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It is the goal of every vacation rental owner to accrue bookings. Owners endure the troubles of carefully wording their listings, and uploading professional-grade photo portfolios showing off the best that their respective listings offer. Nevertheless, a crucial step in the formation of any acclaimed vacation rental is the careful watch for fraudulent bookings. Invalid bookings undermine an owner’s profits, can damage property, injure reputation, and will ultimately impair a location’s capacity to deliver world-class hospitality.
Vacation rentals prove one of the world’s most popular forms of travel today. Therefore, property owners should heed the following methods to prevent fraudulent bookings, to maximize property value, and to allow guests to enjoy safe, secure onsite relaxation.
- Opt for Secure Policies
Most vacation rental engines are characterized by built-in security measures. Take advantage of these policies, to minimize suspicious activity. These measures include credit card verification specifications, ensuring that no transactions are finalized before a prospective guest enters his or her CVC code. Electing to exhibit more of a rigid mindset, with regard to vacation rental policy, will allow you to keep a strict eye on any suspect payments or activity. Owners of vacation rentals are encouraged to pay special attention to late bookings; do not allow travelers to cut any policy corners for the sake of on-time bookings.
You can also put the fraud-protection security of credit card agencies to work for your purposes. Whether you’re an owners of a vacation rental, or a prospective traveler looking for one, prioritize credit card purchases. Should your purchase prove fraudulent, scammers are left without access to the remainder of your bank information. Additionally, most credit card agencies offer supplementary scam-protection measures.
- Employ dependable, proven travel reservation sites
When choosing site through which to book or manage a vacation rental, or travel accommodation of any sort, you’re going to want to employ the services of a dependable agency. Reach the travel website or portal directly, and take note of any website incongruities, items or insignias that may look out of place. If you do elect to employ the services of a third-party site, pay extra close attention to its qualifications, specs, and overall reputation. Make sure that your channel for vacation bookings is both valid and reputed. If you’re ever in doubt regarding the legitimacy (or the lack thereof) of a specific booking engine or travel site, you can always cross-reference the agency with the Better Business Bureau.
Often, less reputed travel booking channels will attempt to sway prospective users with exclusive deals, discounts, or travel packages not otherwise available on the market. Pay specific attention to these ruses, and perform due diligence especially on any potential price cuts that a less-reputed site may seek to offer you. When it comes to a livelihood, it’s simply always a better, safer decision to partner with the more recognized of the travel engines. What’s more, travelers will regularly check mainstream vacation rental sites before venturing off into third-party content, for the simple reason that the reputation of well-recognized sites like Airbnb witness to its worth.
- Confirm any and all bookings
No matter how your booking is completed, it’s always a good idea to immediately follow up with the other party. If you’ve recently closed a transaction with a future vacation rental guest, follow-up with that individual or individuals, to confirm the legitimacy of the deal. This measure will also demonstrate your willingness as a vacation rental owner to personally confirm the booking, which goes a long way toward demonstrating to all guests your willingness to deliver world-class accommodations.
The same applies if you are the individual who has recently booked a vacation rental or home. Don’t waste any time in personally reaching out to the home or vacation rental owner, not only to affirm the booking itself, but to confirm that your purchase has, in fact, been approved. Again, this not only allows you to evade the possibility of fraudulent travel scams; it also establishes a personal link between owner and guest, allowing for future, positive interactions. Seek if possible to acquire a certified travel invoice, for proof of purchase.
- Be wary of “friend” check-ins
One of the more popular contemporary scams facing renters and owners is the presentation of another individual’s payment or identification information. Take note of any guests who use a “friend’s” verification or credit card information. Oftentimes, this method is simply the means by which stolen identity is put to use.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong in offering a friend’s payment information, owners must confirm personally with the friend as to the legitimacy of the booking. Friends will often offer to purchase vacation bookings for fellow friends; however, do not allow yourself to assume the best, only to find yourself on the losing end of a fraudulent booking.
- Remain aware
Awareness is key. The vast majority of fraudulent bookings depend upon following a vacation rental owner or a traveler. In personally reaching out to the other party in a booking, and in opting for credit card purchases with additional security measures in place, renters and owners alike stand only to gain from a healthy, growing vacation rental market. However, this growth is contingent upon constant observation and dedication with regard to simple awareness techniques.
The general rule of thumb with regard to potential fraudulent bookings remains a simple one: if a transaction appears to be fraudulent, it likely is. Take red flags seriously during the transaction process, and even after a transaction has been completed. Owners retain the power to deny any potential booking, just as a guest has the power to cancel if a location itself is suspect. Additionally, FRBO, Airbnb and other travel engines are incredibly receptive to all feedback, given that their own success is contingent upon successful guest bookings. If a fraudulent booking does occur, or if you come across any suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to bring the matter to the correct authority.
Trust the Process
Don’t allow yourself to become the target of a fraudulent travel booking. Remain aware of the conditions of your transaction, and confirm the details with your guest or renter. Book or offering bookings through reputable travel sites with top-tier customer service. Remember, the vast majority of vacation rental bookings and owners only want to deliver world-class hospitality to deserving guests. Assume the best, but prepare yourself for the possibility of a potential scam, with the above tips of the vacation rental trade! For more travel guides and accommodation reviews on hotels and vacation rentals, check out Trip101.