeated custom.

Others have found booking.com's geographical sense peculiar. My best is being directed to a pleasant little hotel in which was in Vozmediano rather than my destination of Agreda, a mere 9km away. There's not a lot to do in Vozmediano, but I made some friends among the local cats after a swim in the pueblo's piscina.
 
I use booking.com a lot, not just for Camino reservations, but other trips as well. So far, I haven't found many examples where using booking.com is more expensive than booking direct for advance bookings (although I accept that "walk-ins" may be a different case where the deal can be "under the counter"). In fact, the only example I have found for our May 2023 Camino is in Zubiri, where the direct rate includes breakfast, whereas booking.com's rate doesn't.
Otherwise, booking.com seems to have rates either the same (or lower) than the direct published rate, with the possibility of genius discount/upgrades at some establishments, and booking using a credit card for guarantee, but no payment upfront.
 
Most of the comments here relate to costs comparisons for us, the users. But we need to remember, too, that bxxxxing.com charges the accommodation provider a fee, reputed in some circles to be more than 30% of what we pay.
I would rather that money stayed with my host.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Most of the comments here relate to costs comparisons for us, the users. But we need to remember, too, that bxxxxing.com charges the accommodation provider a fee, reputed in some circles to be more than 30% of what we pay.
I would rather that money stayed with my host.
That’s fine but an albergue will know how many ‘units’ its sells both direct and indirect (via a third party) and probably wouldn’t enter into an agreement with a big operator if it didn’t increase its overall revenue (albeit an a decreased revenue per customer for the indirect booking). We have the hardcore Camino crowd on here and an older demographic. Younger folks will only book online in most cases I’m 56 but i wouldn’t even contemplating making a booking via phone as would be concerned about a mix up.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
I just learned from my stay at Porto that the hosts pay 20% to booking.com. Now that I have their contact info I can book direct and save. For 2018 CF, we called the day before to book a bed or room. We'd extract the numbers from our guidebooks.
 
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I use booking.com a lot for business travel, so I have no problem using them to see what's available locally, and if it's a small family-owned place, or a chain where I have a loyalty account, to book direct.

Oh, and yes please donate to the owner of the Buen Camino app! Much better for them to get money directly, too.
 
Ok each to their comfort zone of course. I'm 74 and book by phone, usually.
Each to their own of course! I make a lot of bookings, change a lot of booking la, and cancel of lot of bookings, so online is the only way for me!
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
If you can always call. If I am having a problem finding a place I may look at Bookings to get more choices. Then I look up the number and call. You often get a lower price. Just as important is the health of the Spaniards who own establishments on the various caminos is they save the 15% commission that Booking.com charges the ownership.
 
Never Pre-booked on a Camino ...But when traveling thru the rest of Spain I have had better results using Air BNB than Booking.com. Would expect that there are plenty of Air BNB places on the various Caminos , but I have never looked for them .
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Or, use booking.com to find your accommodation and then book direct with the owner.
WhatsApp is an almost universal alternative in Spain to a ‘phone call if you want to make direct contact but don’t have the Spanish. That and google translate should see anyone through booking a room.
Both solutions to the heavy surcharge to the owner,

Doh! Lazy.
But at the same time? Easy.
Yeah, That's the hook, isn't it?
But you and the host both end up paying.
It takes just a little effort, and that effort to book directly is really appreciated by the hosts.
 
Both solutions to the heavy surcharge to the owner,


Yeah, That's the hook, isn't it?
But you and the host both end up paying.
It takes just a little effort, and that effort to book directly is really appreciated by the hosts.
I would argue that booking provide quite a lot to support the suppose. Booking engine, reviews, policies and much more! A matter of view of course!
 
Prepare for your next Camino on California's Santa Catalina Island, Oct 27 to Nov 2
Booking engine, reviews, policies and much more!
Once upon a time, independent or local organizations would vet establishments, offering unbiassed reviews and information. Now, one bad review on Booking posted in spite can really impact a small family-run business. This on top of the charges to businesses. No thanks.
 
