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Frequently Asked Questions

1st Class Lodging Reservation Service understands that home owners may have many questions as to why they should list their property with us. Here is a list of FAQ that may answer most of those questions. In addition, you may call us anytime to personally converse with us about your individual property needs. We will promote your property thru our very popular Web site, many on-line travel agencies, and all major internet search engines. We will expose your property to literally millions of travelers a year. We will make more money for you with a lot less work for you. Managing the rental sales and marketing of your home yourself requires a great personal time commitment. Home Owners usually lack expertise in online marketing, which means you may leave many income opportunities on the table. Owners have no built in data base or cross selling opportunities. This leads to having a SECOND JOB and the second job leads to Home Owners having Headaches vs. a Paycheck.

  • What does 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service offer its property owners?

     We manage every aspect of keeping your vacation rental booked. Our goal is to enable you to make the most revenue from your rental without having to do any of the busy work involved with marketing it. We take photos, write descriptions, and market it to potential guests as well as making reservations, and payments. We handle check-in and check-outs, informing housekeeping of the booking, and if needed, we will even handle emergency maintenance. 1st Class wants our owners to be comfortable knowing their rental is being marketed to optimize their return on investment and we also optimize your guests enjoyable stay experience.
  • What about block outs for my property?

     IF OWNERS MAKE SOME OF THEIR OWN BOOKINGS OR IF THEY WISH TO MAKE BLOCK OUTS FOR FAMILY OR FRIENDS, ETC a., IT IS CRITICAL THAT BLOCKS OUTS BE MADE IN OUR RESERVATION SYSTEM AS SOON AS THE BLOCK OUT DATES ARE IDENTIFIED BY THE OWNERS OR MANAGERS. We simply cannot have double bookings. It is terrible reflection on our business and the property. Failing to make block outs as soon as they are identified will be cause to take a property out of our 24/7 person to person telephone reservation making call system. Failing to make block outs on a timely basis will, also, lead to us having to cancel our contract with the property that fails to do their block outs immediately. Frankly, we do not know why an owner would want to hassle with doing their own bookings. They have to converse with the potential guests and many will not book with them. The owner must have their own credit card system set up, they must send confirmations and directions, field any complaints that might arise. Also, they must set up a tax number then make monthly or quarterly reports and tax payments. In other words, to be successful the owner must be pretty much full time on the phone, e-mail, sending in reports and taxes or maintaining a web site. In addition to our web site, 1st Class is going to list you on all the major On Line Travel Agencies like VRBO and other large booking sites. We will manage all the availability either manually or thru our state of the art software that converses with all the major online travel booking sites. THIS COST THE OWNER NOTHING! We do all the work and the owner gets the benefit of being an OWNER, NOT A FULL TIME MARKETING MANAGER. It is just not worth the owner’s time to try to handle all that is involved for a small guest house or B &B operation. WE HAVE TAKEN THE HASSLE OF MARKETING, ANSWERING COMPLAINTS, MAINTAINING A WEB SITE, SENDING IN FORMS AND TAXES, and CONVERSING WITH POTENTIAL GUESTS OFF THE OWNERS SHOULDERS. No need to "BE ATTACHED AT THE HIP TO YOUR iPHONE" , 1st Class has it covered. By listing with our service, an owner can actually have a life! They can even take a vacation and not have to worry if they will miss a booking or that they are not there and a guest has a problem. 1st Class will handle all things necessary while the owner is out of town.
  • What is our commission rate?

     Call us for Details. It’s probably less than you think.
  • How do I get started on listing my property with 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service?

     Listing with us is easy and risk-free. New or existing rental units can be up and running in our system within 7 business days. It generally takes less time than that, but we say 7 days just in case we run into something unusual. Our contract is for 1 year, but you can cancel at any time with a 30 day notice. Getting started includes shooting new photos, putting together detailed listings, setting pricing, activating advertising on the main internet channels and beginning to take reservations. This all happens in 7 days or less. If you do not like the service, you can terminate without penalty.
  • What kind of contract do I need to sign?

