Vacation rentals are becoming an increasingly popular choice for travelers from all walks of life. From luxury guests to big groups and families, vacation rentals provide the necessary comforts to enjoy any trip away from home.
After you’ve screened your guests, the next thing you will want to do is accept their inquiry and take their payment.
No matter where you are advertising – whether that’s on listing sites, your own vacation rental website, or any combination of the two – you will need to decide your business’ payment policies.
There are numerous options available for vacation rental owners and managers who want to accept online payments for their business.
In this post, we’ll give you an overview of what vacation rentals payment methods are available so you can work out which is the best option for your rental.
Best vacation rental payment methods
It’s a well-known fact that most people – especially travelers – prefer to pay by credit card when purchasing online.
Whereas in the past, guests may have sent a check in the post or a wire transfer directly to a bank account, an increase in vacation rental scams has led to a preference for more secure payment methods.
Credit cards help to provide guests with total peace of mind when making a reservation online. This is due to the many fraud-fighting solutions in place, making it the safest and most reliable payment type.
Generally speaking, accepting credit cards for your business carries a small fee. This is often referred to as a credit card processing fee. While it can vary from provider to provider, it’s usually around 2-3%, plus an additional application or transaction cost.
Depending on your yearly rental income, this might seem steep. But, we can assure you – you’ll get a lot more bookings in the long run if you accept secure credit card payments on your website!
If you’re still looking to expand your payment options, you could consider bank transfer, checks, or cash. There are different risks associated with these options, such as fraud or the inability to place a hold for damage, but some people still prefer traditional methods of payment.
Accepting payments on other sites
For owners who are also present on listing sites and online travel agencies, there are usually different options for how and when you will receive payments for your bookings. Additionally, there are additional costs involved with accepting payments on each listing site.
Airbnb supports various payment methods, which differ according to the location of the host payment account. Guests can pay on the site using major credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Amex, etc.); PayPal in selected countries; Alipay in China only; Postepay in Italy; Sofort Überweisung in Germany; PayU in India; Google Pay in select countries with Android App and Apple Pay for iOS.
On Airbnb, guests submit their payment information at the time they make their reservation request. After you accept their booking, or if your listings have Instant Book, the guests’ payment method will be charged for the entire amount. However, Airbnb holds this payment until 24 hours after check-in before releasing it to the host.
According to Airbnb’s page, the most common payout methods for hosts are:
- ACH/Direct deposit: you can use information from a check to enter your ACH/direct deposit routing number and account number. You will usually have to wait for a small deposit in order to confirm the payout method is working.
- International wire: you can use your IBAN or account number (which your bank can provide) to receive an international wire transfer. Fees may apply and usage varies based on location.
- Payoneer Bank transfer/debit card: It’s essential to enter your name exactly as it appears on your official government ID. Payoneer has to approve your details before allowing payouts.
- PayPal: To use PayPal to receive payments, you will need to activate your account on their site before you can receive any funds through Airbnb.
- Western Union: Western Union also requires hosts to enter their full name as per official ID. Fees apply for using this service.
For more information or to add/edit your payout method, please refer to Airbnb’s help articles.
Vrbo has its own payment system for payments. This platform allows owners to receive online bookings and send payment requests to guests. Both subscription and pay-per-booking listings can use this feature and it will enable guests to pay by major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
You can decide your own payment terms on Vrbo, allowing you to specify how much the traveler must pay to confirm their booking. Some owners prefer this to be a small amount, such as 10% at the time of booking and the remaining balance at check-in. Others prefer guests to pay 100% of the balance at the time of booking. There can be advantages to both methods, but it’s up to you to decide what suits your business best.
Owner payout can be disbursed in your local currency or USD, EUR or GBP, depending on which payout method you choose. To start receiving payments from your Vrbo bookings, you’ll have to enter the following information on the website:
- What country you conduct your banking in
- Whether you’re an individual owner or a property manager business acting on a client’s behalf
- Your contact information
- Your banking account information (routing number, account number and currency)
To read more about Vrbo Payments, visit their help center.
Being that Booking.com is such a large platform, they have a couple of options for payment. The important thing to keep in mind is that, much like Airbnb, the rules and regulations for payment vary by region, so check to see how these payment methods apply to you.
- Online payment: This is the easiest and most used payment method for guests. When guests are ready to checkout, they can pay directly on Booking.com’s site. With this option, hosts are paid from Booking.com instead of their guests. This is done in the form of a virtual credit card or a bank transfer. The perk of this option is that the payout is guaranteed and consistent regardless of the booking.
- Direct payment: Booking.com gives you the option to facilitate payments directly if you choose. If you opt for direct payment, you can then decide what types of payments you want to accept. Will you allow cash payments? Will wire transfers be acceptable? You have to determine what would be suitable for your business.
Like many of the other major OTAs, Expedia offers its own platform for collecting and distributing payments. Expedia Group Payments has two payment options similar to Booking.com’s payments listed above. Guests can choose to pay directly through the Expedia website or they can pay you directly and a portion of that payment will be taken to pay the Expedia Group commission. You have the option of offering both to clients if you want to provide more flexibility.
Payment collection from multiple sites can get confusing. To keep track of payments, bills, overhead, and everything finance-related, use Lodgify’s accounting features built into our software.
How can I accept payments on my website?
Lodgify’s booking system fully integrates with the most competitive gateways such as Stripe, Braintree, Paypal, Authorize.net, and Payyo, regardless of if you’re using it through our website or just have the booking widget embedded into a third-party site.
