70 Replies Latest reply: Aug 27, 2019 1:27 PM by koko RSS

    Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?

    amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

      Hi Everyone!

       

      Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property? These partners did - here's what they had to say. Ready to give it a try yourself? Log into your dashboard and enable it now - you can switch back any time!

       

       

       

       

      What are your experiences with Instant Booking?

       

      Thank you,

       

      Amanda | HomeAway Marketing Manager

        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
          feibus Senior Contributor

          My situation is one where I have a family-oriented market, a resort with 24/7 security, and on-site management and check-in that verifies the user has a valid photo ID that matches their contract info... so my booking process needs are minimal.  However, I was still initially hesitant to do instant booking.  After about 15 24-hour bookings, I realized I wasn't finding any guests who were raising red flags, so I went ahead and changed over.  And my experience with my situation is that it helps, although not as much, since I still have post-booking needs that require that I follow up with guests immediately to get their information and signed rental agreement, so there are still some limitations to having IB.

           

          Bottom line: IB streamlines the process for the guest more than it does for me.

           

          If I had a place in a rain forest, I'd hesitate like crazy to just let anyone book without first talking to them to make sure they were a good match for my home's unique location.

          • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
            u0999 Premier Contributor

            Dear Amanda, since HA changes have "fractured" the market, most owners are now listed on 2-6 platforms ( not just single VRBO/HA as it used to be, because not one platform by itself brings enough bookings). and each platform is vying to be instant bookable. Each owner should exercise good judgement ad only enable IB on platforms that are most active. As we know there is no instant sync ( I have seen 30 min delays syncing) and if every platform has IB enabled, there can be double bookings. 

            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
              hmmmm Senior Contributor

              From an old timers perspective and located in an area that can be explosive with the wrong group, instant booking is reckless and has gotten us in a situation where the city is redrafting rules to ban again.

               

              VR's are not hotels, where they have on site security.

               

              VR's that are not properly vetted in our city, are causing all the problems.  Fast buck, don't care about the neighbors etc etc etc.

               

              I think the whole, fill a bed mentality, might ruin the business as a whole in our city.


              I for one, find the whole philosophy , who cares who books and their intentions, all wrong. Making money with out regards to community as whole.

               

              Remember rarely does any one read the website before booking, so vetting first before booking does work or helps.

               

              Instant is the problem, vetting is the solution

              • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                I appreciate the viewpoint of the persons that were interviewed for this video.

                 

                I will never instant book my properties.

                 

                I will remain on 24 hour response, even though I have only turned away perhaps 1 or 2 BIN guests a year as not being suitable for my properties.  I also believe that because I am not instant book, I get more requests for information from guests.  Probably 50% of those requests do not book because they are not a good fit for the property that they have inquired about.  As an example, the recent inquirer who took exception to my having an onsite security resident.  I guess they decided that my home was not a good place for the party/event/reception/wedding/blowout that they intended to throw.

                • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                  familyfirst Contributor

                  The IB people I know where I live tend to be the desperate ones for rentals, please forgive me for saying it out loud. They don't vet which I think can harm their neighbors and ultimately themselves and their ability to rent in the future. Renters don't read. I am one of them. I thought I booked a home with tv's in each bedroom once but none had them....whose fault is that? Mine but at first I blamed the management for not disclosing it. I should have asked, even though I read the ad many times. Renters miss things. The higher-end ones should never. Even when I book a hotel, I will want some type of communication with a question or two with the management. I agree about the calendars's syncing. And I wouldn't want someone to IB while I was sleeping and have a mess to deal with in the morning, I'll tell you that much.

                    • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                      familyfirst wrote:

                       

                      The IB people I know where I live tend to be the desperate ones for rentals, please forgive me for saying it out loud. They don't vet which I think can harm their neighbors and ultimately themselves and their ability to rent in the future. Renters don't read. I am one of them. I thought I booked a home with tv's in each bedroom once but none had them....whose fault is that? Mine but at first I blamed the management for not disclosing it. I should have asked, even though I read the ad many times. Renters miss things. The higher-end ones should never. Even when I book a hotel, I will want some type of communication with a question or two with the management. I agree about the calendars's syncing. And I wouldn't want someone to IB while I was sleeping and have a mess to deal with in the morning, I'll tell you that much.

