The Benefits of Booking Direct vs. Online Travel Agency (OTA) Sites
Just a decade ago many people didn't even know that vacation rentals were an option aside from hotels. Now, travelers have a choice between booking a home, a hotel room, or in some cases both may be listed at the same Online Travel Agency (OTA) site. However, many don't realize that booking a vacation rental through an OTA usually costs 5-20% more than if they were to book directly through the owner or manager's web site. Most OTA sites like HomeAway, AirBNB, and VRBO charge guests additional fees equal to a large percentage of the property price (typically around 10-15%). Here are some things to consider before booking your vacation stay with an OTA.
Save Money, Book Direct:
As mentioned earlier OTA sites charge additional “guest” fees that essentially increase your rental price up to 15% more. Booking a vacation rental directly through a site like ours will save you from paying additional fees. Why pay more when you can pay less. Booking directly gives you peace of mind. The price you see on our website is the price you pay. No hidden fees added.
Often times, direct vacation rental sites will offer discounts or specials on rentals that don’t reflect onto 3rd party sites like TripAdvisor, HomeAway, and Airbnb. Not only are you paying an OTA site more for guest fees, but you are also losing out on the potential of additional savings.
No Property Knowledge:
OTA sites are essentially a marketing platform for owners and property managers. None of these sites know anything about the rental or procedures that are associated with it. They state that they offer 24/7 customer service but when you have questions before during or after a booking the site customer representatives won’t be able to help you. They will redirect you back to the owner/property manager to answer any questions. The same goes for maintenance concerns while at the property. So, when you really think about it, why are you paying “guest fees”, when it doesn’t necessarily create a better experience for you?
Instead, booking directly with a property management company such as Sasquatch Vacations will put you in contact with a live person that will be able to answer all of your questions about the property from the start. We will be able to walk you through the booking and ensure you have all the information you need before and during your stay.
Protect Your Personal Information:
When booking through an OTA site your personal information is stored in their database (forever). Did you know that OTA sites such as HomeAway and VRBO are claiming they “own” you as a traveler? Policies have recently been put in place that will charge local property management companies if you as the traveler decide to book outside of HomeAway or VRBO’s system.
Don’t get me wrong, these OTA sites are easy and simple to use but it may be worth the extra effort to research local vacation rental listings to see if you are getting the best service and rates available to you.