Managing Your Vacation Rental

Handling Tentative Bookings

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
4.9/5 - (13 votes)

Vacation rental homeowners on our site often ask us how to handle tentative bookings and, specifically, when they should reflect the booking as confirmed on their availability calendar. Tempting as it is to do so immediately upon receiving a verbal commitment from a prospective tenant, we urge you to resist until you have received a signed lease and rental deposit from the vacationer. If you block off a week as booked before receiving the lease and deposit, and the prospective tenant changes his mind, you may have lost a chance to rent it to someone else.

But what if someone else inquires for that week?

If you do receive another inquiry for the dates of the tentative booking, you can explain to the new inquirer that you are tentatively reserving that week for someone but would be happy to let them know if it should fall through. Look at every inquiry as an opportunity, if not for another week this season, then for the future. (For further information about handling payments, read our Payment Schedules blog post.)

Are you using a Booking Management system?

If you are listed with, we encourage you to use our Booking Management system, accessed right from your Homeowner Center. This free feature enables you to easily record which weeks are booked, by whom, and at what price. You can also track all of your booking documents, including the date you sent out a lease, when it was returned, and when the next deposit is due.


The Booking Management feature also allows you to enter a booking as “tentative” until the signed lease and deposit have been received, at which time you can then change the status to “Booked.” And it works together with your calendar, so bookings you enter or change are automatically reflected on your calendar. Note: If you have entered a “tentative” booking in your Booking Management system, your calendar will still appear to vacationers as “available” so that you will continue to receive inquiries in case the tentative booking should fall through.

Read more advice about managing your rental bookings.

Reminder: Be sure to keep the date stamp on your calendar as current as possible. Even if you have had no changes to your pricing or availability recently, we recommend that you click on the “Update your calendar” link at least every 3-4 weeks to assure vacationers that your information is accurate. A current date also helps your listing in the search rankings.

How do you handle tentative bookings?

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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for 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 managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.

1 Comment

  • Will a week that is marked “tentative” appear in a prospective tenant’s search for available homes? I am concerned that if it is marked tentative, a new search won’t show our home.