As a policy, no, LandTrust doesn't facilitate deposits for bookings. Read below to understand why.
We've all heard the stories or maybe we've experienced them ourselves. A guy books a hunt only for the Landowner or Outfitter to back out, cancel, or just disappear after they've received a deposit. Or maybe you're the Landowner or Outfitter who had a group of guys say they're coming out, you block the calendar off for them for those dates, then they disappear when it comes time to pay which happens to be close to the start of the season and you can't resell the hunt. Frustrating to say the least.
Before LandTrust, booking & paying for unique rural trips was a roll of the dice that the other party wasn't going to take advantage of you in one way or another. The guest didn't want to pay the full amount of the booking in case the Landowner or Outfitter pulls something shady and takes all their money. At the same time, the Landowner/Outfitter wanted to collect as much of the total booking amount as possible to try and ensure the guest didn't cancel last-minute and leave them high & dry with no opportunity to resell the trip.
The imperfect solution to this was to have a 50% non-refundable deposit usually paid by cashiers check that the guest mailed to the Landowner/Outfitter. In this case the guest could still lose their money if the Landowner/Outfitter acted improperly, but they'd only lose 50% instead of 100% of the money. The Landowner/Outfitter would be assured to at least get 50% of the booking value so they wouldn't walk away completely empty-handed if the guest canceled last minute. Good, not great.
LandTrust solves this issue of trust around booking a trip. We do this by charging the guest's credit card 100% of the booking value of the trip at the time of the booking. LandTrust holds those funds in escrow until after the hunt occurs at which point LandTrust then transfers the money to the Landowner (Read more about how Payments work on LandTrust). This system does two main things:
- Assures the Landowner/Outfitter that the guest has the funds to pay for the booking and that they will not be left high & dry by a guest who cancels last minute. (Read more on our cancellation policy here)
- Assures the guest that in the event the hunt that they booked is canceled by the Landowner/Outfitter or it was completely not as advertised, they have the opportunity to recover their money from LandTrust instead of having to try and track down the Landowner/Outfitter to get their money. This escrow system also completely eliminates scammers posing as Landowners or Outfitters since there's no opportunity for them to receive a dollar unless the booking is delivered to the guest.