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 creature 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 different 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 those payment types are so you can work out which is the best method for your rental.
Types of payments
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 lead to a preference of 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 which make 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!
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 different costs involved with accepting payments on each listing site.
Airbnb supports various different 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; iDEAL in the Netherlands; PayU in India; Google Wallet in the US 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.
For hosts, the most common payout methods 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.
- Payoneer Bank transfer/debit card: It’s important 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.
- 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.
HomeAway and VRBO
The HomeAway company has its own payment system called HomeAway Payments. This payment method 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 allows guests to pay by major credit card or eChecks (US only).
You can decide your own payment terms on HomeAway and VRBO, allowing you to specify how much the traveler has to 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 in USD, EUR or GBP depending on which payout method you choose. Payoneer powers HomeAway Payments and offers two payout options:
- Bank Transfers: Local transfer or international wire
- Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard (only available in some countries).
To read more about HomeAway Payments, visit their help center.
How can I accept payments on my website?
Depending on which provider you have used to build your website, there may already be a booking system function available.
If not, you will need to embed or install a booking widget plugin to your website to be able to take online reservations and payments.
This will enable guests to search for availability for their selected dates, enter their contact details and pay securely on your website.
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, whether you would like 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.
Improving the guest experience
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 method that’s most suitable for you and your guests.
What’s more, research has shown that guests who pay online are less likely to cancel their reservation. 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.