In a video with over 486,000 views, TikTok user @straightouttawhoville contrasts the images that the hotel put on its Booking.com listing with the hotel itself.
While the hotel’s images show a pristine room with a double bed and bunk beds, the room she received appeared nothing like the photos and had numerous issues. For example, the door did not lock in her room and the key did not work. The TikToker claims that none of the doors on her floor had functioning locks. Additionally, the room had garbage and stains throughout.
After the TikToker and her boyfriend checked out of the hotel, she says that she contacted Booking.com for a refund. The representative allegedly told the TikToker that the hotel claimed the couple never checked in.
@straightouttawhoville lets try this again. Booking.com GIVE ME MY REFUNDD ! the hotel is LYING. #bookingcom #hotel #travel #travelhorrorstory #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound – StraightOuttaWhoville
In response, the TikToker countered with a recording of the couple checking out of the hotel. The representative allegedly responded that the hotel had low ratings and that the TikToker “should have read the ratings.”
“I told them, ‘Yeah, I know the ratings weren’t good, we weren’t going to be in a mansion—but the door should at least lock!’” the TikToker says in the clip.
In the end, the TikToker says they were unable to receive a refund from the hotel or Booking.com.
The image shown in the beginning of the video appears to be taken from Berlin’s Ootel.com, which is still listed on Booking.com. The hotel has an average rating of 3.8, which the site notes is “poor.” Multiple users in reviews share the TikToker’s complaint that the images shown on the site do not match with the actual rooms guests are given.
“I’ve always had a good experience with booking.com,” the TikToker wrote in a comment. “That’s why I can’t believe that they’re allowing a scam hotel on their site. The photos were fake.”
At first, some users reiterated that the TikToker should have read the reviews before booking.
“That why you need to read the reviews,” wrote a user.
“I always booked at Booking. Com . You should check the stars and feedbacks before you book,” echoed another. “Simple!”
“I use booking to every trip we make and haven’t be disappointed, also read reviews and checking how many stars is important,” stated a third.
However, others shared issues they faced while using the site.
“Booked at a 5 star they took our money but never made the booking,” claimed a user.
“Literally having the same issue,” shared a second. “4 months on still fighting for a refund.”
“Something like this happened to me also with booking + it was ground floor and the window did not lock,” alleged a further TikToker. “Zero help from their side.”
In response to comments saying she should have read the reviews, the TikToker later posted a follow-up video.
@straightouttawhoville #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen #travelhorrorstory #hotel #hotelnightmare #bookingcom #travelnightmare #travelhorrorstories #storytime #travelstory #travelhorrorstorytime ♬ original sound – StraightOuttaWhoville
In this video, the TikToker claims that Booking.com individually reviews every hotel on their site, so “even if the reviews are bad, I know that they’ve reviewed it.” She says that this knowledge had previously led her to believe that every hotel on the site met a certain measure of quality.
She further speculates that the photos were not taken at the hotel and that the broken doors came from a possible police raid on the building. The Daily Dot could not find any evidence of a police raid on the hotel.
The TikToker appears to be under the misapprehension that Booking.com personally verifies every single listing on their site. As several commenters noted, this appears to be incorrect.
“As a travel consultant in b2b, no dear. Booking.com don’t review these properties. Its a white label portal,” explained a commenter.
“….booking.com categorically does not individually review every listing. This is patently false. Read the reviews,” declared an additional commenter.
The Daily Dot reached out to Booking.com via email and @straightouttawhoville via TikTok comment.