                      There are many responsible owners who use IB some who are members of this community. I am one of them and I can assure you I am certainly not desperate for rentals! I have done quite well in my 9+ yrs running my VRs. I have had for the most part wonderful guests, have many repeats and have never had a major problem arise over these past 9 years. I vet all of my guests, have my RA signed and returned with a copy of a gov issued photo ID, I require age 25 or older to rent and have a strictly enforce max occupancy.  I do NOT harm my neighbors, myself or my ability to rent.

                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                          hmmmm Senior Contributor

                          Margaret,

                          You and other owners like you are not what she means.

                           

                          I think what she means is what we deal with and what  our community of San Diego hates....The un-responsible owner who wants a fast buck.

                          Buys a rental with the only intention of making a fast buck.

                          He/she is not available for issues and could care less about the business or the neighbors.  They will move on shortly to some other fast buck operation.

                          The ease of IB has led to a group who are hands off, hence the problem.  Its certainly not you and owners of quality and integrity like you.


                          Many owners are not like this but some of the newer ones who have started renting over the last few years are a whole new breed.

                           

                          I wish HomeAway would offer a better set up if they want Instant booking....

                          I want to know for my acceptance:

                          1. State or country they reside
                          2. A real review and ability to read their reviews of other owners

                          and any other information that does not interfere with Homeaway getting their service fee.

                           

                          Having someone in your home is a very serious proposition with many legal implications.

                            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                              familyfirst Contributor

                              thank you for explaining because that is exactly what I meant. The IB model that homes use in my area are not maintained well and have at least a few bad reviews on service, maintenance and poor customer service when they get there. OR the owner has bad reviews of them.  OR the owners have MANY different agencies advertising for them HENCE double booking has happened to these homes in my area. That is what you get with an IB model.

                               

                              Why would anyone want to allow someone to instant book? My guess in my area is that someone told them that they can get more bookings and it could be cheaper? It feel likes a "deal", like a special rate or something.

                               

                              To me, it makes a property less desirable. I want a place that doesn't give their house to just anyone, I want to feel as if they choose me. Does that make sense? I'm picky and if the owner is not picky who rents from them, I would avoid that property.

                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                          In order to have more owners to agree to IB, I would think HA could make it more attractive to the owners by:

                           

                          1. taking responsibility/ helping enforce house/ occupancy/age rules.

                          2. integrating e-signing of rental agreements as a part of check out process (with important paragraphs requiring initialing).

                          3. having guests really "verified" - not that just have an email address.. but that the guests have uploaded their valid Photo ID prior to booking.

                          4. Ensuring that name on the booking = name on the method of payment/credit card = name on the ID in #3

                          5. allow owners to set parameters for instant book (like, I do not want IB within 3 days of check in date or more than 12 months). Right now option exists but not flexible enough

                          edited to add #6: Owner need to see reviews of guests (and not just stars) BEFORE they book. But if HA insists on IB, then only guests with at least several (say 3-4) 4- and 5- star reviews should be able to Instant Book. Your competition is ahead of you in that respect.

                          Hope this helps 

                            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                              amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                              u0999,

                               

                              This is very helpful thank you!

                               

                              Amanda | HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                  familyfirst Contributor

                                  I would be interested in knowing how many IB get cancelled due to not being an appropriate fit? How soon after the IB?

                                  How many end up with charge-backs? Bad reviews vs. Good ones? More renters ended up coming than disclosed when IB?

                                  Scams? Bad renters or even bad owners? The amount of rent, are these low priced rentals vs. high price? I've only heard bad stories from owners and even a few renters about IB.

                                    • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                      amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                      familyfirst,

                                       

                                      That data would be interesting to follow how Instant Booking is working for our partners. We have shared your idea about collecting that data with the Instant Booking team. It's always great to hear feedback.

                                       

                                      We do have many positive testimonials about instant booking from our partners that you can view here and we do have an on-demand webinar available for anyone who might want to learn more about the benefits of Instant Booking.

