Declining a booking
I just got a booking via VRBO. Ten minutes later (before I accepted the reservation) the guest wrote and said she made a mistake with her dates and could I change them. I wrote to her from my phone and told her to call VRBO and tell them she made a mistake and that she would like to change them (I was not in the office or at my computer).
Five minutes later she booked the correct dates. Now she has two reservation requests.
I accepted the correct one and told her to call VRBO about the other one.
I do not want to be penalized by the listing site for not accepting a booking.
She had the following conversation with the customer service rep:
***Hello again! I am sorry. I contacted VBRO. They said your property management software needs to change it.
Can you deny the request and I can put in another one for the correct dates? (I am truly sorry for this. It's totally my fault.)
This is what they said:
Per checking, the reservation is made through a property management company that uses a third-party software to manage online booking and booking modification.
I would still recommend that you keep in touch with the property manager as they are the one who can edit the dates through their own system.
Me: So you cannot change it? Should I ask the owner to change it?
Sorry, she said she can't change. should I ask her to contact the property management?
Or can you change the dates? Or cancel the request so I may make a new one for the correct dates?
Yes please. That is the best way to make some changes on your reservation. Maybe they are not really aware, and it will be best if you can speak with the manager of the rental agency.
I would advise that you request to change the dates and if they confirm that they haven't accepted the request, you can rebook it and they are the one who will cancel it on their system.***
Does anyone know a way for this to get resolved without me being penalized for not accepting a reservation?
@carole I've been thru this a dozen times and the answer is no. They are working on an option for a guest requested cancellation that won't penalize the owner, but I haven't seen it yet.
If this happens in the future, I would just modify the terms, and then send it back for the guest to approve. This keeps only one accepted reservation.
I never send the guest back to VRBO unless it's to dispute their fee.
@Jenny-Oest Thanks - so maybe I will revise the original one instead of cancelling it - I will offer it for a total of $1.00 for one of the nights she already has booked. And then I will revise her booked nights by $1.00.- I wonder what VRBO's booking fee will be on a $1.00 booking?
@carole they won't change the VRBO fee. I have guests add on all the time, but that initial service fee doesn't change. They only refund it if you do a cancellation with a 100% refund.
@Jenny-Oest Success Here's what I did (maybe if anyone else is ever in this situation this will help:
Since the guest had already gone ahead and booked the dates she actually wanted, adjusting her booking to the new dates would not work.
So, I adjusted the bad dates to be a 1 night booking that overlapped with the correct dates. The system said she would not be able to book online but I switched it to "allow booking" and then I changed the price to $0.
I sent her the new offer and then just manually went to the new quote and accepted it as the new reservation terms.
After that it still showed the old (incorrect) dates as "tentative" and blocked on VRBO, so I went back to MyVr and clicked the status to "reserved" manually, and then went back into my listing on VRBO and it refreshed and now the dates are available online again.
She does have a one night booking in my system which has a zero balance which I will just leave there..(Although based on what you said it probably won't hurt at this point if I cancel it?)
@carole what about the service fee to the guest? Are they ok with paying it twice?
@Jenny-Oest I thought that the fee isn't charged until the actual booking and then it is based on the dates/amount booked. Otherwise she has already paid a really large fee since she accidentally booked for 2 weeks and the only wanted 4 nights.
@carole - It's included on their quote at the time of booking, but billed separately when the booking is accepted. If she booked two reservations with you, and you accepted both, she will be charged both Service fees.
In the future, should you receive a booking request, and the guest then asks to make a change, simply revise the terms, and then ask the guest to approve them. Then they will be charged one Service Fee, and you can make any changes you wish to the reservation once it's accepted into MyVR.
@Carole - it's my understanding that the only info returned to HomeAway in response to the booking request is whether or not it was accepted or declined. Any other changes we make on our system are not shared with HA.
This might be worth a phone call to your HomeAway PM representative to clarify? Perhaps things have changed?
@jenny-oest How do we contact our Homeaway PM representative? I just cancelled a booking (at guest request, because Homeaway told them myVR had to do it, and myVR told me I had to do it) and I'm really chuffed that I might be penalized in some way.
So you're saying next time I should just change the reservation to be $1 or $0 dollars....but how do I make that night available? Having one night blocked could easily make me lose a whole week's worth of reservations if someone needs to book that week.
Being forced to cancel on the guest's behalf and then being penalized is unacceptable.
@caroline-benzel - I went over this again today with my account manager.
- If you accept two reservation requests, then they will pay both service fees.
- Whether you change the reservation to $0.00 or $1,000,000, the service fee amount will not change.
- if a guest requests to cancel on an integrated listing (such as we have), we must still initiate the cancellation. AT THE MOMENT, they cannot differentiate the reasons for cancellations within our stats, so instead they give such partners more leniency on the point at which cancellations will effect your rankings. He assures me they are working on it.
- I’ve also noticed that when cancelling, MyVR is now collecting the reason for cancellation, which parallels what HomeAway is asking. So I’m thinking there is active work going on behind the scenes.
- there is no free workaround, other than the homeaway leniency.
- IMHO - if you’re not cancelling 25% of your bookings, just cancel and move on.
FYI - the guest requested cancellation without penalty for non- integrated listings has recently rolled out which is why the change for integrated listings can’t be far behind.
@jenny-oest Thanks Jenny! Your responses are always super helpful! I feel better now
Hi Jenny - I somehow ended up with one confirmed reservation and one tentative reservation for the same guest, same dates and property, source VRBO. Is there any risk of penalty to me for closing the tentative reservation?
@tracy-lucente - that all depends upon the source of the tentative reservation. What's the history behind that and the confirmed one? Are they both through HomeAway as reservation requests?
@jenny-oest For the tentative reservation, the source is VRBO and the confirmed booking is HomeAway.
@tracy-lucente - ugh. The tentative then is no doubt a reservation request? Has it expired or is it waiting for your action? No matter how you do this, you will have to cancel or decline the second one, but probably better to decline than cancel. Either way, unless this happens frequently, it won't start to hurt your rankings. You can't keep both, because the guest would be charged the service fee twice.
Ok thanks so much for your guidance.