Once upon a time, independent or local organizations would vet establishments, offering unbiassed reviews and information. Now, one bad review on Booking posted in spite can really impact a small family-run business. This on top of the charges to businesses. No thanks.
A statistical analysis is available to consumers and ratings against a number of customer service dimensions. A few bad reviews are unlikely to change the ratings significantly. You can look at the quantitative information and then drill down into the qualitative verbatims! It’s true, I am not making it up!
 
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Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Use Google StreetView to scout out the area. Pins dropped on Booking can be very inaccurate.
Except Google StreetView doesn't also tell you where the Camino route is (big towns/cities this is important) if you don't know if the albuergue you are reserving is along the Camino route and you don't want to stay far away from the Camino route. It is also not helpful when the address you put in shows you the wrong location. I found when booking .com had an inaccurate pin - entering the address into google maps only helped 50% of the time. If there was an inaccurate pin - it is because the maps aren't recognizing the address correctly in the first place. I do love to use google street view when reserving in big cities just to know if I am reserving in a location that I am comfortable staying in neighborhood wise - but honestly - I only do that when prebooking before I leave for a big vacation. Reserving on the Camino - I usually only do less than 24 hours in advance and I am not at home on my big computer to play around with maps in my research. Can't see ever doing that once I am ON the Camino.
 
There is a lot of guilt-inducing lecturing on the forum about using booking.com, but I think it is an excellent service. I don't mind paying a bit extra for the convenience, and I suspect that the hotel/hostal owners often have a similar attitude.
Yep. And have you ever had a booking .com reservation and arrived at the albergue or pension... and then the albergue/pension cancelled your reservation and had you pay in cash? I have. Several times in fact! They cancel AFTER you arrive and have already given you the key to your room lol. But you still have a room/bed. I am willing to pay for the convenience when I feel the need to book in advance.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Except Google StreetView doesn't also tell you where the Camino route is (big towns/cities this is important) if you don't know if the albuergue you are reserving is along the Camino route and you don't want to stay far away from the Camino route. It is also not helpful when the address you put in shows you the wrong location. I found when booking .com had an inaccurate pin - entering the address into google maps only helped 50% of the time. If there was an inaccurate pin - it is because the maps aren't recognizing the address correctly in the first place. I do love to use google street view when reserving in big cities just to know if I am reserving in a location that I am comfortable staying in neighborhood wise - but honestly - I only do that when prebooking before I leave for a big vacation. Reserving on the Camino - I usually only do less than 24 hours in advance and I am not at home on my big computer to play around with maps in my research. Can't see ever doing that once I am ON the Camino.
Exactly!
It's easy to book on Booking.com and find your accommodation is not where expected. And I agree about Google not showing the relation to the accommodation and Camino.

I try to have both apps open at once to sort out that relationship, not easy on a mobile, but possible.

Good spot 👍
 
I made that mistake once, early on. All of the listings on Booking have a line saying "at City Center" or "300m to City Center" or "2km from City Center", etc . Choose the listing closer to center or you could end up North or South of the trail and have to double back in the morning, or have to navigate a highway and a roundabout to get to your accommodation.
Yep - most of the time the Camino DOES go through city center - but not always, I think it is easier just to find the biggest church in town and the Camino PROBABLY passes it lol But again - if I look at listings on Gronze .com I don't have location issues - and of course gronze also gives the link to booking .com if the lodging is on booking .com
 
Ok, here's a little advice about how to find a place to stay near the Camino when using multiple apps:

I use Buen Camino, a lot. I also use WisePilgrin. But I really like Gronze.com for a "Spanish" perspective when I'm not too sure.

I look at the recommendations they offer. Often there are links to booking. I don't stay at a place unless they are recommended by above apps. Limits my choices, sometimes, but for a good reason I think.
 
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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
Rather than give an opinion based on personal experience, I offer this link. A lot of information, may or not add to the topic.
 
