33 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2019 11:05 AM by green_mango RSS

    Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?

    bethyk Contributor

      This is the scenario that has happened to me numerous times and again just today.

       

      Guest submits a booking request with credit card payment.

      I acknowledge their request and welcome their booking.  I tell them that I require a signed rental

      agreement and copy of current valid I.D. and then I will accept their payment and book their

      reservation.

       

      The clock is now ticking down from 24 hours.

      The guest doesn't respond.

      VRBO keeps sending me reminders every couple of hours even in the middle of the night.

      Still no signed agreement with 3 hours left on the clock.

       

      I cannot figure out why this happens but it does.  Over and over again.

      I can either accept their booking and hope they eventually send me the signed agreement and I.D. or

      let the clock run out and possibly lose the booking and/or get dinged in my ranking metrics.

       

      Anyone have an effective way of getting your guests to return the signed contract

      in a timely manner?

      What I am saying is not getting it done. : (

       

      Thanks for any advice.

        • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
          bonesxxx Active Contributor

          I think you are putting undue stress on yourself (and the guest) by insisting on all this within 24 hours.  A lot of guests use alternate e-mails and such and may not be getting your messages.

           

          Why not try accepting the booking with a note that says "final stay is dependent on receiving a returned contract and copy of ID within two weeks of arrival."

           

          That way, you can accept the booking and get access to their other contact information, including phone number, etc.  And you have more time for all this fancy footwork without dinging your response metrics, etc.

           

          If they don't engage before your window is up, you can notify them and say, "it looks like I have not received a signed contract per my rental rules and, if we don't get that done within the next 48 hours, I will be forced to cancel your reservation so that others might rent my place."  (this has the added benefit of letting you use the cancellation waiver (since the guest did not comply with house rules) and you don't get hit with the cancellation either :-)

           

          FWIW I don't insist on all this from guests with 2 or more 5 star reviews... I know it's a matter of personal choice but I like to think we can look out for each other on here so I give those folks a break - only new customers and those with 1 or less reviews have to sign my contracts outside of VRBO.

            • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
              bethyk Contributor

              Thank you bonesxxx.

              Good idea.

              Do you state  "final stay is dependent on receiving a returned contract and copy of ID within two weeks of arrival"

              on your listing page or just in the communication back to the guest in the vrbo portal?


               

              • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                u0999 Premier Contributor

                That! Except in my case, everyone signs rental agreement and provides ID. I would not want to pick and choose which guests have to sign vs not sign, because it amounts to disparate treatment that is a form of discrimination. If I pick and choose and decide that person A must sign and person B does not have to, it may be misconstrued. JMO.

                • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                  bethyk Contributor

                  @bonesxxx,

                   

                  You mentioned in your original response...

                  "(this has the added benefit of letting you use the cancellation waiver (since the guest did not comply with house rules) and you don't get hit with the cancellation either :-)"


                  I am not familiar with the cancellation waiver.  Is there a way to cancel without getting hit in my metrics?

                    • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                      Yes, under certain circumstances you can cancel without penalty.

                       

                      What if I need to cancel a reservation for a reason outside of my control?

                      HomeAway may be able to provide a cancellation waiver for cancellations due to reasons outside of your control. Cancellation waivers prevent cancellations from hurting your standing in the HomeAway marketplace. The following reasons are eligible for a cancellation waiver with some requiring supporting documentation:

                       

                      Natural disaster - Your property is affected by a natural event that makes it unsafe for you to accommodate a traveler. Examples include hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes, blizzards, tsunamis, volcanoes, and typhoons.