     Our contract is as simple as we can make it. It is straight-forward and easy to read. If you are not happy with the service you can leave with a month's notice. Our first 5 years of business was done on a hand shake, no contracts at all! But due to our exponential growth, we finally had to have a written agreement. This is a people to people business, if you do not like our service; we do not want to hold your "feet to the fire" as some other agencies do. Just let us know you want to leave our service and we will all part friends with no problem. Please contact us and we will be happy to send you our agreement for your review.
  • Do I have to commit to a certain amount of nights to be available to 1st Class Lodging?

     No, unlike some services that require at least 300 nights of inventory availability. There is no problem with an owner, friends or family members using a rental for weeks or even months at a time. You can even make your own bookings at no commission to us. We only get paid a commission for what we book. NO OTHER LOCAL SERVICE OFFERS THIS! Most of them want a commission on every stay, regardless of who does the booking.
  • Does my home need to be of a certain quality or size?

    Yes. 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service only represents upscale, clean and well located properties. We will personally look at your rental property and let you know if we feel it will make a good rental for guests and a good fit with our service. Call us to schedule a visit to your property to see if it qualifies.
  • Is there anything I am required to have at my home?

     Yes there is! Guests pay for and expect a fully-functioning home when they arrive complete with furniture, appliances, cookware (only needed if your property has a full kitchen), glasses, silverware, internet, TV, etc. as well as a standard supply of upscale bed linens, bath and hand towels. We will give you guidance on everything you need in your rental unit. Internet connections are preferred in every unit. TV can be optional in certain rural areas. Nicely decorated homes tend to command higher rentals and we always encourage owners to have a home that shows and photographs well.
  • Do I need to have a traditional phone line/land-line installed?

    No, a landline is not required. We ask that Wi-Fi be available (Wi-Fi will help rent your place). Virtually all guests come equipped with mobile phones and the expense of maintaining a landline just for guest use is not needed.
  • What about rental rates and sales volume?

     When you ask us what rate your property should be rented for, we give you an honest, upfront assessment. Unfortunately, some services will give you an inflated number just to get you to sign with them. Then, if you are not getting the sales you think you should, they will tell you that you must reduce the rate. This is an old realtor trick that has been applied to our lodging rental industry. 1st Class has the software capability to adjust daily if need be. We offer seasonal rates, weekend rates and weekday rates to our potential guest. We adjust these rates as needed during the year......almost always upwards. Every November we look at every property we represent and their history and adjust rates accordingly. Again, almost always upwards. Our owners give us the flexibility to discount a room in the slow season up to 20 %. We do this very sparingly and it is our last resort in trying to close the sale for you to a potential guest. If owners do their own bookings, our published rate must be the same as the owners published rates.
  • How do you set pricing for my rental?

    1st Class compares your rental property to other like kind properties to gauge pricing in our market. Rates can be determined by size of the home, the location, quality of the finish-out and amenities offered. Rack rates can be adjusted up or down based on market demand, seasons, special events, etc. 1st Class’s state of the art software has the capability to offer seasonal rates, week day rates and special event rates. We can monitor conversion rates of your rental at initial pricing and adjust up or down according to how well the rental is booking. It is an ongoing process that is always a top priority. One of our main goals is to optimize the Owners return on investment. The more money you make, the more successful we become.
  • What happens in our slow booking times like January and February?

     1st Class Lodging Reservation Service was the first to initiate a Vacation Rental program. We are the leaders in this type of vacation rental. During the slow season, we make monthly bookings to Snow Birds. This helps increase the owner’s income in this slow period. Each property is different and every property is not set up to take this kind of rental. We will discuss your property and determine whether it will qualify for this particular type rental.
  • What about online reviews from guests on my property?

