The first Wednesday of February is #BookDirect day. It’s a day to raise awareness for booking directly with vacation rental owners instead of through Vrbo or Airbnb and the likes.
Do you like a deal? Do you like to pay more than you have to? There are a number of advantages to booking directly
- Save service fees (up to 15%) charged by online travel agencies (such as Airbnb and Vrbo). That’s right, we at Maui Oceanview Condos charge the same rates on our website (#bookdirect) as on Airbnb and Vrbo, but with their service fees, the rates paid on A&V are considerably higher.
- Research the vacation rental owner prior to committing (and paying). Did you know ~ Vrbo and Airbnb hide the owner’s full name and contact information until the booking is confirmed. This means you have already paid money before being able to do a google search on the owner. Sure there are reviews on the listing sites, but maybe there are other details you’d like to know, such as how responsive the owner will be or being able to phone and have a conversation prior to booking.
- Research the property location prior to committing (and paying). Many listings actually don’t show the street address or exact location. This is to give current guests privacy (avoid the looky-loos) but also to avoid break-ins (people can see when the properties are unoccupied on the calendar). Wouldn’t it be nice to ASK the owner for more information? What’s close by? Is it near the beach? Is it in an industrial area? On that note, we post our condo names and numbers on all our advertising. Why? To make sure you know which condo you’re booking, and also so that hopefully you will google it and find us to #bookdirect.
Pitfalls to avoid when booking direct
Yes there are scammers out there.
- Criminals do post fraudulent listings. No place is safe, they can be found on Vrbo, Airbnb, Craigslist (for sure), Facebook Marketplace etc. If the price is good to be true, if the calendar is completely open, if the ‘owner’ or ‘property manager’ is asking for payment by check or wire transfer…. these are all warning signs. Get the property address or property name (such as Maui Kamaole I-103) and google it. What comes up? Are there other listings for the same property? Has the property recently been sold (if yes, are the photos identical to the real estate listing)? It is common for owners/property managers to list in multiple locations. Compare the listings, compare the contact info. For our condos you will find listings on 1. our website, 2. Vrbo, 3. Airbnb, 4. Facebook/Instagram, 5. Youtube.
- People post listings with dated photos. While not necessarily a scam, there is a chance that the pristine condo is no longer pristine. Ask questions – when did you last renovate, when did you last personally inspect, deep clean? How old are the appliances, when did you replace the bed/bedding…
Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t quite seem right, move on.
How to #bookdirect?
Click on the Check Availability tab on our website and enter your dates. It will show you which condos are available and give you a quote. You can see more pictures and read up on the condos and then send us an inquiry. Once confirming that you are aware of the Hawaii Covid Travel restrictions, we’ll answer your questions and send you a rental agreement and payment request (credit card payment via Square). Easy!
You may be interested in my blog entry ~ How to get around Vacation Rental Service Fees.