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I just got this Trip Advisor request - what would you do?


#1

A guy just sent this in on Trip Advisor and I’m wondering, since we’ve only had weird/squirrely requests from Trip Advisor for almost two years now (without a single booked reservation - ever), is this kind of thing normal for TA?

I actually wouldn’t mind doing it, his price is in line with our pricing, if he’d pay a 25% non-refundable deposit when he books. Here’s what he said:

Hello,
i need a place for 2 persons from august 16th to september 3rd (almost 3 weeks)
I would be interested in renting your apartment at $80 / night all included for our stay. I can pay directly at the property
Let me know if interested
Thanks!


#2

Make him the counter offer and see what he says. My money is on him not replying but if he’s willing to send you cash right now to hold it…take it.


#3

I have gotten similar requests. One time people were fabulous, they just needed a home until their escrow closed. The other two were iffy. Had to stay on top of them for rule enforcement. Luckily I had done everything through the platform. On all three occasions I required that they call me and come do a walk through Before, they booked. I told them that I wanted to make sure the place was suitable. In actuality I wanted to get a face to face with them. Good Luck!


#4

Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too K9.

Although I don’t think I’ll do anything unless I can talk to him on the phone first. I need to hear his voice and get a better feel for him. TA gives absolutely NO information or even clues about these people.

I used to rent for cash in pre-Airbnb days and it always worked out perfectly. But I always took a 25% non-refundable deposit. Turns out people really don’t want to lose that money - so I never had a cancellation - ever. And no one ever tried to stiff me. But I talked to every one of them by phone and if I didn’t feel comfortable - which happened a time or two - I didn’t rent to them.


#5

Very smart ranchlife!


#6

Other threads mostly have hosts refusing to let a guest see the space in advance and here’s another host turning that on it’s head. I love it but I can see how guests get confused. One host requires what another won’t allow.


#7

This depends on if you care if you get delisted from TA.

They monitor correspondence heavily and will even send “spanking” emails when you haven’t intentionally tried to help a guest book directly.

I understand it is the guest who wants to book directly, and you aren’t the one who made the suggestion. I’m pretty sure it is a computer system set up that will automatically try to detect anything that goes beyond their system. It may detect, and it may not. Back in the day, they did allow several flags before they removed the account. Not sure what the current policy is.

Now…for me personally, I question why he wants to pay cash…if you were to reduce the rate to $80 a night. Most would want to pay credit card. I say this because TA now rolls their service fees right into your nightly rate. Unlike ABB and VRBO where the guest see the breakdown of service fees, and know if they pay directly - then they can avoid them. Most guests using TA have no idea that your nightly rate is being padded by around 15%…hope I am making sense. It makes me wonder what benefit it would be to him to pay cash versus getting points on a credit card…


#8

Curious how you would set that up with TA though?

Example: If you changed your settings to a 25% non-refundable deposit to be paid through TA…wouldn’t TA be sending him emails to pay the remainder, and if he didn’t pay then the reservation would be cancelled, and your dates would be reopened? Or do you mean just invoicing him through PayPal or something?

If you do decide to do it, just be sure to close off all those dates on any instant booking site, BEFORE you commit, and then tell him he needs to pay very quickly…like within 6 hours or something, or the dates will be reopened. You don’t want him to pay, and then someone puts in a 2 day IB reservation smack in the middle.


#9

I would also confirm with him that he’s not getting the whole apartment, only a room (I recall you only rent rooms in your home.)


#10

I tell them that paying outside of the platform is against the rules, and report them.


#11

I would not report him. I would simply say “It’s against the terms of my agreement with TripAdvisor to provide you information on how to book our home, XXXX, directly instead of through the TripAdvisor platform.”


#12

Exactly my experience of TA, including a few wanting to pay directly. I don’t think TA allow it, and from the squirrely requests, I wouldn’t accept this on a trust level in any measure. One couple, who had asked to pay directly and were refused, were dreadful or at least, he was. Drunken, shouting at my other guests, shouted at me until I put him back in his box. They left after one night and didn’t demand a refund for a night missed!

I don’t know what it is about TA, but the few requests/bookings have been from either unpleasant or very odd people indeed.


#13

If you did a copy and paste, what I noticed was the little “i”, instead of the capital “I”. Having been on Match.com, that is ALWAYS a red flag.


#14

I would just charge him through my company’s credit card merchant account. (MY company… in the sense that I own it, not in the sense that I work for it).

Yes, your memory is correct. And that’s a good suggestion.

Right! What is up with TA! Anyway, this guy turned out to be totally flakey too.

What!? That’s an interesting comment. And yes, I did copy & paste his message as is. So, why is a lower case “I” always a red flag!!?? I’ve never heard of that!

Anyway… in the end, I originally responded to this guy by saying, let me think about it. Then I came here to see what you guys thought. Later I realized he had put different dates in his message than the dates he selected when making the request. The dates he selected, I had available, but the dates he actually wanted - I already had several reservations that overlapped them. So it wasn’t possible anyway.

But I appreciate all your responses. I learned a lot from them. Especially that TA strictly forbids this. Not that I really care since after 2+ years with them I’ve yet to get a single booking! And so much flakiness, it’s insane.

I really wish there was something like the original HomeVacationRentals back long before Airbnb. They just charged you an annual fee to list your place. I think it was around $300. After you paid that - they didn’t care what you did. They didn’t even handle payments. I really much prefer that method.


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