One of the most frustrating holiday rental management issues to deal with is last minute cancellations. When bookings are cancelled a day or two before guests were scheduled to arrive, it means that it is often harder to find a replacement. In low season, when bookings are not at peak, this can be even more frustrating.
How do you handle last minute cancellations, or even cancellations that are done in good time? Keep reading to get our holiday rental management tips on dealing with cancelled bookings.
Holiday Rental Management Tips for Last Minute Cancellations
The good news is that professional holiday rental management makes it far easier to manage bookings as well as day to day management, marketing and guest concierge. A good manager will ensure that there are policies in place to protect you and your guests. Some important things to keep in mind to avoid empty rentals include the following:
- Make sure that you have a cancellation policy. Airbnb offers three different choices for how you want to deal with cancelled bookings. The flexible policy offers a full refund 1 day prior to arrival, excluding fees. The moderate policy offers a full refund 5 days prior to arrival, excluding fees. Finally, the strict policy offers 50% refund up to 1 week prior to arrival, with the exception of fees. Whether you list your property on Airbnb, another booking site, a few booking sites or even independently, it is essential that you have some sort of policy in place that determines whether refunds are given.
- Be consistent, but keep an open mind. Obviously, there may be circumstances that are completely outside of your guests’ control. As such, it is important to have a consistent policy that applies to most cancellations that fall within the range of guests changing their plans at the last minute. If there is a genuine reason for bookings to be cancelled, and guests can provide documented proof that they had good reason to cancel, you may want to consider a refund. For example, if your guests were in a car accident or some other disaster struck, you would not want to penalise a cancelled booking. If your guests simply decided to choose another rental a day before they were meant to arrive, it is a whole other story.
- Airbnb can cancel bookings for a number of reasons. These reasons include properties that were not as advertised in listings, properties that are deemed unsafe, animals that were not disclosed in listings, properties that cannot be accessed by guests, and properties that are unclean. When this happens, Airbnb cancels the booking and refunds the guest fully.
- It is good to have a policy on how guests will be refunded if you cancel. When a host cancels, the situation can be just as frustrating, especially if it leaves guests stranded in a new country without anywhere to stay. Unless you have a very good reason to cancel, that involves wrongdoing on the guest’s part, you will likely need to refund your guest fully if you cancel, unless you have a policy that outlines host cancellation.