If you are a Lodgify user, you will need to configure the forms of payment you want to accept on your site before you can start taking credit card payments.
In the Settings section of your account, you can activate credit card payments using Stripe and/or PayPal. If you use the Stripe connection, you also have the option to decide your Payment Scheduling settings. In other words, you’re able to split up the booking amounts into smaller payments, rather than charging 100% at the time of booking. This can be configured in your Policies.
The steps above are specific to members with a Lodgify built website. All other website hosts will have a different process with embedding. The sound of an embeddable custom code might sound scary, but it’s quite easy. We’ll walk you through it!
How to accept payments on WordPress
If you don’t use a Lodgify domain but instead have a website through WordPress, you’ll need to embed or install a booking widget plugin to be able to take online reservations and payments.
With Lodgify, the code you will use for your website is automatically created for you, so all you have to do is go to your Lodgify account and select the widget that’s best for you and your clients. This will enable guests to search availability for their chosen dates, enter their contact details and pay securely on your website.
If you already have a particular theme picked out for your webpage, no worries. Lodgify’s booking widgets are customizable to where they can seamlessly plug into your website without any disruption to your design.
WordPress will give you options for the spaces you want to embed your Lodgify booking widget. If you own more than one vacation rental property, don’t forget that your widget should be added to each property page!
Squarespace, Wix and others
Maybe your vacation rental site is published through Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Drupal, or Joomla… we’ve still got you covered! Much like WordPress, you’ll need to retrieve your embeddable code from your Lodgify account. The biggest difference is where you’ll put those codes for your widget.
Like the other hosting sites, popping in an embedded code for Wix, Squarespace and Weebly aren’t complicated. Find the embed button on the side of your property’s page and paste your Lodgify code. Just that easy!
Drupal and Joomla are typically reserved for the tech-savvy. If your vacation rental site is hosted on one of these sites, there are a couple more manual steps you’ll follow to embed.
If you’re finding that your current webpage isn’t cutting it or is beyond your tech skills, switch to an easy-to-use Lodgify page! All of our websites include customizable, straightforward templates. Collecting guest payments doesn’t have to be so complicated.
Best vacation rentals payment practices
So, your clients have made it past the threshold of deciding to book. That’s great! Many potential reservations fall through depending on upfront payment, deposits, and payment methods offered. Keep guest experience in mind by following these tips.
Offer multiple options
Not all guests are created equal. Maybe your property attracts millennial travelers or perhaps you tend to receive more international guests. In any case, you want to keep your customers happy by offering as many payment options as possible.
A trend towards online payments has emerged and your guests might appreciate you keeping this option open. Having the ability to accept online payments can make the difference for an indecisive traveler. There are plenty of different options available, but the most important thing is ensuring you choose the most suitable method for you and your guests.
What’s more, research has shown that guests who pay online are less likely to cancel their reservations. As a result, you can look forward to more bookings and fewer headaches by accepting credit card payments for your rental business.
Your rental income will far outweigh the small processing fee and provide a much slicker experience for the guest who books on your website.
By offering online payment options, payment on-site, and bank transfers, just to name a few, you increase your chances of getting bookings. How so? Well, if you’re ever passed by a store that only has “cash only,” you might keep walking. Don’t let that be the case for your property. Give your guests the options that make them feel the most comfortable to increase your bookings and reduce cancellations.
See what’s popular in your region
Depending on your location, you might want to consider what options work best for your property. Especially with the rise of domestic travelers, it’s important to follow the payment norms of your property’s locality.
Are you guests paying for vacation rentals through PayPal or bank transfer? At the property or in advance? Exploring the popular trends for your vacation rental will not only tell you what your guests prefer but also save you money in fees by only connecting with payment methods popular in your area.
You might find that some regions use certain services while others do not. This is especially important to bear in mind when buying or managing a property abroad or even in just a different region. For example, different money transfer apps have varying popularity depending on the location. Venmo might be widely used in some areas, but Bizum might be the preferred method for other locations.
Fees and services add up, so make sure you’re only implementing payment methods that make sense in your locality. Do the research and find what works best for your business.
Guarantee payment security
Although many measures have been taken to prevent fraud, scams, and false charges, the internet can still be an unknown space. Some people are hesitant to willfully give out their money and card information without knowing who is on the receiving end.
You want to seem as friendly as possible to potential guests at the very beginning of the booking process by writing an inviting description, including helpful community information, and acquiring guest reviews, but that still doesn’t always cut it for a cautious customer.
Offering online payment options and having a trustworthy, reliable booking system indicates to guests that you run a legitimate business. You want to give guests peace of mind when they press that “book now” button. By easing their fears of scams and frauds by implementing a faultless booking system, you not only reassure your guests but also reel in new, potential customers.
Communicate with your guests
The best thing you can do is go straight to the source. Asking your clients directly what payment method they prefer guarantees that you’re making the right decisions for your property. You could include this in the guest satisfaction survey or mention your flexibility on payment in the property description.
Just make sure that you are actually open to different payment methods before reaching out to guests. If you ask customers their preferred payment method, but you don’t plan to expand beyond credit card payments, for example, you might risk hurting the guest experience rather than improving it.
Exploring the best vacation rental payment terms and methods is what is ultimately going to boost your business. By offering the best options, you can increase your bookings and potentially convert unsure clients. Confidently book guests using our booking widget or website builder to provide the most secure, efficient way to pay while saving you money on extra fees.