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We have a five-night minimum and a guest booked for five nights in April. But, three weeks after booking, she mentioned they had a departing flight after only four nights. It was in context of timing for the COVID test to return to the US.
I’m willing to refund the unused night IF we can book it to another party. But I don’t want to refund the last night just to modify the reservation. If I do an alteration to four nights, will they automatically get a refund for that night, or can I leave the total alone?
I’d like to get ahead of this and not get into an argument over it later (that’s happened before when someone booked more nights than they needed and left early). Advice? I haven’t brought this up with the guest yet until I have a plan for it.
I’m in the “talk to the guest” camp. I makes sense that if money is no object and they want your place that they booked the minimum and leave when they leave. But if I were concerned they would try to make it an issue later then I’d just clarify now.
“I’m assuming you know that my minimum is 5 nights and that’s what you booked even though you are only staying 4 nights. If there is additional information I need, let me know. I just don’t want you to be disappointed that there will be no refund for the unused night.” Or something like that as a convo opener.
I know it’s contrary to what most hosts experience, with guests seeming to want refunds for any little perceived inconvenience, but 3 times I have had guests who missed the first day of their booking (these were 10 day-2 week bookings) due to flight delays, and overbooked flights. In each case I offered to refund the first day, or add an extra day to the end if they could stay that long, in every case, they refused, saying not to be silly, it wasn’t my fault and why should I take a loss.
So guests like that do exist. I think you should feel the guest out- if she states in writing that she doesn’t expect any refund, then you don’t have to do anything- the day stays blocked, you’ve been paid and you have a free day or can get the cleaning done early.
I am in the, leave well enough alone camp. They know what dates they booked and that you have a 5 night minimum. They are adults, flying to a unique place and paying for it. If they ask for refund I would simply decline, there is a 5 day minimum in place.
PitonView’s spectacular home is on Jade Mountain in St Lucia. Due to Covid restrictions, her guest has informed her in writing that they have earlier flights home. St Lucia is under strict travel restrictions. I am sure PitonView, and her on staff house employees, can manage the juggle when and if they are able to fill the questionable night on VRBO. I don’t think a double booking problem is one that needs to be dealt with since she was told they have other flights. Rather, by getting the night booked, it enables her to offer that guest a nightly refund based on the informed early departure.
Let’s ask @PitonView if she fears a double booking problem…
I read things here all the time about what you so rightly call “what most hosts experience” but like you, I’ve never been asked for a refund for an unused day.
I suspect that what we hear from hosts here and what is typical are two very different things. Reading this forum could easily have new hosts thinking that a lot of poor guest behaviour is common - it isn’t.
People vent here. And after all, it’s most unlikely that anyone posts with any regularity about their great guests.
So like @RiverRock, I’d leave well alone rather than putting the idea of a refund into the guest’s mind. The guests have paid up until the time of check out on departure day. They can use the rental until that time. They are also at liberty to leave if they so choose.
I think I’ll just let it go. There are five adults in the group, so it’s quite possible the “we” she referred to as leaving early was a portion of the group. And five nights at our home is probably cheaper than four nights at a four-bedroom home (we have four queen beds in three bedrooms).
We’re on a strict cancellation policy so we’ll get paid for the night. I won’t open it up on Vrbo for that reason. If she comes back and fights about it later, I’ll just deal with it then.