28 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2020 3:42 PM by calicalling RSS

    The data so far....

    u0999 Premier Contributor

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      My 4 bd, Percentage of rents booked by source, for 2020

        • Re: The data so far....
          bonesxxx Active Contributor

          u0999 who built your website?  And would you mind posting a link to it?  Or PM-ing it to me?

           

          It's on my list of things to do... I have one but it's a free Worpress site that is only so-so...

           

          H'Owl at the moon farm – Charlottesville's premier place to unplug and unwind

          • Re: The data so far....
            hunterhaus Contributor

            Congrats on all the direct website bookings!  what's your marketplace?

             

            Do you feel any riskier booking directly through your website, in terms of insurance, damage claims, etc?  Just wondering.

            I feel like HA and other sites have always provided me some (probably false) sense of security about these matters.

              • Re: The data so far....
                u0999 Premier Contributor

                > Do you feel any riskier booking directly through your website, in terms of insurance, damage claims, etc?  Just wondering.

                • No, I do not. Just the opposite. With direct bookings I have all the contact info upfornt.
                • I require e-signed dental agreement (part of booking check-out process) and government issued ID presented to ME (not a 3rd party site).
                • I can collect required info and I can make renters initial important conditions during check out (such as, that they understand cancellation policy, no-pets policy, minimum age requirement etc. they must initial each to proceed to booking).
                • My CC processor verifies credit card right away and I see last 4 of CC as well as their billing address.
                • Unlike a 3rd party site that can refund my money just because renter called and said that his 3rd cousin's 2nd ex wife's uncle died and he needs to cancel , I control and enforce my cancellation and refund policy.
                • I choose which CC and forms of payment i accept. etc etc.
                • I use Ownerrez so there are options for travel insurance, damage insurance (where, unlike vrbo's CSA, the OWNER is named insured and renter does not even need to be involved in damage claims). (I do not use it, I have traditional refundable deposit but some people do) .

                > I feel like HA and other sites have always provided me some (probably false) sense of security about these matters.

                Yep, the sense of security is mostly false. The big sites are good at implying that there is added security without providing any written guarantees that you can hold them to.

                  • Re: The data so far....
                    madijae Contributor

                    Can I ask how potential guests pay you. Do you use internet banking, or paypal? If by credit card, how does that work? Sorry for dumb questions, I am not at all techie but am eager to learn, and have kids who will be able to build me a website!

                      • Re: The data so far....
                        wildiris Senior Contributor

                        I have my direct-book and repeat guests pay by check.  Yes, some people think it's outmoded, but it works well for me.  Guests pay half at the time the reservation is made and the remaining half 60 days before the rental begins.  There's no risk of a chargeback and I don't have to pay a credit card fee.  Guests who are not from North America can pay via PayPal, but they pay the Pay Pal fee.  In my market, rentals book months in advance, so checks work.  If you're in a market where a lot of bookings are made less than 30 days before the rental, checks are not a good option.

                        • Re: The data so far....
                          green_mango Active Contributor

                          I accept credit card payments via Square - I use their online/email invoice option instead of the white square card reader since I do it all online.  Very easy!

                          • Re: The data so far....
                            u0999 Premier Contributor

                            Booking widgets are integrated with Stripe payment processor and PayPal. When checking out, guest has options to self select: credit cards (I choose which ones I accept), Paypal, or pay me by PopMoney, Zelle or Venmo . They can also send a check if booking is 35 days or more out (if it is less, check choice is not presented). The reservation software can be set up to add surcharge (or discount) based on payment method they chose. Such as, CC and Paypal carry a surcharge (allowable in my state). If paying by Venmo, Zelle, Popmoney or check there is no surcharge. So it is their choice. I used to offer discount if paid by Zelle, Venmo, Popmoney or check, and almost no one took it. Now since I added surcharge to CC and Paypal, I am getting more and more Venmo and Check payments. Win-win.