Rather than give an opinion based on personal experience, I offer this link. A lot of information, may or not add to the topic.
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
Another advantage of Booking.com is that you can see all your reservations in one place.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I have used Booking and AirBNB, but I like to stay at places that don't take a reservation the most. If it is a hotel room or luxury apartment, then AirBNB or booking are usually my reservation of choice methods, but I'd rather just walk in the door and take my chances at many small places.
 
Of course it is, but pen and paper is an extra step and and extra thing to carry.
Does your memory weigh anything? And where's the extra step?
All your reservations are effortlessly stored in your mind, if you haven't outsourced its functions to a machine.

A statistical analysis is available to consumers and ratings against a number of customer service dimensions.
Tell that to business owners who now have to watch the reviews like a hawk, so they can do damage control.
 
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New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
Does your memory weigh anything? And where's the extra step?
All your reservations are effortlessly stored in your mind, if you haven't outsourced its functions to a machine.


Tell that to business owners who now have to watch the reviews like a hawk, so they can do damage control.
When I did the Frances earlier this year, I booked my stays 5-7 days in advance (no need to debate whether that is good or bad, there are plenty of other threads for that). There is no way I could remember all those reservations. Plus, once I got in town, I open the Booking app, click on the directions for my reservation, and walk right to it. Easy peasy, Lemon squeezy.
 
Make notes on your phone. You can put the information on your calendar.
Yes, you can. But using the Booking app, no need for those extra steps. Book it, look in the app to view the reservation at any time. No need to make notes or make calendar entries.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on California's Santa Catalina Island, Oct 27 to Nov 2
Yes, you can. But using the Booking app, no need for those extra steps. Book it, look in the app to view the reservation at any time. No need to make notes or make calendar entries.
If I've made advance reservations I put a reminder on my phone on the "drop dead" cancellation date.
 
There is no way I could remember all those reservations.
You underestimate your potential, @Viva Terlingua. Sure you can.
Booking is indisputably easy. But it's ripping people off. I care more about them than a minor effort that needs to be made on my part to remember or find my way. In fact the wayfinding is the fun part - becasue it gives me a chance to ask people directions, and for them to show me. And lest you think I speak Spanish, think again. Not more than baby talk,
 
Never Pre-booked on a Camino ...But when traveling thru the rest of Spain I have had better results using Air BNB than Booking.com. Would expect that there are plenty of Air BNB places on the various Caminos , but I have never looked for them
Interesting point. Recent short road trip in U.K. / Scotland we mostly got better results from AirBnB for cheaper places but had to go to Booking once to find a place in the Lakes. The place we liked was full but we called direct - and were offered a better deal on a cancellation (probably a 24 hour ahead cancellation via booking - ha!).
It would be interesting to see if AirBnB would be useful on Camino routes for those wanting more private accommodatio.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on California's Santa Catalina Island, Oct 27 to Nov 2
If you are going to use aggregators like Booking.com or Hotels.com, try a super aggregator like Trivago which compares the aggregators.

Some hotels will put certain types of room on one, and others on a different aggregators. Sometime there is overlap and there is different pricing for the same room as the hotel doesn't control the pricing algorithm the aggregator uses.

Got a nice junior suite in Greece earlier this year on Hotels.com that was half the cost shown on Booking.com.

Hotels also drip feed these sites so a hotel may show no availability one day but rooms the next for the date you want. There is a specific place in Santiago I like and had to wait until a few days ago for rooms to become available. So keep trying - and checking with the super aggregator.
 
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Hotels also drip feed these sites so a hotel may show no availability one day but rooms the next for the date you want. There is a specific place in Santiago I like and had to wait until a few days ago for rooms to become available
Could you not have contacted the hotel directly?
 
