7 Replies Latest reply: May 24, 2019 7:48 AM by greggt RSS

    Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether

    amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

      How do you avoid cancellations? Here are our three tips to alleviate miscommunications and discrepancies that might lead to a cancellation.

      1. Keep your calendar accurate: Your calendar will automatically update anytime you accept a reservation, but make sure you also block your calendar for dates that you know are unavailable. You can also sync your calendar with other sites you are listing on by following these instructions.
      2. Set up your minimum stay requirement: Travelers cannot book your property if they select dates that do not meet your minimum stay requirement. Click here for instructions on how to set this up.
      3. Set up your House Rules, Cancellation Policy and Rental Agreement: Give your guests clear information on what is allowed and expected while staying in your property. If travelers do not agree to your terms and conditions, they cannot continue on with the booking. This avoids you receiving requests from guests that don’t meet your requirements. Be sure that the information in your House Rules and cancellation policy is consistent with what is loaded in your Rental Agreement.
        For more information on how to set up your House Rules, cancellation policy and your Rental Agreement, click here.
        • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
          green_mango Active Contributor

          1.  Totally agree - having an up to date calendar is very important and a big frustration for travelers when something looks open, but isn't.


          2.  I wish VRBO would fix the "working as intended" nonsense that allows guests to book dates that overlap a longer minimum stay requirement - for example, one of my cancellations last year was from a family that booked 3 nights that overlapped my 5 night minimum - it was allowed to go through because the 1st night of their reservation was not during the higher minimum.  Any night booked during a reservation should meet the owner's minimum for that night - not just for the 1st night of the stay. 


          3.  Guests can click a box to agree to House Rules, but then they email and say, oh hey, there's actually more of us - is that cool?  And then VRBO hasn't been consistent with providing owners in these cases Cancelation Waivers.  Guests can click to agree to the rental agreement without actually downloading and reading it. 

          • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
            linky17 Active Contributor

            Sad that this 'cautionary' needs to be addressed at all, but grateful for your post.


            Ironic, too, that it follows another within which you herald -- and rightfully so -- "Top Contributors" to this forum.  Indeed, they are to be commended, and I know that I am not alone in thanking all who provide feedback via this forum, whether it be Owner-to-Owner or (importantly >) to clue-in multitudinous Vrbo Teams with real insights to programming/communication successes + too frequent failures.



            • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
              u0999 Premier Contributor

              Please help us to do just that.

              • Give us ability to have renter e-sign/or initial/explicitly agree to at least THREE important rules for the property in the process of check out (not just display them as it is done now). 
              • Train CS to NOT assume that bringing guests and creating over-occupancy is "OK" when potential guest calls 800- number. (there have been several reports when CS said that intended house rule violation, whatever it was, was no big deal)
              • VERIFICATION. I mean, real verification. Just recently had a renter book with typo in the email address. I was able to figure it out. BUT verification should be beyond just making sure that email is valid. These people aren't buying a $10 widget on Amazon. They come and stay in OUR HOMES.
              • person agreeing to the rules must be SAME person who's credit card is used. I can see that balance payment can be made by another person (husband/wife etc) but at least initial flow of checking out should match booker to the cardholder. In lieu of that, offer "charge-back insurance".
                • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
                  green_mango Active Contributor

                  Ha, yep!  I've called as a 'guest' and asked about my home - the CS rep told me no problem to bring two extra guests with sleeping bags, but when I pushed it to 3 extras he said I should probably check with the owner.  For what it's worth, I *never* allow any extra guests - even my own family rents another home for overflow when we visit. 

                    • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                      That is a real problem! In my location, maximum occupancy is dictated by fire code and strictly enforced. Over occupancy violations are subject to large fines and loss of license to operate a STR.

                      • Re: Tips for avoiding cancellations and declines altogether
                        greggt Senior Contributor

                        Yes there is a real lack of understanding in Home Away, Customer Service Especially, the workings of a Vacation Rental. Over occupancy is a huge issue that owners have to contend with in order not to violate local fire codes or even complex rules which can result in the owner being fined by the HOA.

                        To many times wrong answered are given by CS and in the end, it's the owner that must pay.

                        Bottom line, under no circumstances is over occupancy OK and for HA's position of trying to make the guest cancel if pushed by the owner is laughable. In real life, the guest will just lie and bring the air mattresses/sleeping bags.

                        I really don't understand why HA even asks the host to post House Rules when they don't assist the host in enforcing, in fact they put fences up to make it difficult. I guess it is "Let's throw them a Bone" type gesture on their part.