Save Money on Your Next Vacation by Booking Directly with an Owner

September 4, 2017

by Carrie Shevlin

From the beginning of this adventure, VRBO/Homeaway was my primary method of connecting with families looking for a vacation rental home on Cape San Blas. It was an easy-to-use website, for both travelers and owners, that enabled us to connect and communicate easily and efficiently. In early 2017, however, as Good Fortune continued to be filled with guests, and building was going smoothly at Beach Camp, things started to change at VRBO/Homeway.

Slowly VRBO/Homeway (now owned by Expedia) started to shift their business model from that of a “listing” site to a “booking” site. This shift included

  • The introduction of 6%-15% booking fees to be paid by the traveler for use of the website to book a home,
  • A strong push, and soon a requirement, for owners and travelers to “instant book” without any conversation prior to doing so,
  • The elimination of available traveler and owner contact information prior to booking thus reducing communication, and
  • Outsourced processing of all rental deposits, payments and fees to a third party vendor (four parties...guest, owner, VRBO/Homeway and payment processing vendor... are now involved in the rental process)

My north star for the past 3 years has been providing my guests with quality homes and excellent customer service. Unfortunately, because of the recent changes on VRBO/Homeaway this will become increasingly more difficult. The new VRBO/Homeaway business model does not align with the way I wish to welcome guests into my homes. So, what this means for me is that I have had to make some changes in the way I connect with guests as I move towards removing Good Fortune and Beach Camp from the VRBO/Homeaway booking site. These changes include the creation of a website, an Instagram account and Facebook pages for both Good Fortune and Beach Camp

What this means for you is that booking directly with an owner will save you money and potential frustration. For example, at Beach Camp, VRBO/Homeaway will add an additional service fee of $303.00 to the rental price of the home.  Booking directly with me, or any other vacation property owner, will eliminate the additional fees and frustration of working through a third party payment vendor. 

If you enjoy interacting with owners directly, and being in control of your vacation, please seek out owners personally through Facebook, Google and home specific websites when planning your next vacation. So many owners, like myself, have spent countless hours developing websites in an effort to personally collaborate with their guests before, during and after a vacation.

So, what is next for Good Fortune and Beach Camp? Both Cape San Blas Get Away homes will remain on VRBO/Homeaway until the end of 2017. My hope is that repeat guests, capesanblasgetaway.com, Facebook, Instagram and referrals will enable me to discontinue using the VRBO/Homeaway booking site in January 2018.

Wow! It’s been crazy ride since we first welcomed guests to Good Fortune in May 2015 and Beach Camp in June 2017. We have had the pleasure of hosting 95 families, 2 engagements, 1 wedding, and several birthday and anniversary celebrations during this time. Thanks so much for choosing Good Fortune and Beach Camp as your vacation destination and I look forward to continuing to welcome you and your family into our homes.

Carrie

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