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 and manage vacation rentals throughout Summit County (Keystone, Dillon, Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Blue River). 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 anyone looking for a vacation rental. 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 for 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 Summit County by using an OTA. Perfect. But now you wanna come back. 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.
Lake Dillon offers 25 miles of shoreline nestled within the Rocky Mountains. The deep water marina offers guests a unique attraction with lakeside dining at almost two miles above sea level, or take part in world-class sailing, fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Nearby you’ll find the Lake Dillon Amphitheatre that offers various activities including live music and theatrical productions. The venue can seat up to five thousand and features spectacular vistas of Lake Dillon and the Gore Mountain Range. Leave the lake and head to the town of Dillon for shopping, dining and various other attractions including a bowling alley and a movie theatre. Explore the White River National Forest and dazzling wildflowers with over 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. For those looking for a challenge, there are also over 150 miles of mountain bike trails and 100 miles of off-highway vehicle trails.
During the winter we recommend taking part in a truly unique adventure on the lake. Visit Silver Flask Fishing to schedule an ice fishing excursion with the world-renowned owner, George Peebles. And if you’re staying with us you can save up to $50.
During warmer months, try your hand, or feet, at stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). SUP is a fun way to explore Lake Dillon and we recommend visiting inflatableboarder.com for all the details, from product reviews to a full guide on paddle boarding in Colorado.
Keystone is an ideal destination for people of all ages. From horseback riding to biking, skiing, fishing and tubing, there’s an activity for everyone. Plus, the resort itself hosts a wide variety of activities for kids every winter and summer. And, whether you’re looking for a great pool, miniature golf or a fire pit for making s’mores, there’s a complex perfect for your family.
So, which complexes are the most kid-friendly? We’ve gathered the data, tabulated the results, and are happy to present the top five kid-friendly complexes in Keystone.
The Keystone Top 5: Kid-friendly Complexes
Taking the top spot on the list is The Springs. When it comes to kid-friendly, this complex is a step above the competition. With amenities like a shared media room and a dedicated indoor children’s play area you won’t need to leave the building. And that’s just the inside. Outside there’s a year-round heated pool complete with a waterfall and slide, two hot tubs, a wading pool with sprayers, a shared grill area and a fire pit for making s’mores.
Second on the list is Settler’s Creek. Not only do you have access to the extra green space you get with a townhouse, there’s also one of the nicest clubhouses in the resort. Minnie’s Cabin, as it’s affectionately known, features a large recreation room with a wet bar, a pool table, a large flat screen TV, a fireplace and plenty of seating. Just outside the clubhouse is a beautiful pool and two hot tubs. You’ll also find a shared grill area with lots of seating and there are changing rooms back inside the clubhouse. There’s something for everyone at Minnie’s Cabin.
No. 3 on the list is Dakota Lodge. Amenities and location give this complex its edge over the competition. Dakota Lodge features the largest pool in Keystone. The outdoor pool is heated year-round and features absolutely stunning views of the slopes. There are also two oversized hot tubs, perfect for resting after a long day. And, what about location? This complex is located next to Dercum Square, providing fun for adults and kids alike. During the winter it features an ice rink and during the summer converts to a miniature golf course. There’s also a playground and a fire pit. Honorable mentions include Buffalo Lodge and Expedition Station, also located next to Dercum Square.
Coming in at No. 4 is Lodgepole. The clubhouse features an indoor pool and a hot tub, as well as the convenience of changing rooms complete with a shower and restrooms. The sprawling courtyard is a favorite among families with children. The ample greenspace allows for play while there’s also a shared grill area and seating. There’s a deck with lounge chairs just outside the clubhouse offering views of trees and wildflowers during the summer.
And coming in at the fifth spot is The Timbers. This complex features high-end finishes that lend a touch of luxury. The spacious lobby features plenty of seating and tables with inlaid chessboards. There’s a long bar and a baby grand piano. Outside you have access to a hot tub with a waterfall and a year-round heated pool. The swim-in/swim-out pool allows guests to enter from inside the fitness facilities should they need to avoid any cold winds. Take advantage of the shared grill area and then head over to the fire pit to make s’mores with the whole family. And did we mention…this is a ski-in/ski-out complex so hitting the slopes is a breeze!
