My Policies...a work in progress

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

After YEARS of learning from this forum and others, from books, seminars, and personal experience, below is the list of policies I've come up with for the website of our soon-to-open vacation rental apartments.

Yes, I know they won't read all this, but I want it laid out in writing anyway, for cases where I have to enforce them. I'll only accept reservations made through the website, and, technically, they have to agree to these policies to make the reservation.

Much of it is my own wording, but some is taken directly from YOU! Thanks!

Thoughts? Suggestions? Too much? Too Draconian? I'm wondering if it's too risky to list cash as a payment option. I'd prefer to have a charge card on file, but I like cash, too!

______________________________

Policies

Sorry, but to protect our business and our property, there just have to be some rules of the house!

  • Our Privacy Policy - Fear not! We will never reveal your contact information (not your name or your address or your e-mail address, or anything else we know about you) to ANYBODY! We hate spammers and junk mail even worse than you do!
  • Each apartment sleeps 2 people in a king sized bed, with maximum occupancy of 4 per apartment, by using a fold-out futon.
  • A two night minimum stay is required.
  • We cannot allow pets in our apartments. Due to allergy problems suffered by some of our guests, even well-behaved pets cannot be allowed in our apartments.  If you bring pets into our building we must charge you a deep cleaning fee of $300 or more to remove the odor from curtains, rugs, furniture, etc.
  • Earliest check-in time: 2:00 p.m. If you arrive earlier your apartment will not be ready and your keypad entry code will not work.
  • Latest check-out time: 11:00 a.m. You, and your personal possessions, must be out of the apartment by that time, so we can clean and re-set the apartment for the next guests, who may be arriving within a few hours of your departure.
    If you stay in the apartment past the checkout time, we’ll have to charge you dearly for the delay you cause to our housekeeping staff and to the new guests who have paid for use of the apartment by their check-in time.
    After your checkout time, your door entry code deactivates automatically.
  • This is a NON-SMOKING ACCOMMODATION. By state law, smoking is not allowed anywhere in the building. If you smoke, please do so outdoors only, and keep windows and exterior doors closed to help prevent smoke from entering the building. Also, please dispose of cigarette butts properly. Make sure they are completely extinguished and do not toss them on the city sidewalk, the ground, or place them into the planters. If you smoke in our building we must charge you a deep cleaning fee of $300 or more to remove the smoke odor from curtains, rugs, furniture, etc.
  • Please do not burn any wax-dripping candles anywhere in the building. Exception: we do allow candles at the dining table, but if you drip wax that damages our furniture or facility, or that requires extra clean-up work, we must charge you for any additional expenses required to return the apartment to proper condition.
  • Jetted (“whirlpool”) tubs: Please do not use bubble bath in the tub as it clogs the jets and may cause the tub to overflow! Herbal bath grains and fragrance packets are provided by the tub for your bathing enjoyment.
  • Room Cleaning: We do not offer daily maid service. The apartment will only be cleaned and “reset” after you check out of our facility. If you stay more than a week with us, we’ll clean your apartment and bring fresh towels and linens at the end of each week you spend with us. Feel free to use the clothes washer and dryer in the apartment, if you wish.
  • We accept payment by cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express.
  • Reservation Deposit: We charge your first night’s lodging at the time your reservation is made. This assures that the apartment will be held for the dates you have requested. At your arrival time, we will charge the balance due on your account to your credit card on file (or let us know in advance if you plan to pay with cash).
  • We understand that accidents can happen, resulting in damage to our property. If one occurs, please notify us. Perhaps it can be rectified, though any damages beyond our ability to easily repair may be charged to your credit card. If we suffer loss of revenue because damages you caused prevent us from being able to rent out our property until repairs are made, we’ll have to charge you for that, too.
  • Cancellation Policy: Once a reservation is made, you can cancel it and receive a refund of your reservation deposit, less a $25 cancellation fee, as long as the cancellation is made at least one week before your scheduled arrival date. As our property requires a two night minimum stay, if you cancel on shorter than one week’s notice, or if you do not show up for your reservation at all, we will charge you for two night’s lodging because we will not have time to rent, to someone else, the first two nights we had set aside for you (but we will issue a refund to you for any night(s) we are able to rent).
  • Because we are a small property and unable to refund outside of our cancellation policy, we strongly encourage the purchase of trip insurance, especially if you think there’s a chance you may have to cancel on short notice after our cancellation deadline. One good travel insurance company is ”Insure My Trip,” which lets you compare insurance offers and fees from many different companies at once.
  • At check-out time, please leave things as you found them (no need to make the beds…we’ll be changing them and the towels).  All dishes should be washed and put away. Please remove any opened food from the refrigerator and cabinets and place it in the trash receptacle.
  • More questions? See our FAQ Page, or contact us.