                       

                      Property damage - Your property has suffered severe damage that makes it unsafe or uninhabitable for travelers. Examples include plumbing not functioning, gas leaks, etc. You are required to provide the following supporting documentation:

                      • A description of the damaged or malfunctioning area of the property
                      • An insurance claim or an estimate from a repair company
                      • The length of time the property will be uninhabitable

                      House Rules violation - A traveler has violated or says they cannot follow your House Rules and will not request a cancellation via their traveler account. House Rules must be set up on your listing under Rules & policies to be eligible. You are required to provide the following supporting documentation:

                      • Email or text correspondence with the traveler indicating they cannot follow or have already violated your House Rules

                      Keep your communication with travelers on platform to make it easy for you provide the necessary supporting documentation

                       

                      Past due balance  - A traveler has not completed the second or third payment to complete the reservation by the due date. This does not include additional payment requests sent after the time of booking. Attempts to contact the traveler, as well as a full refund of the amount originally paid by the traveler, must be issued to be eligible. Reservations where the traveler has not made the first payment are not factored into your Ranking Metrics and therefore do not apply here.

                       

                      Please contact Customer Support to request a cancellation waiver with your supporting documentation ready by clicking the Contact Usbutton at the bottom of this page. Please be aware that cancellation waivers are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and can be overturned if the cancellation is found to be ineligible.

                  • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                    floridarob Active Contributor

                    No disrespect to bonesxxx but this is terrible advice.

                     

                    You will get the best response from your guest immediately when they are making the booking. Leaving it any longer and it just gets harder and harder to get it. Just go ahead and accept the booking request immediately, and send the contract to the guest with verbiage along the lines of; "To complete the reservation process and ensure that the dates are yours on OUR system, in addition to HomeAway's (as we get bookings from multiple sources) we require that you complete and submit our booking form in order for the dates to be blocked and for you to receive a booking confirmation directly from us." On the bottom of my communications it states; "All bookings received through HomeAway, TripAdvisor, and other such travel sites are accepted in good faith, on a first come first served basis, based on submission of a completed booking form, payment of the booking deposit, and receipt of a booking confirmation from ourselves by return email. The reservation process is not complete until you have received your emailed booking confirmation from us."  I have never had a guest refuse, never had a guest daly around with it.

                     

                    The most important issue to keep in mind is this; HomeAway is NOT a party to any booking agreements between an owner and a guest. It is the very first thing that is stated in HomeAway's terms and conditions (go check it out, every owner should) and it just got tested in a court case, and the first thing the judge did and said in handing down their judgement was toss aside anything in the terms and conditions of the Online Travel Agent (listing site).  The judge then went on to state that the ONLY terms and conditions that applied to the agreement between the owner and the rental guest was what was contained within the owner's rental agreement. So this isn't just me talking. You need a complete and well put together short term rental agreement signed by your guests, and the best time to get it is right when the guest is all excited about having booked your property. The longer time goes on and they think they have a booking, the less important your booking agreement will seem to the guest.

                     

                    I would never give the guests until two weeks before arrival to submit their paperwork, because until they do, you don't have an agreement, and I am not going to set dates aside for anybody without an agreement, nor am I going to set dates aside for someone on the PROMISE that I'll get a signed agreement with them only 14 days before their arrival.  By then, they're in a panic about planning, packing and getting ready to leave. Booking their stay is the last thing on their minds at that point, and you've held the dates for them this whole time anyway, so why be concerned about it now? It's not like you can find somebody else to fill the dates with only about ten days to go.

                     

                    You don't want to rely on cancellation waivers to be able to cancel the guest. Then you are begging for things from HomeAway's customer service, who are notorious for being unknowledgeable, badly trained, and generally unhelpful. In fact, you never want to cancel on a guest in HomeAway's world. But you need to be able to exercise a reasonable amount of control over what is happening with your property.  You want to be able to say to the guest; "You didn't complete our booking form and submit your ID within 48 hours of your reservation request being accepted on HomeAway's site, so you are about to lose the reservation. Either submit everything now, or call HomeAway to request a refund so you can get your money back." That has power.

                     

                    What you are trying to do is get the guest to operate in a manner consistent with your policies and requirements. So you make it in their interests to do so. Make the guest fear that they could still lose the dates because somebody else could be trying to book them at the same time through a different site (highly unlikely, but the guest doesn't need to know that, and it surprisingly happens more often than you might expect). Once the guest has submitted a payment, which happens when you accept their booking request, they have money on the line, and will take action to protect that. By accepting the reservation request immediately, you eliminate stress for yourself, and now transfer the onus to the guest to get the reservation process with you completed. PLUS, you actually have a reservation process that works, not just for guests you gain through HomeAway, but from any other source as well (which you MUST have, otherwise you are not in business, you are just a peasant working for OTA serfs).

