Update to TurnKey’s Cancellation Policy regarding COVID-19 Concerns

Updated March 20, 2020

We understand the frustration you may have experienced trying to get through to us. We’re doing everything we can to connect with every customer. Recently we added hundreds of new inbound phone trunks to help with the volume, but just like all travel suppliers, our systems have been overwhelmed. Everyone from the major hotels, to listing sites to airlines are reporting down phone lines. But we’d like to make sure everyone hears from us officially what we are doing.

We hope you understand that we are doing the best we can to try and keep up in this time of crisis. Last week, we shared our policy updates with guests by email, on our blog and on social media, and since then it has been enhanced further to offer even more flexibility for our guests. If that message hasn’t reached you, we apologize. But we have been able to waive our non-cancellation and change policy to adopt an approach similar to Southwest Airlines. (See details below.)

Additionally, in an effort to take action more quickly, guests can now cancel and receive their credit toward a future stay directly in their TurnKey Guest Portal. We hope the adoption of a policy similar to Southwest finds a reasonable middle ground for everyone involved. We understand there will still be frustrations out there, and we are trying to do the best we can.

Why We Changed Our Policy

The current situation around COVID-19 is unprecedented, and we truly empathize with those who cannot travel at this time. It is important for us to make sure guests know they won’t lose the value of their reservation. But as a property management company, we are also in the unique position of balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders.

Please know that on the other side of every refund request of a non-refundable booking is a homeowner, another person also experiencing hardship. The reservation agreement entered into by guests helps them pay for expenses like a mortgage, maintenance and utility bills. Many of these homeowners are facing multiple potential cancellations in light of the uncertainty created by COVID-19.

At TurnKey, we recognize our responsibility to both guests and homeowners during these difficult times. We remain dedicated to finding the best solutions, and doing the right thing for the safety and concerns of our guests, homeowners and team members.

For more context on what makes this situation unique for vacation rentals, and how airlines and other travel brands have adopted similar policies, please see this article from VRM Intel:

“Vacation Rental Management Companies Adapt Cancellation Policies to Extend Rebooking Dates and Offer Credits”

Policy Updates for Cancellations and Credits Toward a Future Stay

In light of continuing uncertainty around travel due to COVID-19, we have updated our cancellation policy to add greater flexibility for our guests. Our policy is similar to Southwest Airlines and other brands in travel and hospitality, allowing for credits to be used toward stays up to 18 months in the future.

  • For guests with bookings 30 days or less from check-in: If you have paid-in-full and want to cancel within 30 days of your check-in date, you will receive a full credit toward a future stay at the same home (subject to availability and rates for the future dates).

    To receive your credit, you must cancel your reservation on or before your original check-in date, or June 1, 2020, whichever comes first.

    You will have until February 1, 2021, to rebook your stay using your credit, and can rebook your stay with a check-in date any time before October 1, 2021.

    When ready to use your credit to rebook, please call TurnKey at 888-512-0498.
  • For guests with bookings more than 30 days from check-in: TurnKey only collects a 10% non-refundable deposit. We are adopting the Southwest approach and making that deposit available as a credit toward a future stay at any home.

    To receive your credit, you must cancel your reservation on or before your original check-in date, or June 1, 2020, whichever comes first.

    You will have until February 1, 2021, to rebook your stay using your credit, and can rebook your stay with a check-in date any time before October 1, 2021.

    When ready to use your credit to rebook, please call TurnKey at 888-512-0498.

  • Rate Guarantees for the Same Stay Next Year: Just like prices for airline tickets and hotel rooms, our rates fluctuate throughout the year, especially when booking far in advance. However, if a guest has paid in full for their reservation and wants to rebook the home for the same dates next year, we will guarantee the same pricing.

    Our pricing system can’t do this automatically, so guests may not see this reflected on our website. This may take some time for our team to work through, but no one will pay more for the same trip next year if you are booking with the same dates.

