Why we Use Our Own Booking Form for Indirect Bookings
Thank you for choosing to book our property and stay with us. As our guest, you and your booking are very important to us, and we want to provide you with the best in service and accommodations.
In order to book our property, you must complete our own booking form and submit it, which can be done online. Until you do so, your reservation status is only Pending on our calendars, and the dates can not be held much longer for you. Your reservation will soon become Tentative only, and the dates then open up for other guests to book.
You may be surprised or concerned that you are being asked to complete a more detailed Booking Form than the one used by the Third Party Listing Site where you first found us and our vacation rental home. Don’t be. It is a reflection of the higher standards that we bring to the operation of our vacation homes.
Why is this being required of me?
The information submitted through a Third-Party Listing Site is not enough for us to accept and confirm a booking with you for a variety of reasons.
Third Party Vacation Rental Listing Sites are not a party to ANY agreement between a guest and a homeowner! It is usually the very first item in their own Terms and Conditions. For example, you can see HomeAway/VRBO’s Terms and Conditions by clicking on this link here, (you may need to scroll down and click on ‘Terms and Conditions’). They say 1. The Site is a Venue and We are Not a Party to any Rental Agreement or other Transaction Between Users of the Site, but all Listing Sites have similar terms.
This means that they and the form you completed when you submitted your booking have no legal standing and provide neither you the guest, or ourselves as homeowners, with any protections at all.
Less experienced owners may not have their own booking forms or their own rental agreements like we do, because they are likely unaware of the actual nature of Third Party Listing Sites such as VRBO/HomeAway’s or TripAdvisor’s relationship with both owners and guests. Essentially, third-party listing sites can neither bind owners nor guests to any agreement in any way. The vast majority of what they promote as ‘service’ is marketing double-speak to attempt to justify the Guest Service Fees they charge guests who make bookings through their site.
Third Party Listing Sites offer ‘guarantees’ to guests, but these are only available once a guest has exhausted the protections provided by their Credit Card Issuer. Banks that issue Credit Cards always provide more protection for guests as a consumer than than a third party listing site with no legal standing in an agreement between a guest and an owner can or will. This is why guests who book directly with us have just as much protection for their payments or more, than guests who book through Third Party Listing Sites. Completing our own Booking Form gives all of our guests these protections.
None of the listing site’s protections or guarantees are binding on the site. Their terms and conditions state only that they may offer the guest assistance (not will), and entirely at their own discretion. In reality, the actual guest assistance and protection provided when guests have needed it (because they didn’t book with a reputable owner like Breezy Oak Villas) has fallen far short of providing actual help or financial protection.
For the protection of our guests, our properties and ourselves, we must use a booking form and Terms and Conditions that are legally adequate to the purpose; and constitute an agreement between ourselves and our guests. For example, in a recent court case the judge immediately threw out anything originating with a listing/booking site and stated in rendering his judgment that the ONLY thing pertinent to the case was the direct rental agreement between the property owner and the guest.
Big-name listing/booking sites have brand recognition and a strong internet presence that helps owners and guests find each other, but in reality they provide little else.
We are properly licensed by the State of Florida and another reason why we need our own Booking Form completed is to meet local county and state requirements. For example, we need to have the full names of all guests who will be staying overnight in the property.
We also require the primary guest’s home address and contact information, which surprisingly third party listing sites don’t even collect before ‘accepting a booking’. For many of these sites, if a ‘guest’ has an email address and a credit card number they will ‘accept’ a booking from them without any other information or proof of identification, leading to all kinds of opportunities for fraud, charge backs and other problems. Besides presenting challenges to vacation rental home owners, these issues can interfere with legitimate guests when fraudsters book properties and prevent actual guests from being able to book them for their own vacation.
Third party Listing Site booking forms often have no means for the guest to select and book optional extras for their stay, and as a result may leave the guest unaware of what is available to them for their stay, included and what is not, or what the charges are for. Of course all of this information is included in our listings on these sites, but many guests don’t bother to read it prior to booking.
Even though a guest accepts our own Terms and Conditions when they request to book through a Third Party Listing Site, there may be a conflict between our own Terms and Conditions and what the guest is told by the Listing Site. Our own Booking Form informs the guest in plain language about our Cancellation Policy, and other important Terms and Conditions, even if the Guest never bothers to read the supplied Terms and Conditions that they agree to when they book with us. Completing our Online Booking Form prevents misunderstandings and helps protect both the guest and ourselves.
We want happy guests, who experience no unpleasant surprises in their booking and stay with us. Our guests expect higher standards, and that is what we deliver.
Your understanding and co-operation in submitting your completed Online Booking Form as soon as possible is appreciated.
Of course, if you have any questions that are not answered by the information above, or any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!