Glittering snow, twinkling lights and the majestic mountains. Summit County is bustling with Christmas cheer! Check out the area events in Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge, and for those that still haven’t booked their stay, search to see what’s still available. As of the writing of this post, we’re around 90% occupancy so choices will be limited.
Area Christmas Events
LOCATION: Keystone Lodge and Spa Lobby
DATE: December 21-January 7
TIME: Available for viewing 24 hours a day (the trains stop running from midnight-6 a.m.)
Visit Keystone’s one-of-a-kind chocolate village make it’s annual appearance in the Keystone Lodge lobby in Lakeside Village. The in-house pastry chef, Ned Archibald, crafts more than 7,000 pounds of chocolate into a magical display of trees, presents, a working gondola, chocolate waterfall, running train, and more! Come see what’s been added this year!. Cost: Free.
Breakfast & Playtime with Santa
LOCATION: Bighorn Bar and Bistro and Kidtopia Snowfort
DATE: December 24
TIME: 8-10 a.m., 11:30-1 p.m.
Join Santa for a special breakfast before taking to the mountain for some playtime at the Kidtopia Snowfort. Then say goodbye to Santa as he begins deliveries! Cost for Breakfast: Adults: $24.95, Children 6-12: $12.95, Children 5 or under: Free. Cost for Playtime at the Snow Fort: Free (must have valid lift or scenic ticket).
Santa Visits A-Basin
LOCATION: Mountain Goat Plaza
DATE: December 24th
TIME: 11-1 p.m.
Santa Claus and an elf will arrive at A-Basin to hand out candy to children in the A-Frame Lodge and Mountain Goat Plaza. After Santa visits the base area buildings he will visit children on Molly Hogan before heading up Black Mountain Express to visit our friends at Black Mountain Lodge. The Summit County Choral Society will be caroling in the base area as well.
Main Street in Breckenridge boasts some of the best shopping and eateries around! They have a wide array of restaurants and these places are known for their great food. Plus, you have various other activities and theater shows to choose from all weekend. Not to mention, lots of opportunities to say hi to Santa! See more information here.
Masses and Church Services
CHRISTMAS EVE MASSES
Keystone Conference Center: 4 p.m.
Riverwalk in Breckenridge: 4 p.m., 6 p.m.
Our Lady of Peace in Silverthorne: 7 p.m., 9 p.m. (Spanish)
St. Mary in Breckenridge: 9 p.m.
CHRISTMAS DAY MASSES
Our Lady of Peace in Silverthorne: 12 a.m. Midnight (Polish), 8 a.m., 10 a.m.
St. Mary in Breckenridge: 8 a.m., 10 a.m.
Copper Mountain: 5:15 p.m.
CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church (between Keystone and Dillon): 7 p.m.
Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in Silverthorne: 9 a.m. worship service, 5 p.m. (family service), 8 p.m. (candlelight service)
Agape Outpost Church: 8:30 a.m. (worship service), 10 a.m. (worship service), 5 p.m. (candlelight service), 7 p.m. (candlelight service), 9 p.m. (candlelight service), the church will also host a living nativity on the 22nd at Blue River Plaza in Breckenridge at 5, 6 & 7 p.m.
St. John the Baptist Episcopal in Breckenridge: 4 p.m. (pageant, children’s homily & communion), 6 p.m. (festal Eucharist with carols & candlelight), 8 p.m. (festal Eucharist with carols & candlelight), 10:30 p.m. (festal Eucharist with carols & candlelight)
CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICES
St. John the Baptist Episcopal in Breckenridge: 10:30 a.m. (festal Eucharist with carols accompanies by guitar)
Need a place to stay? Click the book now button below, then enter in your desired dates of stay. Or, if you’re flexible, enter in only Christmas Day and then view each property’s calendar to see what days before and after the 25th are available.
When you finally get to Keystone after a long drive or a long flight, the last thing you want to deal with is long lines. Fortunately, you’re already ahead of the curve if you’ve booked with us. Our 24/7 hassle-free check-in ensures no long lines to get your keycard. Now all you need is your ski gear. And there’s no need to stand around waiting for that either.
We recommend reserving your ski gear early. Not only will you save money by doing this, you’ll also eliminate the risk of not getting the gear you need, and, in most cases, you’ll spend less time waiting and more time doing the things you actually want to do.
You have a lot of options for ski rentals in Keystone, but we recommend Mountain View Sports and Ski Butlers.
