When you’re searching for your long-awaited vacation spot, there are many ways you can book your stay; you can book through a third-party search engine, like HomeAway or VRBO, or you can book directly from the owner or property manager. Third party search engines will help you find the getaway of your dreams, but once you find the place you’d like to stay, there are a handful of benefits to booking directly.
Instant & Personalized Customer Service
When you book directly, you’re speaking to a real person, usually the property owner or property manager. You can ask questions and receive knowledgeable answers about the specific property you’re interested in. Nowadays, services like HomeAway try to serve as a middle man, blocking direct conversation with the property owner. That makes it difficult to get answers you want quickly, if at all. Plus, if you give the property manager a call directly, you can get your answer right away instead of waiting around for an automated system to email you a response.
Keep Money in YOUR pocket!
Did you know that booking directly can actually save you money? More and more, the big-time search engines are charging outrageous service fees simply for booking through their website. By calling the owner or company directly, you can skip that fee and save yourself a nice chunk of change. The chart below shows just how much more you may have to pay.
For more information on these fees, you can also check out our previous post: Dont Get Caught by Surprise….
Insider Knowledge: Recommendations and Advice
By speaking directly to the property owner or manager, you can often receive advice about your stay you might not have thought about before. Are you looking to book a room, but worried about the noise? Because of their extensive experience in the area, owners can direct you to the quieter end of the beach, or recommend a higher-floor (with an even better view) to get you away from any excess noise.
How Do I Find the Owner or Property Manager?
It’s becoming more and more common for vacation rental search engines to remove links directly to rental property owners, preventing guests from booking directly. But don’t worry – there are still several ways you can find the property owner or manager. While those particular search engines won’t give you a direct link, the name of the property itself should still be listed either in the description, host information, or even the copy of the rental terms in the booking section. Using this name, or even the host’s full name, you can:
- Try using the company name without spaces followed by .com or .net to see if that lands you on their site.
- Do a Google search to find their direct website. Watch out for the paid ads at the top that bring you back to the listing sites – look for the organic results.
- Search LinkedIn or social media accounts, like Facebook, for their company pages. From there, you should be able to find their website, email, or phone number to speak directly with an owner or property manager.
- Check out other listing sites that don’t charge a fee. These are often location-specific, or niche sites. (i.e. AVROA.com, VisitPanamaCityBeach.com, FloridaRentals.com, just to name a few.)
- Sign up for newsletters from active owners and property managers in the area where you like to stay.
- Subscribe to blogs by insiders who know the area where you want to stay.
- Be a repeat guest – call the owner or property manager you used in the past. Even if they don’t have openings, a good one will have a network of other owners in the area to help you find the right place for your stay!
By booking directly, you’re able to speak directly with a real-life person, making it easier than ever to get the kind of customer service you deserve.