     1st Class asks each guest to make reviews to online sources like Trip Advisor and Yelp. We give each guest that checks in at our office a form that they can review the property with. A copy of any form that has been filled out is forwarded to the owner/ manager. Positive reviews will be added to the properties web site. We may also take certain comments out of any guest comment books that are in existing units we represent. These positive comments will also, be added to the properties web site. This will not happen overnight, but our staff works on this almost every week. We are doing this for over 200 units, so it takes a while.
  • What else does 1st Class do to help my bookings?

     We sell many gift certificates during the year and your property will have reservations from us that are paid with our 1st Class gift certificates. We sell and deliver all sorts of Romantic baskets, flowers, cakes and wines to enhance to guests experience. We book massages and wine tours for guests. This also helps increase their experience and it creates customer loyalty. They may purchase many different premium wines or beers from our office at a greatly reduced price. We sell the beverages as low as we can so that the guest will want to come back to us on their next trip. Upon check in, each guest gets a list of restaurants and live entertainment. They also receive a free 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service mouse pad.
  • Can I personally buy wine or beer from 1st Class?

     Yes. As a perk to be part of our service, the owners/managers may purchase any wine or beer we stock for only 10% over our cost. You may buy any quantity you like. If there is a wine or beer that is your favorite and we don't stock it, we will try to order it for you. If you are a wine or beer drinker, your yearly savings can be very significant. You may also book wine tours or massages at 20% off the regular price.
  • Do you stay in touch with my guests after they depart?

    Yes, we send out survey forms for them to fill out about their most recent stay. We also send out quarterly news letters to each guest that has opted into our newsletter e-mail publication. We have several thousand guests that have opted into this publication.
  • What about Breakfast Vouchers?

     1st Class redeemed food vouchers typically cost our owners $10.00 per day, per couple or less. Other local services charge the home owner $13.00 per day, per couple for ALL food vouchers, redeemed or not. Over a 12 month time period, the 1st Class food voucher program will save our owners a large amount of money. This is a net savings to owners of at least $3.00 per day! A homeowner can save hundreds of dollars a year with our food voucher program. A unit that lodges 3 or more persons will save significantly more!
  • Should I offer a breakfast?

     Many vacation rentals in the USA do not offer a breakfast. However, the Fredericksburg market dictates that our units should offer some kind of breakfast. 1st Class originated the idea of a breakfast vouchers over 15 years ago. It is still a good solution. We suggest a $5.00 per person voucher. Our vouchers may be redeemed at several different bakeries and restaurants in town. Over time, other competitors have started giving out vouchers. But there are a BIG DIFFERENCES in the 1st Class voucher and the others. With our voucher, the home owner only pays for what is redeemed. If the voucher is never used, you do not pay anything for the redemption. If your voucher is only partially used, you only pay for the amount the guest spent. Other services SELL you the voucher and if it is not redeemed, they make the money, not you. Other services will charge 10% of the voucher when redeemed. Although, some services will say that they have 99.5% redemption rate so you need not worry about how they are billed. We know differently. Over the years many of our home owners have saved hundreds of dollars by not paying for unredeemed vouchers. We charge a flat rate of $15.00 per month to print, hand out, sort and bill the vouchers. A great savings for most of our owners!
  • What about Property Damage?

     1st Class does not retain any funds that have been collected from guests for property damages. All the recovered damage money is forwarded to the Home Owner. Other services charge the Home Owner 10% of the funds collected to help cover reservation costs. 1st Class believes the owner should get 100% of the funds because it was their property that was damaged.
  • What about No Shows?

     While other local services only collect and pay the Home Owner on 1 night for NO SHOWS, 1st Class makes every attempt to collect for the entire reservation and pay the owners on every night that was booked by the no show. This can mean a large amount of income to the Home Owner that they would not receive from a different reservation service.
  • How is your Web site rated?

     We are number 1 on more Google words and phrases sites than any other competitor. Our URL has been number one for almost 16 years on the most important search engines. It is impossible to be number one on all inquiries, but we are close to the top on most. We have in house expertise on search engine optimization and outside contractors that help us with search engine placement.
  • Do you answer every e-mail?

