We here at TurnoverBnB usually like to talk about all the best ways you can enjoy your vacation. Whether that be trying to help you save time or money through an easy to use cleaner scheduling platform, great destination options, family traveling advice, you name it. Unfortunately, simple misunderstandings or malicious activities are inevitable when resources for share-economies are available. Here are some problems that arise when using a rental site, and how you – as a vacation-goer or owner – can help create a safer, online vacation rental environment.

Online Vacation Rental Problems

Problem #1: “This isn’t what I signed up for”

Owner

An owner could post pictures of their newly furnished, clean and spotless, and all-around accommodating atmosphere; designed to draw you in. Now there’s nothing wrong with that – except when you arrive at the house and two of the chairs have broken legs, the A/C system is outdated, and there’s a beehive growing in the backyard. Unfortunately, a guest can be stuck when faced with these kinds of problems and there could be little to do except follow the owner’s contract.

What can you do?

Avoid high cleaning and maintenance fees by planning ahead and establishing a relationship with a professional cleaner. Buildings can deteriorate much faster because they’re stuck in a vicious cycle: maintenance fees incur, are put off, then start to build up then are neglected because of their high cost. If you want to use your real estate as a separate source of income, you’re going to need to invest some resources into it. Planning ahead of time with proper organization can save you a ton of money, attract more guests with better reviews, and voila! More money in your pocket. Post up-to-date photos of your rental property. Vacation rental platforms are a mutually-beneficial community: a guest that books your offer and finds out what it TRULY is will make quick work of a negative review.

Guest

You might book a property to find that it isn’t what you were anticipating. This might prompt demands for a refund, and even result in a negative review of the property. But what if everything was laid out in the property description? What’s more, what if the surrounding environment isn’t what you were expecting? I know for a fact that there are people who think Hawai’i is a lot of thatched roofs and bungalows on the beach. Quick hint: it isn’t.

What can you do?

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Although it may seem daunting to thoroughly plan a vacation (I mean what’s a vacation for in the first place?), you can avoid a lot of problems by planning ahead of time. You can do this by

  • Thoroughly read the property description
  • Looking at your owner’s credibility:
    • what kind of reviews do they have?
    • How many photos of the property are there?
    • Do the terms seem genuine?
    • Are they operating multiple properties?

Problem #2: Unclear Terms/Miscommunication

You might not be aware of any problems going into this situation. However, they are present, and it comes down to poor planning, effort, and negligence.

Owner

Hopefully, you’ve never been (and never will be!) in a situation where you book a property only to find it IS NOT vacant for the duration of your stay. Maybe you were expecting some privacy during your vacation, but it turns out that the owners live on the property.

What can you do?

Do your due diligence as a vacation rental property owner. It is important that you give your potential guests ALL of the information regarding your terms. Transparency and communication is the best tool for potential guests to be completely satisfied and stress free. By outlining everything ahead, you’ll save a ton of time because you won’t have to deal with situations on a case-by-case basis. Essential information includes

  • Clear rules outlined prior to booking
  • Up-to date bookings
  • Appropriate prices based on the market price of similar properties

Guest

The worst thing a guest can do is not be clear (or even lie) about their intentions for the duration of the stay. Owners clean and prepare their properties to accommodate guests for appropriate satisfaction. They are also sharing their personal property and real property with guests. An example of this is when someone claims they have a party of four when in reality they THROW a party with 20+ guests. Usually, owners are aware and prepared for these problems. There may be some kind of writing in the agreement that states consequences or penalties.

What can you do?

Be up front with your intentions and expectations with the owner before booking. There will always be a property that will cater to your needs. A romantic getaway, a company retreat, a celebration, Spring Break, whatever it may be.

Problem #3: Fraudulent Listings

Finally, there are those who exploit vacation rental platforms with fake accounts. They will post fake properties that appear clean and state-of-the-art, stock photos, and when it comes to the booking, money is wired to one of their sources. Sometimes, it is very difficult to track these sources as the perpetrators are skilled. Luckily, there are agencies that try to assist with these problems, as well as those that try to apprehend and prosecute offenders.

What can you do?

Vacation rental property owners and guests should work together to promote a safe environment when people are trying to enjoy life. Owners should be able to identify who is and is not legitimate. There is usually a shared space on social media platforms for homeowners to congregate. Again, guests should thoroughly investigate a property before booking. This comes with planning ahead of time: the more time you have, the more options you’ll be able to browse. Preventative measures are always the best route. If you are subject to this kind of attack, contact the authorities or any other protection resource you have right away. Contact the platform as well, and make it aware to the community that there is malpractice happening on the site.