Book Direct and Save

Many travelers find our property on VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb, Flipkey and other listing sites.  Most are not aware that all of these sites have started charging "service fees" up to 15% to travelers who book through these platforms.  These sites claim to offer payment protection and customer service but their practical remedy is to instruct travelers to issue a chargeback via their credit card company.  Most listings site guarantees are full of fine print, exclusions and are often not enforceable.
Instead of paying these service fees we recommend that guests pay with a credit card and consider purchasing travel insurance.  A good travel insurance policy will protect against illness, injury and other unforeseeable circumstances and generally costs less than the service fees charged by booking sites.  We recommend www.vacationrentalinsurance.com and www.insuremytrip.com.
A week rental at $200/night, a cleaning fee of $100, here are the following the site's booking fees: 

  • Site . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fee . . . . .  Fee%
  • FlipKey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $225 . . . . . . 15%
  • TripAdvisor . . . . . . . . . . . . $225 . . . . . . 15%
  • Booking.com . . . . . . . . . . .$225 . . . . . . 15%
  • Airbnb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $180 . . . . . . 12%
  • HomeAway* . . . . . . . . . . . $135 . . . . . . . 9%
  • VRBO* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $135 . . . . . . . 9%
  • VacationRentals* . . . . . . . $135 . . . . . . . 9%
  • HomeEscape . . . . . . . . . .  $ 0 . . . . . . . . 0%
  • VacationHomeRentals . . .  $ 0 . . . . . . . . 0%
  • Direct with VR Owner . . . . $ 0 . . . . . . .  .0%
*Homeaway, VRBO and vacationrentals.com are part of the Homeaway family of companies.
When looking for a vacation rental use the following tips to avoid issues.
1. Never send money via wire transfer, western union, cashiers check or money order to pay. Always use a credit card, paypal or other secure form of payment.
2. Avoid listings that look "too good to be true". If the property is significantly better than neighboring properties at half the price it might be a scam.
3. Avoid Craigslist and classified sites, it is very easy for scammers to copy a listing and post on Craigslist with no verification.
4. Do a "reverse image search" on the properties' main picture to see where else the property is listed. Avoid properties listed on Craigslist and other classified sites.
5. Search for recent reviews of the property on VRBO, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Vacationhomerentals.com or other credible sites.
6.  Call the owner and talk to them over the phone.  A quick conversation about the area and property will help ensure that the property is a good fit for your needs.  If you are still not certain ask the owner to send you additional photos of the inside of the property.
7.  Purchase travel insurance, this will protect you against hurricanes, injury, illness and most listing fraud.  We recommend www.vacationrentalinsurance.com and www.insuremytrip.com to our guests.
Read more in this Chicago Tribune Article:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/oak-park/community/chi-ugc-article-booking-your-summer-vacation-for-free-3-2016-04-21-story.html
Frugal Travel Guy
http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2016/03/renter-beware-how-to-avoid-vrbos-9-service-fee.html
About.com 7 Ways to Protect Agaisnt Vacation Rental Scams
http://seniortravel.about.com/od/accommodations/fl/7-Ways-to-Protect-Yourself-Against-Vacation-Rental-Scams.htm