Have you ever found yourself in this situation before? You decide to buy concert or sporting event tickets for your family. You check out the seat and price options and decide what you are willing to spend. You settle on your exact seats, and before you know it, service charges and convenience charges have turned your $50 seats into $80 seats! All of a sudden, you are paying more money than you had planned to spend, and you have no idea what that extra money is actually paying for. All you know, is that you are not getting better seats for the extra charge! No one wants to deal with the same thing when booking a vacation. When you book that dream getaway, don’t you want all of your charges to be straight forward, with no hidden or unnecessary fees? I bet you do… and luckily, I have some simple tips for you to follow to make that vacation rental as stress free and as economical as possible.
When we built out first rental house in OIB, listing our home with VRBO was the logical thing to do. Yes, we had to pay to have our home listed, but we were able to be found and quickly connected with travelers who were interested in renting their dream vacation home. There were never any extra fees because after finding us, you booked directly with the owner. Life was good! Unfortunately, VRBO is no longer a listing service, and that doesn’t necessarily add any additional benefits for the renter.
Here is the new reality renters face when using listing services like VRBO:
- VRBO is now acting like a middle man between the owner and the renter. In the past, once you found a listing that interested you, you were able to contact the property owner directly. However, VRBO now wants to make sure that you book the vacation through them, and to be sure that they can collect their fee, they do not want you to speak to property owners outside of their system, until after the vacation is already booked.
- In addition to the annual fee that owners must pay in order to have their properties listed, VRBO is now adding a percentage to the rental and charging YOU, the renter, a ‘service fee’ of anywhere from 4%-9%. Property owners don’t see any of that fee and are powerless to remove it from the reservation.
We understand that many people book vacations through listing sites like VRBO, airBnB, etc. because they are a one stop shop and may give customers a sense of security. But, what are you really getting from that extra service fee? Little to nothing. So, how can you book your trip without those extra service fees?
- When using a listing site, once you find a property that you are interested in, do a little research. Search the web with the name and address of the property. It’s likely that you may find other avenues for booking that same vacation. Booking direct with the owner is always the best way.
- A simple web search will often find you a website for the property that you are interested in. There you’ll be able to contact the owner directly, get additional information about the property and the area, and view more photos and videos. Best of all, you’ll likely be able to book your vacation without any extra fees.
- Today, Social Media has been embraced by many home owners as a great way to reach and stay in contact with current, past, and prospective guests. Be sure to check if the rental property has a Facebook or Instagram page. Besides finding the owners contact information, you’ll be able to communicate directly through the site as well as have access to a wealth of information often not found anywhere else.
Booking a vacation for your family and friends can be very stressful, especially when you are going someplace for the first time. You want access to the owner so they can answer your questions and tell you more about the home and the area. You especially don’t want to spend more money than necessary. Take a small amount of time to do some extra research and it can lead to you saving a lot of money and ultimately leading to a more enjoyable vacation experiance.