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Frequently Asked Questions

Payment of rental income Gold membership Terms and conditions
Fees Own bookings Proof of ownership
Enquiries Search facility on your own web site  

Payment of rental income

When and how will we receive payment of any rental income due from bookings made on your site?
On your first payment, we will ask you to provide details of the bank account you wish to have your money paid into, you will also inform us of what currency you’d like to be paid in.

A statement will be generated on the first of the month showing all payments that have been received into our bank account during that month on your behalf.

A transfer of the sum outlined in the monthly statement will then be made on the tenth day of the month of the following month.

The terms offered by the various merchant accounts we use may well cause there to be a delay between the guest paying, and the payment showing in our account. For example, we currently use Barclaycard Merchant Services, who pay us 30 days after they have received payment, whilst PayPal offer a much faster turn round. We will obviously negotiate with credit providers to obtain the best possible deal and keep you fully apprised of the situation.

What happens if a guest books 'last minute'? I don't want someone to be staying in my home, for whom I have not received the rent, as an example, what happens if the guest books on the site 20th Sept, to arrive at a home 3rd Oct?
You can choose a couple of options:-
Either - Accept last minute bookings (in fact the system enables you to offer a discount for any one making a late booking as many of our owners prefer to have a guest in there home paying a lower rate, than having the home empty. We're also just about to launch a site aimed at the last minute market called www.lastminutevillas.com). Even though you will not receive the money until the 10th October, you can rest assured that the money will be processed and you will actually receive it!
Or - you can set a restriction, when you sign up, to state that you will not accept last minute bookings (You decide exactly how many days count as last minute).

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Fees

What will you charge when the ‘3 months free trial’ runs out?
There will be no up front costs for registering, renewing or using our services.
A commission of 5% will be deducted from all payments made to you for bookings received after the ‘3 months free trial period’. Any profits will be used by us to market the web site to prospective guests.

What will happen to the commission if a guest who has paid their money cancels the booking?
The terms and conditions you apply to guests regarding refunds due to cancellations are totally up to you. However, due to the fact that we know it is going to be very rare that you have to make refunds, we will refund our commission payment at the same time as we credit the guest with your refund. Therefore we will not make any commission on guest cancellations.

What charges will be incurred if guests pay by credit card/ PayPal etc?
The rent you earn for your accommodation will not be affected by the method of payment selected by the potential guest. However, we are currently paying approximately 5% to our credit card merchant account provider and to PayPal, therefore we will be passing this cost on to the guest.

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Enquiries

What is the process potential guests have to follow to book a home?
The visitor to our site will:-

  • Complete the enquiry form (with dates required, number of bedrooms etc).
  • A list of available homes with a picture and summary will then be displayed.
  • The enquirer will be able to click on a link for more information about each home.
  • The enquirer will also be able to send a query directly through to the villa owner from the site. This will come through to the e mail account you provided us with upon registration, and a text message will be sent to your mobile to inform you of the query. The speed with which you answer these queries will affect how highly you rank for future enquiries.
  • If the enquirer wishes to book your home they will be taken through to a booking form, a copy of which will be sent to you upon its completion.
  • If you are a Gold member, the guest will then be taken through to the payment form, and the agreed deposit/ security bond will be taken and the booking will be confirmed on your on-line calendar.
  • If you are not a Gold member an e mail will be sent through to your e mail address (and a text message will be sent to your mobile) requesting confirmation from you that the dates are still available. As soon as you have confirmed the availability, we will recontact the enquirer, and, if they’re still interested, they’ll be taken through to the payment form.

How do you choose which the order in which homes are listed when an enquiry is made?
This answer falls into two parts:-

Now
The enquiry form currently only has a field for dates that they are visiting and number of bedrooms required. All homes that have availability showing on their calendar will be displayed, priority will be given to ‘Gold members’, but apart from this, homes will be ranked on a random basis, thereby giving everyone a fair chance of being displayed high on the list.

Future
We have bought a database of zip codes, and mapping software (see Google Maps for examples as to how they’ll work), so in the near future the enquiry form will be adapted to allow people to select how they want to rank the villas i.e., they can rank by price, or by distance from the various attractions e.g. Disney. ‘Gold Members’ will still come top of the listing, but apart from this the ranking will be based upon the enquirer’s requirements.

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Gold member

How do I become a ‘Gold Member’? I presume there is an extra cost!
No, there is no plan to charge for this service, nor will it be based upon how much commission you’ve paid us, nor even how long you’ve been registered with us (neither prioritising people who’ve been with us for a long time, nor those who’ve just joined)
You need to fulfill the following requirements to become a ‘Gold Member’:-

  • Keep your on-line calendar up to date.
  • Respond promptly to enquirer’s e mails.
  • Not require refunds due to cancellations/ or clashes in your diary.