                     

                    There will never be a better time to get the guest to submit everything to you than immediately after they have submitted their booking request. Take advantage of it. That is how you stop the clock, and simplify things for yourself and make it the least stressful and easy it can be. You also subconsciously help the guest to understand that their relationship with the property is through you, and on your terms; not those of the listing site. And you aren't processing cancellations (and dealing with everything that comes with it) on HomeAway's system either. You will be happily getting your guests properly booked immediately, and just once in a rare while accepting the odd cancellation request from a guest who most likely would have turned out to be trouble anyway, which won't ding your acceptance rate.

                      • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                        I agree that 2 weeks is too long to wait for the RA but I usually give the guest 72 hours to get it completed and returned. I have no problem with this system.

                        • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                          Well it wasn't ALL terrible... we agree that it should be done after accepting the booking :-)

                           

                          From what I read, the real quarrel you ( floridarob ) should have had with me is my statement that I don't require a RA from ALL my guests.  And, I'll thank you here publically, I'm sold.  Thank you.

                           

                          Guess I've just been lucky so far but I'm not going to press my luck any more. I owe you a beer.

                            • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                              floridarob Active Contributor

                              bonesxxx wrote:

                               

                              Well it wasn't ALL terrible... we agree that it should be done after accepting the booking :-)

                               

                              From what I read, the real quarrel you ( floridarob ) should have had with me is my statement that I don't require a RA from ALL my guests.  And, I'll thank you here publically, I'm sold.  Thank you.

                               

                              Guess I've just been lucky so far but I'm not going to press my luck any more. I owe you a beer.

                               

                              Thanks for being so good natured in your response. I didn't mean to jump all over you, but I know the strong advocacy of my writing style can come across that way. I'm actually a very easy going person!

                               

                              My specific concerns were two-fold:

                              1) The importance of having a written agreement signed by every single guest party lead, without exception. And;

                              2) The importance/value of getting it right away, while the "iron is hot". There is no better time to do it than immediately after accepting the booking request, and the likelihood/ease of getting it is highest at this time and continually diminishes afterwards. The idea of it being acceptable to wait until two weeks prior to arrival to get the signed agreement really concerned me, as it would be setting oneself up for failure, IMHO. Allowing too much time for the rental agreement to be signed would, I believe, be a very poor choice, and dramatically increase the likelihood of it not being done by the guest.

                               

                              I have always said that guests "act the way you train them to." By establishing good, solid requirements early on, you make the guest understand that you run a tight ship with your vacation rental. As a result, they will respect your policies and your property far more than they might otherwise. The result is a far better experience for you as an owner, and interestingly enough, a much better and appreciated stay for the guests. I am convinced that my approach is the reason that I have only had a significant guest issue/problem once in ten years over two properties.

                            • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                              bethyk Contributor

                              Wow, thank you so much for the well thought out and lengthy response.

                              This is all good advice.

                              I do feel more comfortable getting the rental agreement signed asap.  Some of our bookings are 9-12 months

                              out. 

                              I am going to take the advice and reply to my guest now.

                              They still haven't responded and I am down to the wire.

                               

                              I am very grateful for all of the wise advice on this discussion forum.

                               

                              Thank you!!

                            • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                              mauitime103 New Member

                              I recently changed my response to read, "Congratulations on your instant booking of our Maui condo (844494) and mahalo for your payment. Now let's wrap up your reservation for your group of # adult(s) and # kid(s). To finalize your reservation, we require the following returned to us within 24 hours:..."

                               

                              So far, I've had immediate response.  I added the link to http://www.digisigner.com/ to collect their electronically signed reservation agreement.   And so far, only one push back asking for government issued id.  I figured I come out ahead if they don't want to show who they really are.

                               

                              Before the "congratulations", I did send reminders but it certainly dragged out too long for me...and I'm sure for them too.