                                       

                                      Thank you,

                                      Amanda | HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                          feibus Senior Contributor

                                          "Positive testimonials" is akin to the saying that "the plural of anecdote is data."  No one is disputing that HA can find people who think IB is wonderful.  What we're saying is: trying to make the booking experience "one size fits all" is possibly creating a negative experience for both owners and guests who turn out to be a mismatch by preventing sufficient time pre-booking to ensure the guest's experience will meet their expectations.

                                          • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                            The data in San Diego shows that when AirBnB entered the VR world here, with the first type of really "hands off bookings ideas" thats when the tide changed and brought in, the "fast easy buck" owners.  That type of mentality and business is ruining the business.

                                             

                                            I feel after 30 years, that not vetting myself is wrong , or HomeAway not offering us vetting with completed profiles and ability to see owner real reviews not stars would be a start.


                                            But, the fast buck VR business here in San Diego is fast becoming an irritant to the city council members and the a very strong coalition of residents who are anti VRs.


                                            We won last fall, but not sure if we will win again, and if we do what will that look like?


                                            Neighbors who are against rentals, say if everyone did VR's like, you, meaning me it would not be as much an issue.
                                            The difference for me was the vetting, the calling and, the very hands on approach....

                                          • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                            fairpointpropertiesfl New Member

                                            I have used IB basically from the start (last summer) and both of my beach rental condos use IB.  I have not had any vetting issues, and I list exclusively on VRBO.  When guests book, I receive notification, and then send a rental agreement to them and require them to return it signed with a copy of government photo ID before their reservation is "confirmed."  I can confirm their age and identity at that point and may research further if something seems fishy.  I have had zero problems with this system.  If anything, it helps weed out the people who are fishing for discounts; 95% of my "inquiries" are people looking for a discount or in one case an actual scammer trying to rip me off.  Serious guests pay their money up front.  Until they sign the RA and provide ID, however, they are only tentatively booked as far as I am concerned.  If they do not sign RA or provide ID, I will cancel the reservation.  That has yet to happen after almost 2 full rental seasons.

                                      • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                        wildiris Active Contributor

                                        I understand why IB is attractive to some guests.  It makes guests think that booking a vacation rental is like booking a hotel.  Most important - it can make guests think that staying at a vacation rental is like staying at a hotel.  It's not.  Staying at my vacation home is not like staying at a hotel.  There are greater benefits but also greater responsibilities on the part of the guest.  I don't want any of my guests to have a false impression of what is required of them to book and stay at my vacation home.  That's why I won't use IB.

                                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                          koko Active Contributor

                                          The concept of Instant Booking sounds like Instant coffee

                                          watery, non de script and generally bad tasting.

                                          I do not give my guests instant coffee, nor instant booking - well at least not the same day kind deal.

                                          I let a customer service representative talk me into turning on the 7 day deal which immediately resulted in a booking on the same day people are checking out after a two week stay. I called the new guests to see of they could move a day, no they could not because of airplane tickets and the ones staying were in the same boat.

                                          So all guests being "immovable" I have to clean a whole house within 4 hours and was told by customer service that it is all my fault because my check in and check out times are too close together - they were established at a time when I booked people in the next day at the earliest, just to give the place a chance to air out.

                                          Instant cleaning is a feature not even Home Away has mastered - how come?

                                          • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                            patpat Contributor

                                            How many times do we have to say "no" to IB when we don't want it? I tried it on one of my properties after being talked into it. I didn't like the concept of it, but was willing to give it a try. It didn't work out well. The whole time I had it, (about 4 months) I only had 1 booking in the very beginning. The moment I took IB off, I started getting a lot of bookings. So I will never use IB again, and I'm tired of being asked if I have ever thought about IB every time I need to talk to CS. So is there anyway vrbo/homeaway can stop trying to sell me on it??

