This is the last thing you would want to happen and usually owners face this when there are long weekends or events/ festivals coming up at their location. As an owner you are unable to decide whom to rent out the property to – they all seem to be genuine inquirers and on the first screening seem fit for your property.
However because you have a couple of inquiries at hand, you need to choose carefully, so that you are booked for a longer period of time and most importantly you rent out to the right group or guests. Here are some of the pointers to help you decide:
HOW LONG ARE THEY RENTING: This should be more or less a deciding factor. Since your main motive is to see that your vacation home is booked for the more days, the traveler who is inquiring for more days should be given priority.
ARE THEY NEW INQUIRERS OR RETURNING GUESTS: It makes sense to rent out to returning guests with whom you had good experience. The reason being you know them well and you do not need to spend time in screening them. Given the loyalty and potential of future business it makes sense to rent out to a returning guest – a returning client means many more future bookings. Having said that, make sure that their period of stay is not too short compared to that of a new inquirer.
POSSIBILITY OF RENTING TO MULTIPLE GUESTS SIMULTANEOUS: Ideally you rent out your entire holiday home to a particular group irrespective of the number of guests. But during periods where you receive multiple guest inquiries, you can instead rent out rooms and make adjustments in the tariff rates accordingly. However if you decide to do so, make sure that your property is equipped to host multiple guest groups. Bedrooms should have enough privacy, and the common areas should be spacious enough to allow guests to come and go without having to bump against each other. It is preferable for properties where a caretaker and a cook are available.
WHO PAID FIRST: Ultimately it’s a business and you need to be professional and tell the travelers the exact situation (that you have received multiple inquires for the dates). Politely tell them your policy is that the first person to commit to a reservation (make the payment and sign the rental agreement), gets the booking.
TRY TO HELP THE INQUIRERS: So, ultimately you have picked a guest and the payment has been received! Now what do you do with the other inquirers? The fact that they had inquired about your property, go to show that they had loved your property. So instead of just saying that you will not be able to accommodate them, try to help them by giving some references of any other vacation rentals near your location. I still remember I had once inquired about a homestay, but it was unavailable because it was being renovated during that time. However, the owner gave me the contact details of another homestay nearby, where we ultimately stayed. He even called us on our arrival date to inquire whether we liked the place and whether we were comfortable enough. Not to be surprised, we actually made a trip back to stay in his homestay a year later. So it goes to show, that the way you handle a particularly inquiry can actually have long-term benefits.