April 7, 2016

How to Save Yourself Vacation Rental Service Fees

Are you booking your vacation rental through a major Listing Site?

To be fair, you probably originally found us through VRBO/HomeAway (now owned by Expedia) or FlipKey/TripAdvisor since we advertise Tremont Villa on those sites.
What you may not be aware of is that you are paying additional service fees for the privilege of using their sites to book your reservation.

These fees are generally based upon the rental rates:
• VRBO/HomeAway Service Fees: 4% to 9% (recently implemented in February 2016)
• FlipKey/TripAdvisor Service Fees: 5% to 15%
• AirBnB Service Fees: 6% to 12%

Perhaps you’re loyal to the VRBO’s et. al. of this world. You know about the fees and appreciate the benefits they provide. You don’t want or have the time to research your options. You can stop reading this and continue to book as you’ve done in the past.

Our purpose here is to be transparent and share with you that there are alternatives.

You can find wonderful independent owner-operated vacation rentals. Many typically do not charge this mandatory service fee and many have the option to book directly through their own websites.

Suggestions for finding your next vacation rental:

• Check your desired location’s Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s website. For example, we are listed as a vacation rental on our local visitor’s website, Visit Oceanside .
• Find a home on the listing site and search for the house name/owner and/or photos as a specific internet search. Search for “Tremont Villa vacation rental” and you should find our site and Facebook page. Even our photos will show up outside of the listing sites. You should find lots of information about me (I have a LinkedIn profile and Pinterest boards).
• Don’t be afraid to call the owner on the listing site advertisement and ask if you can book direct. The listing site may conceal yours and the owner’s contact info until the booking is confirmed. This is understandable since the site may be paid by the owner on a commission basis, but if the owner has a prepaid subscription (like we do on VRBO/HA and FlipKey/TA), they are not obligated to use the site to process the booking.
• Contacting the owner direct also serves a dual purpose to confirm a legitimate rental and to get a feel for the responsiveness of the owner. How quickly does the owner get back to you? Are your communications pleasant and professional?
• Try internet searches for your desired location plus “vacation rental,” but be willing to search several pages down since the major listing sites often pay to list near the top.
• Look through other listing sites. Many owners are unhappy with the business practices of the major listing sites and are trying out newer sites.
• Search for specialty listing sites, such as “family-friendly vacation rentals.” We recently listed on a new family-friendly vacation listing website: Clanventure .

Confused by all this? Ask us!

Whether you’re interested in visiting us in Oceanside or staying somewhere else, we’re more than happy to help. Just send us a message! Feel free to share this information with your friends.

Happy travels!
Jody