First, all of our guests get a discount with both companies.
Second, both of these ski rental companies are geared to meet your needs.
Mountain View Sports
Mountain View Sports features rental rates that are drastically lower than other area ski shops. On top of that you get the benefit of having lifelong pros help you get the right equipment. The owner of Summit County Mountain Retreats says, “[They’re] the only place I trust to rent ski equipment from.” On top of all that, Mountain View Sports is located right next door to our office. That means our guests that are stopping by our office to pick up their keycard via our 24/7 hassle-free check-in lockbox can then immediately head over to Mountain View Sports for their ski gear. Step outside to the shuttle stop where you can take the Keystone Resort Shuttle directly to your lodging and you’ve got the makings of a smooth start to your vacation.
Mountain View Sports offers all of our guests a 25% discount on ski and snowboard rentals. If you booked with us you received a Reservation Confirmation email with information regarding discounts, including a link to how to get your 25% savings with Mountain View Sports. Didn’t book with us? No worries. You can still save by booking online at least 2 days in advance.
Ski Butlers features 12 locations across the western half of the United States and their claim to fame is convenience. Their website is easy to use and when you’re ready to be fitted for your ski gear they come to you. That’s right. They come to you in the comfort of your lodging accommodations. They even bring extra boot sizes to ensure the perfect fit. And, if you have a problem with your gear while out on the slopes, they’ll meet you at the base of the mountain to fix that problem. And, for all this, they don’t nickel and dime you. There’s no delivery fees, no cancellation fees, and they allow you to switch from ski gear to snowboarding and vice versa as much you want (dependent upon availability).
Ski Butlers offers all of our guests a 20% discount on ski and snowboard rentals. If you booked with us you received a Reservation Confirmation email with information regarding discounts, including a link to how to get your 20% savings with Ski Butlers. Can’t find that email? No worries. Just book using this link.
Whoever you choose for ski gear, our number one suggestion is to always rent early. You don’t want to be left out in the cold–at least not without ski gear!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, full of good food, family and friends. For those that are leisurely enjoying the Friday after, maybe you want to gift you and your family something else to be thankful for… a mountain vacation! Just sit back with another piece of pumpkin pie and book your stay.
Through Monday, November 27th you can save 10% on any nights of stay from November 27th through December 7th with promo code SAVEBF17. With our already competitive rates, this is a great deal! Discounted nightly rates start at $47. See you soon!
So you’ve booked your trip to Summit County and made your travel arrangements. Now it’s time to consider how you’re going to meet one of your most basic needs in between all the fun adventures you’re going to have: Food.
Anyone that has been to Summit County can attest to the fact that it has some of the best food. Well made and good quality. It’s a special thing. And we’re here to give you the lowdown on what you can do for food while you’re in the area.
Sure, this isn’t very flashy, but it’s a viable option for any of our guests, especially if you’re looking to save a little dough. But, enough with the puns, and let’s get on with how this works.
All of our vacation rentals offer a kitchen, and over 95% of our vacation rentals offer a full kitchen. On top of that, we also stock each kitchen with the essential cookware and tableware to make a meal away from home. Each homeowner may even add extra items like crockpots, blenders, waffle irons and more (check your vacation rentals list of amenities for details). So, you’ve got it all, except food of course, to make a great meal.
So, where can you get food? Well, the first option we present is one of convenience. Have your groceries delivered! Yes–you can have your groceries delivered to your vacation rental the day of your arrival. There are several grocery delivery services for the area. This may sound like too much luxury, but when traveling into the snow-filled mountains you may want to avoid any extra driving.
For those looking for a more traditional grocery shopping experience there are other options and for ease of reading, we’ve listed each one below along with its location. We suggest picking the grocery store that’s on the way to your vacation rental. If you’ve read your check-in instructions then you know where your vacation rental is located!
And, just to give you an idea of location, we’ve put each of the cities these stores are located in on a map along with our office. If you’re coming in from Denver, you’ll most likely be traveling on Interstate 70.
Summit County is chock full of all kinds of great restaurants. If you choose to eat out three times a day, you could try a new place each time. Since there’s so much to choose from, you may want to do some research online and see what other visitors say. If you search “tripadvisor where to eat in Summit County” the top search results will show you TripAdvisor lists for Keystone, Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon.
But our very own staff is full of good recommendations as well and you can see those below.
