Peak season is just getting started for many of our accommodation partners. To deliver a frictionless experience during their busiest time of the year, we’ll be paying particular attention to reservation calls. In fact, we’re aiming to achieve a 100% success rate for all of our connectivity partners. To do that, we’re working on having all reservation data correctly synced between our platforms.
While we’re working on these improvements to the Reservations API, here are a few tips for seamless reservation retrieval this summer:
1. Use OTA protocol rather than B.XML
The OTA protocol has more safeguards, and more features in general.
2. Let us know when you’re doing maintenance
We understand that sometimes issues do occur, and you’ll need to work hard to get them fixed.
When you’re doing maintenance, please let us know as soon as you can. Whenever a reservation is not picked up and acknowledged after 30 minutes, we’ll automatically send an email to your properties. On top of that, our systems will no longer be in sync, which can end up causing more problems for guests and properties.
Whenever you have planned outages, use the ‘Scheduled Outage Hold’ feature to temporarily disable the automatic email to your properties. To schedule an outage, log in to your Provider Portal, click on your company name in the top-right corner and select ‘Company settings’. At the bottom of the menu, you’ll find the ‘Scheduled Outage Hold’ feature.
Please make sure you do this at least 24 hours before your outage starts. It’s also important that you let your Booking.com Partner Business Manager know about your upcoming outages as well.
3. Set up a short periodic pull time
We recommend that you set a periodic pull time of under one minute. If possible, try to set the pull time at less than 30 seconds. This will help you score higher in the Connectivity Partner Programme.
For more information, have a look at our implementation guide.
4. Retrieve queued reservations and modifications by machine account
We strongly advise retrieving all your queued new reservations and modifications by machine account, rather than by ‘hotel_id’. Querying reservations using ‘hotel_id’ is likely to create service interruptions, out-of-sync data and issues for both guests and properties.
You can find more information on machine accounts in your Provider Portal. Just log in and click on ‘Administration’ in the top-right corner, then select ‘Machine Accounts’.
5. Avoid modification issues with newly onboarded properties
When you onboard new properties, sometimes they’ll have upcoming reservations that were made before they started working with your platform.
To import all the relevant information for these reservations, use the ‘reservationssummary’ feature. That way, any time a guest modifies a reservation that was made before the property connected to your system, the change will be recognised.
For more information on the ‘reservationssummary’ feature, have a look at our guide.
6. Only use ‘last_change’ for outages
We’ve noticed that some of our partners use the ‘last_change’ feature for regular periodic pulls. This increases the risk of new reservations not being processed, and of acknowledgement not being sent.
That’s because ‘last_change’ contains a lot of data that’s already been processed. By default, our API only selects messages that have not yet been delivered, so you shouldn’t need ‘last_change’ in normal circumstances.
Generally, connectivity providers should download and store reservation data, so there should be no need to refresh reservations with extra queries.
Instead, you should use ‘last_change’ only when there’s been an outage, either on our side or yours. In that case, set the time stamp to a time around the beginning of the outage, or up to 30 minutes beforehand.
For example, if a server failure causes loss of reservation data including the booking numbers (reservation IDs), you could use ‘last_change’ to retrieve those booking numbers. Or, as a back-up option, you can use ‘last_change’ once or twice per day to make sure all your reservations have been correctly imported.
If you have any questions about how to use ‘last_change’, feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com.
7. Always send an acknowledge message
It’s important that you send an OTA acknowledge message every time a reservation is retrieved. If we don’t receive an acknowledge message, we’ll assume that you haven’t shared our initial reservation message with the accommodation partner.
For more information, have a look at our article on acknowledge messages.
Get detailed information about errors and warnings
If you need extra information about errors and warnings, you can activate the ‘Detailed exceptions response’ feature. With this feature, every time you get an error or warning, you’ll get a response with the error code, error details (room ID, rate ID, etc.) and a clearer explanation.
To activate this feature, log in to your Provider Portal, click on ‘Administration’ in the top-right corner and select ‘Feature Management’. There, you’ll find the option to turn on ‘detailed_exceptions_response’.