It is crazy how far the vacation rental industry has come. 10-15 years ago, most people didn’t even know vacation rentals were an option aside from hotels. Now travelers have the choice of booking on multiple different platforms. But did you know booking a vacation rental on a travel agent site is costing you 10-15% more? It’s true! Most online travel agent sites such as Home Away, Airbnb, and VRBO charge guest fees dependent on the property and price. Here are some things you should know before booking with an online travel agent (OTA).
Save Money, Book Direct:
As mentioned earlier OTA sites charge additional “guest” fees that essentially increase your rental price up to 15% more. Booking a vacation rental directly through a site like ours, gcvacationrentals.com will save you from paying additional fees. Why pay more when you can pay less. Booking directly gives you peace of mind. The price you see on our website is the price you pay. No hidden fees added.
Often times, direct vacation rental sites will offer discounts or specials on rentals that don’t reflect onto 3rd party sites like TripAdvisor, HomeAway, and Airbnb. Now not only are you paying an OTA site more for guest fees, but you are also losing out on the potential of additional savings.
No Property Knowledge:
OTA sites are essentially a marketing platform for owners and property managers. None of these sites know anything about the rental 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 site 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?
Instead, booking directly with a property management company such as Gulf Coast will put you in contact with a live person that will be able to answer all of your questions about the property from the start. We will be able to walk you through the booking and ensure you have all the information you need before your arrival.
Before you jump to book a rental, do a little research. Compare pricing on an OTA site and a direct booking site. For an example, we used one of our properties to show you the price difference. This is a 5% difference in price, about $400. And to think you could be using that money for something else.
Protect Your Personal Information:
When booking through an OTA site your personal information is stored in their database (forever). Did you know that OTA sites such as HomeAway and VRBO are claiming they “own” you as a traveler? Policies have recently been put in place that will charge local property management companies if you as the traveler decide to book outside of HomeAway or VRBO’s system.
Don’t get me wrong, these OTA sites are easy and simple to use but it may be worth the extra effort to research local vacation rental listings to see if you are getting the best service and rates available to you.
If you have any questions about OTA sites or would like to take a look at our vacation rentals directly feel free to reach out to us at (941) 827-0705 or visit our website https://gcvacationrentals.com