Even though VRBO is not the leading platform for listing your vacation rentals, it still has a large user base. Offering your property there will grant you access to more guests from across the globe, boosting your occupation rates.
As with any decent platform, VRBO offers an option to cancel your booking both to guests and hosts. Today, we will focus on the entrepreneurs’ part of the experience, covering all the necessary information about the VRBO cancellation policy for hosts.
VRBO vs. Airbnb: What is better? Read here.
Host Cancellation Policies
As VRBO has to compete with major platforms like Airbnb and Booking, it has to offer something exclusive for hosts to attract their attention and increase the number of listings on the website. The company has clearly decided to make its cancellation policies comfortable for hosts by giving them control over most corresponding features. Thus, as a host, you will be able to set up a set of rules by choosing one of the four options:
- No refund.
No refund policy
As the name of this option implies, selecting a no refund policy will result in your guests not being able to receive a refund under any conditions. Even though it might sound extremely beneficial for the owner, it is important to keep in mind that the guests see the option you have selected. Thus, offering absolutely no refunds might repel some of the potential visitors.
The strict policy option definitely stands up to its name, as choosing it will allow your guests to get a full refund, only in case they have canceled the reservation at least 60 prior to the days of stay.
Compared to the previous option, the Strict policy is better for the guest, but it is still not enough for many potential customers. On the one hand, you will be able to plan your bookings beforehand and there will be enough time for you to find new guests in case someone cancels their reservation. But on the other hand, not every short-term visitor of VRBO is planning their trips 60 days ahead.
This is the first policy on our list that offers two refund options. Just like with the Strict policy, your guests will be fully refunded in case they cancel their booking at least 60 days before check-in. However, with Firm policy, your customers will be able to cancel their booking 30 days before check-in and get half of the sum refunded.
This policy provides your guests with more flexibility. People will choose your vacation rental more likely when they know they can get at least half of the sum refunded in case something goes wrong. In fact, it is mutually beneficial, as the host will be able to use the remaining half of the sum to offer a discount on freshly opened nights.
The Moderate policy is a milder equivalent of the Firm policy. The idea is the same: the visitor can get a full refund, in case they cancel the reservation early and a 50% refund, in case they cancel it later. The only difference is the time frame: with the Moderate policy, the full refund gap is 30 days, while to get a 50% refund, the cancellation has to be made 14 days before check-in.
Logically, guests will enjoy this policy more than the previous one. However, you will have less time to close a gap in your booking calendar, if a person cancels their reservation. For each host, the choice should be made individually by finding a balance between occupation rate and the secure time frame they wish to have.
The last option on VRBO’s list is the most beneficial for guests. Similar to the previous policy, there are two refund options, but the time frames are different. For full refunds, it is necessary to make a cancellation at least 14 days before check-in, while for 50% refunds, the gap should be at least 7 days.
Of course, choosing this option will allow you to attract more guests and stand out from the crowd of other listings. However, in case a cancellation happens, you will have much less time to find new visitors. The increased occupation rate may be worth it for some hosts, while for others, the actual cancellations will overwhelm the income from these new reservations.
How to Change Your Policy
As a host, you may change the policy at any given moment. What is even better, you can select different refund options for different listings. The interface of VRBO allows you to edit the policies for each property easily. To do so, you will need to perform the following steps:
- Log in to your account.
- Open the dashboard and find the listing you wish to edit.
- Find the Rules & Policies button.
- Switch to the Cancellation Policies page.
- Choose the option you prefer.
- Save the edits by clicking the corresponding button.
How to Cancel a Booking as a Host
Some cancellations have to be approved by hosts. To do so, the host needs to open the chat with the guest. There, it is necessary to click the cancellation approval button, which should appear automatically.
However, the hosts also have an option to annul reservations. It is not recommended to do so regularly, as it will negatively affect your metrics. But in some cases, there are no other options for the host. To cancel a booking as a host, you will need to:
- Enter your account on VRBO.
- Find the chat with the guest whose reservation you wish to cancel.
- Choose the Cancel option.
- In the pop-up, select the reason for annulling the reservation.
- Hit the Continue button and confirm the operation.
Summing up, the system of refunds is designed well on VRBO. The platform has made cancellations and refunds comfortable and transparent both for guests and hosts. For tourists, it is especially easy and intuitive, as they can always see the refund policy of any given listing.
For property owners, there is a possibility of choosing the policy they are most comfortable with. The choice, however, should be made individually. For some hosts, choosing a milder policy will attract more guests and boost their income. At the same time, stricter policies with larger fees will allow the owner to plan more carefully.
As you could have noticed from one of the previous sections, each policy has its downsides. The stricter it is, the fewer bookings you will likely get. The general recommendation is to base your choice on the amount of time you usually need to close a gap in the booking calendar: in case you always manage to find visitors within 7 days, you will have no issues with the Relaxed policy.
Discover more about Airbnb cancellation policy.