Why you should book direct instead of using an online travel agent like Expedia, Airbnb, VRBO, etc.
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 and thought hotels/motels were their only choice for a place to stay. Now travelers have the choice of booking different types of accommodation and on multiple different platforms, but did you know booking a vacation rental on a travel agent site is costing you 10-30% more? It’s true! Most online travel agent sites such as Home Away, Airbnb, VRBO, etc, all charge guest fees on top of the property price, as well as they charge most owners and property managers a commission in order to list on their sites which forces property managers to increase the rental rates on those platforms to help cover the extra costs. Aside from just cost and savings there are other unseen benefits from booking direct with a property management company like us at On-The-Sand.com. Here are some things you should know before booking with an online travel agent (OTA) and why you should book direct with the vacation rental owner or property manager if you can.
As we mentioned, OTA sites charge additional “guest” or “service” fees that increase your rental price. This fee is also not advertised or shown until the end of the booking process. So, after all that time spent finding and deciding on the perfect unit, they sneak in with the additional cost. Booking a vacation rental directly through a property manager’s site, like On-The-Sand.com, will save you from paying those additional fees as well as any difference in raised rates to cover commissions or host fees. The price you see on our website is the price you pay. Why pay more when you can pay less?
Below is a breakdown of the top OTA sites and the fees that get added for guests.
Often times, we will offer discounts or specials on our 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. However, when you have questions before, during, or after a booking, the 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 us will put you in contact with a live person. Our team will be able to answer all of your questions about the property from the start. We have intimate knowledge about the destination and can show you the best rental for your needs. Plus, we can direct you to activities, restaurants, and more.
Compare for yourselves!
Before you jump to book a rental, do a little research. Compare pricing on an OTA site and our site. For example, we used one of our properties to show you the price difference on each site. There is almost an 11% difference in price on VRBO and over 30% difference on Airbnb. This alone should convince you why you should book direct. To think you could be using that money for something else.