More room for bespoke solutions between hotels and travelers in case of cancellations of bookings made through hotel booking websites
Hotel booking websites Booking and Expedia offer hotels more options to provide consumers with an alternative for cancelled bookings such as date changes or vouchers. Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), which is the trade association of the Dutch hospitality industry, had contacted the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) saying that hotel booking websites wrongfully accepted cancellations prompted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. According to the trade association, it made the financial problems for hotels worse, since they had to refund all cancelled bookings to their customers.
What is the problem?
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, many travelers have to cancel their accommodation bookings, because governments around the world have imposed travel restrictions. In their general terms and conditions, hotel booking websites Booking and Expedia have a ‘force majeure’ clause for accommodation bookings. Under this clause, travelers that had made ‘non-refundable’ bookings, too, are still able to get refunds. This may be advantageous to consumers, but it also poses a risk to the survival chances of several hotels.