23 Replies Latest reply: Aug 5, 2012 12:55 PM by westie RSS

    More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges

    New Member

      More Transparency/Search Options needed on  rental heating charges

       

       

      Here's another idea for the search options to have.

       

       

      I often take breaks in the winter in southern europe, where heating costs in many properties are billed separately.

       

      Most charge by usage or as I prefer  with a single flat rate fee or all inclusive rate.

       

      Can we have more transparency...I mean how the hell does anyone deal with the energy usage of a property that you've never been too before?

       

      The only way for clients like me to be comfortable would be for a flat rate option to be available when searching to see if any additional heating costs will be added on.

       

      I certainly never book winter stays with additional heating costs being on a per usage charge...It allows for far to many possible abuses

       

      So for example potential renters would again not be trailing through the small print of an advert looking for any "HIDDEN COSTS"

       

      So you could have a tick search for "Any additional costs/heating costs", followed by an additional sub  search  for either "Single charge" or "Based on usage"

       

      Thus the holiday maker has  all the information fast without again wasting their time.

       

      Its all about confidence building. If holiday search web sites want our traffic then they must start offering search options that increase transparency. At the same time  decrease the hiding options for  the more scrupulous  owners  to camouflage  actual final rates and charges.

       

      The winners here, will always be owners who want their clients to have a great stay and holiday makers that don’t want to be stung with any heating surprises.

       

      Regards

       

      Pool Guy

        • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
          New Member

          I agree with you about the heating costs and the same applies to non optional costs such as cleaning charges.

           

          My rental rates are all inclusive and it would be much better for renters if they could immediately see the all inclusive rate for properties. It also means all owners would be on a level playing field regarding rental rates too.

          • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
            New Member

            Against my better judgement I rented my property out for 3 nights over the Christmas holidays. The 10 guest used 350€ of oil central heating They altered the timer and must have had it running 24 hours a day & turned up to maximum.They also turned the electric hot water full blast day and night. and they left the house filthy.This is why central heating is metered after a fixed amount that may be included in the price.I rent out my beautiful manoir to keep up the maintenance so is no good running at a loss!

              • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                New Member

                Hi Onion.

                 

                I'm sorry to hear that. I suppose thats the flip side to having  bad renters....You should have the thermostat removed and re positioned in the cellar or a locked room. Setting it to 21 degrees centigrade and on a 8-9 hour timer would be fair enough....but if the weather is bad and guests end up staying in that effectively means that the house is unheated for the other 15 or 16 hours.

                 

                Cad, your right as well..I would feel far more confident if Homeaway only took advertising  from properties that are willing to have heating  included in the advertised total weekly fee as well as anything else that would be considered an additional charge such as water, linen and cleaning.

                 

                I have been told by many owners that because many  competitors do not add all their "additional costs"  until you've looked through the small print... these other properties appear up the search engine list  as being cheaper (when choosing the option to list properties from low to high),when in all truths they are not.

                 

                It would be good for both sides if only total prices for properties were advertised. "Good" Owners wouldn't feel the need to follow suite with “Bad” advertisers that do not clearly  state a total price. The final total price then increases because of the need to include all the hidden extras.

                 

                And renters would then see the real cost and not be wasting time going through the small print trying to see what the total cost for each property should  be.

                 

                I think at this current stage until Homeaway takes  a direct decision to either offer the above search engine options or  only  take advertising from those that are prepared to offer a total weekly price, it will be up to the holiday makers to make the final decision  and waste more time double checking the above.

              • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                New Member

                I don't think you can please everybody!

                 

                However it's really not possible to have an all inclusive rate for winter heating. I rent out to Northern Europeans in the winter and charge extra for electric usage, my houses have hot/cold air con which is very efficient and a lot lower than the Uk. Most months its between 38 and 65 euros, however have had over 100 euros!

                 

                I allow renters to open the bills if they want, if not I'll email to them.

                 

                I want repeat renters its not about stinging renters its about being fair on both sides.

                • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                  New Member

                  Until this year I have been with Visit England (The Tourist Board) who do not allow additional heating costs- everything muct be included in the rental price.  So many times has the heaing been on full, all windows open and guests gone out!  However rough with the smooth- it's not often used in the Summer when we are (normally except this year) busiest and rental prices highest so swings and roundabouts really.

                  • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                    New Member

                    A real mxture here in terms of replies.

                     

                    Thanks for everyones different perspectives.

                     

                    Lets see if Holiday rentals adopts any of the ideas that have been put forward.

                     

                    Regards

                    • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                      New Member

                      I rent out my apartment in Spain and don't have access to my electric meter so I don't actually have the option of charging guests seperately for the electricity they use.

                      I've just received an electric bill for 140 euros for one weeks rental which is 100 euros more than usual so my renters must have had the underfloor heating and air conditioning on at the same time!

                      I can see that where possible charging guests for their consumption would encourage them to be more careful and economical. On the other hand when I rented a property abroad I didn't like the thought of being charged seperately for the electric used since I had no way of knowing what the final bill would be. In the event the owner didn't charge me anything for the electric I used. It's a tricky one, how can you encourage guests to be sensible with their consumption?

                      In winter the underfloor heating costs a fortune to run but guests expect cheaper rental rates. I think I will have to disable the underfloor heating and just use the aircon for heating in the future, what else can you do?

                      • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                        New Member

                        You can charge against meter or can attend a flat rate price... Both are conventional. Many of the owner of vacation rental properties charges against meter as this would be for charging appropriate amount.

                         

                         

                         

                        • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                          New Member

                          After guests staying for 14 nights used (abused!!) the air-conditioning for 24hrs non-stop (even with patio doors and windows open - as discovered by by management company when they went to delivery fresh linen and towels) we invested in a coin-operated meter.  We include 9hrs of air-con/heating per day/night included in the rental price and the meter is preloaded before the guests arrive. It is explained to them how the system works, and guests can see for themselves how much they have used and how much they have left on the meter clock.   If guests wish to have more than this when the meter runs out then they can insert 1Euro which will give them 3hrs extra useage.  We do explain the system and why we are doing it in our booking contract and we haven't had anyone not book because of it.  If fact we have had very good feedback.   Many other owners on the same complex in Spain have now installed this system as it works so well.

                          • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                            New Member

                            I've a nice apartment in Spain and I too suffered a couple of massive electric bills caused by guests leaving aircon permamently. I've had a meter fitted purely to cover aircon useage.I charge the same rate I'm charged for it. One guest commented that the aircon was so expensive they  "couldn't afford to have it on all the time!" Presumable if it was still free, they would have had it on all the time.

                             

                            Therefore a meter is saving me money by stopping guests abusing my hospitality and also the coins in the meter help towards my costs.

                             

                            It is unreasonable to expect that considerate guests subsidize inconsiderate guests and stupid, an an owner, to allow your guests unlimited access to your resources. Would you leave a full drinks cabinet and say "Help yourself, if it runs out I'll buy you some more!". Why be so generous with your power supply?

                            • Re: More Transparency/Search Options needed on rental heating charges
                              tansy Active Contributor

                              Well, we are in Normandy France - the prices we quote are inclusive of heating & logs...however we expect and we do expect our guests to run the wood burner as the main heat source...the electric rdiators are the ambient heat and the wood burner chucks the heat out. This is how we operate here - no gas & no oil fired - we are electric & wood.

                               

                              Naturally we will show everyone how it works and how to balance it all...but if the guest is not prepared to do this then we say at the outset this is not the place for you - we are NOT flick of the switch here...