I'd take a uniform third-party inspection over a bunch of subjective reviews any day of the week. There is no standardization, and we all tend to notice different things. Besides, you can say approximately nothing from one stay at a place - a sample size of one visit or stay is pretty useless.
Whatever. Enjoy being modern, @TravellingMan2022.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
A few months ago @peregrina2000 posted this thread about WhatsApp and its use as a way to contact properties directly. It was a feature I added to the app specifically because the feedback from hospitaleros was that an alternative to booking was desired.

I should say that most of my conversations about the matter were with albergue owners, so this does not apply necessarily to other forms of private accommodation.

The impression that I got was that many joined booking as a way to get a bit more exposure and to sell in the margins. It worked briefly before everyone scrambled to join (there are only a few no-booking villages left) and the advantages quickly evaporated, and turned to losses. The booking commission is 15%, or 20% if the property wants to trade commission for priority placement.

Some albergues are abandoning booking, as it is clear that there are plenty of pilgrims in their location. Other owners embrace it as it also helps them manage bookings. Some raise their prices for booking (price parity agreements have changed in recent years). A few new startups this year opened their doors as donativo. As always, the camino is a spectrum of choice and opportunity.

Ultimately it becomes an economic battle to persuade the small business owner one way or the other. Will we use booking more, or will we use whatsapp and the telephone more? For now it appears that booking is winning, but with more tools available for pilgrims to wade into the adventure of calling or texting perhaps that begins to change.
 
I'd take a uniform third-party inspection over a bunch of subjective reviews any day of the week. There is no standardization, and we all tend to notice different things. Besides, you can say approximately nothing from one stay at a place - a sample size of one visit or stay is pretty useless.
Whatever. Enjoy being modern, @TravellingMan2022.
Fair enough, we have different views and that’s healthy. If a property has 2.5k reviews and scores a 9 and excels in a couple of dimensions that are important to me I tend to be interested. If that score is across 10 reviews that is different. Same across negative reviews. One or two negative reviews will lead me to the verbatims, but a score of say 6 across 1k reviews will lead me to avoid.

In the vast majority of cases the places I have stayed at that jave good reviews have been good and the badly reviewed places have been bad.
 
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The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
To be honest that's what I do too, @TravellingMan2022, with any web-based reviews. But I don't expect much accuracy. Sometimes the reviews are spot-on, other times - even with a large sample size - just puzzling. As in "Is this the same place?" Different priorities, I guess.
Sure. We have all read the ‘ I paid €10 for this bed and there wasn’t even room service and a free drink on arrival’ and there is plenty to debate but I guess I would argue that with say 200+ reviews that should be smoothed out! It’s good that we all have our methodologies!
 
Booking.com was useful for my Portuguese Coastal; but they are like all businesses they want your trade!

Regarding availability so often; the one room left on our site message is there to trigger the "oh i need this last room response"!
However i booked months in advance and initially took those supposed last rooms several times!
Which in my mind at the time meant i was a lucky Pilgrim.

Only to find those same last room available messages every time i checked again for cheaper accommodation in the area right up until a few days before flying; so be aware of that!
Woody
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Except Google StreetView doesn't also tell you where the Camino route is (big towns/cities this is important) if you don't know if the albuergue you are reserving is along the Camino route and you don't want to stay far away from the Camino route. It is also not helpful when the address you put in shows you the wrong location. I found when booking .com had an inaccurate pin - entering the address into google maps only helped 50% of the time. If there was an inaccurate pin - it is because the maps aren't recognizing the address correctly in the first place. I do love to use google street view when reserving in big cities just to know if I am reserving in a location that I am comfortable staying in neighborhood wise - but honestly - I only do that when prebooking before I leave for a big vacation. Reserving on the Camino - I usually only do less than 24 hours in advance and I am not at home on my big computer to play around with maps in my research. Can't see ever doing that once I am ON the Camino.
Sorry, should have qualified my comment.

