We’re changing our policy from “moderate” to “flexible” across our rental platforms. Here’s why.
This is big discussion among vacation home hosts. It’s rather frustrating to get a reservation in May for a popular weekend like the 4th of July, and then the guest cancels with 100% refund two days before. You’re like, “What?” And it’s doubly frustrating when no one books to fill the vacancy. The host is out the money, sometime a significant chunk of money. Grrrr.
Airbnb (one of three options to our guests for booking with us) recently came out with an email last week that forced us to reconsider our frustration. Here’s what they said:
Travel planning is in full swing and Airbnb research suggests that guests appreciate having the flexibility to cancel when they need to. If you can be flexible on cancellation, your prospective guests can plan trips with less stress and be more spontaneous!—Airbnb
That’s sure the spirit we try to exude in our glamping operation! Stress-free and spontaneous. These are definitely strong values of ours.
But this this relates to one of our core values in hosting our glamping operation: Always treat travelers the way we would like to be treated. It’s our “golden rule” of communicating with guests. This value has justified many accommodations and refunds that most other hosts would never give, but it gives us great emotional comfort and helps us sleep comfortably every night knowing that our guests were treated with respect and dignity, just as we expect and appreciate if we were traveling.
Before today our cancellation policy was “moderate” — full refund 5 days prior to arrival. While this seems reasonable for a host’s perspective, it would certainly put me out if I were traveling an I had to change my plans at the last minute. We aren’t stick-it-to-you kinds of hosts — if someone came to us with a legitimate reason to cancel we’d refund — but why should they have to come to us and beg in the first place?
When we’re walking in the shoes of adventurous travelers (which we do often), we want flexibility from our hosts. Therefore, our policy has moved from moderate to “extremely flexible.” Anyone can cancel up to 24 hours of their stay.
We’ll likely experience a grrrr moment now and then when a longtime booking cancels last minute, but that’s okay. We would rather provide a confident stay where guests feel taken care of and dignified to make respectable decision while traveling.
This change has been made across all my platforms, but Airbnb gives me a “Flexible or Non-refundable.” This means that we offer a non-refundable option where guests pay 10% less, but we keep our payout no matter when they cancel. A nice tweak to encourage stronger commitments.
In the golden rule spirit, we hope this encourages folks to get outdoors and go glamping!