     1st Class has goal to answer each e-mail inquiry within 30 minutes of receiving it during business hours. Our response time is usually quicker than that. The same can be said for e-mail confirmations we send out to the guest once a reservation is made.
  • What kind of staff does 1st Class have?

     We have 8 full time employees. Each one is hired because of their friendly attitude and skills. We train our people daily to be upbeat, friendly, empathic and professional to not only guests, but out property owners. In short, we have professionals representing your property. But, we are still a fun group to know. All staff is familiar with every property we represent. We also employee a full time IT person that handles all of our computers, telephone system, and even problems with internet and cable TV at our units. Several of our staff has owned their own successful businesses in the past. All staff have come from service related industries.
  • How do you advertise my rental and do I need to pay for this?

     We advertise via pay per click, Internet search engine optimization, local publications, local online directories, international online directories, and most of the On Line Travel booking sites. We spend much more than any other local service on advertising our owners units. That is one reason we have become the best service in the area. We believe no other reservation service markets more than 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service. None of this cost is passed on to the owners as extra fees. It is all included in the commission fee.
  • What if I already have listed my home on some of the sites you have mentioned?

     No problem! 1st Class will work around your existing marketing efforts and increase the business you may already be producing.
  • Do you charge to change my Web page?

     No and yes? We make two changes a year on your Web site at NO Charge. If we make more than two changes, you will be billed at $30.00 per hour for the changes. Changes of rates do not apply toward the number of changes. Many services charge you for every change made during the year.
  • Do I need to provide you with photographs?

     No. Our staff will visit your property and take photographs and do a write up for our Web site. This serves several purposes. We use our state of the art photography equipment, including wide angle lenses and our staff gets to personally see your property. They are the ones that will be booking your property and telling potential guests all about it. Potential guests want to see great photos and we want to make sure your home looks fantastic online, but we do not style up the property. We want our guests to see exactly how your unit will look when they arrive.
  • How do guests pay?

     We use credit card processing through our software package. Guests almost exclusively prefer to pay with credit cards. We require that each guest give us a valid credit card number when they book. We will accept cash or check, but that happens very rarely. Credit card companies typically charge up to 4% of the amount charged for their service. 1ST CLASS ABSORBS THOSE CHARGES, unlike many services that charge the owner back for credit card fees.
  • How do potential guests converse with 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service?

     We have several ways for guests to communicate with us. 1st is our Web site and e-mail, second we have people ready to answer the phone AROUND THE CLOCK 24/7. Even on Holidays. NO OTHER LOCAL SERVICE OFFERS THIS! We have a 24/7 emergency phone line that is answered by one of our staff at any hour and we have a call center that is schooled on your property that takes reservations when our office is closed. NO MORE MISSING RESERVATIONS AFTER HOURS! AS THE OWNER, YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO "BE ATTACHED TO YOUR PHONE" in fear you will miss a reservation. We have it covered! ALL AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE HOME OWNER! The guest can call us on any of our 8 incoming toll free numbers, or on our local line, or via e-mail, or even by TEXT. We now have a Push to Chat and a Push to Talk Feature on our home page. If the guest clicks on Push to Talk, they will get our toll free number. If the click on Push to Chat, they may text us and we will text them back. We are the only service in the area with these features.
  • Are you on social networks?

     1st Class Lodging has a large presence on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Our service has more followings than most of the other services combined. We have a staff person that is tasked to make postings every business day to all these social media venues.
  • Can guests book my property online?

     Yes they can. Our online booking system is available 24/7. In addition, we have a 24/7 call center where the guest can actually talk to a reservation specialist that has been trained about your property and our reservation specialist will make the reservation regardless of time of day or night. How cool is that? No other service in our area offers anything close to this level of service. Again, there is NO EXTRA cost to the owners for this service.
  • What if the guest is not happy and you have to give a discount?

