You raise excellent points. I'm moving from a very manual process to a nearly automated one with your solution, and have to re-think the process. The way that I do things today, if someone wants to rent 6 months from now, to "lock in" their rental I have them sign the rental agreement and send it back to me. Those who aren't interested won't sign and return the agreement. They then pay 1/2 60 days prior, and the balance + security 30 days prior. It's all done through checks. Since people can cancel with rentals so far off in the future, I didn't want to hold money unnecessarily.
That's today. And if I have bookings already in 2013 that I need to enter, with that current practice in place, I don't want to shift gears on those renters. Moving forward, I can probably just change my policy to work the way the tool works- because as you say if the benefit of this site is that people can book directly, without interacting with me as they do now, how do they "lock in" their rental. Could that be however by just providing a credit card to be put on file, as that is how it works with on-line hotel bookings?
On another note, I just received notice that my trial is ending soon... if I need more time to experiment with bookings/etc. to understand the process/tool before committing is there a way to extend by another 15-30 days?