internet makes a fortune – so why is it leaving its bills to small hotels unpaid?

There is something wrong at

While its parent company has been making record profits – $1.3bn for the second quarter of 2023 alone – and its CEO and executives have been cashing in millions of dollars in shares this year, many of the people who helped make that fortune claim to have not been paid since July, some say longer.

Many accommodation partners from Australia to Europe to the Americas have faced silence from the company as they’ve chased payments for months while struggling to keep businesses afloat – particularly during the lucrative northern hemisphere peak summer season, when many guests were essentially staying free of charge, as hadn’t passed on payments.

You don’t need me to tell you the full impact of this. You only have to read the comments posted on social media and websites referencing the holiday booking site.

One of the most distressing stories is beneath a post about’s investment in AI and cutting-edge technology by the company’s highly remunerated CEO, Glenn Fogel, on his LinkedIn page.

Many partners have complained directly to the CEO about’s silence on late payments and staff’s lack of response to calls, emails and cases opened on the platform that are closed without being resolved.

“I am a widow raising a child on my own,” reads one post by a woman I have since confirmed is called Claudia Arnull. “Because l have not been paid properly since the end of June my credit history is ruined and all my savings have gone and l am now in so much debt there is nothing left to use. As of this moment all l have to feed my child is porridge.”

The post appears genuine – and is genuinely heartbreaking – and you would hope that it will be investigated by the company. After all, nobody knows exactly how many families have been left in similar positions, with stress over credit histories and depleted savings due to’s inability to pay partners.

We know that it’s likely that hundreds or thousands of partners have been affected. It could be many many more. We can’t know for sure, because despite dozens of emails to’s media relations and Booking Holding’s communications departments, questions as to how many partners were affected, were never answered.

The only spokesperson to respond to me, from their UK press office, emailed a standard reply. The official response blames payment issues on a technical glitch resulting from a planned two-week July maintenance intended to secure and enhance the travel reservations platform.

However, a market manager in south-east Asia admitted at a recent industry event that payment delays were caused by the installation of a new payment system. Staff salaries were also affected, she said, explaining it as a risk they had to take.

It’s hard for partners to get excited about new initiatives when hasn’t paid them in months, which means they can’t pay staff or utilities, get laundry done, buy ingredients for guest breakfasts or pay loans or investors and have to borrow from family and friends.

I’ve heard scores of heartbreaking stories in Facebook groups and online forums in recent months as I’ve connected with other accommodation partners and affiliate partners like myself to share experiences and tips to getting paid. My own three-month-long journey in chasing payments only ended last week after a partner shared direct emails for finance department heads. I was paid three days later without an explanation or an apology. has 90 million accommodation partners with lodgings listed on their platform. It’s worth noting that it’s not the big brand hotels or luxury resorts that have been affected – they take payments from guests and send commissions to It appears to be couples, families and individuals; the independent operators of smaller lodgings that might not have a credit card facility to accept payments, such as apartment rentals, cottages, villas, bed and breakfasts and rooms in homes. A British owner of one such property says she is owed £2,500 (A$4,759).

“What I cannot understand is why there has been zero public apology from the CEO of this organisation,” she told me. “Surely damage limitation and PR is important to them? Why no proper explanation as to why this continues to not be resolved? Why aren’t we getting an apology from the board?”

One partner, who rents out an apartment in the Canary Islands, described finally making headway in her months-long fight to get paid. On Sunday, she says, she received notice that June-September payments of €13,000 (A$21,458) would be paid in November. But why should she wait another month when Booking’s finance team can make manual payments in a few days? partners aren’t alone in their battle for payments, responses and explanations. On consumer site TrustPilot, has a “bad” one-star rating (out of five stars) from 48,872 reviewers. They complain about appalling customer service, staff who don’t appear to read emails or follow up and refunds promised but allegedly not paid.

Of course, none of these complaints are new – it’s just these problems have never appeared to have been as widespread.

It’s time that directed some of those billions in profits and so-called cutting-edge technology to fixing the long-term payment problems and communication issues. Glenn Fogel needs to explain what’s been going on and he needs to apologise.

Regulators around the globe need to hold the company to account, to immediately put pressure on the company to pay up now and pay on time and legislate for greater transparency and accountability. shouldn’t be able to continue to reap wealth from partners struggling to keep their accommodation open because the world’s No 1 travel site hasn’t paid them their earnings.


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