                                            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                              familyfirst Contributor

                                              i agree, please ask CS and all emails sent to us, to stop asking us to IB with every communication?  Once I actually speak with a rep, they agree with me that I shouldn't IB. It's my home but these are several million dollars each....I will never allow instant booking. Train wrecks can happen. I agree that just having an name, no FB profile, nothing to see where they live hurts us owners because we can't screen them before accepting them, even with the 24 hour time frame. Friends of mine received retaliatory reviews from IB, like I wrote above, the renters click before they read. I've seen IB people look for reviews of a property AFTER they book it. And then I think, what kind of person does IB? I am curious if your team could do research on that? Are they young? Single? Married?

                                              • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                                Hi familyfirst and patpat,

                                                 

                                                I can definitely let Customer Support know that this is a frustration of yours and see if they might have a way to notate that they have already spoken with a partner about Instant Booking.

                                                 

                                                Thank you,

                                                Amanda

                                                HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                                • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                  floridarob Active Contributor

                                                  I want to thank many of the owners who have responded to this thread. Your comments have been most eloquent, and in some cases captured very well the unique benefits of vacation rentals vs. hotels, something which Instant Booking does tend to ignore.

                                                   

                                                  My own experience with instant booking has been this; it made absolutely ZERO difference in my bookings. I have two properties, very similar, and within two blocks of each other. One gets booked more than the other. I put the one with less bookings on Instant Booking as an experiment. NO difference in booking. Zilch, nyada, nothing, zero change. So all of the claims of HomeAway that Instant Bookings equals more bookings have, at least in my experience, proven to be false.

                                                   

                                                  While my property has been on instant booking, I have not noticed that the quality of guests that I end up with is any different than it might otherwise be. There is, in my experience, no difference between an instant booking guest, and a guest booking within the last four weeks prior to arrival. The very act of booking last minute defines the customer as being someone who is far more 'hotel' oriented and less vacation rental oriented. People who care about WHERE they stay don't leave it to last minute. They take their time, investigate, and look at lots of properties before finally choosing mine. I see in my dashboard where guests looked at 20 to 30 properties before finally settling on mine. The messages I get with my reservation requests tell me that they aren't really panicked about an instant booking response after investing so much time seeking me out.

                                                   

                                                  I have had guests book dates quite far out through instant booking. When one is booking 8 months in advance, I don't really think being able to have your answer back instantly as opposed to within 24 hours really makes any difference at all. It is nice to know you have a place, but really... it is not nearly as big a deal as HomeAway makes it out to be.

                                                   

                                                  I feel that in pursuing Instant Booking as they do, HomeAway is trying to educate owners about why they should do it, but is missing out on the opportunity to educate guests about what a vacation rental is, and what makes it different from a hotel. And in that case, the guests are the ones that lose out, because they really aren't experiencing the true vacation rental experience, which includes building a relationship with the owner (or manager, but usually owner) of the property, and understanding that the guest has a 'friend' who has their back and cares with individual attention about the quality of their stay. It is a concierge type of service that distinguishes vacation rentals from hotels, particular the chains where often warm bodies are hired to fill customer service positions because that is all they are prepared to pay for and attract to work there.

                                                   

                                                  HomeAway gives the appearance of trying to remove the owner out of the equation as much as possible. This is really sad, when if they truly understood what they were selling and what its biggest benefits are, they would be promoting the owner guest relationship instead of trying to eliminate it. Instant booking doesn't support giving guests a chance to experience and enjoy that relationship with the owner. It interferes with it.

                                                   

                                                  Why take one of the biggest selling points vacation rentals have, the owners, and try to minimize it, when every bit of marketing intelligence available says that customers want and will pay much more for high-touch, high service, authentic experiences?  Authenticity comes from unique personal relationships. Instantly bookable properties sans committed owner are certainly not that.

                                                  • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                    floridarob Active Contributor

                                                    Could you imagine if this is how 'Instant Booking' was presented?

                                                     

                                                    "Dear Cherished HomeOwners;

                                                     

                                                    We have created a new classification for guests on the site. These are people that we have complete identification, credit and background checks on. We have confirmed that they are indeed the people that they represent themselves to be, and won't be using stolen credit cards or be engaged in other fraudulent activity. When these guests book, we collect complete information on their party; all guest names, ages, home address and contact information, and we provide it all to you, along with a physically signed commitment from the guest to honour your terms and conditions that will easily stand up in court.

