We also advertise with well-known Rental Sites such as Vrbo (previously Home Away/Owners Direct) and Holiday Lettings/Trip Advisor. These sites provide an excellent showcase for the property and they also publish a very good Availability Calendar but you need to be aware of their Service Fees.
We have used them both since 2007 but in 2018 they changed their business models. Previously the Owner paid an annual fee which covered everything but now, all contracts are on a “Pay per Booking” basis and in simple terms, the Guest pays all the fees, which can be considerable. We are not exactly happy with the new procedures but we have to go along with it. You will pay a lot less by booking directly with us, through this site, but if you do decide to use their services, you check exactly what you are letting yourselves in for.
They both take Credit Card Bookings and hold the Rental Deposit on our behalf, which does provide an extra layer of “security” for you but having said that, we have been renting Villa Pegada for a long time now and would like to think we are reliable enough!
You can check us out at Vrbo (Property #82643) and Trip Advisor (Property #67047).
More about their hidden charges ….
Vrbo adds a “service fee” of between 6-12%, payable to them at the time of booking, although we cannot say for sure what you get for this since we have no input.
They also add a compulsory travel insurance charge, which costs you, the Guest, an extra 6%. It is a situation we are not happy with although we recognise it might suit some people. If you already have some other kind of long-term cover, this is simply “money down the drain”.
Owners are prevented from making direct contact with the guest until the booking has been secured, ie we do not have access to your phone number and email address until then, and vice versa. Similarly, they encourage Guests to use their Booking Control Panel for all correspondence with the Owner.
This what TA say on their site: “The booking fee is a percentage of the total rental cost (not including refundable damage deposits or taxes applied by the owner). The fee is variable and ranges from 8% to 16% for the majority of bookings, but can be slightly lower in some cases.”
We hope to get more information in a week or two, but at least they do not impose a Compulsory Travel Insurance Fee.
What we say
They are increasing their annual fees to us by more than 25% and tell us that unless we switch, our ads will go to the bottom of their list, so we have very little choice. Since we have no influence over these fees, their attitude would appear to be “take it or leave it”.
When it comes to payment protection, with Home Away Insurance you should receive compensation for cancellations etc from them but with Trip Advisor, they simply rely on our cancellation policy.
As far as communication is concerned, this can cause problems for us since Roger normally manages the bookings and Angie manages all the day to day issues. Guests are encouraged by the Sites to conduct all communications through them, which they forward to us … but messages sent this way sometimes go astray. We would prefer that everything gets sent to us via normal email or, once you have arrived, by phone to Angie.
If you find this site first, you can make an informed decision, otherwise, you just have to conform. We have owned this Villa since new (2007) and renting ever since. What more can we say!