3 Ways to Adjust Your Vacation Rental Policies to Get Ahead of Reservation Changes

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Vacation Rental Software

In today’s world, travelers are looking for hospitality brands that put their guests first—especially when things go wrong, and a guest needs to cancel. 

There are a few ways to adjust your vacation rental rates to accommodate reservation changes, all within your PMS tool or your OTA profile settings.  

Consider a “Relaxed” Cancelation Policy

Popular OTAs offer different levels of cancellation policies that allow guests a chance to cancel well in advance and still receive some of their money back. The most flexible of these options is called a “relaxed” policy. 

VRBO policy goes like this: Vacation rental guests can cancel up to 14 days before check-in for a 100% refund or between 14 and seven days before check-in for a 50% refund. 

Airbnb is even more flexible, stating that guests will receive a full refund if they cancel a full 24 hours before check-in.

A cancelation policy like this gives guests plenty of opportunities to cancel in the time leading up to a trip under less-than-extenuating circumstances. 

Adjust Vacation Rental Rates for Early Check-out

What happens if guests need to check out sooner than planned? If you’re following a relaxed cancelation policy, you might consider reimbursing guests for the nights remaining on the reservation. You’d still keep any fees and taxes from the reservation and simply pay back the nightly rate. You could also adjust the reservation fee by recalculating the new number of nights stayed and paying back the difference. 

Credit Rather Than Refund

For some short-term rental property managers, refunds are a last resort to reservation changes or cancellations. If you’d like to save refunds for the most extreme of circumstances, consider offering a rescheduling credit instead! These credits are a great way to retain guests while showing flexibility and compassion. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Explain the credit clearly. Add language to your cancellation policy about crediting for reservation changes rather than refunding, what exactly the credit entails (i.e. a credit is the nightly rate x the number of nights, not the entire cost of the trip), and how this credit can be applied (if there are any time limits on using the credit, if it can be put towards a different rental, etc.)

 

  • Communicate with your guests. Reach out to your guests via email (or SMS, if you have the capability and they agree to it) to check in regularly about their upcoming trip. Conversations with your guests encourage them to reach out with questions and concerns. An established rapport can make accommodating reservation changes or cancelations easier. 

 

  • Send date recommendations. If a reservation change or cancelation occurs, it’s a good idea to know your calendar so you can quickly offer alternative dates. You can send these in an email or offer to rebook their stay over the phone.

 

Looking to make these adjustments in LiveRez? Reach out to one of our experts today to learn how to accommodate rate changes due to cancellations now! 

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