In essence ‘Gold Members’ will be providing visitors to our site with the best possible service and therefore we want to ensure they’re rewarded for their loyalty.

What other benefits are there to being a ‘Gold Member’?
The key benefit (apart from being high on the list if people are searching for homes on our site) is that visitors will be able to book and pay via their credit/ debit card / PayPal account immediately, without you having to be contacted to confirm your home is available for the required date.
This benefit will obviously not only maximise the potential of guests actually booking your home, but will also reduce the amount of e mails you’ll need to respond to before you obtain a booking, as people will just booking direct on line.

How do you decide that I am ‘keeping my on-line calendar up to date’?
We will need you to confirm on a weekly basis that the calendar is up to date. But obviously, if the diary is not kept up to date then you will have clashes (more than one booking at one time) which will require us to refund money to the potential guest (this will incur a cost from our merchant account provider, which will obviously be passed onto you!)

How quickly do I have to respond to be classed as ‘responding promptly to enquirer’s e mails’?
We’d ask that you normally respond at least within 24 hours. However, obviously sometimes you’ll slip below this threshold and therefore we have built some flexibility into the system. Also, if you are away on holiday without access to the internet, you will be able to inform us that you’re away, and the system will not penalise you for not responding.

If I have a guest who cancels a booking will this cause me to lose my ‘Gold membership’?
No, we will not remove your ‘Gold membership’ if one guest cancels a booking and requires a refund. However, we reserve the right to cancel your ‘Gold membership’ if you have more than one cancellation within a reasonable period.

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Own Bookings

Can I add my own bookings onto the on-line calendar?
Absolutely, you can either:-

  • Just blank out the dates you’ve booked. This is ideal if you’re using the home for your own personal stay, but can also be used for any bookings you’ve taken from other sources. This option will ensure no other bookings are made for these specific dates on our site, but it will not enable you utilise our payment or reminder system.
  • Take a booking via the site, this will then enable you to use our booking, payment and reminder systems, thereby reducing your administration, although we will charge our normal commission rate on these bookings.

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Can I use your enquiry form on my own web site?

Yes, if you have a web site, but don’t currently have a database driven enquiry form on the site, we can provide you with a small piece of script, that can simply be cut and paste into the html code on your site. This will then allow visitors to your site to check whether your home is available for the dates they’re looking to visit, and then to book on line using our booking and payment system.

And, if you have more than one home, you can have the form check the availability for each of your homes, and none of the others on our web site. This is obviously of great use if you’re a Management Company with a number of homes that you are endeavouring to rent.

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Terms and conditions

Who ‘owns the relationship’ with the guest?
You! The guest is booking your home with you, through us, and therefore any terms and conditions you wish to apply i.e. payment terms, security deposit etc, will be the ones that apply. We are only acting as your agents to facilitate the process.

Therefore you remain in total control of your home, if you feel uncomfortable with a booking you retain the right to cancel it, if you wish to leave us, you take the bookings with you etc etc.

What happens about the ‘security bond’?
The terms and conditions that apply to your home are totally your choice, therefore you can decide what ‘security bond’ should be paid by a guest, when it should be paid, and when it should be refunded (or not refunded if that is the case!)
We will collect the ‘security bond’ at the same time as we collect other money from the guest, however, you will be responsible for refunding it to the guest at the end of the rental.

What deposit do you take upon booking, and when do the guests have to pay the rest of the money?
As mentioned before, the terms and conditions used for your bookings are totally up to you, therefore you can take as much of a deposit as you require etc etc. However, as home owners ourselves we take a 25% deposit on booking, with a £200 security bond, and the remainder of the money becomes due 8 weeks prior to the commencement of the booking.

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‘Proof of Ownership’

Why do we need to provide you with ‘proof of ownership’?
Guests booking your villa on-line need to have some sort of security that the home actually belongs to you before they’re going to feel comfortable paying any money. Also, our credit card provider needs to have this level of proof before they’re willing to accept money on your behalf.

How often do we have to provide ‘proof of ownership’?
You will need to provide us with an original utility bill, closing document etc, when you first register each home on our web site. We will start marketing your home as soon as you register with us, but we will not forward any money to you until you have provided us with the relevant 'proof of ownership'. And, then every 12 months you will need to send us an up to date 'proof of ownership'.

Why does the ‘proof of ownership’ need to be an original bill/ document?
If we allowed people to fax the documents to us it is possible that people would doctor the paperwork and this was impossible to identify from faxed copies. Therefore we require originals, in the hope that we can stamp out any fraud that may undermine the confidence of potential guests, to say nothing of our credit card provider!

What will you do with this ‘proof of ownership’?

We will:-

  • Check the documentation for authenticity.
  • Scan the paperwork.
  • Load it onto the relevant part of your advertisement after obscuring your personal details.
  • Return it to you. This can be by Registered post if you require, however, you will need to pay any costs incurred.

 

 

 

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