19 November 2012
Posted in DVCNews Debates
Disney Vacation Club has very liberal policies with regard to making changes to existing reservations. Members can add and delete days at will and even change the names of guests listed on the reservation.
While these policies are often helpful to members whose plans change, they also create opportunities for abuse. Members looking to maximize rental income can reserve peak travel periods and alter the names on the reservation once a rental partner has been found. Members can even circumvent the 11/7 month booking windows by reserving a room weeks ahead of the intended travel dates and then continuing to add and delete dates over time.
Topic: Should DVC consider implementing more restrictive policies toward reservation modifications?
To DVD/DVC/Disney: Either grow a set or throw in the towel.
As for implementing additional restrictions on "walking" reservations, I would be in favor of this. I've read about the methods to be able to use this practice to secure those tough reservations and although it is allowed, it seemed like cheating the system to me. I don't want to have to go through this when I need to secure a tough reservation. We all should have the same chance at the 7 month/11 month mark in my opinion. Disney would need to clearly define any new rules and enforce them, but I think that this would be a good thing. I think that the people that do walk their reservations are in the minority anyways and they could learn to operate on the same playing field as the majority of us. I don't blame people for doing this today though as it is an acceptable practice that Disney has allowed.
The point is, initial reservations or changes that include the member as a guest stay on one point chart. When the member disappears from the initial reservation, the points prohibitively rise. If the names on the initial reservation don't include the member, the first reservation uses the standard point value but if they subsequently change, go to the higher values.
Ok, so one of the members (husband or wife) suddenly can't go on a trip where friends are included on the reservation. Either the spouse that can go goes, or the trip gets canceled (this is where trip insurance comes in) or there is a three year allowance on last minute changes that still allow the guests to go. The odds of the owner having to cancel at the last minute twice in three years is small - one last minute member being dropped every three years and only if you have the insurance.
Two points I would like to make: First, I've never seen any objective evidence showing the amount of abusive bookings occur within the DVC system. Over the course of the year, there are probably tens of thousands of DVC reservations made. What percentage of those reservations involve those made by someone who is specifically in the market to sell reservations? And how many times do members actually "walk" a reservation? Frankly, I suspect there are more occurrences where members attempt to exceed the villas' occupancy limits, or try to pass off a three-year-old as a two-year-old to get around Park Pass or Dining Plan rules.
Secondly, the 'cure' may be much worse than the disease. One way to get around selling reservations is to require that the Member actually be on the reservation, else the Member has to pay a $95 fee to 'gift' the reservation to a second party. Or that a fee is charged whenever dates are modified on a reservation. But such draconian measures would hurt far more Members who are not gaming the system but still want to book rooms for family members or who need to change their vacation dates.