Book Direct Vacation Rentals: Save Money, Support Local Business
In the hospitality industry, the term ‘book direct’ means to book an accommodation directly through a company’s website instead of using a website that generates listings. These source websites may include Airbnb, Vrbo and Expedia, etc. However, many travelers do not realize the benefits to booking direct versus trying to let someone else – or an algorithm – compare prices from curated options. Take a look at the top reasons to book direct vacation rentals and how to do so.
Reasons to Book Direct Vacation Rentals Managed by Reputable Brands
Avoid Fees and Save Money
Online travel agency sites (OTAs) and listing sites – such as Airbnb, Booking.com, etc. – add on additional fees to each listing. These fees can be hidden to include a cleaning fee, service fee, county and state taxes, and others. These fees may add hundreds of dollars to the final cost without accounting for damage fees, insurance and cancellation fees.
Book direct option: Those who book direct vacation rentals from a professional management site do not pay listing site fees. Some fees, such as cleaning, may be reduced or included in the initial quote. That way, guests know what they pay out-of-pocket versus additional fees upon check-out.
Support Local Business
Many small companies list their rental homes on OTAs to gain more attention and bookings. However, most of these companies are locally owned and operated by real entrepreneurs. For example, iTrip Vacations locations are franchise businesses locally owned and operated by people who live in their respective areas. As local business owners, iTrip short-term rental managers support their local economy and know more about the destination.
Book direct perk: Support small business owners. More money goes to the business owner, and guests build long-lasting relationships with a real person who lives and works in the area.
Connect to a Person, Not a Call Center
Another reason to book direct vacation rentals is the ability to connect to a person in the area. Oftentimes, when there is an issue and the guests booked through an OTA, they are directed to a call center in another state or country. The guest then has to communicate with a ‘middle man’ or automated machine — and may never reach the actual property manager.
Book direct tip: Book direct and get the manager’s direct phone number and email address. Some managers have offices, and guests can pop-in to say hello or thanks. Plus, issues and important concerns are addressed in a timely, professional manner. There are no call centers, customer service reps or anyone else in the way.
Customize the Trip
Most OTAs do not have an option to customize the vacation rental for special needs or requests. Maybe a guest needs a ramp for a wheelchair. New parents may need a crib or playpen for children. Or what about a birthday, anniversary or upcoming proposal? Large corporations often do not have the ability to decorate, provide additional last-minute amenities or accommodate requests.
Book direct options: Most rental property managers are happy to accommodate special needs and requests. Because of their local connections and passion for service, many even provide welcome baskets, goodies, thank you notes, themed décor and gifts. Rental managers may also partner with other local companies to provide anything extra. Think grocery delivery, equipment rentals, baby needs, pet services and free fun to local attractions.
Easy Booking Options
Confusing websites and pop-ups annoy most people. In addition, not all websites work well on the devices guests use. This can lead to confusion, slow loading times and frustration. Then consider the listing information, photos, videos, and calendars are not current and up-to-date. That means big trouble for customers and their travel plans.
Book direct: Start and end on one website. Visit a website, select a rental and book it. It is that easy.
Receive Better Deals
Large listing sites and OTAs often do not allow special offers and deals. Therefore, guests may pay hundreds or thousands more on a rental when they could have contacted the manager for a better price. The money saved can be used for dining out, fun activities, extending the trip or special souvenirs.
Book direct and save: Before booking, call the local manager or visit their site to check for discounts and special offers. Many short-term rental managers offer as much as 30% off nightly rates or will wave fees in some cases. Plus, repeat customers may receive even more perks and savings because managers value that relationship and loyalty. View example discounts by iTrip Vacations.
More Variety and Inventory
Not all vacation rentals are listed on OTAs or show on listing sites. Most listing sites work like a search engine, so they rank homes by algorithms instead of showing everything at all times. This makes guests feel like they need to make hasty decisions based on lack of options.
Book direct: Visit a company’s website to gain access to all listings and available rentals. For example, iTrip Vacations manages more than 3,000 rental homes across North America. Guests can easily search amenities, select dates and browse homes from any device.
Searching for a better management option? Contact an iTrip short-term rental property manager.