For a vacation rental property manager, nothing is probably more terrifying than overbookings. Although capturing as many bookings as possible and filling your vacation rental’s occupancy calendar may be your ultimate goal, using several channels and OTAs to advertise your rentals could lead to what is commonly known as vacation rental overbooking. You definitely would like to list your property(ies) on every booking platform to maximise your business exposure, but keeping an eye on each and every one of these platforms in order not to make a mistake is a very stressful and time-consuming job.
No matter how careful you are, human mistakes can always happen and hurt your business reputation with even a single vacation rental overbooking. Similar to everyone owning a vacation rental, you want to run your business smoothly and seamlessly, and stay clear of double booking mishaps.
We have gathered the necessary information around the topic of vacation rental overbooking. You will find out how overbookings can happen, what are the common ways to safeguard against overbookings, and what is the best solution to make your business most profitable and reputable at the same time.
How Does Vacation Rental Overbooking Happen?
Overbookings, also known as double bookings, are not only a nightmare for vacation rental managers, but also for travellers. Overbookings happen when you sell your short term rental to more than one guest during one specific period. Although overbookings occur frequently by accident, they leave a substantially negative impact on your business reputation. As nowadays there are many outlets for the promotion of your rentals, it is more likely that you fail to keep track of every single booking website you have listed your rentals. There is a contradiction inherent in increasing exposure and getting more overbookings.
Overbooking is a common situation that may happen because of:
- Changes in the check-in / check-out dates by the guest
- Vague timings
- Having several accounts on one booking platform
- Listing as both separate rooms and the entire house at the same time
- Misunderstanding and human errors
- Losing track of bookings
Consequences of Vacation Rental Overbooking
There are several consequences when a vacation rental overbooking happens.
- Overbookings make bad impressions with severe impact on reputation as more negative reviews arrive.
- Losing money and having to pay extra fees are the other side effects of vacation overbookings.
- You might have to find a new place for the guests left without a place of stay, providing the same standards and paying for the differential fee or transportation. Besides that, in many cases you have to refund the guest and wait for the very low review scores on as many outlets as the unhappy guest can get their hands on.
Each of the popular booking platforms have specific rules and policies for this situation:
- Airbnb makes you pay a host cancellation fee, puts an automated public review on your profile, keeps you from renting out the same dates after the cancellation, and you will not be able to be in the superhost status for a year.
- Booking.com will not charge you a host cancellation fee, but you will need to find another place of stay for your guest, pay the differential cost, pay for the transportation, and you will also get a low review as punishment.
- With Expedia and Homeaway, you will get a low review score that will affect your visibility and exposure on the websites, and you will not get as many bookings as before. Also, they will charge you for the guests’ relocation cost.
- On TripAdvisor, you will not be able to cancel a booking before you pay for the cancellation fee. You will also be automatically rated with less visibility as a consequence.
How to Prevent Overbookings
A channel manager can resolve all the complicated difficulties mentioned above. It automatically synchronises all the booking platforms’ calendars that you listed your rentals on. You will get an accurate online availability calendar with real time updates, no matter how many times you have list your property. With a channel manager, you can broadly and fearlessly list your short term rental on any platform you like, lean back and never think of dealing with the load of work managing a vacation rental business brings. By integrating with a powerful channel manager, you can take advantage of extra visibility and exposure, more bookings, less time wasted on coordinating, and finally not having the nightmare of overbookings or double bookings. If you would like to know how Zeevou’s Channel Manager can help you, check our website or request a live demo.