Helpful Articles - Vacation Rental Management Resource Center

Four Steps to Gaining Guest Confidence and More Bookings

Copyright 2017


With all the fraud on the Internet and in the vacation rental market it has become increasingly important for vacation owners who want more bookings to instill credibility and security in the minds of guests. It's all too easy for fraudulent renters to deceive travelers, and the word is getting out.

In this article, we will outline how owners can make guests feel safe and secure when renting from you, and how this ultimately will get you more bookings because of their increased level of confidence. If a guest has to make a choice between your credible vacation property and a suspect or sub-par one, you've just secured another booking.

What is the guest thinking?

To try to understand the guest's point of view, imagine for a moment you are shopping for a vacation home in Aspen Colorado. After finding what appears to be a beautiful inexpensive cabin, you find that the owner only accepts checks/certificates mailed to a P.O. Box., and an email form and fax number is provided as a point of contact.

Some fear and doubt has to come into the guest's mind at this point. Anyone could sign up on a vacation rental website for a nominal one-time fee of $100-$200, place a fake listing with cheap rates, never mark off days on the provided calendar, accept multiple false reservations, and use anonymous check-cashing services with a fake driver's license or state ID card to steal their money.

This scenario may sound farfetched, but this is a real problem for travelers and popular vacation rental websites on which this fraudulent activity occurs. Con-artists have ripped off travelers in the past and continue to do so today.

Most vacation rental websites specifically have disclaimers that state they do not perform checks that guarantee their website's listings are legitimate. Instead, they try to protect visitors by providing advice on how to choose a legitimate vacation home.

What can I do?

As guests rightfully become informed about fraudulent vacation rental activity, it's important that your vacation property and listings have the elements necessary to make guests feel safe and secure booking with you.

The key ingredients to achieve better credibility and security include:

  1. Providing your full name and at least one local telephone number on your rental listings
  2. Avoid using P.O. Boxes for payment and guest correspondence
  3. Make sure your listings feature multiple high-quality photos
  4. Accept credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard – A PayPal account will not suffice
1. Providing your full name and at least one local telephone number on your rental listings

A local telephone number gives people more confidence because it must have a physical address attached to it.

Do not just list a pager, toll free number, fax, or email only. Pagers and fax numbers are easy for fraudulent renters to get online with a stolen credit card. Many online faxing services offer a free trial period wherein you can actually receive your own fax number.

2. Avoid P.O. Boxes

It's far too easy for anyone with a fake driver's license or ID card to get a local post office box. Guests will hesitate sending personal checks or certified payment to them. It's better to provide a verifiable home address.

If you don't want guests to send payments and correspondence to your home address, your business address will be suitable.

3. Make sure your listings feature multiple high-quality photos

By choosing vacation rental directories that allow you to upload many high-quality photos, guests perceive that your vacation home is more real, and almost tangible.

If a guest sees a few poor quality, low resolution, spot-ridden photos, the property won't only get fewer bookings, it will become suspect.

4. Accept credit cards

If you accept major credit cards consumers immediately have confidence that you're a legitimate owner and your property exists.

The reason for this is that in order for a business to accept credit cards from the public, the business owner must have a sufficient credit score, qualify for a commercial bank account using a valid social security number and drivers license, and more often than not, provide proof of ownership by disclosing a copy of a utility bill for the property.

In addition, credit card companies such as Visa-MasterCard, Discover, and American Express proactively revoke service from businesses which are found to be violating their policies or conducting illegitimate business.

Guests will also feel safer with you because credit card companies typically do not hold consumers liable for any fraudulent activity on their account, and consumers know that if they pay for a service such as a vacation rental and it isn't rendered to them, they can get their money back. So the guest has nothing to lose when paying by credit card.

Vacation Rental Desk™ provides built-in credit card processing. Learn More about our online reservation system and how easy it is to accept credit cards for your vacation rental.

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