If you’re like most, your vacation rental planning begins by hopping onto Google. Your search results are instantly filled with tempting ads from Airbnb, Expedia, Homeaway, TripAdvisor, Travelocity, and many others. For those who aren’t seasoned travelers, it may seem simple to jump on one of those sites and begin to browse their vast inventory of Gulf Shores vacation homes, condos, and hotel rooms.
What you may not realize, however, is that those “aggregator sites” are simply gathering inventory from the vacation condos that are out there in the market and presenting them to you. The majority of homes and condos on those large aggregator sites are owned by individuals. And they either manage the rentals themselves or have a property manager handle that aspect for them. When an aggregator like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, etc jumps into the picture, they are taking that owner’s rental rate and increasing it up to 20% in order to make their profit. And most times those added fees and expenses are paid by the traveler without even realizing it.
Booking direct also insures that your family vacation turns out to be a huge success! When dealing with the “big box” sites like Expedia/VRBO/etc, almost 99.9% of the time you are speaking with a representative who has never laid eyes on the property. They’ve never seen the size of the rooms, marveled at the view off of the balcony, or cruised out of the parking lot into the neighborhood to experience the nightlife, activities, and amenities nearby.
When you book directly, you are speaking with the owner or their management company. They have been on the property, they are well-versed in all the surroundings and amenities, and have spent time or even live in your destination. Your questions are answered from experience, and you can remove the single biggest fear of booking family vacations: What if we show up and the place is NOT what we expected? When you book directly, you put your family’s vacation in the hands of a manager or owner who is invested in you having an unforgettable experience!
So how do the most frugal of travelers save big cash and insure their family has a spectacular vacation? By booking directly with the property management firm and cutting out the middleman!
But if you’ve already fallen in love with a listing on one of the big aggregator/OTA sites, don’t worry! Most of the listings on sites such as HomeAway, Airbnb, VRBO, etc will have information within the content of the listing that will tell you all that you need to know. Many will mention the property manager within the name or the description of the property. If not, a simple Google search of the property’s name+number or resort will be all you need. Most of the time, the search results will contain the property manager’s website listing for that unit. Once you are on their website, simply book your vacation directly with them!
It’s that easy! You just saved yourself HUNDREDS of dollars in fees…and have taken advantage of one of the BIG secrets in the vacation world! In comparing the identical property, we’ve seen savings of up to $500 on one vacation by booking direct instead of with the “big box” sites!
The savvy travelers are using this to save tons of money! So skip the headaches and join them…and guarantee that you don’t send some of your family’s vacation dollars out to sea!