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The changing Vacation Rental Industry

Added: Mar 29, 2016


A new era has begun in the vacation rental industry. Many people recall the days when VRBO hit the scene with a great new concept. Introduce homeowners and vacation rental agencies with travelers, let them communicate, let them come to agreement, and then let them create the perfect rental situation for the next family vacation.

The concept is simple, and it worked. Both parties knew each other and found a comfort level in the rental process. In those days homeowners and agencies paid rental sites a subscription fee to be listed on the site. Everything else was between the homeowner and the traveler.  Again, clean and simple all around.

For anyone trying to navigate the vacation rental process today, it's clear that things have changed.  The large rental sites, decided that they need to be the middleman.  The decision was made merely because they wanted to make more money.  They try to convince everyone that they are doing it to protect both parties, but I don't believe that was a necessary step. We were doing just fine before.

Unfortunately, for many of us, both homeowner and traveler, this new approach is not the most workable situation. The large listing sites don't know anything about the properties that are being rented and thus the traveler is getting misinformation all the way around. When problems arise, travelers are a bit lost at where they are supposed to go to for help.

From the side of the homeowner an agent, it's become very difficult and frustrating also. We have entered the land of anonymity. When requests come in now, we often don't know the names, phone numbers, emails, or much else about the traveler. This has become very uncomfortable situation, as we are so used to knowing who we are renting to.

The larger rental sites are now charging fees, not only to the agent and owners, but also to the traveler. This is not sitting well with many travelers who are finding this for the first time. It seems like there is less money going into the hands of the owner and much more going to the large vacation rental sites.  It's hard to maintain homes when the money is not there to do so.

I will write more on this later, but just know that many of these changes are coming from the sites and are not necessarily changes that owners and agents agree with. When you have the opportunity and can find smaller sites that allow you to communicate with the owner or agent directly, you may end up finding a better comfort level.  There are many owners and agents who are very reputable and can take care of business just fine without the need for a middleman.

So just be aware that things are changing and that everyone needs to try understand the details of how things work today.  Take your time, and maybe look further than the first page of your Google search, to see if there are other alternative sites that might better match your needs.

Jeffery Hill

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