                            if it is a credit card payment, it is instant and they get a transaction receipt (all automated) immediately and next payment is scheduled on the balance due date. 

                            If they choose other means of payment , they will get reminders 10, 5 and day of balance due.

                            is is ALL AUTOMATED.

                            The only manual step I need to do is if they paid by venmo, zelle, popmoney or check, is to "record" payment in the system, and it sends them a transaction receipt and updates outstanding balance. Bu that takes seconds.

                          • Re: The data so far....
                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                            Congratulations and I would love to know how you are getting your website out there ahead of the competition?

                          • Re: The data so far....
                            green_mango Active Contributor

                            hunterhaus - I also do a lot of direct bookings.  I'm in CA's Sierra Nevada mountains and get a fair amount of repeat guests who always #bookdirect, but a growing number of new guests are as well. 

                             

                            I have homeowner's insurance that includes short term rentals.  Did you know that VRBO's insurance coverage is liability only?  If a guest burns down your house and you only have regular homeowner's insurance you are not covered and you risk having your homeowner's policy deny the claim due to commercial activity. If the flames damage your neighbor's house, then VRBO's coverage will help your neighbor - but not you. Airbnb has a $1M "host guarantee" but I've read enough info online to know that you get what you pay for (which is not much because it's "free") - owners have had to sue Airbnb for damages caused by guests and not covered by their host guarantee.

                             

                            With my property management software I purchase a small "property damage protection policy" for each booking - very similar to the CSA damage policy sold by VRBO, except that the cost is less for an equal amount of coverage and the claims process is not reliant on the guest agreeing to damages. 

                             

                            With #bookdirect I don't have to worry about a 3rd party overriding my cancellation policy and refunding a guest for "extenuating circumstances"

                             

                            I also don't have to worry about a guest being double refunded their security deposit, or being accidentally refunded their 2nd payment.  I also don't have to cross my fingers that their "early payout" will arrive before their stay.  I use Square & the funds are transferred either same day or next day.  If I do have to refund for any reason, it's very easy and much faster for the guest than refunding through VRBO's payment system.  I can also accept or decline any booking that I'd like, without fear of being dinged in metrics and rank.

                             

                            I get a signed rental agreement and ID from all guests, no matter which platform they come from, so I'm happy to save them some money and have them #bookdirect - then they can spend more on their vacation - even an extra night!

                              • Re: The data so far....
                                hunterhaus Contributor

                                Thank you green_mango and u0999, you both make great points.

                                My current insurance policy does cover short term rentals so I'm comfortable in that aspect, but have always felt more comfortable that there's this phantom "$1mm guarantee".  I need to read up more on it.

                                 

                                I think I'll work on my own direct-booking website after the issues I've been having with payment at HA, I just feel like most travellers hop oh HA or AirBnB and just search for houses there, not by googling 'west texas ranch vacation rental' and seeing what pops up.  But maybe I'm wrong!

                                  • Re: The data so far....
                                    green_mango Active Contributor

                                    hunterhaus I don't think people find my site by googling "Sierra Nevada Vacation Rental" (all the top matches are paid ads) - instead I am pinned on google maps, and I have a unique home name, so I am often found on a listing site, and then as guests compare options and look on different sites to compare fees and prices sometimes they take the extra step to google my home name which brings my site right up.  I am happy to book a home wherever the guest would like - and so if they inquire through VRBO, then I book them through VRBO.  However, I've never had a repeat guest not book their next stay directly with me.

                                     

                                    Here's the VRBO $1M policy:

                                    https://help.vrbo.com/articles/What-is-the-1M-Liability-Insurance

                                     

                                    What is the $1M Liability Insurance?

                                    $1M Liability Insurance provides owners and property managers with liability protection for all stays processed online through the HomeAway checkout; giving you $1,000,000 in primary liability coverage no matter what policy you currently have — at no additional cost to you.

                                     

                                    This means that if you don’t already have a liability policy, this policy responds first if someone makes a claim against you. If you already have a liability policy for your vacation rental, then consider this to be coverage additional to what you have. It will respond at the same time as your current policy and both policies will contribute if a claim is made against you.

