Before we talk about the alternative to VRBO, let me explain how Vacation Rentals have become such a hot commodity in the digital age.
Vacation rentals are one of the most popular ways to travel these days because of how convenient and affordable they are while also providing the renters with an exclusive experience without feeling like you’re staying at a hotel.
Because of the huge increase in popularity, the internet has become clogged with Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) like VRBO, TripAdvisor and Airbnb, that clamor for your travel dollars.
Several years ago, HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb started allowing property managers of vacation rentals to advertise on their family of sites.
So now, instead of talking to the owner of vacation rentals, you might be dealing with a property manager that has an inventory of hundreds of properties. Any questions that you have, are answered off of a description sheet instead of chatting with an owner who loves their property!
You might be wondering what’s so special about booking a vacation rental directly with an owner?
Vacation Rental Travel and Service Fees
Helpful reasons to rent a vacation rental directly from an owner and not a property manager or an OTA such as Airbnb, VRBO or Homeaway:
NO Service Fees or Booking Fees
You can set up a payment schedule instead of paying 100% up front
You get to experience the area like a local (we provide video tours and FAQs of local restaurants and activities)
Rent from locals and get the benefit of their experience
Owners can describe and help you enjoy the property like no-one else
NO middle man when it comes to customer service
In December 2016, VRBO and HomeAway were both purchased by Expedia for 4 BILLION dollars.
Now, Expedia is on a mission to earn back that money. Do you know where it’s going to come from? YOUR pockets!
Service Fees and Beachside Bungalow
Expedia introduced a Service Fee in February of 2016 of 6-12%.
These fees are applied to your payment when you complete the booking online on any of sites owned by Expedia.
Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Booking.com and other OTA’s charge similar fees, except theirs are higher. Expect to pay 6-15% when using these sites.
Most folks are looking for one stop, vacation rental shopping, but is that the BEST way to book a vacation rental?
I’ll let you decide if up to a $499 Service Fee from VRBO/HomeAway and up to 15% from TripAdvisor/Flipkey or Airbnb tacked onto your credit card is worth using their sites.
Don’t Despair! You don’t have to pay Service Fees and there are alternatives to VRBO and the rest!
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about booking directly, I’m here to help and will not charge you a Service Fee. 🙂
– Drew Renshaw