SCMR Staff Picks: Restaurants
Make sure to check each restaurant’s hours online. Some are only open for breakfast or lunch, while others are open through dinner as well.
We had a tie! One staff member just described Arapahoe Cafe as “Awesome.” Known for its great food, good service and beautiful patio seating. The Dam Brewery boasts a large menu full of high quality cuisine as well as wide selection of brews. There’s something here for everyone.
The title may sound like the beginning of a sales pitch. But in all honesty, it’s really not. We believe informed guests are happy guests, and for that reason we wanted to explain why booking early is a good idea and when it’s a good idea.
First, you don’t need to book your vacation rentals early all year round in Summit County. Sure, there’s always a chance your ideal vacation rental might get taken if you don’t lock it down in advance, but for most people there’s more than one property that will meet their needs.
So, when do you not need to worry about booking early? The off season. For Summit County, and that includes Keystone, Dillon, Breckenridge and Blue River, there are two off seasons, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. In the Spring, it begins the day after a ski resort’s closing day and ends right before Memorial Day weekend. In the Fall, it begins after Labor Day and ends with the ski resort’s opening day.
The off season is when the resorts quiet down and start doing some maintenance. You’ll find great deals during the off season, but you’ll probably need a car so you can drive into town because most of the shops and restaurants owned by the resort will be closed. You also run the risk of missing out on some amenities as pool and hot tub maintenance is commonly completed during this time (although we always strive to provide alternatives when this happens). That said, if you’re looking for a quiet vacation with no crowds, the off season is a great time to visit Summit County. Plus, the Fall is absolutely gorgeous with changing colors.
So, when is the high season? There are several times throughout the year when we reach almost 100% occupancy. These are Christmas, January (especially MLK weekend), February (especially President’s Day weekend) and Spring Break (basically all of March). Coming in right behind that is the month of July, especially the 4th of July. If you want to visit Summit County during any of these timeframes, it’s imperative you book early. Case in point, for Christmas Day we’re already nearing 50% occupancy. And that’s at three months out. MLK and President’s Day weekends are ranging from 30-40% occupancy right now. If you wait too long to book, you may end up with a couple of larger condos to reserve when all you need is a studio, or vice versa. If you want choices when it comes to the size, location or amenities of a vacation rental, the sooner you book, the more choices you’ll have.
So there you have it. That’s our plea. Book early if you want to be assured you have a vacation rental during the high seasons.
Less concerned with choice and more interested in getting the lowest nightly rates? For those that don’t mind planning trips at the last minute, we’ll give you more details in an upcoming blog.
As we begin to make our way into Fall, many of us are already thinking about winter–daydreaming about bluebird days flying down a mountain and the frosted flurries of snow that accompany it.
When can we hit the slopes?
In truth, all opening day dates you see are just projections at this point. These unofficial dates are based on projections for weather and snowfall come October and November. There’s no guarantee these dates won’t be pushed back as we get closer to ski time.
So who are these people that show up on a projected date for a ski resort’s opening day?
In some cases, they’re risk-takers. The world is full of people with high tolerances for risk. They speed when they can’t afford a ticket, they’ll use their debit card hoping their check has already cleared and they’ll eat leftovers that have been in the fridge two weeks. These people are willing to plan their travel based on a simple projection.
The other kind of people you’ll see at opening day are those that fly by the seat of their pants. They don’t need to make plans in advance. They think of something and they do it. They decided to show up to the slopes the night before they opened. They’re last-minute travelers. They found their lodging, called into work and started making their way to Summit County.
Some people who go on opening day are cautious planners. They made their plans well in advance and chose opening day to visit because there’s a chance they’ll get to hit the slopes. And if they don’t? Well, they don’t mind because they’re perfectly happy taking advantage of the many other activities available to them in Summit County during the offseason. Sure, they paid a slight premium on lodging to be here on opening day, but that was a small risk they were willing to take because it has big rewards if it pays off.
So what kind of ski resort traveler are you? It’s important to figure that out as you mull over 2017’s opening days. But most important is to remember these dates are not official. When you plan travel around any ski resort’s opening day you need to be sure you’ll be happy at the resort whether you’re on the slopes or not.
For this year’s opening day projections, check out the website for On the Snow. We would also suggest visiting each ski resort’s website to see if they’ve made an official announcement.