As vacation rental owners, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the last year when it comes to the hospitality industry and how people find their next vacation rental property. While some change has been good, some of it has been confusing at best, expensive and misleading at worst.
Online Travel Agencies, or OTAs, along with Airbnb and other travel booking sites have dominated the way people book their next stay, due to Search Engine Optimization (Google ranking) domination and also because the OTAs promise cheap room rates and discounted stays.
Unfortunately, though, not all they promise is true and they are charging guests and owners up the yin yang. On top of all of this, they often block the listing details of vacation rental properties making it almost (not quite) impossible to know who — and what — you’re getting.
Plus, if you’ve ever had anything go wrong with your stay, you know what happens when you try to get it resolved. Ugh!
Pay No Booking Fees
Here are some things you can do to avoid these fees, which can range anywhere from 4% to 17% depending on where and how online you found the vacation rental.
We give a big thanks to this article, which goes in depth about guest service fees (booking fees), the problem with OTAs and tricks on how to find affordable vacation rentals. We love it and have included many of their tips in our own list…
1. Search on OTA or Google to find a property you like in your desired destination.
2. Copy a section of language from that property’s description and paste it into a Google search. Often the same language can be found on the property’s website or can lead you to the name of the property if it has been omitted.
3. You can also do an image search following the same idea as #2 as photos are unique to each property. Copy the images link and paste it into a Google search.
4. Call or email the vacation rental directly (if the contact information is available). Here you get the overwhelming benefit of direct contact with the property owner/manager and do not have to be reliant on a 1-800 number to help you. We are in the hospitality business after all, where it should be all about personal interactions and service.
5. Sometimes, too, all it takes is a little Google search and some scrolling down to about page two or three. This is where the gems start to pop up. Try adding “by owner” to your search criteria, too.
In essence, it literally pays to do a little digging online and it pays to find a place you love to call home… while you’re away from home. Hey, what happened to a little fun in the sun?
Don’t worry (and of course be happy)! Here at our Marco Island Beach Getaway Vacation Rentals, we are trying to do our part. By launching this new website and Marco Island blog where you can book with us directly and of course pay no booking fees, ever. Escape for a while to a beachfront property overlooking the Gulf! We’re looking forward to having you as our guest…