     In the lodging business many unforeseen things can happen. Example: a water heater goes out, or the air conditioner doesn't work, or there is a leak in the roof, etc. When these things occur, 1st Class handles the situation. Normally our homeowners never have to deal with an unhappy guest. If a legitimate complaint is registered, we usually try to salvage the booking by offering some type of discount. 1st Class and the home owner are in this together. If a discount is offered and accepted by the guest, the home owner makes less, but the booking is salvaged and 1st Class only makes a commission on the final amount that is collected. Therefore our commission amount goes down respectively.
  • When do I get paid for reservations?

     We currently pay owners once a month. We pay each owner no later than the 10th of the month. In over 15 years of being in this business, we have never missed sending out owner’s checks by the 10th of the month, nor have we ever missed transmitting our motel tax to the proper taxing agencies on time. NO SLIDING SCALE ON WHAT DAY YOU GET PAID LIKE SOME OF THE OTHER LOCAL AGENCIES. NO LATE TAX PAYMENTS LIKE SOME AGENCIES HAVE DONE IN THE PAST! In addition to the check, you will receive a statement of gross sales and all expenses will be accounted for. The statement and check will cover all guests that check-out during that month. If you have a guest crossing over one month to the next, the payment for that reservation falls in the month they check-out. If you furnish us a deposit slip, we will electronically deposit your money into your account. We prefer this method. It gets your money to you faster and it saves us on time, paper, ink and postage. If we do electronic transfer of funds, your monthly statement will be either e-mailed or snail mailed to you. At the end of the calendar year, we will furnish you with a complete yearly statement of earnings.
  • What if I already had bookings made on my property?

    No problem. Just give us your block outs and we will not book your units for the dates you have already booked.
  • Can I still do my own bookings?

     Yes. Again, no problem at all. When you make a booking, you can e-mail us the block outs and we will take it out of our system. Or you may go on to our reservation grid and block it out yourself. We will give you a password that allows you to make block outs 24/7 and you can also see all the bookings you have in our system. We do not make commission on the bookings you personally make.
  • Why do you do commission-based pricing?

     Commission based pricing is common in the rental property reservation industry. It aligns 1st Class Lodging incentives with our homeowners. We only make money when our owners make money. The way to increase our revenue is to help our owners increase their return on investment.
  • What kind of reporting do I get on my unit?

     You will get a monthly statement from us that details out how much rental revenue you earned and any charges that you have incurred during the month (for example if you use our food voucher program, or if you had us install a new TV, water heater, etc.)
  • Do I have to handle paying any lodging taxes?

     No, 1st Class handles that for you. However, you are responsible for reporting and paying in applicable lodging tax that you are required to collect on any bookings you charged for yourself. We collect the taxes on our bookings and pay them each month. Each reservation has taxes added to the amount of the rental. You can rest assured that we have collected and will remit the proper amount for taxes on a timely basis.
  • What about cleaning fees?

    We do not charge guests for cleaning fees at this time. It is up to each owner to pay their respective maid service for cleanup. CLEANLINESS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AMENITY FOR YOUR UNIT. Your clean unit keeps the guests happy and repeating their stays at your unit.
  • Do I need to provide you with a cleaner?

    Yes. If you have a cleaner you are used to working with, then we may utilize them for your rental. If you need maid service, we will give you a list of independent contractors that do clean up. You may interview them and make a selection. We will give you guidance on approximate cost.
  • Who does the laundry?

     Whoever cleans the unit is responsible for doing laundry. Maids will either do it on-site if time permits or bring it to a laundry facility as a back-up. There is usually a charge for laundry if the maid has to take the dirty linens off premise.
  • Do I need to provide all the amenities every time a guest stays at the property, like soap, paper towels, toilet paper?

