Planning a trip to Florida and looking for a place to stay? When you think about booking a vacation rental or condominium during your next vacation, travelers typically turn to websites like AirBnB, HomeAway or VRBO. These companies have helped bring vacation rentals to the for-front of global travel over the last ten years.
Many travelers, new to vacation rentals, may feel left in the dark when its time to find the right worry-free and reputable website to book their vacation rental. In fact, with thousands of vacation rental websites out there, it can often be confusing enough. Yet, there are companies that rise to the top.
This list has been crafted to include sites with site age, automation, security, customer service and amenities:
These are the big guys who control a lot of the transaction in the vacation rental space. All the 3rd party places like HomeAway, AirBnb, VRBO, and Booking.com are just big marketing engines and places to book with lots of extra fees and hidden cost. It’s also tough to talk to a real person there.
These sites are similar to CraigsList which means they can contain misinformation, fake listings and do-it-yourself owners who might be trying to self manage their property.
The company does not own any real estate or conduct tours; it is a broker which receives percentage service fees in conjunction with every booking. Like all hospitality services, Airbnb is an example of collaborative consumption and sharing. The company has over 4 million lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries and has facilitated over 260 million check-ins.
HomeAway, Inc. is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 2,000,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries. It operates through 50 websites in 23 languages. The company offers a comprehensive selection of rentals for families and groups to find accommodations such as cabins, condos, castles, villas, barns and farm houses.
Established in 1995, they’ve been in the vacation rental business for over 14 years. In fact, VRBO was founded by vacation rental owners who self-manage their second homes, like many property owners do. They provide an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travelers to search 140,000+ rentals in over 100 countries worldwide. HomeAway announced in November 2006 its $160 million in financing to fund global expansion initiatives, including the acquisition of VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Local Property Mangers
Are you looking for personalized service and cheaper rates? There are professional associations of Vacation Rental Property Managers around the United States. The national group is VRMA and then there are State-wide groups like the FVRMA.
The benefit of booking direct is those folks are local, have the resources to act quickly if a maintenance issue arises and have lots of local knowledge about each property and tips about great things to do while on vacation.
For a list of vacation rental professional in the area you’d like to travel you can search at:
Simply enter your destination city and you’ll find a local pro in the area you plan to travel to.
Save By Booking Direct
Usually vacation rentals are managed by independent owners and operators of properties or property managers. Recently, there’s been a big growth in the travel and listing sites that are putting themselves in between guests and managers.
This isn’t being done to improve the guest’s travel experience. The big sites market themselves aggressively so they can make money. But if you’re able to save some money, you should do it. That’s why booking direct is a better option.
Listing sites don’t always have the lowest prices. A lot of times they will have rates that aren’t updated daily and any last-minute offers aren’t reflected. Or there’s a higher price because the listing cost is being covered. Plus there’s that annoying service fee. After all of this you might be paying the rate you’d normally pay rather than having a discount.
And if you are still kind of “old fashioned” and like to receive friendly service then go to directly to a local pro in your area like NaplesFloridaVacationHomes.com. Book direct = save money + get better service.