Unless you have a very strong booking policy, you are bound to encounter such situations where the guest will negotiate about paying you a booking amount and paying the remaining rental on his arrival at your property. This is a dilemma which will even make the most experienced owner think for a couple of seconds before he decides whether to stick to his policy of full payment during booking or to take some percentage of the rental during booking and the rest on arrival. Taking the pros and cons of the situation where renters are reluctant to pay in full prior to arrival, here’s what you can do:
1. When the traveler has paid a booking amount, it’s an indication that he has liked your property. So convincing him to pay the full amount should not ideally require much effort.
2. It makes sense to stick to your policy of full payment during booking. Why I recommend full payment is because it does away with lot of hassles you might face otherwise. Always be firm on the policy of upfront payment of rental before arrival.
3. If the traveler has paid a small token amount, it could also be an indication that he is not sure about his plans. A last minute cancellation is the last thing you would want! Tell the traveler that you will not be able to block the dates unless he pays you the full rental, because if he cancels then you stand to lose business during these dates.
4. If you have given the right picture or details of your property and what a traveler can expect to find or get in terms of facilities/ amenities, the need to COME, SEE and DECIDE does not arise. So make sure you are able to convince the traveler that he will get what he has seen on the listing. Also delete old images of your property from time to time and upload new ones. This will give a more realistic picture of your property and thus will minimize complaints from guests and will have a good bearing on your guest reviews.
5. Although images show a particular property in good light, a traveler is reluctant to pay the full rental mainly because he is apprehensive about the ground reality. In such cases ask him what his doubts are and try to give him specific answers. Here it could be a good idea to ask him to read past guest reviews, if you have any, or connect him with a couple of happy guests who have earlier stayed in your property.
6. However, if the renter in question is a repeat customer and you had good experiences with him in his last stays, perhaps you can be lenient to let him pay the rest amount on arrival. However make sure that you take a non-refundable booking amount to cover the expenses incurred on preparing the house in case of cancellations.
7. In case it’s off-season and you have no inquiries for the particular dates, you can take two days rental and ask the guest to make the full payment for the rest of the days within 24 hours from the check-in time.
In a nutshell, for an owner it is a best practice to take the rental amount in full during booking. It’s the same common sense and simple logic that applies to any business – that one needs to pay first to use a product or avail a service. So why should the vacation rental business be any different?
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