     Yes. Furnishing the supplies is at your expense. Whoever cleans the unit should be in charge of making sure all supplies are in the unit for each check in. That includes at least 4 rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, a couple of rolls of paper towels, small sizes of soap, shampoo, and conditioner, and dish soap in the kitchen (if applicable). 1st Class has the small hand /bath soaps, face soaps, shampoos and hand lotions in stock and available for purchase at a nominal fee.
  • What if I want to do some decorating?

     Decor is very important to the look and ambiance of the unit. The better it looks, the more it will be booked. Plus, our owners have fun decorating. Just make sure to check that the unit is not booked when you want to decorate.
  • What happens if there is an emergency?

    The guest will have directions to your unit that include emergency numbers. They will be instructed to call you or your manager in case of an emergency. If they cannot get you, they will call our 24/7 emergency hot line. Our hotline is manned by our local staff. No other competitor offers this service. If you or your manager is not available, we take the call and dispatch the appropriate handyman. We will have the handyman company bill you directly for these charges. 1st Class can charge a small fee for these types’ emergencies.
  • How do you deal with noisy guests?

    We require renters to be at least 21years old. Parties can happen and we want people to enjoy themselves, however we will not tolerate abuse at the properties and contractually have measures in place to evict and charge additional fees. If we receive multiple noise complaints about a guest, we will send over the police and attempt to remove the guest from the property for the remainder of the stay.
  • Do owners have to allow pets or children?

     No, it is up to each home owner to allow or not allow pets or children. If pets or children are allowed, 1st Class charges $30.00 per night per pet and $35.00 per night for children. We take our normal commission on the charges and the owner gets the rest. Taking pets and children will help book your unit more, but it is the owner’s decision. If a property accepts children and/or pets that can mean a significant yearly increase in income to you. Some other local reservation services charge an extra persons fee for children of 4 years old or more. 1st Class Lodging Reservation Service has always charged for children 2 years of age and up.
  • What about regular maintenance?

    It is the owners or their manager/maid service responsibility to have regular maintenance on the home. 1st Class reserves the right to do home inspections at any time. If any maintenance is identified on these inspections, the owner is obligated to take care of the issues immediately.
  • Who takes care of my lawn, or hot tub, or pool?

     It is the owner or their manager’s responsibility to keep up the yard, hot tub and/or pool. Or it is their responsibility to hire an independent contractor to keep up the yard, pool or hot tubs. All of the lawn, hot tub and pool maintenance should be done on a regular schedule.
  • Are there any other regular services I should have scheduled?

     In addition to repeat lawn, hot tub and pool service, 1st Class recommends having a local, licensed HVAC service plan in place that regularly services your air conditioning and heating appliances as well as changes your air filters and we recommend an annual gutter cleaning in heavy leaf areas, and twice-yearly window washing.
  • What about garbage collection?

     The owner or the maid/manager is in charge of putting out the garbage on the proper pick up days.
  • Who gives out the keys to my property?

    1st Class will give out the guest keys when they check in at our office. In some cases, if the unit is out in the country, we can arrange for the key to be at the unit rather than inconveniencing the guest and making them drive to our office.
  • What if I want to stay there, how do I book for myself, friends or family?

     You can just call or e-mail us and we will block out the unit for you on our system, or you can view your availability and book online through our Homeowner booking system. There is no charge for this. It is up to the homeowner to inform the maid service of these type bookings or block outs so that the unit will be cleaned and ready for arriving guests and guests that are checking in after the owner block out.
  • What about reservation services owning their own properties?

     There are several competing services in our area where the reservation owner personally owns most of the properties they list. Many of those properties are leveraged and the owner books their units first. Other services may play favoritism to some properties because of long term relationships with the owner. 1st Class does none of that. Our CEO owns 10 units in town and none of them are leveraged. His properties go into our rental pool and are treated like everybody else's. We founded this business with the idea that every property stands on its own. No favoritism will be shown towards anyone’s individual properties. In addition, we do not employee people that own units in Fredericksburg. So there can be no favoritism shown in that respect.

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