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I probably won't deactivate the door code until 11:30, but I'm not going to tell the guests that.

If having enough housekeeping time is a problem, I will adjust check-in time as needed.

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08/20/2012

I think your check-out policy is a little stiff...  Door access deactivates at 11am?  wow...  If it were me I'd move check-in to around 4pm and give folks a 30 minute buffer to be out by 11.  Your cleaning staff is rushed, something you should never do to them.

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08/20/2012

I think your check-out policy is a little stiff...  Door access deactivates at 11am?  wow...  If it were me I'd move check-in to around 4pm and give folks a 30 minute buffer to be out by 11.  Your cleaning staff is rushed, something you should never do to them.

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

It sounds like a good idea, but they will get you on either end. You let them slide on the 11AM checkout and the 3PM will come at 2:00PM and want their room right away. I've had situations where we have actually had to repeatedly tell people our check-out time. They hear you, they acknowledge you, they ignore you, life goes on. 

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Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

tar4heel2 wrote:

I think your check-out policy is a little stiff...  Door access deactivates at 11am?  wow... 

Believe me, if my door codes weren't manually programmed I'd have them set to deactivate at 11 as well. Otherwise we end up with those folks who think 11 is a suggested check out time. Even with housekeeping we still want the guests to vacate by 11.

Sometimes they need a little impetus to get moving. Of course, their access code doesn't work after 11, but that doesn't mean they have actually left at 11. They could still be in the room until 1. They just can't leave and come back. (Wrong. They will jam something in the door, we've had that, too.)

It's not a matter of stressing housekeeping, it's a matter of having a chance to sit down and eat lunch, do paperwork, get the laundry done, go shopping, etc.

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No open flames.  Period.  No exceptions. 

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People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

I like it, Eric! Thanks!

I've been accused before of being verbose.

Madeleine's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

I like it, Eric! Thanks!

I've been accused before of being verbose.

Eric's is good. Easy to read. Not a lot the guest can twist around to say they read it a different way. (ie- it costs $300 to bring my dog or to smoke in the rooms.)

Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Two things... make it short & sweet, it's just too long, especially considering it is point form. Secondly, group things by theme. Here's an example. I'm sure that if you think about it, you can likely cut it down even further. Don't be wishy-washy on anything, someone will exploit it.

  • Privacy - We don't share information with anyone.
  • Occupancy - 2 people in a king sized bed, max 4 with the fold-out futon.
  • Minimum stay - 2 nights.
  • Reservation
    • Deposit - A charge equivalent to one night of lodging at the time of reservation is required to hold your reservation.
    • Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express are gladly accepted.
  • Cancellation
    • 8 days ahead - A refund less a $25 processing fee will be refunded
    • Otherwise - A two night charge will be processed, less a refund if we can re-rent the room. No exceptions.
    • Trip Insurance is highly recommended. ”Insure My Trip,” is one recommend vendor. (Remember, no exceptions)
  • Pets - No! Charge of $300+, vacating premises and no refund.
  • Check-in
    • 2:00 PM (keypad code programmed automatically)
    • Payment - The balance due on arrival and will be charged on the credit card provided. Please notify us ahead of time if you want to pay cash or use a different credit card.
  • Smoking - No smoking indoors under state law.
    • Please keep windows closed if smoking near building
    • Please properly dispose of cigarettes and butts properly
    • Cleaning charge of $300+ if required to deep clear room
  • Bathroom
    • No bubble bath!
    • Safe for whirlpool tub herbal bath grains and fragrance packets are provided for your enjoyment.
  • Housekeeping
    • Daily housekeeping not available
    • Weekly stays - Housekeeping will come in once a week to bring new linens and towels
    • Washer/Dryer in room for your personal use
  • Check-out
    • 11:00 AM (keypad code programmed automatically)
    • Upon departure - All dishes should be washed and put away; any open food containers should be in the trash receptacle.
    • Late charge - $50 per hour.

