Villa Owner COVID-19 Top FAQs Answered!

1. How do I handle cancellations due to COVID-19?

Most agencies and popular platforms will either reimburse or defer the booking to 2021. According to our Terms of Rental at Greek Villas 4 Rent, such a cancellation falls under the Force Majeure clause so we will consider reimbursement if postponement is not possible. However, to support our owners, we encourage our guests to postpone their travel in window frame of 12 months from the original booking date.

2. Will I be able to rent my property this summer?

Under governmental decree, to-date (April 2020), year-round operating hotels will re-open June 1st but any other type of tourist accommodation (rooms, apartments, airbnbs, houses, villas) will probably reopen July 1st (to be confirmed). So most likely the 2020 season will officially open on that date. We are awaiting for the relevant ministerial decision. Until then, it is illegal to operate these forms of accommodations but can take bookings for 1/7/20 or later. One is for sure: 2020 will have an even shorter season than other years.

3. How will short-term rents be affected by the COVID-19 crisis?

Assuming that the market opens up again in July, we can safely predict that rents will tumble due to the abundant supply of empty villas and houses. We will see a lot of of very last minute bookings, shorter stays due to limited traveller budgets and bargain hunting -and bargains there will be- for the few that will decide/be able travel outside their country.

4. Will Greece allow internal travel?

As of May 18 and depending on the number of cases reported, travel within Greece will be allowed, across prefecture borders. However social distancing measures are expected to be in effect and strictly enforced EVERYWHERE, airplanes, ships, buses decreasing means capacity and increasing ticket costs. Note that a mask is required to be worn in all public transport at all times! Fine is 150 EUR if you do not.

5. Will Greece allow foreign tourists to enter the country?

There is a lot of discussion around that, within Greece and within the European Commission. Travellers from 3rd countries outside the EU may find it difficult or impossible to enter the Schengen zone this summer. Europeans within the zone, may be able to travel depending if they can prove that are virus free (negative). A European COVID-19 passport is under discussion, implying screening at the travellers’ home country prior to travel and on-the-spot checks will be effected at all points of entry (temperature readings, even tests). One is for sure: travelling will not be as easy and last minute as it has been. Stay tuned!

6. How can I increase my bookings this year?

Key this year to having guests is a very flexible cancellation policy, everybody is now adopting. As there are many unknown parts to the puzzle (how, how much, when guests can travel), if they do decide to take the leap, they want to make sure they will not lose their money. So non-refundable rates are…dead for this year! We have revised out own policy this year at Greek Villas 4 Rent .com and will offer a full refund for cancelled paid bookings up to 35 days in advance, some villas will even go as low as 25 days (see our OFFERS)! Many owners may be tempted to drop prices this year under the false belief that this will attract mroe bookings: general concensus among marketing experts is that price drops do nto necessarily attract more guests, instead they attract a lower available-income level of guests (which may be overall in numbers). then you are stuck with the lower price for the years to come, raising the price is far more difficult than you think once your property ahs been "degraded". Minor price adjustements there will/should forcibly  be but we strongly advise instead of discoutns, provide offers in kind (eg car, fery tickets, etc) or experiences (a bbq, an island tour, etc) instead of reducing the price. Your guests may appreciate it more.

7. How do I have to welcome my guests this season?

Measures of «social distancing» are called for. Do nto relax at any time. You and your staff should avoid proximity or close contact with your guests by all means. Wearing a mask when showing the property around is not extreme. You should definitely encourage guests to use self-protection measures like washing their hands frequently, airing out your property and not inviting other people. Equip the property with bottles of hand sanitizer and lots of soap. Scrap towels and leave nice one use paper towels (not very ecological, I know but helathful) Advise your guests to AVOID using air-conditioning and if they have to do, they open a bit a window to get fresh air. If you have larger property, remember that gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed, so you should limit the number of guests to 10 at all times. Fines are heavy if found in "crowding situation". If the house has a pool, remind them to keep distances between sunloungers and no more than 10 (or LESS!) in the pool at one time

8. How do I have to clean my property before, during and after?

Expect increased cleaning costs as meticulous cleaning is called for between bookings, there are several resources on the internet on how properties should be cleaned. General guidelines: first of all protect your cleaning personnel with masks and gloves! Sheets, pillows and towels should be washed at max temperature (60+ C). Towels should be changed more frequently, handled with gloves and masks by cleaning personnel (do not shake them out!) After guest departure, bathrooms, kitchens, switches and knobs should be wiped with mild chlorine solution. All paper magazines and promo or info material should be temporarily removed, try to provide info in an electronic form. The property should be aired and sunned thoroughly for 1-2 days between rentals so for the safety of your guests, back-to-back rentals should be avoided at all cost.

9. What do I do if I have an actual or suspected COVID-19 case at my property?

You have to immediatley report it to the Greek Healthy Authority (EODY) at tel no.13033. They will provide advice. If a confirmed by test case, most likely your guests will be quarantined at the property for 14 days and you have to provide support for them!

10. Will there be air transport for tourists?

There will be flights in and out of Greece but markedly fewer than there used to be. Fewer airlines fly all together. Airlines need time to restart their flight schedules and that cannot be done in a month or two. Most major low-cost European carriers are in bad financial shape due to the COVID19 closure, with bleak survival prospects and an unknown future. So guests that do find tickets, will have to overall pay a significantly higher price to travel, thus filtering out low-budget tourists and larger families. Also travelling will entail procedures and delays due to COVID19 screening at the site fo entry, making it more tedious, so more difficult for families with younger children that may postpone air travel for next year.

11. I wanted to plan an event/wedding for this year, can I?

To-date you cannot as events and groupings of more than 10 people are not allowed. If the measure is later abolished or revised, that will be for small groups of up to 50-100 people. Social distancing measures will have to be observed so your event may lack in intimacy (eg no group dancing..). If you are not pressed to have it, you should postpone for next year. Most of our villa venues will give you a rain check for 2021, book early!

12. Is the 2020 season lost?

This is the one million euro question. This year will have several characteristics, apart from a new way to operate, trends we will see are:

• Social distancing measures will be in effect inside the house and villas and outside: beaches, restaurants, mass transit, tours.
• Travel for EU citizens will require additional documents and screenings at home, making travel more difficult
• Travel to Greece for non-EU citizens may not be possible or become very tedious (7 day quarantine)
• The season is going to be very short starting in July effectively
• A lot of last minute bookings will be made at bargain prices
• Rental prices will tumble due to an abundant supply of accommodation
• Rental costs will increase due to cleaning costs, increased water consumption, lower capacity and lost days in between rentals to air out properties
• Travellers will have a lower available spending budget due to confinement and jobless-ness, major part of which will be devoted to transport that will have higher cost
• Villas and houses will fair better as isolated and distanced accommodation will be the one most sought after
• Professionally managed villas and houses will do better as they can better assure health standards and gain traveller confidence.
• Most Europeans (9/10) declare they will travel within their own country by private car this summer (EUROSTAT Reserach April 20), so do Greeks (67%) say will travel wihting Greece
• Events have bleak prospects as due to social distancing rules, the number of guests allowed will be very limited

The Greek Villas 4 team