Recently, a traveler who booked one of my vacation homes asked me if booking directly from my personal website is more beneficial. I decided to answer this question here for all my current and future guests:
Why is booking directly from the owner’s website beneficial?
– When you book a hotel through Expedia or Hotels.com or many other travel sites – there is a booking fee added to your reservation total that could be anywhere between 5-15% of your initial reservation cost.
In the case of a vacation rental booked through a listing site such as Tripadvisor, Flipkey, Airbnb, Booking.com and lately VRBO/Homeaway – a fee of 5-15% is shamelessly added to the vacation homeowner’s total calculated cost and named a “booking fee”. Since VRBO/Homeaway was purchased by Expedia, a new traveler service fee was added into the total cost starting with Feb 18, 2016.
– When you book through a listing site, the owner will also pay a fee to this listing site of at least 3% which in turn the owner is forced to cover it by increasing the rates published on this listing site.
When booking directly from the owner’s website, there is no need for the owner to increase the rate to cover the 3% and no booking fee of a whopping 5-15% needs to be paid to anybody, hence a saving of 8-18% of your vacation lodging cost.
– In an effort to stuff their packets even more, VRBO/Homeaway which charges homeowners in the range of thousands to list their homes, they also force owners to accept payments by credit cards where they deduct 3% transaction fee for US cards and 5% international cards. In turn, homeowners have had to raise their rental rates to cover for it. VRBO/Homeaway are claiming to give renters piece of mind that their transaction is secure by paying through them. Here is an example of how secure it is to make payments via VRBO/Homeaway:
During the month of August 2015, all homeowners who have accepted rent payments via VRBO/Homeaway had their social security number, bank accounts, addresses and all their financial information compromised for a year. We learned this through a letter we received from the financial institution that VRBO/Homeaway is using. They’ve offered us credit monitoring for free for two years and are covering for this expense by increasing the credit card transaction fee from payments homeowners receive. Along with the homeowners, the renters who have paid via VRBO/Homeaway have had their credit card information compromised as well.
By booking directly through the homeowner’s website, not only your transaction is much more secure (I use Stripe as a merchant which we trust it to handle all our personal information) but we are also able to cover ourselves the credit card transaction fee with no cost for the renter – Again, a 3 to 5% in savings for the renter.
– To top the above savings, my “Same Rate Guarantee” policy ensure that my rental rates for return guests will always stay the same. Many of you who were my return guests in the last 9 years have enjoyed the same rental rate year after year even during the events when the demand was the highest.
A well known Vacation Rental Homeowner who happens to be the owner of the VacationRentalsManzanita.com has put together for us an accurate picture of what the current booking fees are being charged today by each of the listing sites. Please see the poster on the top-right with links to where the booking fees are published for each of them.