Until a few years ago it used to be fairly easy to book a vacation rental. There were user-friendly sites such as VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), Flipkey, or Great Rentals. They were in the business of listing properties through a subscription the owner paid. But Airbnb changed the vacation rental landscape in 2008 when it started charging guests a fee to book on its site. Fast forward to today, and now all the major online travel agencies (OTAs) charge you – the traveler – a fee of between 6-20% to book a vacation rental.
But you don't have to pay that fee. Why should you?
Since today, Feb 7 is #BookDirect day, we want to help you avoid these ridiculous and unnecessary fees.
Why book direct?
Save money! Lots of it! For example, if you book a summer week at the Seahorse Retreat or Palm Breeze Beach House on VRBO/Homeaway, you will be charged $399! Just to book through their site!
None of these sites know anything about the homes or procedures that are associated with it. They state that they offer 24/7 customer service, but when you have questions before, during, or after a booking the customer representatives won’t be able to help you. They will redirect you back to the owner/property manager to answer any questions. The same goes for maintenance concerns while at the property. So, when you really think about it, why are you paying “guest fees,” when it doesn’t necessarily create a better experience for you?
Get personal tips about the location and property from owners who genuinely want to help you have a fantastic vacation. When you book any of our properties at www.coastawhilevacations.com you can be assured you will get a great experience. Just read our reviews!
Click our video to learn more about us as owners.
Tips for Booking Direct
If you’re just beginning a search for a rental, you can find condos or homes you like on Homeaway/VRBO/Tripadvisor/Airbnb. Most owners still advertise on one of these sites. Look for the name of the property or the name of the owner. Search those names in Google. It will most likely pull up the owner’s website or Facebook page, and you can contact them directly.
Try Google Image Search. Using Google image search, travelers can search photos instead of market place sites to find the right rental for their family. If you find a home you love on Homeaway, for example, try copying the photo into Google image search to find the original source.
Many regional travel listing sites that don’t charge a fee have cropped up, so make sure you look on those as well. For example, in Florida, you can now find many vacation rentals, including our Panama City Beach condo - Emerald Oasis - on sites such as Emerald Coast By Owner (ECBYO.com), Floridarentals.com, or Floridarentalsbyowners.com.
Don’t let Homeaway or the other sites scare you by suggesting that booking through them ensures you will have a safer experience. Do your homework, but if an owner has a website, great reviews, has a track record, and accepts credit cards, you should not be concerned to book direct.