Why you should book thru a vacation home owner & not an Online Travel Agency
1) No Unnecessary Service Fees
Jane has a condo she wants to rent out to vacationers coming to her area. She lists it on an online vacation rental site such as Vrbo, Flipkey/Tripadvisor or Airbnb (OTA for Online Travel Agency). Instead of creating her own website or social media pages, she is now paying commission on every reservation to the OTA. She must also agree that she will use their payment processing system for all reservations. She also knows that the OTA will pass on to her customers a percent of the rental as a “service fee” to her guest.
Did you know that online travel agencies add on a “service fee” to the traveler? Often, these fees are non-refundable and go towards their overhead. These fees do NOT positively impact your vacation price in any way. In fact, they make the amount guest pay higher and non-negotiable. The consequence to Jane is potential guest may not book her condo and start their vacation search over in hopes of finding a lower rate giving them more funds for their vacation. How frustrating! Instead of searching on the big sites, find a vacation rental owner, like Lake Edge Property, who does not charge a “service fee” and book with them directly. You can take your family to a special dinner, extra show, or horseback riding with them money you will save.
2) Rental Rates
Jane must also agree that she will use the OTA’s payment processing system for all reservations. She also knows that the OTA will pass on to her customers a percent of the rental as a “service fee” to her guest. She has to adjust her price per night to cover all the expenses she incurs from the OTA. The result is the fees charged to the vacation owner will make the total Rental Rate she is able to quote to her customers higher. The consequence to Jane is potential guest may not book her condo and start their vacation search over in hopes of finding a lower rate giving them more funds for their vacation. How upsetting! When you book directly with Lake Edge Property, you have the best rate available because we set our own rates. We don’t have to pay a processing fee to a 3rd party. This keeps our rates affordable and negotiable.
3) Communication between the guest and the owner
Fred wants to book Jane’s vacation condo. He wants to bring a boat and needs information on the lake and local marinas. He also would like to know what a “service fee” charge is. Fred looks for Jane’s contact info but there is no phone number and no email where he can contact the owner directly to get his questions answered. He can send a message through the OTA, which he does.
“How close is the nearest marina and do they rent boat slips or have boats you can rent and can you explain what the ‘service fee’is for”
Living in the local area, Jane has the answers. She knows a marina within a couple of miles of her vacation condo that will meet all his needs and can explain why the OTA charges the “service fee”. However, she does not know Fred’s phone number or email much less his last name. She can only respond to his questions through the OTA’s system. Jane responds to Fred giving details of the Marina that includes their phone number and website. She also explains why the “service fee” is not paid to her but goes directly to the OTA.
When Fred gets Jane’s response, this is what he sees:
“You can get more info about the marina and boat slip rental fees at their website: XXXXXXXX. The phone number to the marina is XXXXXXX.”
Sadly, the OTA system blocks out any and all identifying information to prevent direct communication between the owner and guest. HOW UPSETTING!! On virtually all the large booking websites, example Flipkey/Tripadvisor and Airbnb, all guest contact information, phone numbers and emails, is hidden until booking is complete or complete payment is made. If you, the guest, have questions, would like to compare condo features, or adjust your booking, communication is very difficult. When you book with Lake Edge Property, you have open communication with us thru phone, text or email. We want you to freely be able to contact us with questions so we can meet all your vacation needs.