I'd have the relevant Camino route on Google Earth so I'll know where I should be walking:

1662629909088.png

I can then stroll around using StreetView to find the place I'll be staying in:

1662630691996.png

In fairness to Booking, their dropped pin was bang on target for this one (Logroño)
 
You underestimate your potential, @Viva Terlingua. Sure you can.
Booking is indisputably easy. But it's ripping people off. I care more about them than a minor effort that needs to be made on my part to remember or find my way. In fact the wayfinding is the fun part - becasue it gives me a chance to ask people directions, and for them to show me. And lest you think I speak Spanish, think again. Not more than baby talk,
I fail to see how Booking.com is ripping people off. They provide a service at a price, the vendors can decide to use it or not use it.
 
I liken Booking.com to Amazon.

If you want to buy a stuff sack, you can use Google to search for stuff sack vendors. Once you find several of them you are interested in and you can contact them via WhatApp to check price and availability. Once they get back to you, you can type your ordering information and credit card information into WhatsApp and send it to them. Or you can go to Amazon, compare products and prices and hit the Buy Now button when you see the one you want because Amazon has your ordering info on file.

Yes, Booking.com charges commission, but so did travel agents when people used them. In return for the fee, the hotels/albergues do not need to pay Google to come up high on their search results, they do not need to pay a web developer to develop an e-commerce site for them to process reservations, they do not need to spend time replying to WhatsApp inquiries, they do not have to worry about complying with EU regulations regarding electronic handling of credit card info.
 
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A few months ago @peregrina2000 posted this thread about WhatsApp and its use as a way to contact properties directly. It was a feature I added to the app specifically because the feedback from hospitaleros was that an alternative to booking was desired.

I should say that most of my conversations about the matter were with albergue owners, so this does not apply necessarily to other forms of private accommodation.

The impression that I got was that many joined booking as a way to get a bit more exposure and to sell in the margins. It worked briefly before everyone scrambled to join (there are only a few no-booking villages left) and the advantages quickly evaporated, and turned to losses. The booking commission is 15%, or 20% if the property wants to trade commission for priority placement.

Some albergues are abandoning booking, as it is clear that there are plenty of pilgrims in their location. Other owners embrace it as it also helps them manage bookings. Some raise their prices for booking (price parity agreements have changed in recent years). A few new startups this year opened their doors as donativo. As always, the camino is a spectrum of choice and opportunity.

Ultimately it becomes an economic battle to persuade the small business owner one way or the other. Will we use booking more, or will we use whatsapp and the telephone more? For now it appears that booking is winning, but with more tools available for pilgrims to wade into the adventure of calling or texting perhaps that begins to change.
Thank you for your perspective.
 
Some albergues are abandoning booking, as it is clear that there are plenty of pilgrims in their location. Other owners embrace it as it also helps them manage bookings. Some raise their prices for booking (price parity agreements have changed in recent years). A few new startups this year opened their doors as donativo. As always, the camino is a spectrum of choice and opportunity.
Exactly. With a bit of time to balance things out, both merchants and consumers will be able to use the method that they prefer. And many of us pick a mix. Some things I buy online, but others I don't, and the reasons are varied. Some things I note on my paper calendar, but I prefer my phone for others. I like them both. We are very different in our likes, dislikes, prejudices and favourites, and how we put them all together on any decision.

It is not usually helpful or true to vilify or lionize the different options. Nothing is that simple!
 
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Exactly. With a bit of time to balance things out, both merchants and consumers will be able to use the method that they prefer. And many of us pick a mix. Some things I buy online, but others I don't, and the reasons are varied. Some things I note on my paper calendar, but I prefer my phone for others. I like them both. We are very different in our likes, dislikes, prejudices and favourites, and how we put them all together on any decision.

It is not usually helpful or true to vilify or lionize the different options. Nothing is that simple!
100% nailed it!
 
Sorry, should have qualified my comment.

I'd have the relevant Camino route on Google Earth so I'll know where I should be walking:

View attachment 132396

I can then stroll around using StreetView to find the place I'll be staying in:

View attachment 132397

In fairness to Booking, their dropped pin was bang on target for this one (Logroño)
Gotcha... that makes sense.