More questions? See our FAQ Page, or contact us

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05/22/2008

"Please do not burn any wax-dripping candles anywhere in the building. Exception: we do allow candles at the dining table, but if you drip wax that damages our furniture or facility, or that requires extra clean-up work, we must charge you for any additional expenses required to return the apartment to proper condition."

Sorry I think you are still asking for problems here. I say "NO BURNING CANDLES" PERIOD! Why chance it. Funny how table candles can end up by the bed or whereever. 

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

im with you - no fricking candles! don't give people a chance to be idiots!

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Excellent thoughts all!

It does say $300 OR MORE, so it leaves the upper end open. And I might be OK with them bringing in pets or smoking if they are willing to pay a price with no upper limit stated.

I'll add about asking them to leave the property with no refund. That's important.

Good thoughts about changing the format, grouping stuff, etc, as well as JB's suggested changes in wording.

Thanks! Very helpful.

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10/07/2008

BUT...there needs to be a rental agreement they initial or sign with these items, and a RULES OF THE HOUSE actually in the unit.  My 2 cents. They need to be two different documents.  

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06/24/2008

I am sure you will be revising this before you open and after cheeky

You do need to revise the order, with the most important items first.  And place the most important things first with in each bullet.  If you want to explain do so after you have covered the important facts. You could also place the no nos together (or after each other) with a * and list the $300+ fee, yada afterwards and only need to say it once. 

I do agree with Bob, you should state they will be told to vacate, no refunds.  Since you do not offer daily housekeeping, they may feel they can get past this.  You may need to address this a little more.  Speaking from someone who had a guest slip in a pocket pooch under our nose.

 

Hillbilly's picture
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10/22/2011

You are giving them permission to bring their pets and smoke in your building. The way you have it worded makes it ok to do so. They just have to pay $300 to do that. People will pay that. Think about it. If they stay a week. It would be cheaper to pay $300 to not take a pet to the border house. Or if a group of people all smoke, they might all just split the cost. You need it to be......if evidence of smoking/pets are found during your stay you will be charged a $300 deep cleaning fee and you will be asked to leave the property.Or something like that!

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Hillbilly

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

I'm a little put off by it. It does sound like a very stern auntie's house. Where the sofa was covered perpetually in plastic.

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Madeleine wrote:

I'm a little put off by it. It does sound like a very stern auntie's house. Where the sofa was covered perpetually in plastic.

I was just thinking about this again, and all the rules to follow, and this video clip from the 1994 comedy "The Hudsucker Proxy" popped into my mind...

http://youtu.be/cv33SsGHYHo

Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Madeleine wrote:

I'm a little put off by it. It does sound like a very stern auntie's house. Where the sofa was covered perpetually in plastic.

Yes, unfortunately I think that's the nature of a vacation rental. Since owners aren't there all the time to watch over people and property, and nip things in the bud when required, you have to lay a lot of rules on them. But I WILL look for ways to put things into more friendly language while still making the necessary points.

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10/07/2008

Maybe say "If there is evidence of pets" since they may be sneaking them in, as we know.

If it were me, and longer stays vs just overnights, I would have sub-headers and break it down by subject (not sure if you are asking about formatting or not).  

I would say something instead of to protect our business, like "For you safety and ours" so it sounds like a great idea to follow these simple rules... smiley

 

 

 

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