Financial Matters Managing Your Vacation Rental

Increase your bookings by offering your guests online payments

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
Increase your bookings by offering your guests online payments
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In this fast-changing, highly competitive vacation rental industry, it has become more important than ever for homeowners to keep up with the changes and offer guests a competitive “product.”  And the product is not just your home but the booking experience as well. One of the most significant recent changes in the industry lies in the booking process, where the demand for online payments has increased dramatically. (View our previous blog post about the growing demand for online payments.)

The bottom line is: the better you can meet vacationer demands, the more successful you will be renting your home. And vacationers are increasingly demanding online payment options.

Sink or swim

Whether we like it or not, we homeowners must adapt to changing vacationer demands – or end up with vacancies. In most vacationer cases, they are crazy-busy, wary of scams, and desire speed and automation in the search for, and booking of, a home. In other words, they want the whole process to be quick, easy and safe.

Hear what a vacationer recently wrote us:

“Upon finding a house that I liked and speaking to the property manager, I learned that the only form of payment that the owner would take was a check. I would like to express how disappointed I am that, in this day and age of technology, only a check is accepted. To assume that all people are able to pay cash for everything is upsetting. Some people rely on end of year bonuses or income tax returns to pay off bills. I hope that you can impress upon your owners that finding another payment method other than cash would be highly recommended.” – Andrea W.

The Benefits of online payments

  • As mentioned above, online payments are quick, easy, and safe – which is beneficial to homeowners as well as vacationers.
  • Last-minute bookings are a nightmare without online payments! The alternative is that homeowners ask vacationers to purchase a banker’s or cashier’s check and overnight it – hardly something your guests are going to be thrilled about doing.
  • Even earlier in the booking season, a speedy payment process enables homeowners to nail down their bookings more quickly, avoiding the long waiting period to receive checks, having to respond to other inquiries in the meantime, etc.
  • Many vacationers, who tend to be considerably younger than us homeowners, don’t even own a check book!
  • Whether real or just perceived, vacationers believe they can submit a “charge back” to recoup payments they make if there is a problem after they book a home.
  • Whereas in the past online payments always required a service fee that was the responsibility of the homeowner, there are a few options now that are just as safe and do not require a fee from either party.

What can you do?

In addition to accepting checks, if you do offer your guests an online payment option, you can now distinguish your listing from your competition by promoting this highly demanded option. We have recently added a new enhancement to our WeNeedaVacation.com site that enables vacationers to view which payment options homeowners provide.

How can you display your payment options on your listing?

You can now log in and go to your Calendar and Pricing page, at the bottom of which you will see the Payment Methods section:

If you click on the “Display payment methods” icon, the following grid will appear:

Simply check the payment methods that you accept and your policy governing any fees, and save the Calendar and Pricing page.

How will your payment options be displayed on your listing?

If you do allow online payments, “Online payments accepted” will appear in the “Contact” box on the right side of your listing:

Vacationers can hover over the “Online payments accepted” link to see which payment methods you accept. 

They can also view your payment options above your calendar like this:

Trying to decide which online payment options to offer your guests?

Not all online payment vehicles require additional service fees, some have maximum amount requirements, and some are for domestic payments only.  For more information, view our blog post about Online Payment Options for Your Guests.

Do you accept online payments from your guests? If so, have you indicated that you offer this great amenity on your listing?

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

1 Comment

  • It is shocking for vacationer in some cases they only can pay through check. In today’s world without online payment system you definitely will sink.