To show you what is the most cost effective way to book your next vacation in Curacao, we have made a comparison for you.
There are so many vacation rental booking sites nowadays, that it is hard to see the forest for the trees. To be visual to all potential renters, we at Villa Seashell, like most other vacation rental owners in Curacao, try to list on all of them.
Although you may think that booking via Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, TripAdvisor, or Flipkey is all the same, there is quite a price difference for you, the guest, depending on which site you use to book your vacation.
Price comparison when booking the same vacation rental at different sites
Lets take a week in July that is still available for bookings at Villa Seashell - Curacao and see what the total rate for 6 persons is.
Since HomeAway owns VRBO, and TripAdvisor owns FlipKey, we have combined those in the comparison below.
The following can be concluded from the above table:
Booking directly with the owner is much less expensive than booking via a listing site.
There is a big difference in Guest Service Fee between the booking sites.
Why is booking directly with an owner much less expensive than booking via a listing site?
The reason for this is simple. Owners or property managers have to pay sites like Airbnb, HomeAway / VRBO and TripAdvisor / Flipkey a Service Fee as well. It's called a Host Service Fee, and it's a fee that is not transparent to the guests that book via these booking sites.
These Host Service Fees vary from 3 to 5% of the rental rates to a fixed subscription cost of US$ 1500 a year. Most owners cover these fees (partly) by increasing the nightly rate on the booking sites compared to the nightly rate on their own website.
What is a Guest Service Fee?
Unfortunately, it is not very clear what a Guest Service Fee exactly is. Let's take a look at what kind of explanations the booking sites give themselves.
Both Airbnb and Flipkey / TripAdvisor do not explain what the Guest Service Fee covers. HomeAway / VRBO mention 24/7 customer support, marketing and a quality experience.
Since guests are going to call the owner or project manager instead of HomeAway / VRBO when they have a problem at a vacation rental, we believe Guest Service Fees are just there for the booking sites to make more profit, and have absolutely no value for the guests.
5 Tips from us and other Vacation Rental Owners
At Villa Seashell, we keep an eye on all vacation rental market developments to offer our guests not only the best prices but also a safe and easy booking experience, good information on your vacation destination Curacao, a reliable website, and much more.
To keep you up-to-date with the latest trends and recommendations, we have collected information from different Vacation Rental owners in North America.
Tip 1. Research the owner, not just the vacation rental house
Kim, owner of The Houses on Manzanita Beach.
"However, a person looking for a wonderful Vacation Rental experience can gather a lot of good information in their communications with the owner or manager.
How quickly and throughly do they respond to messages? Are they difficult to get ahold of? All of this will give you a great trial run of your Vacation Rental experience. As an example, if you’re staying at the house and need help, are you going to receive as response in a reasonable amount of time.
Are your communications with the owner pleasant and professional?
Search the internet for the owner information in addition to house information."
To find out more about this tip check out Kim's blog post: Alternatives to VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey, TripAdvisor and Expedia
Tip 2. Owners care that your experiences are the best they can offer
Donna, owner of Abalone Bay.
"Further you are now communicating directly with the owner who cares that your experiences are the best they can offer. You’ll be unfettered and free to ask all the questions you may have about the home and the area without having to operate through the OTAs."
For more information read Donna's blog post: How to Safely Save Money on Your Next Vacation
Tip 3. One stop shopping comes with a huge price tag
Teena, owner of the Four Seasons Lodge.
"Not only will Expedia (HomeAway, VRBO, Vacationrentals.com and others) charge you a Service Fee, all of our contact information will be hidden. Gone will be the days of having access to the owner or guest's name, forget about seeing an email address listed and no way will they give you phone numbers! ALL contact information will be kept under a veil of secrecy so they are assured of collecting the added fees."
For more information read Teena's blog post: Expedia is taking over the world... the Vacation Rental world that is!
Tip 4. Vacation rental owner's have Insider Tips, to help you curate and reach your vacation goals.
Nancy, owner of Anna Maria Island Vacation Rentals
"Reputable owners have their own Insider's Guides to inform guests about the area. With tons of information on activities, things to do and local arts and culture classes that you may want to partake in. From riding a fly board to taking a painting class on the beach. Home owners are dialed in and know what events are happening on the island during your stay."
For more information read Nancy's blog post: A True VRBO on Anna Maria Island
Tip 5. How to check an owner of an Orlando vacation home.
Sarah, owner of Orlando Insider Vacations
"Every vacation home in Orlando is regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You can check records to make sure the owner is licensed."
For more information read Sarah's blog post: How to avoid service fees
Tip 6. Pay by credit card to be covered in eventualities.
Linda Lou, owner of Villa Seashell - Curacao
"Most booking sites are suggesting that it is more safe to book through them, but did you know that when you use your credit card to pay for a vacation rental, you are covered for any form of fraud, mis-selling, misrepresentation by your card provider."
Interested in staying with us? Contact us for information about our oceanfront villa, one of the nicest Curacao vacation rentals.