How Can Booking Software Protect Vacation Rental Properties?
As a vacation rental manager, you likely take great pains to ensure that your property damage insurance is up-to-date and of an adequate amount to cover most damages that occur to your rental property. However, despite your best efforts, it is inevitable that, from time to time, damages occur.
What can you do as a vacation rental manager to reduce the likelihood of damages to your properties and handle damages that do occur?
Insurance and Security Deposits
Whether you require your guests to purchase insurance or include a security deposit as part of your total rental price, your aim is to protect your property investment in the best possible way.
Flipkey's "It's Not Going to Happen to Me, Right?" makes a solid point regarding your choice of requiring guests to purchase insurance or going the security deposit route when it notes: "You may think security deposits are an effective way to put your mind at ease but you also have to think about keeping your guests happy too."
If you choose to require a security deposit, it is essential to understand how this choice may affect your bookings. In many cases, travelers prefer to purchase insurance with a small premium to avoid having to come up with a hefty security deposit in additional to the standard booking price. If a substantial number of your guests choose the insurance option, it may be advisable to do away with the security deposit requirement altogether.
In addition to potentially increasing your bookings, choosing the insurance route over the security deposit route can also help eliminate any disputes with your guests if damages do occur. In the age of social media and online reviews, the less you have to dispute with a guest, the better.
Property Damage Prevention
Of course, the best way to handle damages to your vacation rental properties is to avoid them entirely. Here are some tips that will help you head off damages before they occur.
1) Screen potential guests during the initial inquiry.
Remember that a small percentage of guests are like tornadoes in that they can cause incredible damage in a very short time. Pre-screening reduces the likelihood that you will book a nightmare guest.
While it is often not possible to perform a full background check on your potential guests, MyVR's "4 Ways to Avoid Bad Guests" points out that a simple Google search of guest names may reveal a wealth of information. Social networks can give you an idea of the type of person your potential guest is.
While the information you can glean from a web search is not set in stone, it may tell you at least some things that will help you spot potential trouble before you book your guest.
2) Include a review of your policies and house rules as part of the booking process.
Good communication from the very beginning will help you avoid major property damage. For best results, include your policies and house rules in your booking process. In this way, potential guests will have a clear understanding of what is expected regarding respect for your property.
Including this information as part of your booking process will give guests an opportunity to ask any questions they may have about your policies. Additionally, this is a good time to prompt a guest to purchase insurance to protect your home from minor damages.
3) Keep the lines of communication open.
If at all possible, check in with your guests shortly after their arrival. After ascertaining the initial impression your property has made on your guests, gently remind them of your house rules by bringing their attention to your welcome package or welcome book.
This is also a good time to remind them of who to contact in the event that accidental damage occurs. These gentle reminders help nudge guests in the right direction to respect your property and treat it as a home away from home.
Additionally, Evolve's "Guests Behaving Badly? Not in Your Vacation Rental" suggests that you may find it useful to place small reminders throughout the vacation rental property to help keep guests on track.
For instance, a reminder about where to find the fire extinguisher can be placed in a conspicuous place in the kitchen, or a reminder to use a coaster can be placed politely on a coffee table. While you must exercise care not to sound like someone's nagging mother, well-placed, thoughtful notes can remind guests of your expectations and requirements.
Communication Early and Often is the Key
Regardless of the choices you make for your vacation rental property pertaining to how to cover any damages that occur, the best policy is to reduce the likelihood of damage by clearly communicating your policies and house rules to guests during the booking process and beyond.
Booking Software Saves Times and Helps Communication
Kigo's booking software solution can help you automate the process and ensure good communication with your guests from their initial inquiry through the entire booking process.
With features like inquiry management, reservation management and booking calendars, property managers can automate communications while saving time and help protect rental property from damage caused by guests.
To see our booking software in action, request a demo today.