                              Good luck!

                              • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                scowol Active Contributor

                                I am in the camp with floridarob.  I realize that I am likely in the minority because my marketplace has an obnoxiously stringent VR ordinance.   I absolutely must get a traveler to understand certain rules when they submit a booking request.  I have them fill out all the city forms along with my RA within 24 hours of booking.

                                 

                                Many, many travelers are shocked, dismayed, bewildered and surprised by what is prohibited.  If they do, it's a $1,000 fine to me, and potential eviction.  Worse, many guests think the rules don't apply to them, or that they won't get caught. They will.

                                 

                                http://www.palmspringsca.gov/government/departments/vacation-rentals/vacation-rental-department-reports/weekly-hotline-reports

                                 

                                Anyhow, as a suggestion if you want to ensure that your guests will know that they need to sign your RA, put it in your house rules.  My house rules state that "A rental agreement must be signed within 24 hours to confirm all booking requests."

                                 

                                The bonus of this rule is that all of the requirements are in the RA. If they don't sign it, I have justification with HA to cancel and pursue a waiver.  75% of my guests sign the RA within 2-3 hours. The remaining 24% sign within 12 hours.  For the 1%, I will of course grant them a little more time.  But the point is to set expectations and instill a sense of urgency.

                                 

                                • If you are stating that you need a signed rental agreement (VR) with no timeframe, you'll chase the guest down forever up to the date of check-in.
                                • If you are stating you will allow up to one week to get the signed RA, the guest will sign in a month later.
                                • If you are stating you will allow up to 72 hours to get the signed RA, the guest will sign it a week later. 


                                For the above reasons, I state "24 hours."  It works.  I simply cannot risk being a "book-n-go" property.

                                • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                  Unless they are renting for next night check in, why do they have to return it in 24 hrs? If there are no other red flags, just accept the booking 1st , then deal with rental agreement. I usually give 72 hrs from booking acceptance. IMO 24 hrs is too short . It is not life or death situation, people are in different time zones, people have lives, kids, jobs. If they do not like your RA or object to it, you can always change the booking to year 2024 and that will prompt them cancel it with no penalty to you. But why stress with 24 hrs clock ticking?

                                    • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                      twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                                      u0999 wrote:

                                       

                                      Unless they are renting for next night check in, why do they have to return it in 24 hrs? If there are no other red flags, just accept the booking 1st , then deal with rental agreement. I usually give 72 hrs from booking acceptance. IMO 24 hrs is too short . It is not life or death situation, people are in different time zones, people have lives, kids, jobs. If they do not like your RA or object to it, you can always change the booking to year 2024 and that will prompt them cancel it with no penalty to you. But why stress with 24 hrs clock ticking?

                                       

                                      24/48/72 - the key is to pick a set amount of time you are willing to hold the dates without an agreement.  Mine says 24 hours, but I don't bug them until the 24 hours has passed.  After the 24 hours, I send a "I know you are probably busy, but your booking isn't confirmed until the contract is completed.  Please complete it in the next 24 hours".  After 48 hours, I warn them they are in danger of losing their dates and I'll have to "cancel" if I don't get it in 24 hours.  I've only gotten that far with one group who kept promising they'd get to it in the next few hours and never got around to it.  They quickly got it done when I told them I'd have to cancel.

                                       

                                      The reason I want it done so quickly is so that I maximize the chances of getting a replacement booking if they decide to not come, and to give them the best chance of finding a different place if they aren't sure we are the right place.

                                      • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                        floridarob Active Contributor

                                        u0999 wrote:

                                         

                                        Unless they are renting for next night check in, why do they have to return it in 24 hrs? If there are no other red flags, just accept the booking 1st , then deal with rental agreement. I usually give 72 hrs from booking acceptance. IMO 24 hrs is too short . It is not life or death situation, people are in different time zones, people have lives, kids, jobs. If they do not like your RA or object to it, you can always change the booking to year 2024 and that will prompt them cancel it with no penalty to you. But why stress with 24 hrs clock ticking?

                                         

                                        Completely agree.

