Not too long ago vacation rental guests and I were served well by the major vacation home rental websites like VRBO/HomeAway, Trip Advisor, and AirBnB. However, more recently sites like these have "stuck it to" both travelers and homeowners by insisting on 3%-10% booking fees to guests and increased site fees and control of the property booking process. In forcing these conditions upon us, guests and I alike are separated from each other and put at a disadvantage.
Due to these circumstances, I sought an alternative similar to what was available before- a site where guests can view a property, know its availability, and contact me directly for a quote or more information.
For us here at the Madison River Angler's Rest & Retreat, we have created an alternative to the money-grab of big corporate vacation rental websites. First, we created our own website from which this blog originates. Furthermore, we have contacted by email all previous guests and those who had inquired about staying at our vacation rentals (we were able to lift these email addresses from our VRBO/HomeAway dashboard). Here are some of the comments we received in response to our announcement that we were leaving VRBO/HomeAway:
"Thanks Ric! Big CORPS- F em!" from Drew
Thanks for the update. I never did like VRBO. from Shay
"Good riddance of VRBO. Don’t blame you a bit..." from Dan
These are but a few of the responses that express the same sentiments. Indeed, no one yet has been supportive of what the Fat Cats are doing to guests and owners. Last, I am teaming up with a local vacation rental company Madison Management, www.madisonmanagement.com to promote our vacation rental. My goal is to give guests get a fair shake on pricing, while being able to expand my guest bookings and maintain control over my individual properties.
So what are the advantages with booking directly with me?
First, you will have more direct communication with me. I can more readily provide you with answers to your questions regarding the home or guest cabin. I can offer information about river conditions and fishing reports. I can set you with guides and concierge services. I can offer the latest in where to visit or what to do.
Also. by booking direct with me, I can offer more competitive rates, no booking fees, and less initial outlay of funds to hold the reservation. For example, as a Security Deposit I accept a personal check, which I do not cash, provided no loss, damage, or other liability occurs for which you or your guests are responsible. Last, I can offer a more guest-friendly cancellation policy.
In closing, I hope this post proves enlightening to travelers and hosts alike.