Vacation home privacy policy

Vacation Rental Website Privacy Policy: Free Template and Tips

We’re currently living in the age of information. Internet users and website owners have access to endless amounts of information, be it vacation rental preferences, number of family members, birthdays, favorite colors, you name it. Much of this data can be helpful in understanding your guests, but, with that said, users should be well-informed and fully aware that you’re collecting data. Keeping guests in the dark could have serious consequences, like not booking your property or, worse yet, a lawsuit. 


Having a vacation rental privacy policy for your website protects both you and your guests. Staying knowledgeable about guest data while keeping web visitors aware will help to grow and protect your business. 

Chances are, most of your website users won’t read your privacy policy front to back, but it’s still essential to remain thorough. Covering all your bases when it comes to privacy will save you from future legal troubles.

What is a privacy policy for vacation rental websites?

The vacation rentals privacy policy is intended to educate your potential guests and website visitors on how you plan to use, distribute, and store their data. This should detail the very start of data usage and how you obtained the information all the way through how, when, and where data is stored after collection.

Man signing privacy policy for vacation rental

Because your privacy policy is vacation rental specific, it might also be useful to add subsections or articles detailing the important data points that you store and the intended purpose. Imagine you collect and store details about guests’ vacation preferences; they might be relieved to know your intention with that information and not inadvertently discourage them from using your site.

Do vacation rentals need a privacy policy?

Many vacation rental businesses only see themselves as small-scale companies and don’t realize the importance of implementing a privacy policy. Even if all your guests are friends or repeat guests, there’s still plenty of reason to add a privacy agreement to your vacation rental website regardless of your business size.

The grounds for “invasion of privacy” are wide and the consequences can be quite severe. Even if your intentions are good, any data you collect or information or jot down needs to be communicated to visitors, or you could have serious problems.

The obvious is guest experience. Satisfying the guest starts long before a reservation is even made. From sparking their wanderlust with captivating photos, securing their trust with reviews, to providing a smooth booking process you’re aiming to please the guest before they even become a “guest.” If you’re collecting any data for guest satisfaction or otherwise, you’ll need to disclose this.

GDPR and CCPA compliant

Angry customers are one thing, but breaking privacy laws is a whole other matter. Depending on where you or your vacation rental property is located, you might be subject to strict privacy laws. GDPR is the EU’s data protection law. The document is dense, to say the least, filled with hundreds of pages of legalese, but it’s crucial to understand if you conduct business in the EU. The best way to comply with GDPR is to make your privacy policy as comprehensive as possible. No detail is too small when it comes to legally protecting your business. Being out of compliance with GDPR could result in hefty fines or fees of up to 20 million euros or 4% of global revenue.

Vacation home rental privacy policy

As for CCPA compliance, the reach is a little more narrow but equally important. This set of regulations is specific to California, but not limited to it. This state statute holds a lot of authority and is also accompanied by pricey fines if you find yourself out of compliance.

What should be included in a vacation rental website privacy policy?

If 20 million euro fines were convincing enough, it’s time to build up your vacation rental website privacy policy. It’s not enough to be well-intentioned when it comes to internet laws. Compliance means covering every piece of information collected and with intense detail. Luckily, we’ve attached a template to make it easier and outlined the main article sections if you choose to write the privacy policy yourself.

Introduction

From the beginning of the document, you’ll need to introduce your company, what set of regulations you’re complying with, and any introductory information you deem relevant. For our purposes, we’ve listed the code for GDPR, but privacy regulations are not limited to this set of laws. Some other sets of regulations to consider might include:

  • COPPA
  • CalOPPA
  • CCPA
  • PIPEDA
  • U.S. Data Protection Rules
  • State statutes

Researching the privacy requirements specific to your location will be vital in keeping your business in line with the law.

Name and address of the Controller

This is simply where you’ll put the responsible parties. Typically, it will be you, your company, or any alias or previous trademark of your company. If you have multiple properties listed under your vacation rental business, it will be useful to list them all here and make it clear that they’re subsidiaries of your vacation rental business.

Data collected through your website

This is arguably the most critical section in your vacation rental privacy agreement. Website visitors and guests want to know what exactly you’re tracking. Even if you’re not currently collecting specific data, any data on file, or data intended to be mined should be included here. Imagine being a guest and thinking that the website owner is only collecting your contact information while, in reality, you’re tracking every page visited, third-parties associated with the user, and other details …you’d be quite angry! Let guests know what exactly you’re collecting in this section.