                                         

                                        I believe the 24 hour reference comes from the process established by HomeAway, whereby the owner is given 24 hours to accept a Reservation Request from the moment it is submitted.

                                         

                                        Like the OP (Original Poster) earlier on I endeavoured to have the guest complete my own Booking Form before I would accept the reservation request. Then one day the light went on, and I thought "Why panic about this? Just go ahead and accept the request within the 24 hour deadline and then work with the guest to get my booking process completed." It doesn't actually have to be done within 24 hours, and sometimes the guest is not able to take care of their end of things, for all the reasons you just listed.

                                         

                                        For example, I have a guest who submitted their booking request, but then left to go out of the country for two weeks within 24 hours of having done so. They wanted to book my place and have it taken care of before they left, which is understandable. They explained that they were going to be gone for two weeks immediately after (and the booking is not for 8 months) so I'm letting them complete my booking form and information after their return from their two week absence. Based on my communications with them, I have no concern that they are playing any games, the booking is far off, so no big deal to wait.

                                         

                                        By stopping the clock on the 24-hour deadline for acceptance by the owner, I'm taking the pressure off of both myself and the guest to complete my booking form.

                                         

                                        Contrast that with another guest that submitted a reservation request, and because of some questions raised by their reservation request, I tried to contact the guest three or four times before accepting the booking, and without even realizing that I was doing so, I let the 24 hour deadline run out without having accepted the booking. So what happened? I was penalized in my metrics as having "never responded" and my search position lowered. Because I reached out to the guest THREE or FOUR times in 24 hours and heard nothing back, but didn't accept the booking, I am penalized for NOT responding to the guest.  How flipping stupid!!

                                         

                                        I'm not some trained seal that needs to be directed by HomeAway as to how to run my business properly, but things are what they are. So accept the booking request and 'clean up the mess later'.

                                        • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                          I also say 72 hours and have not had a problem, most return it within a few hours. Like you, I understand that people have busy lives.

                                        • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                          thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                          I'm not sure this answers your request for help, but I'll offer my thoughts:

                                           

                                          The guest needs to know his or her reservation is not confirmed until the rental agreement (and the deposit/payment, as described in the rental agreement) is received/finalized.

                                           

                                          The dates, whatever the calendar may depict, will not be held without the rental agreement (and payment) in place. 

                                           

                                          That's all.

                                           

                                          The guest needs to understand that it is to his or her benefit to finalize their stay.

                                           

                                          I find guests are far more likely to do what I want them to do, especially where following my policies and procedures is concerned, if they believe it is to their benefit, and not necessarily mine . . .

                                          • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                            floridarob Active Contributor

                                            Yup.  What thaxterlane said.  If you want some direct help with this, contact me separately and I will provide you with samples of my communications, but first re-read my post with a pen in hand, and copy down the phrases that I have quoted from my emails to the guest. You will likely see that they do the trick.

                                             

                                            The guest has to understand that they don't really have a booking (no matter what HomeAway tells them) until they sign YOUR agreement; and that they could lose their money paid to HomeAway if they don't comply.

                                            • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                              1. Accept all bookings, even if they're slow to respond.  Not accepting bookings is bad form.

                                               

                                              2. Your acceptance email template should include something like this:

                                              Thank you, [GUEST]!  Your reservation from [SITE] was received.  You're going to LOVE staying in our home!

                                               

                                              Your reservation is only tentative in our system until we create a rental agreement between us and for that I’ll need you to fill out the attached form (click the link below for the file) to collect your information.  Just open it using Adobe Acrobat Reader (or equivalent), fill in the form, save to disk or to your phone/tablet, and then e-mail the saved file back to email@vr.com.  Once I have that, I can send you the agreement for signature and confirm your reservation.  The agreement needs to be completed and signed in the next 72 hours for us to honor your reservation.

                                               

                                              Thanks!

                                              -- [ME!]

                                              I sometimes have to send the email more than once, about 10% I also have to send a text message reminder.  I've had 1 in 7 years take more than 5 days and on day 12 of her ghosting me, I moved her reservation back in time to a gap in the calendar and told her to cancel to get a full refund.  Surprise!  She showed up an hour later begging to stay in our home.  Nope!

