July 27, 2020
It’s time to book the vacation trip you all need. You are responsible for finding the accommodations. No pressure, but you need to make sure you find the perfect place that appeases everyone in your party. No big feat, eh? A simple online search should get you the best deal…or that’s what you are left to assume actually. But in fact, you may find that when you use online travel agencies (OTA’s), you are paying upwards of 20%+ more for your vacation than if you had gone through the accommodation provider direct. This is true both with hotels and vacation rentals. We are here to teach you how to vacation smarter, not harder (oh, and pay less for the same exact accommodation!)
When a vacation rental home is listed on OTA, either the Owner/Manager is paying for a subscription to list the property or paying a commission per booking. Did you know that the guest is also paying a fee as well? In order for Owners/Managers to make profit, most raise their rates on OTA’s to cover the extra costs. This is being passed along to you, the Traveler, in most cases, one way or another. When you find the vacation rental home directly and book direct, you are cutting out that middle man and the need for upcharges, resulting in less cost to you at the end of the day.
It is very difficult for an Owner/Manager to setup a discount code that can be used on OTA sites. In fact, most OTA’s don’t allow external coupon codes to be used on their site. Just imagine booking a vacation home for full price (plus the fee of the OTA that they add on top of our rates) when your neighbor booked a home directly with us and saved 10% by using a coupon. We’ll let you figure out how to explain that one to the money-manager of the house!
Have you ever tried to call the OTA support line? It seems like it takes forever to get a live agent on the phone; then they have to search to find your reservation. If you are lucky, you won’t have finished your entire cup of coffee just to get to this point. Don’t try to ask them specific questions about the property. The only thing these agents know about the vacation home is what you see in the description. Somewhere out there is the actual Owner/Manager for this property; if you contacted them directly, they could answer quickly and be able to answer even the most specific of questions like: “how old is the fridge?” And, even general, local-knowledge questions like: “where is the best place to watch a live band on Saturday night?”
Most times when travelers book on the OTA sites, they can’t see who the direct Owner/Manager is. No email. No contact phone number. You pretty much hold your breath and pray it isn’t a scam. Unfortunately, even once the reservation is confirmed through an OTA, most times the Owner/Manager doesn’t get your, the traveler’s, direct contact information either. The Owner/Manager is provided an encrypted email and hopes to find a way to connect with you directly for check-in details, in case of an emergency, etc. Links or email addresses cannot be sent via encrypted emails. It’s all part of a crazy conspiracy theory that the Owner/Manager might actually get you the right information ASAP, and you may find out that booking direct is much smarter than booking through the OTA.
Not every Owner/Manager finds that OTA’s have their backs and run a business model that blends well with their own company cultures. For that reason, we suspect you’ll find more and more vacation rental homes pushing the book direct movement and moving away from the OTA’s. There’s nothing quite as scary as letting someone else hold onto your money – this goes both for you, the Traveler, and us, the Manager. What happens if that OTA shuts its doors overnight with your booking deposit? We don’t get paid and you don’t have a vacation home secured anymore without a deposit. Owners/Managers have a benefit vs. risk analysis they need to run before pairing with an OTA. Explore more options and book direct.
As you can see, the importance of booking direct not only help you as the Traveler but also helps the Owner/Manager in keeping our costs low, enabling us to provide exemplary services, and allowing us to do what we do best. Check out a blog by Florida Rental by Owners that shows real examples of how they help guests book direct and save!
Make sure to sign up for our new blog notifications to learn more about how you can book direct in the future in one of our upcoming blogs. It won’t disappoint!
#travelsmarternotharder #bookdirect #traveltips