For the past year, OwnerRez has offered Travel Insurance as an option that guests can add to their booking, and we're planning on adding Damage Protection as well.
Damage Protection is a small fee - $30 to $50 - that covers accidental damage to the property and precludes the need for a security deposit.
Many guests prefer paying a small non-refundable amount instead of a large security deposit for the following reasons:
- A security deposit is money that the guest can't use during their vacation because of the hold placed on their credit card.
- The Damage Protection gives them peace of mind against nit-picky owners who may fault them for minor wear and tear.
- The guest won't be blindsided by damage costs that seem unjustly high.
You might be wondering why you should care. After all, security deposits work - why mess with a good thing?
Here are some reasons why it is to your advantage, as an owner or manager, to encourage your guests to buy Damage Protection instead of holdings security deposits.
You have a larger source of protection against major problems.
The average security deposit ranges from $250-$500 while Damage Protection can cover $1,500-3000 depending on the policy.
If windows or appliances are broken, the fees can run significantly more than the security deposit amount covers, leaving you with no option but to go back to the guest and demand more money. There is no guarantee they will pay it.
Damage Protection, on the other hand, is collected by the insurance provider and is a straightforward process. You submit a claim, and they send you the money.
Don't turn your guests into enemies and avoid awkward confrontations.
When their money is on the line, guests tend to quickly change attitudes about what was broken and whose fault it was. They sometimes get angry and vindictive when they disagree about what was collected.
With Damage Protection, you'll never have to worry about guests leaving bad reviews or seeking revenge because of disagreements over the security deposit. Claims are paid by the insurance policy, not the guest, so there are no awkward confrontations.
Keep your guests happy; keep them coming back; make them want to refer you to their friends and family. They are far less likely to do these things after an awkward confrontation over damages.
Make sure broken stuff is actually acknowledged and addressed.
Let's face it - knobs and dishes break, walls get dented and scratched, towels and sheets get stained. And even worse than having to fix these things is not knowing about them and leaving them for weeks or months on end while other guests come and experience an inferior product.
Guests tend to hide problems when their security deposit is on the line. It happens over and over again. They know their kids broke the lamp cord or cracked the remote control, and they know that their security deposit is going to pay for it unless... you never find out. So they stuff the lamp cord behind the couch and place the remote control on the table in a way where the crack doesn't show. And many times you don't see it until it's been too late to know which guests caused the problem.
With Damage Protection, the guest has nothing to hide. The accidentally cracked remote control is left in plain sight and in many cases they'll call to let you know or leave a note. After all, it's not their money on the line. You can fix it and move on, leaving the house proper for the next set of guests.
Avoid chargebacks and credit card problems.
At times, angry guests will go to great lengths to get their money back. Often, this includes lying to their bank about the credit card transaction and claiming fraud. This can lead to chargebacks if the bank wants to side with the guest, or at least create a hassle for you in terms of proving your case.
With Damage Protection, there is no credit card hassle or chargeback issues. You're paid by the insurance provider, not the guest. Your merchant account will stay squeaky clean.
Best reason of all - we'll pay you every time your guest buys Damage Protection.
Yep, you read that right. We get paid royalties by the insurance provider whenever guests buy Damage Protection, and we're going to pass part of that along to you. We think Damage Protection is a great option for guests and owners, so we want you to encourage guests to buy it and we want you to be happy about using it.
We haven't fully finalized how much we'll be paying out, but that will be coming in future weeks and months, and we'll inform users well in advance.
As always, you'll be able to configure how you want to use Damage Protection with your properties. You'll be able to show it on quotes, have it selected by default or even require it across the board and stop collecting security deposits entirely. If you want it hidden completely, you'll be able to do that too or pick different options for different properties.
We look forward to rolling out Damage Protection, and we hope you'll start sending feedback now about your questions and concerns.