                                     


                                    How you're protected:

                                     

                                    Traveler injury claims made against you - If a traveler is accidentally injured while staying in your rental property, this program may provide coverage for claims made against you.

                                     

                                    Property damage claims made against you - If a traveler accidentally damages the property of a third party (such as a neighbor) while staying in your rental property that third party may sue you for that damage, this program may provide coverage for these types of claims.

                                     

                                    Looking ahead - HomeAway will continue to look at options to further protect owners against the unexpected challenges involved with managing a vacation rental. Please note, $1M Liability Insurance does not cover damage caused by a traveler to your own property.

                                    • Re: The data so far....
                                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                                      I will bet you $5 that to get anything out of that $1M policy, you will need an act of Congress or at the very least, a very good lawyer and a LOT of time and persistence, if something were to happen. Do you really think they will just pay it out, just like that? Then I have a bridge somewhere No offense!

                                • Re: The data so far....
                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                  My 3 bd

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                                  • Re: The data so far....
                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                    RVL stat.png

                                    My 5 bd. Airbnb was unheard of 3 years ago especially for larger cabins. Now neck in neck. What happened to you vrbo, it used to be 85% of my bookings....

                                      • Re: The data so far....
                                        plumeria Contributor

                                        Wow! VRBO losing a lot of business! Maybe from all the "glitches". How do you like Airbnb? I'm a newbie so just curious about the comparison.

                                          • Re: The data so far....
                                            u0999 Premier Contributor

                                            I do not really like airbnb but it brings bookings to my surprise.

                                            • Re: The data so far....
                                              hunterhaus Contributor

                                              I haven't had any such issues on Airbnb.

                                              It's also dependent on ur property and market.  My property is relatively expensive and in a ski area, so I attract mostly families.  If you're renting a room in a city you're probably going to attract some interesting characters on Airbnb.

                                              But for my personal situation Airbnb is fine, their CS is easy to get in touch with and they follow up making sure everything is OK.  I've literally never had an issue on their site.

                                                • Re: The data so far....
                                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                  I have 3, 4 and 5 bd cabins in the Smoky Mountains, so no rooms in the city. yes CS seems much better. It is just every now and then I get an Airbnb renter with a 'tude...Like my brand new 5 bd custom log home was not nice enough for them they kept nitpicking everything to death. Another (just had it) gave me a 4*  and said in private feedback that house "could be cleaner" which is ironic because I just had it deep cleaned when a crew of 3 people takes 2 days, and cleans everything top to bottom. I guess that was not clean enough. They pay per-person same or less as in some 3 star motel but expect everything to be beyond Ritz.  Granted it happens with other platforms, but with airbnb more. I really never know what to expect with their clientele so I usually prepare for the worst.

                                                    • Re: The data so far....
                                                      plumeria Contributor

                                                      "with airbnb more. I really never know what to expect with their clientele so I usually prepare for the worst."  Thank you for your honesty! This was my experience both times with Airbnb!  I don't bother with Airbnb anymore, it's not worth the headaches! It just makes me push harder to get more creative with advertising elsewhere.

                                              • Re: The data so far....
                                                timthek Active Contributor

                                                Their $1m coverage is worthless.  It covers damage the guest does to a THIRD PARTY'S property. Not yours. So if they burn down the neighbors house it is covered but if they burn down yours....sorry. And, it "may" cover you if they guest gets injured on your property.  Oh thanks. I always look for insurance policies that MAY cover me.

                                                • Re: The data so far....
                                                  calicalling Active Contributor

                                                  Way to go! I'm a total believer in OwnerRez, and my direct books have been way higher using them than other services I've used in the past. (Not sure if that's primarily due to #bookdirect, general markets trends, or that I've been at it a while, or because OR is awesome... probably a little of all of it ... )

                                                   

                                                  Curious to know if these are income data or #s of bookings?

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