Luckily - most often - booking's pins are accurate. But when they ARE wrong - it is extremely frustrating! And once - it lead to a bad case of heat exhaustion because it sent me so far in the wrong direction.
 
Regarding availability so often; the one room left on our site message is there to trigger the "oh i need this last room response"!
It smacks of dishonesty to me, and I don't like rewarding dishonesty with my business. When I travel, Camino or otherwise, booking.com and similar sites are only consulted if all of the many other methods fail. But that's me—you do what seems right to you.

Such sites also mislead on availability. They show only rooms/beds at places that know about the service and choose to pay the commission.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
I personally prefer doing some research on the Internet and calling the place directly. I sometimes get better pricing that way and the local establishment gets to keep 100% of the fees.
 
Does your memory weigh anything? And where's the extra step?
All your reservations are effortlessly stored in your mind, if you haven't outsourced its functions to a machine.


Tell that to business owners who now have to watch the reviews like a hawk, so they can do damage control.
Until retirement last year, I owned several properties starting business long before booking or Airbnb existed. Over the past decade+, I used booking in aways that made sense to my business. Here are my three cêntimos:

They were not perfect but expanded my reach WELL beyond any other option, which was excellent for my business -- and fun. (If not, I wouldn't have used them.)

Imo one or two bad reviews is absolutely no problem to property owners, it's the proportion of bad reviews that matters. Most proficient online users (the market we owners want to grab via booking) know to always 'consider the source.' Also there is absolutely no way to please everyone: I had someone tell me they wanted to take their bed home it was so incredibly comfortable; VERY next guest said exact same bed was much, much too hard. Experienced readers of reviews (again, that's the market that booking opens to small property owners) know to keep things like that in mind.

Another anecdote: I had several years with no bad reviews and once I got a bad one, my bookings rate went up measurably. Either a coincidence or people felt like the reviews were more 'real.'

YMMV. 😁

Bom caminho!
 
A comment above refers to such sites as being transparent.
That has not always been the case in the UK for such businesses where the market regulator has had issues with various aspects of these business models. This included scarcity warnings which this BBC article from 2019 refers to.
The article also has one hotelier stating that if a booking is cancelled he still has to pay commission.
No denying the convenience but I take everything on the Internet with an unhealthy dose of salt. As the saying goes - "If you're not paying for something then you're the product"
Doubtless all the concerns raised have been addressed.

 
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I have only read half of these many lengthy posts.
Let it be said that I love booking.com. After three caminos winging it, I started using them in 2019 for my combo Fisherman'sTrail/Portugusese Camino from Porto and it worked flawlessly. When covid hit and I had to cancel nearly 30 well planned lodgings for the Norte and beyond, their website was a godsend...click, click click and I was able to cancel all my pre-bookings without a glitch. Call me lazy, call me what you want, but I've now just spent a full week researching and pre-booking each day on booking.com for my upcoming Via Francigena with the exception of two Ostellos I had to email. If I get injured along the way, oh well, so be it, but I make no apology. It works for me and I am not as savvy or techy as many on the forum and booking.com gives me peace of mind...we are all different and "one size does NOT fit all."
P.S. Unfortunately my days of winging it are over, as much as I loved doing it like that in the past.
 
I have only read half of these many lengthy posts.
Let it be said that I love booking.com. After three caminos winging it, I started using them in 2019 for the Fisherman'sTrail/Portugusese Camino from Porto and it worked flawlessly. When covid hit and I had to cancel nearly 30 well planned lodgings for the Norte and beyond, their website was a godsend...click, click click and I was able to cancel all my pre-bookings without a glitch. Call me lazy, call me what you want, but I've now just spent a full week researching and pre-booking each day on booking.com for my upcoming Via Francigena with the exception of two Ostellos I had to email. If I get injured along the way, oh well, so be it, but I make no apology. It works for me and I am not as savvy or techy as many on the forum and booking.com gives me peace of mind...we are all different and "one size does NOT fit all."
Yep agreed. I have stacks of bookings and I need that ease and assurance and they have yet to put a foot wrong with me! They have been brilliant for me and are a company I always go to! I find their app top notch. I probably change at least 50% of the bookings I make so I need clarity around change and cancellation policy and want to be able to change in a matter of seconds! Ratings info very clear too. They have suspended live chat but when I called them yesterday I was through in a minute! Issue resolved straight away!
 
