Avignon apartment

How to have a smooth-sailing holiday rental experience

Post and pictures by Keith Jenkins, of Velvet Escape, exclusively for HouseTrip as part of our #housetripping series.

Keith Jenkins

Booking a holiday rental is the perfect way to experience a destination like a local. You get to stay in a local home, instead of in an often impersonal hotel room, and benefit from all the amenities of a home such as a kitchen and laundry. In addition, you have the opportunity to quiz the host for his/her ideas on things to do and see as well as gain local insights to make your holiday enjoyable and safe.

Issues, however, may arise when choosing and booking a holiday rental such as language difficulties when dealing with the host, false claims on descriptions and even the exceedingly rare last-minute cancellation. Doing a bit more research and understanding HouseTrip’s policies can go a long way in mitigating these risks. Here are a few tips to help you avoid some of these potential pitfalls:

IMG_7438

Choosing and booking a holiday rental

When you’re in the accommodation selection phase, in addition to looking at the location and condition of the apartment, it also helps to check out any information about the host. The host normally has a profile on HouseTrip. This includes information about how long this host has been active on HouseTrip, how many properties the host has listed on HouseTrip, how many guests have been hosted in the past and how long it usually takes for the host to respond to requests. Check the reviews. Does the host respond to guest reviews (both good and bad)? I tend to choose hosts who provide more information about themselves (including a profile photo), who respond quickly to inquiries and who interact with guests through the reviews, even if it’s a simple ‘thank you’.

Before you make the booking, read the booking terms carefully to check the cancellation policy of each host. HouseTrip offers hosts four different cancellation policy options. Note that HouseTrip retains the booking fees in all cancellation cases. If a host cancels the booking, notify HouseTrip immediately so they can find an alternative solution – in such cases, the host will be penalised by HouseTrip.

Part of the booking process involves an email exchange with the host. This is the case when an ‘Availability Enquiry’ is required, and after the booking is made, and the guest and the host need to communicate to coordinate the check-in time. Should you encounter language problems, ask HouseTrip for help – they offer support in six languages – or alternatively, use Google Translate to read and respond to emails from hosts.

IMG_7516

Payment

Once you’ve made a booking, it’s important to follow HouseTrip’s secure payment process. If a host emails you directly with payment instructions, contact HouseTrip as this could be a sign of a scam. When the booking is confirmed and the payment is made, HouseTrip retains your payment until two days after your arrival day. This is to ensure that your money is safe until you, the guest, are absolutely satisfied with the accommodation.

IMG_7710

Arrival

Before you leave on your holiday, email the host to find out about the best way to get to the accommodation and agree a time to meet. I always print out a map as well as the booking receipt and make notes of the address and the host’s phone number. If the host isn’t there upon your arrival, give the host a call – he/she may be delayed. If, upon arrival, you find that the accommodation differs significantly from the description or if there are any other issues, contact HouseTrip within 24 hours via email or one of their emergency phone numbers so that appropriate action can be taken.

In brief, do a bit more research on the host, be vigilant during the booking/payment process and ensure you print out the necessary information before you leave home. I hope these tips help you have a wonderful holiday rental experience.

 

While in Avignon I stayed in these amazing homes.

http://www.housetrip.com/en/rentals/106326