How rates work

Since it is surely useful to know what you are paying for when you book lodging, I thought I would take a moment to explain rate structure, how it works and what happens if you change your mind mid-stream.

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You’re traveling!  We all know things come up!

In our continuing mission to be your home away from home, we have four kinds of rates at the Odell House, and several different deposit structures.  These are designed for people with different needs, and depend on the length of stay, unit or house, and how many individuals (human and otherwise) we are dealing with.

Like rates, deposits also depend on animals in residence, and then unlike rates, on smoking status.  We keep smokers, all the time–no tax–but smoking is not allowed in the houses or on the properties–ever!

(Smoking in a unit  is a really, really expensive mistake, as we will charge whatever it takes to put that unit back to a non-smoke state.  Whatever!)

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But, back to rates!

Nightly stays–this rate can vary according to the unit, the number of people and the time of year.

While still reasonable, this is the most expensive rate of the group.  There are few commitments other than actually arriving and then leaving things in a sensible manner.  The pricing takes into account cleaning and that we have no idea if any of the other nights in the month will be booked while we save the unit for your arrival.  Logically, this rate also has a fairly stringent cancellation policy unless booked only a few days before arrival.

Multiple night stays–generally these are discounted a bit.  The average discount is $10  for any night after the first, but the reservation has to be booked through us personally to get it–don’t worry, we will offer as we appreciate your longer stays very much.  Multiple night stays share the same cancellation policies as nightly.  They are generally a very good deal for short term housing without much commitment.

Weekly–only offered on some units, and generally at about a 30% discount off the normal nightly rate. Usually this rate comes with an actual cleaning deposit, but in all cases a note that if it takes us more than usual to clean the unit (putting it back to “as was”) the tenant will be charged $25 an hour to do so.

The rate structure here takes into account that daily cleaning of the unit is not necessary–though available if a weekly rate person wants it at $30 per session. The rate tries to reward tidy folks and pass on labor costs to those who don’t care about paying a little bit for cleaning, or just did not take the time to do the dishes!

(This rate rewards tidy guests nicely.)

Single month–30 days.  Costs about half the nightly rate and no tax. That is a big savings!

There is always a cleaning/damage deposit, and almost always some of that deposit used for a meticulous cleaning after departure.  (There is a difference between wiping things down which we really appreciate, and really getting ready for another guest.)

Multi month–this rate discounts the the nightly rate by almost 70%–but comes with a deposit and the 30 day notice of any move, a stipulation made possible (and necessary) by Washington State Landlord Tenant laws.  There is always a cleaning/damage deposit and again some of that will be used for a meticulous cleaning for the next guest.  Please keep the notice part in mind when you ask for this rate–the cue being saying, I need at least 30 days, perhaps longer.

We don’t get to decide some rules on this kind of stay, and sadly, we are in violation of Landlord Tenant Law if we do not then switch to more formal notices.  Stays of more than 30 days are by default considered month to month leases unless we do something specifically different–and slightly more expensive.  That said,  in a lot of cases it really is smarter to book several consecutive 30 day stays if you are unsure how long you will be with us–though your availability will also sadly be unsure if you wait too long to tell us you plans!

It’s the Law.  And paying the Governor: taxes.

*Hotel stays are defined as less than 30 days They generally do not follow the same landlord tenant law that effect most other transactions in this state.

*All lodging revenue from under 30 consecutive days is taxable at 10.6%–combined Spokane and Washington State tax.  Bookings over 30 days are not taxed.

CCCCCCHHANGESSSSSSS in ppppplllaaaannnns can be awkward–but don’t have to be.

So, we’d all like to take advantage of the lowest possible rates with the most possible security.

But What happens if your plans change? 

Our plans will not change, by the way.  Barring natural disaster, flood or fallen ceiling, if you book a room we will be here offering you the keys.  When we hold space we take it very seriously.  It will be here for you.  That’s the Innkeepers job.  We don’t get to jump at the “better deal”, we keep your place.  Happy to do so.

And, while we really are okay with you alighting with us while you are looking for a cheaper/longer term/unfurnished (etc all) place to live–that is part of what we do, offer temporary lodging!–we do need to have a rough idea of how long you will be with us.  As outlined above, this entails some mutual commitments and agreements–and some measure of guessing.  This is sometimes an issue if finding that cheaper/better/more permanent place takes longer–or shorter–than expected.

Please also keep in mind we are only in charge of SOME of our cancellation/notice policies.  We try to be as flexible as possible.  But there are limits.

Nightly: We allow cancellations of nightly rate rooms up to a week prior to arrival.

Weekly: If you need to move on before your week is over  we will figure out which is the cheapest default option:  paying  a nightly rate, or taking the discount even if not all nights are used.  This advantage usually comes at about five days.  (No, sorry, Uncle Herbert you can’t take the weekly rate, divide it by seven and pay for three.  That would be a multiple night stay, but not a week.)

If you have booked a single month and are enjoying the price break and no tax, but must move on, then it is most economical to do so somewhere before ten to fifteen days.  Otherwise keeping the single month discount is less expensive than going to nightly rate.  (Like Uncle Herbert, Aunt Mary Jane cannot book a month, stay three weeks and pay 21 days of that monthly rate.)

If you have said you will be here more than a month, but don’t know exactly how long, then Washington State laws come into play.  A tenancy without formal lease is assumed to be month to month.

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This means there are more specific notice requirements from both parties.

Unless we tell you at the start of the month that your unit will not be available the next month, we must make it available.  This puts considerable pressure on us as we cannot decide how we will use any unit in the future–and always have to block out the next month to adhere to the notice requirements.  Fortunately the tenant is also required to give minimum notice–that keeps things fair.

That said, if you know you are going to be here a while, and need something furnished, at about 30% of nightly rate, a longer-stay contract can be attractive.  (actually really affordable!)  BUT, only if you are comfortable with the place and the notices required.  Unlike other rate structures, you can’t just pack up and move on a whim.

If  you give notice two weeks after you’ve paid rent, say, in the middle of the month,  the NEXT month is still due–which is sort of fair.  Remember we have to give you 30 days notice from any time you pay rent if we need to use the unit for something else.  Low price for fair, shared risk is reasonable.  But, it is definitely a two-way street.

Also please remember, this was not OUR idea!  We will happily do 30 days, but you have to tell us that’s what you want.  Default month to month is the least expensive form of rent, but designed to not be very flexible.   If you don’t know your plans are really solid, taking the single month at a slightly higher rate is probably a good idea.  You still avoid tax.  But remember, we don’t have to save the unit for you unless you actually book another 30 day stay–which yes, you are committed to but not as strongly as diving into the Landlord Tenant Acts!

I hope this makes things more clear–if not, please ask questions!!   (Easier now than later.)

End note: Rick, being my copy editor, slyly asks,

“When are we going to do hourly rates, honey?”

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Never.

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