This article is based off of Darling Deals, one of the 10 Steps found in
Master of Vacation Rentals.
There’s a fine line between over communicating and under communicating and giving info right away or waiting. Recently, the power company sent me a 2 week warning of a full day, 8am – 4pm (max) power outage. This would happen during day 3 of a 5 day visit. I was torn…tell the guests upon arrival as the power company may change their plans and no need to worry the guests about something ahead of time (that might not manifest).
Instead of playing the scenarios out in my head – which I did for a full 20 minutes with a headache to prove it, I decided to just give the full info to the guests immediately and let them decide if they want to cancel. I even said, if you should decide to cancel, let me know within 24 hours and I’ll work with Airbnb so that you get a 100% refund with no penalties. I was upfront and accommodating AND done having a headache! Oh, I also offered free pool heat for their entire stay for the inconvenience. The guests were appreciative of the offer of the free pool heat and said no need to cancel. No worries about the power outage. I of course also apologized that this was happening during their stay.
If the guests had cancelled; it was 2 weeks before their stay so I could have marketed my property for perhaps 2 stays over their 5 days and would have told anyone who was booking right at or after booking (in the case of an instant book) about the power item. The lesson here is whenever you have info that something has a very good % chance of happening that would adversely affect a stay, be upfront about it so that contingency options can be considered. There are enough surprise adversities that we don’t have notice about that come up and cause stress.
Caveat: when there is something that breaks just prior to a guest stay – something that is critical to guest comfort or safety that MIGHT get fixed but MIGHT NOT get fixed before their stay (electrical, plumbing, etc.)….. use your judgement about whether or not to cancel the guest stay. In those cases, I either cancel the guest immediately after I have a profession give me an ETA on the fix or take the risk and hope the item is fixed without worrying the guest in advance. It’s a judgement call. Hopefully the item is fixed before they arrive because the other choice would be to cancel close to their stay and cause stress for them with the new chore for them to find new accommodation. Always put yourself in the guest’s shoes during these scenarios.