What are Sample Terms and Conditions for Direct Bookings?
Terms and Conditions for direct bookings, a rental agreement, or contract between host and guest, are different names for the same thing. They refer to a document where a host outlines the conditions under which the guest can make use of their accommodation. Guests need to agree to these conditions before gaining access to the property.
A rental agreement usually covers aspects such as what the host is offering. It also serves to limit the host’s liability in terms something goes wrong. For example, this could involve an item getting stolen from a guest’s car. Moreover, the contract usually also sets out house rules. These inform the guest of how they are expected to behave while they are using a host’s property.
Why do you need an agreement in place with your guest?
Besides educating the guests on how you expect them to behave, there are other reasons for having them sign your Ts & Cs. Firstly, it helps limit your liability in case something goes wrong. Moreover, should a guest cause damage, they will have agreed in advance to cover that damage. Of course, you should keep a security deposit for minor damages. But what if they throw a party that ends up costing you thousands upon thousands in damages? For this reason, besides getting your rental agreement signed, it is also important to collect your guest’s ID.
But Airbnb already vets my guests?
Airbnb does not fully vet your guests. Airbnb uses an outsourced service that checks guests’ IDs if this is something you have marked as a requirement. However, this check only looks for any known reports against the person. Some national and international databases are checked. It checks the validity of the ID itself to make sure there have been no reports of it being lost or stolen.
However, there is no guarantee that an ID that passes a check means that the guest is safe to host. Moreoever, the accuracy of the checks depend on the information available on the database of the issuing country. Finally, should the system not be able to detect a match, a person will take a look at the scan of the ID and decide whether it looks genuine or not. Thus, it is of paramount importance that you have your own guest vetting procedures in place.
How to automate guest vetting for direct bookings
Every time a booking comes in, whether direct through your website, by phone, email, or over a platform such as Airbnb, you should vet your guests. You need to make sure that the guest does not pose a risk to your property and your business.
To do so, the best thing to do is to get them to sign your terms and conditions and to collect their ID (at least that of the lead guest). Ideally, this should be done soon after payment has been received. In this way, they will be obliged to sign your terms, as they have already paid. Moreover, it will give you enough time to deal with a cancellation should you not be happy to accept the guest. Do not leave it until arrival, as it could lead to a nasty confrontation.
There are various tools out there that allow you to get a document digitally signed. Make sure the tool you use is legally binding. At Zeevou we have integrated with Signable to facilitate this process. Zeevou Book allows you to automate the sending out of your terms through Signable every time a booking comes in and payment is collected. Moreoever, you can also collect ID through Signable in a GDPR compliant way. Once the guest has returned these, you will get notified by email. You can then check all the documentation, and verify the guest in Zeevou if you are happy with them. This will allow the trigger for self check-in instructions to then kick off at the desired time.
However, it is not sufficient to just have your contract signed and ID collected. You need to be careful and ensure that your eyes are open for any other warning signs of potential trouble. Although the following are not always signs of a troublesome guest, you should be extra cautious if you notice any of the following:
- last minute bookings
- bookings by someone with a local address
- single night bookings on a weekend
- guests who refuse to sign your terms and conditions
- guests who refuse to pay a security deposit
- guests who claim that your 3-D Secure payment links are not working
- young guests
- guests who are unable to answer satisfyingly when questioned
Ultimately, if your gut feeling says that there is something wrong with the guest, there probably is. Trust your judgement, and don’t take unneccessary risks. By having a strong direct booking website and distributing through a powerful channel manager to multiple booking sites, you should be able to resell your nights again.
Sample Terms and Conditions for Direct Bookings Download
We have compiled sample terms & conditions that you can use for taking direct bookings. You can also use them for bookings that you take on other platforms. Please note that these have not been legally checked, and are only meant to give you an idea of what you may wish to include in yours. Zeevou accepts no liability if these terms and conditions do not protect you in case of issues. You should check the validity of the agreement and the need to include any other terms relevant to your country with a lawyer.
To download the Sample Terms and Conditions, click here.