                                                     

                                                    Having placed these guests through such rigorous scrutiny, we would like you to accept Instant Bookings from them.

                                                     

                                                    In return for doing so, we will grant you 100% protection from chargebacks, cancellations, damage or loss to your property, and pay any costs involved in matters of any type of liability (HOA rules violations, parties, damages to neighbours, or reputation, etc.). We have created a special insurance program for this class of guest, which protects you 100%, including loss of income coverage. We guarantee that you will not suffer any kind of loss for accepting guests who qualify for our Instant Booking program, and have posted a $1,000,000 bond to protect you. Claims under this program for violation of guest policy will be adjudicated by a panel made up of seven quality owners with no less than seven years industry experience and a record of providing high quality guest experiences.

                                                     

                                                    We feel that this program will allow you to accept guests in confidence, knowing that they have been adequately pre-screened, and that you can welcome them into your homes confident that both you and these special guests will have a great experience, at no risk of loss to yourself or your property.

                                                     

                                                    Would you be interested in joining our new Instant Booking Program?"

                                                     

                                                    And my response would be; "Are you kidding? I would actually PAY to join a program like that!"

                                                    • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                      floridarob Active Contributor

                                                      Everything real created by man (or woman) started out as a dream in someone's mind!

                                                      • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                        crabbincabin New Member

                                                        I have just started to experiment with Instant Booking and it does seem to attract more travelers.

                                                         

                                                        I haven't found any templates that go out with those bookings.  I'd like to customize to add text about returning the rental contract, etc.

                                                         

                                                        Also, I have noticed that when I get notified about the instant booking it does NOT include the note that the travelers include about themselves.  I have to log in in order to see that.  Seems strange since we get all other notes in emails.

                                                         

                                                        Am I missing something?

                                                         

                                                        Jenn

                                                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                          crabbincabin New Member

                                                          Doesn't it seem like a glitch that we are not getting the note from the traveler with the email notifying us of an instant booking?  Any plans to fix this?

                                                            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                                              I get them.  Happened twice on Sunday.  So it's just you.  Check with CS, might be a setting on your account.  Check with your spam box.  Try not using yahoo mail (not saying you are, but they're the worst for silently eating mail it thinks is spam).

                                                                • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                  crabbincabin  is not saying s/he doesn't receive the notification but that it doesn't included a message from the guest if they have added one.

                                                                    • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                      feibus Senior Contributor

                                                                      Ah, yes, those aren't included and yes you have to go to the conversation page on the admin site to see them.  That email also says the booking is "confirmed", and in my case I follow it up with "your reservation is TENTATIVE until we get a rental agreement in place", so lots wrong with the IB emailing.

                                                                       

                                                                      And no great way to provide feedback other than out here or by calling CS.

                                                                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                          ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                                                          I have a question.  If you consider a reservation as tentative until the guest has signed your rental agreement, how are you "instant book" other than by selecting that HA radio button?  It seems that the guest who is expecting to complete everything required in one visit to the website is going to be annoyed when they discover that their booking is tentative -- and possibly cancelled should they ignore your contract communication.   I refuse to sign up for instant booking in part because my guests do not have a reservation until they have returned the signed agreement. 

                                                                            • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                                                              You are overthinking it.  As I've said before: I have a process and communicate it to the guest starting with the rules they have to agree to and ending with the thank you note at the end.  The only hitch in the process so far is the part where the guest has to check-in (including providing credit card and ID, just like a hotel) before showing up at the resort front gate and I've been tuning that part of the process for about 6 months trying to find a way to make sure it happens... OwnerRez has helped me a LOT with the communications in the process.

                                                                              • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                                margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                I send a similar response to IB guests as feibus I have the requirements to book noted in my house rules which the guests agree to at booking. They are not surprised to find they must comply. I do not get a lot of guests who use IB but those who do have had no problem complying because they are aware of the requirements when they book.