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Cannot remember the town but I booked a place using Booking,com. Got to the town and google mapped its location, walked right through the town and was just leaving as google maps told me your destination is on the left. This was the left! It was cheap though! I had to walk a mile back and book another place.
 

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In addition to checking Gronze to see if an accommodation on booking.com is on or near the Camino you can also search the reviews on booking.com using the word "Camino." I have found many reviews that mention that the reviewer stayed there while on the Camino, and sometimes they will say whether or not it was close to the trail.
 
In addition to checking Gronze to see if an accommodation on booking.com is on or near the Camino you can also search the reviews on booking.com using the word "Camino." I have found many reviews that mention that the reviewer stayed there while on the Camino, and sometimes they will say whether or not it was close to the trail.
Yes, I noticed that in reviews, too, and it was encouraging.
I have been looking at Gronzi, alongside booking.com. Many of Gronzi's suggestions related to booking.com were already sold out. I'm sure that planning my Camino only three weeks before leaving contributes to that problem. Everything is sorted out now for my son and myself and complete; I feel good about my choices.
 
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@David61, I'm sure there are exceptions to all good stories; I just have not yet experienced any negatives using the services of booking com.
Chrissy, I am not criticising your choice or Booking.com. I used them again that very day to find elsewhere and used them many times thereafter. Google maps may have got it wrong, the address on Booking may have been wrong,who knows? I did look around but could not find a place that looked like it was a hostel and there were no pics on Booking to guide me. Plus I was hot, tired and fed up so gave up quite quickly.
 
Now, one bad review on Booking posted in spite can really impact a small family-run business. This on top of the charges to businesses.
The same holds true for Tripadvisor, Expedia, Priceline, yada yada...and let's not forget restaurant reviews, as well. Unfortunately reviews are what they are and here to stay, whether we like it or not...I'm sure you at least take a peek at them. We can believe everything we read, or take it as a grain of salt...reviews are not going away, whether some are fake, real, or the mood of the person at the time they write.
 
The same holds true for Tripadvisor, Expedia, Priceline, yada yada...and let's not forget restaurant reviews, as well. Unfortunately reviews are what they are and here to stay, whether we like it or not...I'm sure you at least take a peek at them. We can believe everything we read, or take it as a grain of salt...reviews are not going away, whether some are fake, real, or the mood of the person at the time they write.
Popular properties get a lot of reviews. The odd poor one won’t really impact the overall scores in any significant way.
 
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A comment above refers to such sites as being transparent.
That has not always been the case in the UK for such businesses where the market regulator has had issues with various aspects of these business models. This included scarcity warnings which this BBC article from 2019 refers to.
The article also has one hotelier stating that if a booking is cancelled he still has to pay commission.
No denying the convenience but I take everything on the Internet with an unhealthy dose of salt. As the saying goes - "If you're not paying for something then you're the product"
Doubtless all the concerns raised have been addressed.



A very interesting read.
In the end it is all about ethics! And support of ( local ) business.
 
Regarding availability so often; the one room left on our site message is there to trigger the "oh i need this last room response"!
However i booked months in advance and initially took those supposed last rooms several times!
Which in my mind at the time meant i was a lucky Pilgrim.

Only to find those same last room available messages every time i checked again for cheaper accommodation in the area right up until a few days before flying; so be aware of that!
Woody
Interestingly, having just been working on my upcoming Camino, many of my lodging choices said "only one room left". I wanted those particular properties, so I went ahead and booked. Out of curiosity I went back in to the property a few minutes later on several I'd booked and for my dates they all said "Sold Out"...because I'd gotten the last rooms/apts, whatever. As we all know, booking.com only gets a few of the properties' rooms; other similar websites get a portion of rooms as well.
 
