Are There Good Alternatives to VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey or TripAdvisor?
In a previous blog post, we discussed Service Fees charged by the large listing sites such as searches for Manzanita VRBO, Manzanita HomeAway, Manzanita Airbnb, Manzanita FlipKey, and Manzanita TripAdvisor. If you aren't aware of the Service Fees charged by these sites, take a look at our post.
In a continuation of that post, we're looking at good alternatives to booking your Vacation Rental through these big listing sites, and thus avoiding the large Service Fees.
Follow along and see what you think.
Alternatives to Vacation Rental Service Fees
So what're the alternatives for today's conscientious traveler?
You're in luck! With over twenty years of experience owning and operating our own Vacation Rentals in Manzanita, Oregon, we have lots of experience in recommending to travelers how to find a reputable vacation rental. In this case, one that is independent from the listing sites mentioned above, and that does not charge a Service Fee upon booking.
After all, in the above referenced examples, wouldn't you rather use that Service Fee money on a wonderful dinner out with the family, or some other fun experience?
For instance, you're more than welcome to book our own Manzanita Vacation Rentals through the listing sites mentioned, or you may book our houses directly on our website without Service Fees. Either way, we want travelers to feel comfortable with whatever booking method they choose.
1. Consider Other Sources to Find a Reputable Vacation Rental.
The good news is there are other good options for those wishing to find other sources for the perfect vacation rental.
Many communities have a Chamber of Commerce website where they list local vacation rentals active in their community. You'll also find specialized websites featuring such aspects as pet friendly houses, high end luxury villas, family friendly vacation rentals, and much more.
New vacation rental listing sites are springing up to take the place off offering listings without Service Fees. For instance, United Vacation Rentals advertises "No hidden fees, no monitored communications, and direct contact with the owners."
One of our favorite methods of finding the perfect vacation rental is booking directly through the owner.
Things have changed a lot since we started welcoming guests to our original Manzanita Vacation Rental in 1996. You'll find many Vacation Rental owners have their own websites where you are able to book your vacation without paying a service fee.
Follow along, and I'll show you some of my favorites to give you a taste of offerings by independent Vacation Rentals offered by owners.
Villa Seashell on the Incredible Paradise Island of Curacao
Villa Seashell is an amazing oceanfront vacation rental on the beautiful Caribbean island of Curacao. Snorkeling and other water sports, white sandy beaches, beautiful hikes, and and the beautiful historic town of Willemstad, designated a World Heritage Site. Reserve your dream vacation now, because you're sure to love this luxurious house and unheard of oceanfront location.
Owner Linda Lou Huiskes is originally from the Netherlands and worked off and on in the U.S. for many years before settling in the paradise of Curacao. She has the following suggestion for booking a Vacation Rental through the owner:
Pay by credit card to be covered in eventualities. When you use your credit card to pay for a vacation rental, you are covered for any form of fraud, mis-selling, or misrepresentation.
Four Seasons Lodge in Versatile North Conway, New Hampshire
Four Season Lodge
If you stay at the Four Season Lodge in North Conway, New Hampshire, you're not only getting a large house equipped for 20 guests (that also happens to include a private indoor pool!), you'll be vacationing in an area with a huge diversity of attractions. Skiing on the local sloped, hiking in the White Mountain National Forest, enjoying the incredible colors of fall. What a find!
Owner Teena Kulakowski, a 25 year veteran as a Vacation Rental owner and operator, gives the following tip for finding the perfect Vacation Rental:
Rent from locals and get the benefit of their experience. We spend lots of well used time helping our guests make the most of their vacation and memories that last a lifetime!
Sea Ranch - Abalone Bay, Oceanfront Home on the Stunning Mendonoma CA Coast
Sea Ranch Abalone Bay
Most of us know Mendocino or Sonoma, but check out Abalone Bay at Sea Ranch, and you'll fall in love with this beautiful spot on the northern California coast. Sea Ranch is a wonderful community offering houses designed by well known architects that "sit lightly on the land." Many of the homes within the area are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Owner Donna Martinez offers the following benefit of booking directly with a Vacation Rental owner:
By booking directly, you are now communicating directly with the owner who cares that your experiences are the best they can offer. You’ll not only save money, you’ll be getting great personal service.
Orlando Insider Vacations, Terrific Homes for Your Orlando, Florida Getaway
Orlando Insiders Vacations
Think of Disney World when you think of Orlando? Think again! There's a whole other sunshiny world around the wonderfully located Orlando, Florida, and the great houses offered by Orlando Insider Vacations has just the spot for your comfy accommodations. We love the private pools and the complimentary gift bag of grocery items to start your vacation off right.
Owner Sarah Elder offers the following when researching your Orlando vacation rentals, and even offers links to the regulating agencies overseeing your potential vacation rental:
The vacation rental concept may be new to many locations, but Orlando has over two decades of experience under its belt, thanks to Mr Walt Disney.
Orlando Vacation Rentals are professionally monitored and there are lots of laws, rules and regulations owners must adhere to
Anna Maria Island Rental Vacations, Fabulous Island Living in West Florida.
Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals
Owner Nancy Robertson Mcaleer, a Vacation Rental owner and operator in addition to the #1 Anna Maria Island fan, offers the following tip for finding the perfect last minute deal for your Vacation Rental experience:
Travel Last Minute. My tip to the best way to get your hands on a last minute deal is to sign up for newsletters with your favourite accommodation.
2. Research the House
Ask questions and research the house. In this day and age, there's lots of information available on the internet!
Do the owners have a short term rental permit? Are they licensed? If so, the owners have most likely gone through rigorous home inspections to make sure local safety codes have been met.
Take advantage of all the information on the internet, and search for the house name along with the location and owner's name. See what you come up with.
For instance, if you were interested in one of our own Manzanita Vacation Rentals you might search Kim Bergstrom The Houses On Manzanita Beach. You'd find several results where we are mentioned, including a piece featuring us in an expert interview series.
Or possibly if you were interested in our Historic Reed House, I would suggest searching "Historic Reed Houses Manzanita." If searching on Google, you'd wind up with four pages of links mentioning the Historic Reed House, many with reviews.
Speaking of reviews, make sure you research those, too. If you have difficulty finding them, ask the owner for links. Reviews draw a wonderful picture of how the house works and how guests interact in the house and with the owner or manager.
Historic Reed House
3. Research the Owner Too!
Communicating directly with the owner or manager is a great way to get a good feel of your potential vacation rental experience.
Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey and TripAdvisor are now (or are in the process of creating) only allowing direct, unmonitored communication with the owner or manager after booking. Some vacationers may appreciate this anonymity.
However, a person looking for a wonderful Vacation Rental experience can gather a lot of good information in their communications with the owner or manager.
How quickly and thoroughly do they respond to messages? Are they difficult to get ahold of? All of this will give you a great trial run of your Vacation Rental experience. As an example, if you're staying at the house and need help, are you going to receive a response in a reasonable amount of time.
Are your communications with the owner pleasant and professional?
Search the internet for the owner information in addition to house information. As with our example, above, if you search for "Historic Reed House Manzanita Kim Bergstrom," you'll find lots of information about the owner and the house.
Confused With All the Information? Ask Us!
Whether you're visiting our own oceanside Manzanita Vacation Rentals, or staying somewhere else, we're more than happy to help. Just send us a message!
Happy Travels Everyone ~
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