                                                                                  • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                                    juragirl New Member

                                                                                    I use instant booking for my property - I tried it without and then with and had many more bookings with IB. All of the rentals in my area have IB so I feel like I have to as well. I have not had a problem with double booking. I do think there should be screening criteria. Like on airbnb you can state that the renter must have received at least one positive review. I wish there were more screening criteria available on airbnb as well, but on vrbo there are none. That is just crazy. VRBO wants us to use IB, but they are hanging us out to dry with no screening criteria available to us. It is risky. I have provided this feedback many times to VRBO.  Even though I have IB, I still do my own screening of each of the guests that book via VRBO - I look at their social media, linked in, google etc. And, if I think they are not a good fit, I tell them something about my place that I know they won't like and suggest they cancel and find a better place. They always do. Plus, they all have to fill out and sign a rental agreement before I give them the access code to my place.

                                                                        • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                          floridagirl19 Contributor

                                                                          I've had IB on for my five rentals in Florida for a couple of years now and only a couple here and there where the guest thought the property had a pool and wanted to cancel hours later and I let them do so with a full refund (although from now on we will send their refund as a check in the mail because we ended up paying the service fee for the guest who cancelled)

                                                                           

                                                                          One thing that goes a long way to feeling comfortable with guests is having installed a Ring doorbell camera and a Ring Spotlight camera over the driveway. Now I can see who is checking in and if they are intending to violate the max 6 occupancy limit for example.

                                                                          • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                            bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                            Unique, unusual, one of a kind, in the middle of nowhere, onsite manager required by county code, too quiet, half hour to a grocery store and restaurants, not for people with fear of heights, not good and unsafe for young children, no outside play area, 4WD required in winter months - you tell me - think IB would work? - think again.  We must be assured that we can meet expectations.


                                                                            You simply cannot put all vacation rentals into the same basket.

                                                                             

                                                                            Edited...

                                                                              • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                                u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                Mine is not as unusual as yours, but it has its share of quirks that sometimes even non IB guests have their expectations not met. I had 2 different guests review property within 1 week - one said it was wonderful, another say not child friendly blah blah blah(we do not have yard fenced). Well it all tells you that even with non IB, they still don't read but rather assume. I thought I had very good photos where it is clear that yards is not fenced, I guess it is not clear. I can only imagine headaches if they IBd yours...

                                                                                  • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                                    One of the biggest problems I can see (coming from an architect's point of view) is that there are no “world” building codes, or if there are they are not used consistently worldwide.  In the US we have what is called the Uniform Building Code (or the BOCA code for some areas) and then each state can opt to have even stricter codes if they so choose.  So as people travel to different countries they find different building conditions that for some are just downright dangerous. In many countries there is no requirement for handrails on stairs (let alone pickets spaced for toddlers), and definitely no fences around pools let alone ponds and lakes and rivers. In many countries there is no requirement for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  There are hazards for sure as people become world travelers.  I can guarantee that someone will sue these OTAs for not encouraging, and in some instances not allowing, owners to speak with travelers about the particulars of their properties prior to booking. They should be encouraging open communication rather then penalizing owners for doing their best to communicate prior to booking. IB is encouraging owners not to communicate prior to booking and this will backfire - guaranteed.


                                                                                    Yes, some of the OTAs list safety features that an owner can highlight.  But as far as hazards due to differences in building codes worldwide, they are not addressed. 

                                                                                     

                                                                                    And then there is the language barrier.  We have had guests that do not speak English.  So do we decline a reservation because someone does not speak English? How do we communicate the uniqueness or possible hazards of the property to someone that does not speak English, or their skills using the English language are limited? Instead an owner is penalized for trying to communicate as best they can and do things right before someone books.    Sad…very sad...

                                                                                     

                                                                                    And don't get me started about travelers that do not read...

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Edited...

                                                                                      • Re: Wondering if you should try Instant Booking for your property?
                                                                                        koko Active Contributor

                                                                                        bobbie32 I just had to chuckle when I read you spindle spacing requirement note - born and raised in Europe I just pictures the 300 year old church up the street having security fences and modernized wrought iron to make it child friendly.

                                                                                        You are absolutely right with your statement and it is shortsighted on the part of the decision makers. It proofs one more time that non of them ever tried what this group here is doing daily: being a good host.