In an effort to give those seeking vacation rentals the information they want, we wanted to pass along this juicy little tidbit you might not be aware of: Booking directly on our website can get you the lowest overall booking cost.
First…a little background
We are a property management company located in Keystone, Colorado. We do not own the properties we manage, rather we serve homeowners by managing their rentals for them. For most homeowners we take care of maintenance, housekeeping, reservation management, guest communication and marketing.
When it comes to marketing, we have a lot of options at our disposal and one of those is using online travel agencies (OTAs) such as VRBO, Airbnb and others. OTAs are extremely beneficial as they connect companies like us with guests. If you’re seeking a vacation rental you want to be able to easily compare properties and their locations, amenities and, maybe most importantly, their nightly rates. Travel agents used to fill this role, but in the modern age of the Internet OTAs entered the picture. And, just like travel agents, OTAs charge for the service they provide. They can charge the property management company, the guest or both. We have found that most OTAs charge both.
As already discussed, OTAs charge for their services. What you may not know is exactly how you’re paying for this service.
First, almost all OTAs charge the guest directly. Most commonly this line item will show up as a service fee. It can be as high as 10% of the total booking amount. This one is pretty easy to find in your booking details before you actually finalize the booking, so you’ll know for sure if you’re paying this premium.
Second, you may also be paying a higher nightly rate. Anyone that has a listing hosted by an OTA, an individual homeowner or a property manager, has to pay a flat annual subscription or a percentage of each booking taken by the OTA. Property managers have a variety of ways to absorb the costs of using OTAs and one option is to raise their rates on that OTA’s site. If the cost to use the site is 5% per booking, they can raise their rates by 5% before inputting them on the site. How can you know if you’re paying a higher nightly rate? Well, you’d have to visit the website of the property manager hosting the listing you’re interested in, input the same dates and choose the same property. When you look at the booking details, how are they different from the details on the OTA?
How You Can Save
We agree that OTAs are great for the vacation rental marketplace. I mean, I know I don’t want to spend hours searching online for vacation rentals. But if cost is your primary concern when planning your vacation, you may want to consider booking directly.
Sure, you found us the first time you came to Keystone by using an OTA. Perfect. But now you wanna come back to Keystone. Why keep the middleman when you know what you want? Book directly on our user-friendly website: input your dates and then click search. Easy-peasy. All of our available vacation rentals will be pulled up and you can choose the one that suits you.
You won’t be paying a service fee charged by an OTA and you will be getting our lowest nightly rates. For those of us that want to get the best value for our money, booking directly is definitely a strong option.
Other Ways to Save
Booking directly is an easy way to save versus booking our same vacation rentals on an OTA. But we have other ways you can save too.
The SCMR Guest Loyalty Program
Our Guest Loyalty Program offers discounts to repeat renters. You can get all the details here, but basically you get an increasing discount each time you rent with us during a single year.
Guaranteed Lowest Nightly Rates or you Save 10%
One of the ways we set ourselves apart from the competition is by offering the lowest nightly rates. In fact, we guarantee we have the lowest nightly rates. And to back up our claim we offer a discount to anyone that finds a lower nightly rate with one of our competitors. If you find a lower nightly rate for a comparable property (same size, same views, same amenities) we’ll discount that rate by 10%. We see this as our way of thanking you for letting us know about the competition and rewarding you for your hard work.