10 Reasons to #BookDirect Your Next Vacation Rental
Many of our blog readers have long heard us talk about the #bookdirect movement that has been taking place in the vacation rental “industry” over the last several years. Guests are continuing to grow tired of paying high fees to websites like VRBO and AirBnB and are instead trying to find ways to save hundreds of dollars by booking direct with the owners. At SGI Beach Vacations, we’ve built our business around growing our direct bookings and have spent significant time building our own website and brand in order to pursue this goal. If you’d like to read our past blogs on #bookdirect click here and here.
1) Book at the Lowest Rate
The first (and arguably most important) reason to book direct is the opportunity to book at the lowest possible rate. Many vacation rental owners will increase the prices of booking on VRBO or AirBnB in order to maximize revenue and push more guests toward booking direct.
2) Avoid Fees and Commissions
Similar to #1, the opportunity to save money in fees is huge when you book direct. Because you are avoiding the service fees at VRBO and AirBnB you’ll save $499 in service fees for a summer week on St. George Island. In addition to the service fee, many vacation rental owners will additional fees in order to make up for the burden that VRBO puts on them due to administration issues, listing fees, etc. We often love to give examples of savings that we offer our guests. For example, we recently booked a summer week at Sea Dunes with the brown family. The Browns were able to book a July week and save $654.87!!
3) Learn About Special Offers
Very rarely do you see special offers on VRBO and AirBnB anymore. At St. George Island Beach Vacations, we only offer special offers on our website. While we used to offer many of these same offers on VRBO, we no longer offer those (one big reason is that VRBO makes it very difficult to do so). For example, we run our famous January 10% off special each year, but only for those that book through our website. Guests that book on VRBO still must pay the full price. This is another huge savings for guests.
4) Communicate Openly
VRBO and AirBnB have made it nearly impossible to communicate with guests as a vacation rental owner. Without this communication, our guests do not receive the full experience and we miss out on making the connection with our guests that we love.
5) Benefit from Local Insight
Because we have been managing our vacation rentals for nearly 10 years and vacationing on St. George Island for another 10 years before that, we have built a knowledge base that our guests always love. Whether it be restaurant recommendations or activities that our family enjoys doing, our guests always want the “inside scoop.” Whether they are looking for a Weber’s Donut or a place to go hiking, we can help them out.
6) Get Personal Attention
St. George Island as a vacation destination continues to grow and we are welcoming first-time guests to the island more and more every year. We LOVE this…but really we can’t share our local insight with a VRBO-exclusive business. As we mentioned earlier, we love to give our guests the personal attention that they need during their stay. This makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone. If a guest would like to rent a golf cart during their stay at Serene Dream, we can make recommendations on a great place to rent a golf cart. If they are looking for a great place to check out a SGI sunrise, we can help them there too.
7) Choose from More Options
Sometimes when a guests books on VRBO, they have no idea all of the home options that are available on St. George Island. Even with only three vacation rentals, at SGI Beach Vacations, we offer three completely different homes that meet the different needs of our guests. If you’d like beachfront, we’ve got it. If you need an elevator we have a couple of options. On VRBO, you may never find all of these options.
8) Find Last-Minute Availability
While this is typically less applicable for us at St. George Island Beach Vacations, occasionally there are opportunities to find last-minute availability for a quick trip to the beach. With the “booking window” continuing to extend for St. George Island, this doesn’t happen often, but having that direct connection with the vacation rental owners gives you the best chance of booking that last-minute trip!
9) Minimize Risk of Fraud
Some people feel that because they are booking on a “huge” website like VRBO or AirBnB they feel more secure in their booking. However, we’d argue that this is simply not the case. Without getting to know the vacation rental owner and getting a personal touch, we think the risk of fraud is increased…not decreased.
10) Support Small Businesses
Many vacation rental owners are doing this for their sole source of income. Similar to supporting to small retail or restaurant businesses, vacation rental owners and management companies need support from guests instead of the large corporations that own VRBO and AirBnB.
Have you moved to booking direct with owners over the last several years? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.