July 31, 2016

Don’t Get Caught By Surprise – Listing Sites Have Added Online Service Fees!


Don’t Get Caught By Surprise – Listing Sites Have Added Online Service Fees!

Many of your favorite traveler sites that list all of your favorite vacation rental spots are now charging YOU an additional fee to book through them. You may not have noticed this because the listing agency usually buries it into the total price.  

But the great news is that you always have to option to book directly with Premium Beach Condos without a service fee! 

Below is a summary of what you can expect to see from some of the larger booking sites.


Service Fees

Most listing site service fees are over $100, and sometimes much higher in peak season.  These fees are charged directly to you by the travel agency in addition to the rental charges that are charged by the owner or property manager.  Listing sites like VRBO and HomeAway do not share the calculations for these fees, or even the amount charged with the owners, so the guest is the only one that knows how much has been added to their reservation.  That’s why quotes that come directly from owners won’t include the fee amount, but instead will often include a notice that additional charges may apply.  This creates confusion for both the traveler and the owner!

But how do you find the owner to book directly?

Great question!  Here are several helpful ideas:

  1. Call the owner or property manager.  Many of the listings will allow you to communicate directly with the owner/manager prior to booking.  These are called subscription listings and are purchased by the owner.  Call the owner/manager and ask them what the cost would be to book directly with them.  Most owners can take bookings directly and save you the service fees.  Since owners already pay an annual fee for these listings, which includes the ability to communicate offline, this does not take away any earned revenue from the listing site.
  2. Read between the lines.  If you’re unable to find a direct link to contact the owner, you can see if this owner has listings on other sites.  Read through the listing to see if you can find the “name” of the manager, the owner, or the company, or a special name for their home or condo.  Sometimes the name will appear in a guest book review.  Then search for that name in your internet browser to find either a website, or perhaps another paid listing with their contact info that does not charge a service fee.  You can also search for the name on LinkedIn to see if you can find someone with that name associated with vacation rentals in their public profile.
  3. Do a text search.  Another way to search for your favorite vacation rental owner’s own website or another listing is to cut and paste some of the main copy of their advertising listing into your web browser and do a search.  The first paragraph is often a good choice.  The same copy is often used in all of their listings and their own website, so you may find them in multiple places this way.

You may not always be able to contact the owner or property manager directly.  When that happens, paying the service fee may be your only option if you want to book that property.  But knowing how to book a property without the additional service fees means that you may be able to upgrade your choice of rental properties and still stay within your budget!

And for guests that like to use these listing agency services to add travel insurance, you’ll be happy to know that owners can direct you to the same outside insurance companies for coverage, typically at the same cost.  And the 24/7 assistance the listing sites offer is only a relay system to the owner or manager.  After all, they really are the only person that can resolve any questions or issues you may have during your stay.  Owners or Property managers will also give you a 24/7 way to reach someone or leave a message that is usually the same information that the listing site will relay to you.

Remember – if you CALL Premium Beach Condos to book, or if you book directly through our website, you will NOT be charged additional booking fees!

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