First Wednesday of February
Updated: Feb 6
Every first Wednesday of February is #Bookdirect awareness day. I know I have said something about this in the past, but it is always good to say it again if it is worthy information. What is it? Many sites and platforms (such as VRBO/HomeAway, TripAdvisor, etc) place a large fee on top of the rental fee. This fee is on top of the subscription fees that the owners pay. According to these platforms, these fees are to help you, the traveler. However, that is not always the case. Following is information concerning how you can save money and also to understand the importance to book direct.
1. Book at the guaranteed lowest rate When you book directly with the local owner or manager of a vacation rental, you are paying the person/manager whose right it is to decide the rate. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) mark up those prices in different ways. They NEVER charge you the same or less than the owner’s rate. 2. Avoid fees and commissions When you book directly with the local owner or manager, you cut out the go-between. This means no paying for the privilege to send messages or view an availability calendar, and no annoying traveler’s fees tacked on at the end of the transaction for using the booking service. 3. Learn about special offers Owners and managers who use a book-direct business model often have repeat customers that they keep in contact with to inform previous visitors about upcoming specials. Owners/managers can also share these specials on their website, social media or listing sites. 4. Communicate openly When you book directly with the owner or manager of the home where you will be staying, you can enjoy complete transparency in regard to cabin rules, cleaning policies and rates. Many homeowners love to get to know those who will be staying at their rental cabins and homes! 5. Benefit from local insight Above and beyond chamber websites or tourist brochures, a local owner or manager who knows the area can help you plan a personalized vacation you’ll remember. They can also give information on favorite hunting and fishing hot spots — you won’t find that through an outsourced Call Center! 6. Get personal attention When you have the chance to communicate with someone who knows the home you are renting inside and out, it’s easier to accommodate specific needs. You’ll also have access to a real person who takes responsibility for your experience and sees it through from start to finish. 7. Choose from more options Many owners and managers avoid listing on OTAs (such as VRBO, FlipKey, TripAdvisor, AirBnB, Booking.com or HomeAway) because they take control of their booking process and messaging. This means some of the most experienced hosts aren’t even available through large travel sites.
8. Find last-minute availability Speaking directly with the person in charge of a vacation rental’s booking calendar means you’ll have access to the most up-to-date information on availability. This includes any last-minute cancellations that the rental owner/manager may be eager to fill. 9. Minimize risk of fraud Transparency between the vacation rental owner/manager and the vacationer minimizes the risk of accidentally booking a fraudulent property by allowing each party to perform standard security checks. See tips and tricks to protect your vacation rental reservation deposit. Rental scams have been non-existent on our websites, because we build every listing and speak to every owner/manager. 10. Support small businesses Many vacation rental homeowners, resort owners, and property managers are family-run businesses with a long history in the industry. Help protect their right to keep control of their business and keep doing the work they love!