A very interesting read.
In the end it is all about ethics! And support of ( local ) business.
I support local businesses where I live and although I no longer wing my caminos, I still support all of the restaurants, pharmacies, etc. along the way...why do you think I am I an unethical person?
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I try to buy from local businesses as their profits are more likely reinvested or spent locally.
Multinationals, especially the likes of Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Apple have avoided (ie legally) millions in tax through clever schemes with low tax Dutch and Irish subsidiaries or booking sales to Uk customers offshore, amongst other schemes.
 
For 2018 CF, we called the day before to book a bed or room. We'd extract the numbers from our guidebooks.
On my first camino in 2015 and again in 2016 I just walked until I'd "had enough" and stepped into an albergue for a bed; it was great. In 2017 I had three family members along and our guidebook was used to email the various properties the morning of ahead of time, and we always heard back in a timely fashion. In 2018 on the Le Puy with three friends we did similar, but usually had tourist offices call for us to book for the next day.
In 2019 on the Fisherman's Trail due to things I'd read about lack of accomodations, I secured everything ahead of time through booking.com. It worked like a well-oiled machine, prompting me to continue using that internet service.
That said, I am happy for many of you who are able and confident to book your overseas lodgings by phone, Whatsapp, or whatever...my hat's off to you.
 
OMG, what a godsend? (Or not)

I just plug my destination and dates into the app and I can source a place to stay for the next night or even later dates as I want... reserve it right then, no more stress about where to stay, given availability. Sometimes I can even cancel if I change my mind.

Recommended...

But... it comes with a price.

Sometimes booking says no availability, which may or may not be true. If there is ever a spot I want to stay from booking, but it is labeled as "no availability" then I call the place directly. Yah they hold rooms back, as they should, because our hopeful proprietors know they get better profit margins when they don't have to give booking.com its cut.

For Albergues, with just a bunk required, I think you usually end up spending like 3-5 Euros more for the bed when booking through booking.com than if you just showed up or called them directly.

For rooms though, sometimes the difference in price is eye opening. In May 2022 I was was checking in at a wonderful hotel when the nice lady at the hotel desk looked up my records... yah, I had been there twice before.

She said, "why didn't you just call us?" As she charged my card about 50 Euros. She then told me she would have charged me 35 if I didn't go through booking.

Doh! Lazy.

But at the same time? Easy.
At one albergue in the Meseta the price difference was 15 euros via booking.com vs 10 in cash. Never used it again, many albergue owners seem to despise booking.com more than customers do, and I hate booking.com from prior bad experiences personally.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Isn’t that the model for the entire “internet economy”? Everybody gets a slice of the pie, whether it’s their pie or not.
“Hey, you run a hotel? G’is 10% or you won’t appear on our “maps”; every review will be a bad one; you’re lucky it’s only 10% ‘cos we’ve got people to pay. Oh, and we’re doing you a favour.”
“ Believe and pay”.
Running a company myself that is highly dependent on visibility on the internet, I have a slightly different view on this. Google Ads, visibility in more specialised portals such as booking.com, Expedia or whatever, influencers advertising your products and whatever else is part of your marketing costs. And marketing costs have always been a major part of your sales costs – in particular when you sell to private customers – with the only exception when you had an at least regional monopoly (e.g. only hotel in town) . Just the means have changed but reaching potential customers has never been cheap.
What platforms such as booking.com charge for their service is actually little compared to when you sell physical goods. Take a pair of shoes that you buy in an actual shop on high street – in between the actual producer of the shoes and the end customer there are so many companies taking their share that you could argue if you are actually buying a pair of shoes or are you mainly feeding importing companies, logistic companies, marketing agencies, those who own the building/mall the shop is in, the shop itself and you name it ...

The only problem might be that Google and booking and some other have become monopolists themselves, so there is a lack of competition among them.
 

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