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Added: Apr 03, 2016

finding your comfort level

In this changing world of the vacation rental industry, it's be coming increasingly more difficult for me, as and owner/agent of vacation rentals, to do my job.  So, what's my job?  Well, as I see it, and have seen it for 16 years , it's my job to accept your request and then help determine if what I have requested is the best option for your vacation.  If the property you requested is not the best match, then it's my job to make suggestions of what might be more appropriate. Pretty simple.

Well, these days it's almost impossible for me to do my job. As the rental listing sites have moved from a subscription based model, to a commission based model, they have become "paranoid" about letting us communicate.  If we are able to communicate outside their systems, then they might not get their commission. Although it's easy to understand their side, it does not necessarily help the traveler who typically would like some help and reassurances before they send off thousands of dollars to secure their accommodations.

So today, when I get a request, I only get your first name and you get mine. If I think I have better options for you, I have no way to let you know.  If I respond to your request and include my full name, email address, phone number or website link, its blocked and you never see it. How does that benefit me, or you, or the rental site?  I often suggest that people just try to find me online and contact me directly.  That in itself can be a bit of challenge when all you know is my first name and my property name. Today, I merely put my last name in a response to a potential guest, and it was blocked.  It seems like a no win situation to me when I'm not allowed to do my job.

So we are in this new world of the "anonymous rental".  You don't know me, I don't know you, and somehow were are suppose to come to an agreement whereby your send me a bunch of money and trust that I'm real.  I'm suppose to accept your reservation and trust that when you arrive you will be the right match for my property and treat my property with respect.  It's not the most comfortable match from either side. It may work for hotels, but I personally don't think it works for the vacation rental industry.

So what can I do and what can you do?

Well, I have moved on to find other ways for you to find me.   I use Google+, Zilllow, facebook, and smaller rental channels who allow us to communicate or at least provide some real customer service in between.  My goal is to be visible out there in this big world of vacation rentals, so you may stumble across me in other ways. 

What can you do?  Lots of things.  Search out smaller rental sites.  There may still be anonymity but, you won't be bombarded with 1000 listings that don't meet your criteria.  If you find a rental you like or a group of rentals you like by one person or agency, go out and search.  Often individuals or small agencies often have their own websites, and with a bit of detective work, you can find them.  The bottom line is that you deserve to be in control of your vacation.  So step outside the box, dig a bit deeper, and don't sign on the dotted line until you find your comfort level.   The larger rental sites use their scare tactics to make you believe that you are only protected if you rent from them.  Well, there are scams going on in this industry and they go both ways.  You have no better assurances that renting from the large sites will provide you the best security. The best barometer is usually your gut. You know, those red flags!!  A series of emails back and forth or a phone call will often confirm that you are making the right move.

So as you head out into the new world of the anonymous vacation rental,  just know that there are other options where you have more control and the ability to communicate with your host or agent.

Happy Hunting,
Jeffery Hill

Here are a few of my properties

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