Vacation rental hospitality company Evolve manages more than 29,000 properties globally and has been a growing partner with Vrbo for over 12 years.
The past few years have brought a shift in vacation rental booking trends, and guests are demanding more flexibility when booking travel. Offering flexible cancellation policies has become an important way to boost bookings and drive revenue. Like many vacation rental owners and managers, the Evolve team identified that offering more restrictive policies may not have met their guests’ needs or made it simple for them to cancel or adjust when travel plans changed.
Jay Whiteley, Evolve’s senior director of distribution partnerships and performance, wanted to address guests’ need for flexibility while minimizing the risk of increased cancellations. Knowing that many travelers were searching for rentals using the “free cancellations” filter on Vrbo, he wanted to make sure Evolve properties weren’t filtered out of consideration.
While exploring possible optimization solutions with Vrbo’s account management team, Evolve determined they could see tangible benefits from offering more accommodating policies. In fact, over 75% of travelers say they’re more likely to book a vacation rental property with a flexible cancellation policy.3 And nearly half of consumers say they would never book non-refundable lodging domestically.4
Jay and his team of industry and revenue professionals decided to test shifting from their standard 30% non-refundable deposit at booking toward cancellation policies that offered a free cancellation period and were more accommodating to guest plans changing, to help Evolve remain competitive and provide the best guest experience possible.