                                              • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                                scowol Active Contributor

                                                All of the suggestions are very fantastic, which makes this such a great forum for sharing tips and tricks!  I think that the bottom line is that owners need to do what works best for them, their property, local laws, HOA, resort rules, etc.  Some owners have condos in a managed resort that are akin to a hotel, some have properties in rural areas with zero neighbors, while others have homes in highly regulated cities.

                                                 

                                                I have found that those guests that are responsive tend to be good guests who won't violate my city's crazy VR ordinance rules.  Those that go dark tend to have a hotel booking mentality.  That's just simply my own experience with two homes during the past 10 years.  Everyone will have their own experiences, which of course motivate their approach.  So IMO, there's no right or wrong way to do this.  Rather, what's best for the owner!

                                                • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                                  bethyk Contributor

                                                  Thank you all for your thoughts and advice!

                                                  This forum is really helpful indeed.

                                                  I am certainly going to be more direct and specific about what's required from the guest

                                                  in order to finalize their booking.

                                                   

                                                  Just as a follow up to my original post...

                                                   

                                                  I accepted the payment from the guest.

                                                  Sent a separate follow up email directly to them outlining the requirements of completing the

                                                  rental agreement and providing i.d.  I had already indicated this to them through the vrbo portal at the

                                                  time of booking.

                                                   

                                                  Zero response from the guest in the last 24 plus hours.

                                                   

                                                  My biggest concern at this time is that it made the dates unavailable on my calendar and it's

                                                  the biggest two weeks of my year during the Christmas holiday.

                                                   

                                                  I am trying to be patient.

                                                  Perhaps a phone call will be necessary.

                                                  • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                                    hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                    Please keep this in your mind:

                                                     

                                                    Its your property, your business, your liability, your responsibility totally.
                                                    The vacationers are not looking out for those elements.  You must.

                                                    The return of the agreement is non negotiable, and unless they have a very good reason, illness, death etc. then you are getting a pretty good idea of who you are dealing with.

                                                     

                                                    They can email you and let you know why they are delayed, simple and easy, not doing so, is a red flag.

                                                    If they have time to make the reservation, then they have time to contact you.

                                                     

                                                    I had to cancel....myself on a group, who did not respond, red flags were already in place.

                                                    Different payment name than the reservation, the email for the reservation was not for the person paying.
                                                    When I called, the phone call was not returned, my emails were not returned etc etc etc.
                                                    So, I cancelled, not liking to do so, but as soon as I cancelled their reservation, they emailed me with all kinds of apologies.


                                                    After 30 years in this business I can detect trouble.   They were trouble.  It was worth taking the hit....

                                                     

                                                    Remember the second and third  line of of this post.

                                                    • Re: Tactful or motivational way to say "return the signed rental agreement" to Beat the (24 hour ticking) Clock?
                                                      green_mango Active Contributor

                                                      My House Rules say that digitally signed contract & ID need to be returned within 24 hours of booking, or same day if the booking is within the next two weeks. 

                                                       

                                                      I "accept" the booking first, and then I email them the digisigner link to sign, and kindly remind them that it's needed in order to "confirm" or "finalize" the reservation, and I also give them a hard deadline (I always give to the end of the next day, versus strict 24 hours).  If it's not returned I follow up with a phone call reminding them that's it's needed to finalize their reservation.  I have rarely followed through and cancelled a booking, but every time that I did the guests were suddenly able to communicate and sign the contract etc... 

                                                       

                                                      I would disregard the advice to give until 2 weeks before check in - if a booking is 9 months away that does you no good.  Also, simply for simplicity it's easier to have everything squared away at time of booking instead of chasing things down later. 

                                                       

                                                      I'm not confident that VRBO would grant a Cancellation Waiver if an owner cancelled due to not signing (not following House Rules), simply based on poor experiences I've heard from other owners, though I agree it does appear it would qualify according to their rules.  Airbnb makes it very easy if you have Instant Booking and there's no owner penalty for cancelling.