We looked at the positives and downsides of rapid booking in part one of this series, but now it’s time to look at the other side of the coin when it comes to vacation rental reservations. Part two is here: the booking requests discussion!
What exactly are booking requests?
When visitors are ready to reserve a vacation rental home, and the host does not provide an immediate booking option, they may submit a booking request to the owner, which generally leads to the guests making their reservations.
Booking requests enable both hosts and guests to communicate with one another before the booking payment is made. If the host approves the visitor’s booking request, the payment method used by the guest will be charged, and the reservation will be confirmed.
While some hosts like the personal touch of directly receiving and accepting booking requests, others find it a time-consuming approach to take bookings for their property. Let’s get started and look at the various benefits and drawbacks of employing this strategy.
Benefits of booking requests
You get to choose
Many hosts prefer the more conventional manner of responding to booking inquiries since they have complete control over who stays (and who does not) on their vacation property. For example, if you know your home isn’t suited for newborns or young children, you may openly convey this to the possible visitor and politely deny their request.
While the nature of the booking request implies that you will screen your possible visitors to some degree, hosts should be reminded that this is not a chance for prejudice. Sites like Airbnb have implemented strong nondiscrimination regulations to guarantee that everyone has an equal opportunity to rent a home.
Stay away from trouble (or sniff it out in the process)
Though most vacation rental scams originate from the hosting side, there are select “guests” that raise more than just eyebrows when it comes to booking.
If you only take bookings on request, you’ll be in a better position to determine if your visitor will cause any problems. If their profile or direct email indicates where they are from, and it is just 20 minutes away, you should question why they need to rent a property. Is it because they’re planning a party? Be cautious and remember that if anything about a booking request doesn’t seem right, it isn’t!
Fill your schedule in any way you see fit
When each booking needs your permission, you may not only determine who comes but also when they come. Assume you receive three queries for the same two-week period during your peak season: one for a weekend, one for a week, and one for ten days. Before accepting any reservations, you may determine the optimal combination for you (and your rental revenue) that avoids inconvenient length gaps between stays.
Get to know your visitors
Booking inquiries are a more personalized method of inquiring about a holiday rental. Inquirers will not only identify themselves to the host in their first request, but they will also offer hosts a fantastic opportunity to ask all of the questions they’d want to know about their interested visitors in advance of their stay (and vice versa!).
Ensure that your visitors agree to your rules
You can be certain that prospective guests are aware of and agree to all of your house rules as part of the agreement to get to know one another before the booking is finalized. The ability to display your rental agreement to your visitor before they pay for their stay benefits both parties since everyone understands what is expected of them.
Tip of the day: Leverage vacation rental software to help grow your vacation rental business.
More appropriate for first-timers
Inexperienced hosts may limit their first few nights to booking requests to have enough time to complete things correctly. Your first few guest reviews are crucial because they may make or destroy a vacation rental’s reputation.
You may prevent problems by allowing only approved requests to stay at your house while you’re still getting acclimated to hosting. That includes key handover, cleaning, and the dreaded double booking! First, get acquainted with hosting before deciding whether to abandon or continue accepting booking requests.
The disadvantages of booking requests
Some hosts may discover that merely accepting booking requests turn off visitors, causing them to book elsewhere (and immediately!). When it comes to last-minute plans or rash choices to leave town, visitors may not have the time to wait for your comments, queries, and, most crucially, booking request approval. This may impede booking conversion and leave hosts with a poor occupancy rate.
This is readily remedied by creating autoresponders to send out your FAQ replies or outsourcing your communication management to virtual assistants in other time zones.
Inquiries that were missed
Receiving fewer reservations is related to this point: booking requests may result in more missed inquiries. It’s hard to remain up all hours of the day to reply to and accept inquiries if you manage your vacation rental on your own. However, if you don’t act quickly enough, your visitors may search (and book) elsewhere.
Unless you take precautions to prevent missing queries, your visitors are more likely to go to another host who offers fast booking.
Competing with the big names is more challenging
Hosts who have their websites will have their marketing tactics in place to grab direct reservations, but if you just advertise on platforms like HomeAway and Airbnb, you may not get as much attention to your listings as your rivals who have enabled immediate booking.
Booking request listings, unlike fast book listings, are often put to the bottom of search results. So, although it’s nice to be able to evaluate who stays at your house before the booking is finalized, it won’t mean much if you can’t attract people to your listing in the first place.
Furthermore, hosts who merely accept booking requests will have a more difficult time qualifying for Superhost status on Airbnb since Superhosts must have a response rate of 90% or better and must finish each reservation without cancellation.
So there you have it – all of the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing booking requests for your holiday property. Booking inquiries or immediate bookings: which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments!