Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Save Hundreds of Dollars With a Summer Rental

ABC News: Save Hundreds of Dollars With a Summer Rental -great headline, misleading and superficial article. As someone in the vacation rental business I am thankful that the reporter chose to publicize the opportunities for vacationers by staying in homes rather than hotels. At the same time, I am terribly disappointed that she neglected to really research and portray the situation realistically. Her tips are in italics:
Save 20 Percent to 50 Percent - verses a hotel stay. She got this right. Typically the guest will get 2 or more bedrooms and more for the price of one. The cost savings grow exponentially when you figure in eating at the rental for at least 1 meal a day. We like to eat breakfast at home, pack a lunch for our activity of the day, and splurge on dinner.
Come and Go as You Please - this holds true for off season, and shoulder season rentals, but in many many desirable summer vacation spots, owners and agencies dictate a specific weekly stay, with most being Saturday afternoon to Saturday morning. Why? The peak season pretty much pays the bills for many folks, and owners cannot afford to leave a few days vacant. Why Saturday to Saturday? When you figure it out let me know!
It Pays to Wait - well maybe, but probably not for the nicest places. Remember this: the best places usually fill up very quickly. Waiting until 2 weeks before your vacation is VERY risky. Many owners do not negotiate on prices; but if they will it will be last minute. I recommend picking out your favorite place, and emailing the owner or agent to let you know about last minute cancellations or specials for the time of travel, but be prepared to do something else. My summer weeks can book up as early as a year in advance on both the West Coast and the East Coast. You can sign up for last minute specials for all of my places...
Size Matters - if you have more than 6 people, start looking a year in advance, or rent more than one vacation rental. The easiest groups to accommodate are 2-4. Don't wait if you have a larger or extended family.
Barbara's Top 3 Vacation Destinations include Tybee Island, GA; Treasure Beach, Jamaica; and Lake Ouichita, AR - I'm sure these are great places, but since I haven't been I cannot judge. I would like to try out Tybee Island myself though. My usual picks would of course be my own coastal places in Maine and California(though I don't get to vacation much at them because they are booked all summer...) those aside, I'd highly recommend Martha's vineyard or Cape Cod, Southern Oregon along the Rogue River, and out of the box: a New York City vacation rental (our pick for this summer). You would be hard pressed to find much for July or the first 2 weeks in August now. So look for something out of the way or non traditional.
A Great Deal Is Just a Click Away - oh how true... The author names a few good sites, but there are many. Start with a Google (or other)search using the terms "Your Dream Location" Vacation Rental. See what pops up for vacation rental listing sites, or even owners (though they will probably be found deeper in the search results.) You can also just start at any of these: vacationrentals.com; greatfamilyrentals.com; petfriendlyrentals.com; or even craigslist.com. I'm biased, but I wouldn't bother with a rental agency or property manager. They take a 10-50% cut, and leave the owner with less money to keep your vacation rental nice.

Most of all - enjoy your vacation this summer!

No comments: