Booking.com recently notified accommodation partners that they will no longer provide us with the email addresses of our guests.
Emails will be masked so that correspondence between the hostel and the guest is only possible through Booking’s own extranet.
One of the biggest challenges currently facing the e-commerce industry is the ever-evolving threat posed by online criminals attempting to access and exploit the personal data of both individuals and companies. Because of the digital nature of our business, we are obliged to constantly innovate in order to protect you and our customers. As we continue to evaluate and enhance the security of our platform, we always do our utmost to create seamless, easy-to-use solutions for both partners and consumers.
As part of our ongoing efforts to update the measures already in place, we would like to highlight two features we are releasing to facilitate even more secure and convenient communication with your Booking .com guests.
Anonymous email addresses
As of this week, guest email addresses will be made anonymous in order to provide an extra level of security. Your email address will also be protected in the same way. You can continue to send and receive emails to guests as you normally would. The only difference is that your identity, as well as that of your guests, will be additionally protected.
Direct communication with guests via your Extranet
Your Extranet is the most secure environment for you to communicate directly with guests. We’ve added visible alerts on your homepage, and have enabled you to quickly respond and/or proactively send messages to guests anywhere their booking information shows up. All you have to do is select the individual reservation, and respond or send your message. A convenient click of a button is all it takes.
Here are some additional tips to keep your business safe online:
- Ensure that your anti-virus software and spyware programs are up to date.
- Check for the padlock in the address bar of your browser. This indicates that you are browsing on a secure site. You can click on this padlock to verify the identity of the ‘owner’ of the site. Always check for this on your Extranet before logging in.
- Avoid sending sensitive information via email, including payment details for you or your guests. Use your Extranet instead.
- Never provide your passwords by email or over the telephone to anyone, not even us.
- Be careful about opening attachments, especially .exe and .zip files. These can potentially contain malicious viruses.
Thank you for your partnership, and for joining us in our mission to create a safe environment for you and our joint customers!
With kind regards,
Gillian Tans, President and COO
So in addition to masking the guest’s email address, they will mask ours as well. I feel much safer knowing that guests won't have access to our direct email address anymore. :rolleyes: This will allow Booking to prevent hostels from telling guests to cancel their deposit-free booking with free cancelation in order to book directly at a lower price, all under the guise of a “safety precaution." Clever.
MyAllocator followed the announcement with their own email to let us know that the addresses will be blocked through the channel manager as well, so we can’t get them from MA either:
Going forward, all Booking .com bookings downloaded through Myallocator will contain masked guest email addresses. This is a planned feature, and Booking .com already notified all properties regarding the change via email. When viewing bookings in Myallocator originating from Booking .com, only this anonymous, temporary email address displays. Old bookings are not affected.
Please contact your Booking .com Market Manager with any questions or concerns related to this change.
Based on some experimentation from the hostel community, it seems that email attachments that are sent to guests through Booking's extranet do not go through.
Hostels suggested an option for getting email information directly from the guests:
Maybe you can send messages to each guest saying something like: "Fill out the form at [link] to recieve our free guide to planning your trip to ___." The form would contain fields: name, email, booking number. When they submit the form, they get redirected to a short PDF document with travel tips. You would at least get the emails fo some guests. Even if Booking looks for email addresses in the text, they might not see the link.
Email links do go through, according to reports. Another option is to ask every guest for a valid email address at check-in.
The masked addresses are temporary, but I am not sure how long they will remain valid after the scheduled arrival date. If someone else knows this, your input would be greatly appreciated.