Why Book Directly With Vacation Rental Property Owners?
So you’re getting ready to start planning your OBX getaway. It can be a daunting task. You make the decision to stay at a vacation rental home. Why stay at a hotel with minimal amenities and maximum price? It’s often more economical to stay at a private vacation property. You also get to know some REAL folks, not a big company that is faceless in nature. More often than not, a real person with their home for rent, will go the extra mile to make you feel welcomed. Aside from these good reasons, you should realize that there are companies out there who actually put together the property owner and the vacationer. Companies such as VRBO and AirBnB. These companies were once a great resource to pair up vacationers and properties/property owners. In recent years, the tide has changed a bit. They are still very popular, however, greed has taken over and entered the picture. VRBO for example, has now made it more difficult for guests and owners to communicate directly. Why? Because a couple of years ago they decided to institute a Service Fee that is passed onto the vacationer. That Service Fee amounts to anywhere between 9 and 15 percent of the booking. It’s not the owner’s fault as they don’t keep that money. It goes directly back to VRBO. Well, that’s fine, they need to make money, right? Well, it never used to be that way, and realize that the owner already pays a subscription fee to VRBO to list with them. That base fee has just gone up $100 this past fall, by the way. AirBnB sounds appealing to some vacationers. To an owner however, they don’t get paid until the guest actually stays at the property. If there’s a problem during the stay, there is little that can be recouped in terms of damage protection. Oh, and AirBnB has a Service Fee as well, just not as exuberant as VRBO’s.
Owners are REAL PEOPLE! Work with them. All they want is to give you a great vacation at a fair price! An unrented property earns nothing. Sure there are people that gouge prices in every business, but most owners that I speak with are very fair. They want people to stay with them and develop that relationship so that they continue to come back. We certainly do!
How Do You Go About Renting With a Property Owner Directly?
You can still use VRBO and AirBnB, et al to find property owners willing to rent to you. But why not try and contact the owner directly? They’ll be able to work with you and not include a service fee. Be careful however. Owners cannot just come out and say they want to work with you directly OR answer your questions freely in that regard. These vacation rental companies actually monitor communications to see if owners are breaking their Terms and Conditions agreement with said companies. If they are found to be in violation, they get their account closed and no refunds are given for their subscription fee. So, how do you do it? Look at the property name in VRBO or AirBnB. Search Google. Search Facebook. See if you can find a clue in the pictures of the property. A phone number? A name? An email address? Spend a few minutes doing some legwork and save some money in the end!
Once you’re able to contact the owner, please go ahead and do so. Discreetly. Away from the big websites. Work with them. We are people too!