This is a true story.
3 years ago, we discussed with our friends, how we can celebrate New Year. We had an idea to rent a cottage with Russian Bath. The problem is, that it cost not even arm and leg, but the whole body. For example $1500.
Next year, we have chosen a location and agreed with a proprietor in October already. The decisive moment came in December when it was necessary to transfer money under the contract..
For some of us it seemed strange, that the price have increased compared to the last year. Besides, the price is composed of several parts (accommodation, food, banquet, entertainment). After spreading the total cost between the rest, the amount of interested people decreased once more. In short- fail. Again…
2019. It was the third attempt to realize our dream of celebration New Year in a country house. We decided that this time we invite close relatives. We get a cottage at first and only after "staking a place" invite guests. The rented house will be our New Year gift.
The first stage - initial booking on booking.com
I found a great option already at the end of July. Three nights for the party of 8 adults and 2 children from 30 December to 2 January on booking.com just for $135 and booked it. A screenshot of the confirmation attached.
A few days later, I received the following emails:
A little later, we talked on the phone with the owner. The conversation was unpleasant for both of us. He demanded we to cancel the booking. We didn’t want to refuse such a profitable option. In the end, we agreed that if he needs a cancellation, he should do it himself.
The Second Stage is overbooking (rebooking, substitution)
Seeing the situation, booking service called us. They advised us not to cancel nothing. Only in this case, they as an intermediary, are able to find an alternative of the same quality. They explained to us that this is called overbooking. In addition, if the other housing will be more expensive, they will pay the difference. They suggested us this option for 360$:
We agreed, certainly.
Only after we have confirmed a new booking booking.com itself, cancelled an old one. Certainly without a penalty, at least for us. It was the 20 of August.
The Third Stage - Double Overbooking on airbnb.ru
After 2 months, November 12, the administrator of this cottage contacts us. This conversation was more pleasant, but the same not effective. The administrator explained that they have to refuse us. The fee is too small for the cottage on Christmas season. They will better pay a penalty to booking.com and then will rent the house with a higher profit. She did not demand the cancellation of the booking. She promised, that will try to find another option for us within 48 hours, but warned that it would be a challenge, taking into account our budget.
I followed the link sent by service and made a reservation. By the way, discount referral link on the first booking was $30. Later I tried to make the same reservation without it and it was more expensive.
Two steps of payment:
|1 Part of payment:
|2 Part of payment:
|14 November - immediately after booking.
Online payment by card
|21 December - at night the money was withdrawn
automatically from the same card
The total payment was $510.42.
The Review of Small House in village for 510$ in details
30 December at 5.30 PM we were there
Our review with real photos -Review of Small House in village (the page can take a long time to load, because it contains many photos).
The Fourth Stage –money return promised by the service
2 of January. Returning from vacation, we wrote to Booking and attached electronic receipts from Airbnb, which were downloaded from the site in pdf format. The refund was two-step, like overbooking. At first, they paid the difference between «Small House in village» and «Usadba Sorochanskie ozera» -150$. Then the difference between «Sorochanskie ozera» and «Vozle Golubykh Ozior» - 193,24 €. The process of return took place through a secret link, clicking on which I wrote the number of a card on which I wanted to get the money. According to the terms, the transfer had to be carried out within 5 days, but in fact, it took only 2 days.
We paid 510.42$, booking returned us 368.86$ because of double overbooking. It means, that cottage with Bath for 4 days cost us only 141.56$, (150$ taking into account exchange rate).
The Conclusions we made after this trip:
- Vacation in a country house on New Year is very special !
- Booking on holiday dates should be done six months in advance.
- Booking.com is mega cool service! The company is reliable, attentive to client and honest. If you book, then book only on booking.com!
- Do not fall for the proprietor’s request to cancel your reservation, if you do not want to Booking will do it itself, when they find another suitable option.
- If you plan to pay the rent of a cottage jointly - take the money at once:)