As a vacation rental host or property manager, you are more than likely prepared for any situation. When it comes to natural disasters like a wildfire, however, knowing what to do and how your business will be affected can be hard to prepare for.
To our community affected by the wildfires in Maui, we hope you are staying safe – our thoughts and prayers are going out to you. If you have any questions about how to prepare your business, please reach out to us at email@example.com, we’re here to help.
And to those looking to help support the communities and individuals affected by the fires in Maui, please consider donating to: Hawai'i Community Foundation, Maui United Way, or the Maui Food Bank
Below, we gathered our best tips to prepare your vacation rental business for a wildfire.
Should You Cancel Your Vacation Rental Bookings?
If a wildfire is developing in your area, cancellations are unavoidable and to be expected. If you have bookings while a wildfire is happening in your area, keep your guests’ safety in mind and monitor your area for any evacuation orders or air quality alerts. Check in with your guests about their plans, communicate the situation, and talk about cancellations. If they do intend to cancel or an evacuation order is in place, ensure that you go about canceling the right way so that your listing is not negatively impacted.
Host-initiated cancellation rates are an essential factor in determining your search ranking on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb or Vrbo. Too many host cancellations will cost you and negatively impact your listing, so you should always aim to keep your cancellation rate low or zero. To ensure that you are not penalized for a cancellation, we recommend doing one of the following:
- Have the guest initiate the cancellation through Airbnb, Vrbo, or wherever your guest booked your property.
- Simply refund a portion or all of the booking total without canceling the reservation.
- If you do cancel your reservation as a host (or if you have done this already), make sure that you reach out to the OTA to let them know that this was an unavoidable situation in response to a natural disaster. Most OTAs should not penalize your listing for this type of cancellation, however, their final “ruling” on the cancellation is up to them – aka out of your control.
Tip: Make sure that your guests and potential guests know how to reach you during these times. You can set up an auto-response for your email or messaging app that includes your after-hours or emergency contact information.
What Is Beyond Doing to Support?
Our dynamic pricing algorithm updates on ever-fluctuating demand, meaning it reacts to cancellations to ensure we are not increasing the price for other factors when there is a natural disaster approaching.
Additionally, our internal team of revenue management analysts are monitoring both the growing danger of all natural disasters as well as their impact on the performance of your listings. They are taking steps to lower prices where guests can be attracted, monitor for any price gouging as a result of trip interruptions for emergency services, and ensure pricing is accurate as soon as the event passes.
For the wildfires in Maui, our team is already looking at rates and adjusting as necessary, in addition to our algorithm, to ensure that pricing takes the fires into effect. And Beyond is also refunding any cancellations due the wildfire in Maui.
Are you a Beyond user with specific questions about how to respond? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re here to help.
Not using Beyond or new to dynamic pricing? Get all your questions answered by contacting us.