As you know, the WeNeedaVacation platform provides homeowners with full control of the booking process, allowing you the benefit of defining your own cancellation policies. Nevertheless, we receive calls and emails from homeowners and vacationers alike asking about OUR cancellation policy. The answer is that it’s completely up to the homeowner.
We do, however, have some thoughts for you to consider.
Regardless of your cancellation policy, we urge you to be as communicative and understanding with your guests as possible. If your committed guests need to cancel, you have every right to stick to the policy stated in your lease, but try to be as accommodating and sensitive as you can.
Naturally, for any prospective guests, a more relaxed policy will make them more likely to book with you. But especially for larger homes or those on the Islands, it’s very difficult to rebook a home just a short time before the stay.
Some cancellation options
Every one of your situations is different – and we are not here to judge you. These are merely some options for you to consider and, below, some ideas about how to articulate them.
- If you’re willing, offer them a full refund if they cancel more than 3 months prior to arrival. Giving your guests the opportunity to opt out now may give you ample time to rebook your home.
- Offer to allow them to cancel at a later date, but only if you are able to rebook your home.
- Offer a percentage refund depending on the timing of the cancellation vis-à-vis the date of occupancy.
- Stick to the usual cancellation policy (see the “Fairly strict” policy below).
- For prospective guests/inquirers, suggest they look into TravelInsurance.com, which is an aggregate website that enables vacationers to compare and buy trip insurance online. Read more information about general travel insurance for vacationers. There are benefits to you as well as your guests if they purchase travel insurance.
Examples of two approaches
Whatever policy you choose to adopt, here are some examples of language you can use, starting with the clause from our regular sample lease:
Fairly strict approach – taken from our Sample Lease
If the TENANT cancels his/her reservation, all funds received will be refunded ONLY if premises are re-rented by LANDLORD for the reservation period. LANDLORD will make every effort to find a replacement TENANT. If LANDLORD is successful in securing a replacement for the entire term of the lease, at the same rate and terms, the TENANT will receive a refund of the deposit paid less 5% of the total rent due for this lease. If re-rented for a lesser amount, the difference between this rental and the lesser rental amount shall not be refunded. There is no guarantee that a replacement TENANT will be secured and there is no guarantee the TENANT will receive a refund if a replacement TENANT is not secured.
Cancellations will be accepted on bookings made up to X weeks in advance of the rental start date with money fully refunded. Cancellations made up to X month(s) prior to the rental start date will be refunded X%, and cancellations made X weeks prior will be refunded X%.
I am hopeful that this flexibility in policy will enable you to make the best decision for you and your family.
If you do receive any cancellations, read about How to Handle a Cancellation.
Looking to share ideas with other homeowners? Join the Vacation Rental Community – Cape and Islands Facebook group. It’s a great way to pose ideas or questions and read about what other homeowners are thinking and doing – about cancellations or anything else related to managing a rental property on the Cape and Islands.