Purposes of the processing

Even if website visitors are willing to consent to data collection, they might want to know why. Are you collecting data to improve guest satisfaction, or are you selling it to third parties? The reason for data collection is important to disclose to avoid lawsuits and/or angry customers.

Data storage

Then there’s the question of how long you plan to keep their data on file. Do you store potential guest data for one week or ten years? This could make a big difference in whether a website visitor agrees to your privacy policy or not. If you plan to hold on to this data for an extended period, you need to make your guests aware.

Legal basis for the processing

This basically means that you’ll only use the data if you have permission to do so. That permission needs to be granted from both the data regulations or laws and the user. For example, you might be collecting a user’s address with their full consent, but you cannot use price personalization just because that user resides in a more expensive neighborhood. The legal basis must be followed by all parties.

Data disclosure

This section states where the data will be disclosed. If you distribute user data to third parties, like OTAs, Paypal or other integrations on your website, you need to let your website visitors know. All third parties must be listed in the data disclosure section.

Data disclosure privacy policy vacation rentals

Rights of the Data Subject

Just because users consent doesn’t mean they lose their right to object, withdraw consent, or request changes to their data agreement. Website visitors need to be aware of what rights they have when it comes to your vacation rental privacy policy. Some of these rights might include:

  • Right of confirmation
  • Right of access
  • Right of rectification
  • Right to erasure
  • Right of restriction of processing
  • Right of data portability
  • Right to object
  • Right to withdrawal data protection consent

Website users should know about all of the different rights they have when it comes to their data protection on your page.

Security

More than just using visitors’ data, they want to be sure that their data is safe. The sound of “data breach” can be scary to anyone, but especially guests who are entering their personal information and credit card number to book a stay with you. Ensure guests’ digital safety by detailing your data security measures in this section. If you use any third-party software to guard data, it should be listed here.

Links

There’s still some confusion on the internet about how linking works. Users need to be made aware that when they leave your site by clicking on an embedded link on your page, you are no longer responsible for their privacy and data protection. Let it be fully known that your privacy policy does not transfer over to other sites.

Cookies

Now, this is a contested topic. With all the buzz of data collection, the controversy of using cookies has come up as well. Although you should have a separate cookie policy for your vacation rental website, you can still include a small blurb here that informs users of your site’s cookie usage.

You can also redirect or link users to your separate cookie policy if you have one. It’s recommended to have a separate policy for cookies instead of combining, especially if you must adhere to GDPR, as they have an extensive section about cookie usage. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so be sure to include your cookie policy here as well.

Validity and modifications

To wrap up your vacation rental website privacy policy, you’ll need to include a section or two about validity and modifications. Validity states that so long as the privacy policy is the same as it was at the time that the user agreed, it is legitimate.

On the other hand, if you have modified your privacy policy, you’ll need to let users know as their previous consent will no longer be enough. When they sign the privacy policy, users are acknowledging that the agreement could change, but they should be informed of any changes made.

Data collection vacation rental

How to amend your vacation rental privacy policy

If you’ve made it through the legalese then you’re probably ready to implement your new vacation rental privacy policy and be done with it forever. Unfortunately, rules, regulations, and data needs change meaning that you might need to change your privacy policy down the road. You needn’t fear, as modifications are far easier than building it from scratch. You can modify your privacy policy at any time. Some reasons for modification might be:

  • New third party partnership
  • Change in data regulation laws
  • Adding a subsidiary or changing the company name

Whatever your need for amending may be, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. If you’re using the template we provide, simply modify the section you need changed and reupload the accurate copy to your vacation rental website.

Download our free Vacation Rental Privacy Policy Template

Some vacation rental owners may opt for a privacy policy generator. There are plenty of services on the internet that allow you to plug in some information, click create form, and, boom, you’ve got a privacy policy. If you choose to keep your agreement simple, this may be a good option, but bear in mind that it won’t be catered to your vacation rental needs.

Our free vacation rental privacy policy template outlines all your privacy agreement needs while keeping your niche in mind. This template is completely customizable and, best of all, free. If that’s not enough, we’ve got endless resources and tools to help you and your vacation rental business. Check it out by starting a free 7-day trial or requesting a demo today.


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