  • Cancellation Policy for Rebookings: Our flexible cancellation policy outlined above will not apply to rebookings or new bookings. As such, we strongly recommend travel insurance, including policies that cover cancellations for any reason.

    In addition, if a guest chooses not to cancel their booking according to the terms above, and pay for it in-full at 30 days before check-in, please understand that no refunds or credits will be provided (according to the standard cancellation policy in the rental agreement).

POLICY Q&A

Why are you issuing credits similar to Southwest Airlines and other travel brands? 

In these uncertain times, we are trying to do what’s right for both guests and homeowners. We believe this approach strikes a balance between guests retaining the value of their reservation, and helping homeowners who are facing multiple cancel requests, which may impact their ability to maintain mortgage and utility payments, or other essential items during these uncertain times.

For more context on what makes this situation unique for vacation rentals, and how other travel brands have adopted similar policies, please see this article from VRM Intel: “Vacation Rental Management Companies Adapt Cancellation Policies to Extend Rebooking Dates and Offer Credits”

Why must I decide to cancel my reservation by June 1, 2021, or my original check-in date (whichever comes first)?

Given the increased uncertainty around COVID-19, we decided to extend the date by which you need to cancel your reservation. However, we do require that guests notify us of their decision to cancel and secure the credit toward a future stay before their check-in date. This gives our team the greatest ability to communicate with guests, coordinate with homeowners, and work toward the health and safety of all involved.

If I decide to keep my reservation that is more than 30 days away, will TurnKey make an exception and offer any refunds outside of the Cancellation Policy?

No. Guests who wish to hold their reservation and do not take advantage of the flexible options described above, do so knowing there will be no cancellations or credits for a change in plans. We strongly encourage guests to consider travel insurance policies that cover cancellations for any reason.

My stay is before June 1, 2020. Can you explain my credit?

You will receive a credit for the exact dollar amount you paid for your reservation. If that reservation is within 30 days of your check-in date when you cancel, your credit can be used to make a new booking with a stay in the next 18 months at the same home you originally booked. If you choose to book for the same date next year, we will guarantee the same price. If you cancel more than 30 days before your check-in date, you will secure a credit in the amount you paid toward a booking at any TurnKey home.

TurnKey’s standard cancellation policy will apply to the new reservation – no refund will be provided for any reason within 30 days of the new stay date. As such, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance policies that cover cancellations for any reason.

How do I initiate a cancellation and credit toward a future stay?

To initiate a cancellation and credit toward a future stay, you can access your TurnKey Guest Portal, which can be found in your reservation confirmation email. Click the “CANCEL MY RESERVATION” button, and we will track your cancellation and credit toward a future stay so you don’t need to call us. Then, within 48 hours you’ll receive an email including instructions on how to rebook your stay.

To rebook, you will need to contact our Guest Experience Team before February 1, 2021. Please understand our Guest Experience Team is busier than normal, so if you can wait to call and rebook so we can assist the guests with more immediate needs, that would be greatly appreciated.

What do you mean there’s a “homeowner” involved with each home?

Unlike listing sites like Airbnb or Vrbo, TurnKey is a property management company. In addition, we do not own any of the homes our guests rent. Individual homeowners across the country purchase homes to use themselves, and also to rent to others. It is often a home that an owner eventually wishes to retire in, or one purchased after visiting their favorite destination.

TurnKey represents these homeowners and provides management services to keep their home maintained, clean and ready for renters. Around 99% of the properties we represent are owned by single-home, independent owners who rely on rental income to pay for things like a mortgage and utilities.

For reference, we feel these articles provide good insight into the concerns of many homeowners: 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/03/15/airbnb-coronavirus-cancellations-guests-cancel-for-free-hosts-pay-the-costs/#46209485131b

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-airbnb-hosts-angry-at-refunds.html

We are also trying to do everything we can to raise awareness for #dontcancelpostpone and #savetourism. Our industry is on the brink of collapse. Already hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs in the airlines, hotels, vacation rentals, bars and restaurants are at stake.

Updated Policy Chart

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