In case you hadn’t noticed, the world has gone digital. And in the vacation rental industry, growing numbers of vacationers prefer to pay for their rental homes online rather than by sending a check. If you are a vacation rental homeowner and want to maintain an edge over your competition, we recommend that you consider offering alternative methods of payment that are 1) secure, 2) simple and easy for both parties, and 3) free or at least very low in cost.
On our site, the entire payment process is controlled by the homeowner – we do not require that bookings be made through our site, nor do we interfere with the process in any way. So it’s up to you.
In the past, we have suggested that requesting payment by personal check remains a perfectly acceptable practice – and we still believe that it is. There are, however, a number of merits to also providing an online alternative.
What are some advantages of online payments?
Many Millennials don’t even use a checkbook! And those are the young families who are and will be renting your homes in growing numbers. Technology and sites like ours enable these vacationers to search for and identify a perfect vacation rental home quickly and efficiently – they are also used to being able to book it and pay for it as quickly, safely, and effortlessly as possible.
A recent WeNeedaVacation.com survey of thousands of vacationers provided us with some pretty clear insights about vacationer payment preferences – and they really prefer to pay online!
Until recently, other online options such as PayPal usually required the payee (you, the homeowner) to pay service fees, which provided plenty of incentive for us to prefer checks. But times change, and there are now quite a few options enabling anyone to accept funds without incurring fees. The important thing, of course, is to choose a method that is secure and reliable, in addition to being free. In our next blog post, I will explore some of the great options that are currently available for your use.
There are advantages of online payments to you, the homeowner, as well. Naturally, you don’t need to wait until a check clears and can receive the funds much more quickly, locking in the booking without such a long wait period. This is particularly important if you are accepting a last-minute booking.
Like providing Internet for your guests, online payment options are likely going to become not just an attractive option to vacationers but something that they will come to expect as routine.
What can you do?
Take a look at our blog post, Online Payment Options for Your Guests, which suggests some good, reliable, safe methods to consider, in addition to PayPal. Then, decide on at least one payment option to offer your guests, preferably a few.
Once you’re ready to accept online payments, promote this advantage on your listing. We may be implementing on all our listings an icon indicating that the homeowner accepts online payments. At some point, this may even become a “searchable” amenity for vacationers. In the meantime, if you do accept online payments, you should say so in the “Other price info” field at the bottom of your Calendar page.
Given its growing popularity, advertising that you accept online payments may well bring you more inquiries and bookings.