We’ve been getting a lot of great feedback from you, our owners and property managers, so we’re going try responding to it each week here. Please let us know your thoughts!
This week’s questions
Let’s get started with some questions around how you can protect yourself from scams, which was a recurring theme this week. The main concerns were:
Fraudsters posing as potential guests
Actual guests submitting fraudulent damage/issue claims to get refunds
Here are some ways you can help protect yourself:
Use one of our structured cancellation policies to ensure your cancellation policy is displayed clearly from start to finish throughout the booking process.
Protect yourself against damages by offering Refundable Damage Deposits or Property Damage Protection to minimize “credit not processed” filings (i.e. no/partial refunds of the deposit).
Refundable Damage Deposits will show on the traveler’s credit card statement as a separate line item. If a chargeback is filed, the traveler is more likely to limit the chargeback to the refundable damage deposit rather than the full rental amount.
Invite your guests to purchase Property Damage Protection. This covers accidental property damage and rekeying costs if keys are lost. This will also show on the traveler’s credit card statement as a separate line item and chargebacks, if applicable, will be filed against our agency. For more information on how to add damage protection to your listing, click here.
And to protect both yourself and your guests, we recommend that you ALWAYS use HomeAway checkout when processing a booking to ensure that it’s backed by our Book with Confidence Guarantee.
There was another question about how cancellations affect your position in search results, specifically around when you cancel on behalf of guests who have situations like illness or death in the family.
First of all, don’t panic - occasional cancellations are inevitable. We understand that you have last-minute emergencies that occasionally require you to cancel on a guest. We also recognize that travelers sometimes have to cancel on you, and that is out of your control.
One of the main concerns we have heard from our customers is around their placement with Best Match search results being affected by cancellations, especially when traveler cancellations are out of their control. To remedy this, we will soon be launching a new feature that allows travelers to initiate a cancellation on their end so that we can keep track, and in the future, ensure your performance is not affected by a traveler having to cancel a reservation. More information about how this will work is coming soon, so be on the lookout!
Tips for tricky bathroom pictures
One person asked, “How do you take a good picture of a small bathroom?” Great question! Here are some tips:
Try to take the picture from the corner of the room (you may need to stand in the bathtub or shower!). If you can’t fit in the corner, try putting your camera in the corner and staying out of the shot while you press the button.
If the bathroom has a window, make sure the blinds or curtains are open to let in as much light as possible.
Turn on every light available in the bathroom and in the hallway or room outside of the bathroom as well, and make sure to leave the door wide open.
Don’t forget to stage! Add in touches like a small vase of flowers, some neatly folded clean towels, and some well-placed toiletries to make it seem more comfortable.
For more on photographing your bathrooms, click here.
Making your home pet-friendly
One person was interested in more information about being pet-friendly - how do you make your property pet-friendly, what kind of policies should you have in place, and how do you indicate it on your listing? Great questions! Check out this article for more info.
And finally, one person commented that “the checklists are good ideas, but it would be much better if they were downloadable so they could be used easier.” Good news - you CAN download or print checklists! In fact, you can do this for any article on our Discovery Hub! At the top of every article, there’s a Print and a PDF icon - they look like this:
Use these to download or print anything you like!
Your suggestions for improvements and new features
We also got several great suggestions for new features, including:
A one-click time extension for responding to potential guests
A way to send holiday cards or other “keeping in touch” communications to past guests from our platform to encourage repeat bookings
A wait list tool that potential guests can be put on in case their desired dates are blocked or booked already
Not allowing chargebacks or repeat bookings for guests who have violated rental agreements or house rules
Moving the “other properties” suggestions to the end of the listing so potential guests have a chance to read all of the reviews first
All of these suggestions have been forwarded along to our product team for consideration - thanks for your ideas and please keep them coming!
We hope this helps answer your questions, but if you have others, please click on the link below to give us your feedback. We’ll see you next time!
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