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Will You Join the #BookDirect Movement?

In 2022, the key word for everyone is inflation. Everything is going up in price…from steak to chicken wings (yes, our favorite chicken wing place raised their prices 35% this year!). Car prices are up significantly, and, yes, vacation rental prices have increased too. With the significant increase in work from home (WFH) and online learning as a result of COVID people are visiting St. George Island more than ever, and this has driven a huge increase in demand for vacation rentals on the island. With prices going up on everything, don’t you want to find every way possible to save money? Then why not focus on saving money on your next vacation rental when you travel to St. George Island.

Today, February 2, 2022, is the fifth annual #BookDirect Education Day. The #BookDirect movement is focused on saving travelers money on their next vacation by booking directly with the owners. If you’ve missed our last few #bookdirect blog posts, you can check them out here, here and here.

As a small, family-run vacation rental business, St. George Island Beach Vacations is focused on saving our guests hundreds of dollars by booking directly with us. That’s why we created our own website four years ago. That’s why we write blogs like this one. We are focused on educating our guests about #bookdirect so that, whether they are booking a vacation rental on St. George Island or Tahiti, they can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars in booking fees.

If you’re a member of the St. George Island Facebook page (along with 50,000 of your closest friends), you’ve likely seen a significant number of complaints about the rising costs of vacation rentals on SGI. Leaving aside the fact that these vacation rentals are managed by large property managers, and not individual owners that are focused on keeping costs low, there are significant savings to be had by booking direct with the owner.

At SGI Beach Vacations, we believe there are many benefits to booking directly with us:

  • No additional booking fees and better rates overall – Did you know that booking sites like VRBO and AirBnB can charge as much as 20% in fees? Even when you book hotels on Priceline they are taking their cut too. Who wants to pay that?

  • Special offers and late deals (including our 10% repeat renter discount) are not available anywhere else

  • Customer care and a personal touch, just for you. We read every email, text, message, comment and review but most of all, we care about our guests! Websites like VRBO and AirBnB intentionally try to remove that personal touch by blocking email addresses and phone numbers, but we believe this personal touch is how we can make a difference for our guests.

  • Expert Advice - While we don’t know everything about SGI, we consider ourselves experts and can recommend restaurants, activities and events. That's why we write so many blogs on our website! Will VRBO and AirBnB do that? No way!

Thankfully, savvy vacationers are starting to figure out the importance of booking direct. There is nothing that excites us more than when someone finds one of our homes on VRBO and then tells us that they found our website through Google and now they will save $500 or more for their vacation.

So, you might be asking – How do I save all of this money? Well, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Once you find a house that you love on one of the major listing sites like VRBO or AirBnB, search Google or social media sites for the property name.

  2. Look through photos and/or videos of the property.

  3. Reach out to the owner with questions or concerns through their website, email or social media.

  4. Look for a history of good reviews on social media, Google, as well as the listing sites.

  5. Be sure you understand property rules and cancellation policies.

  6. Never send cash or money orders and always get a signed rental agreement to protect yourself. It’s also a good idea to get trip insurance through the host (yes, we offer travel insurance for our guests) or an independent provider.

  7. Always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Honest hosts and property management companies should have an online presence with their own website and/or social media accounts.

Will you join the #bookdirect movement? Please contact us or check out our calendar to plan your next SGI Beach Vacation.


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