May 16, 2017

STOP giving your money away - NO FEE BOOKING 

As an avid vacation renter, giving hard earned money away for " service fees, booking fees, guarantee fees" is not an option!

Hello friends of The Sand Dollar Lake Haus,
We are reaching out to you today to explain some recent changes to VRBO/HomeAway.

VRBO/HomeAway has been bought out by corporate giant Expedia for 3.9 BILLION dollars. In order to recoup that money, they have started charging our guests an extra “booking charge” of 6 to 12 percent at the checkout when using the VRBO site to book.  Warnings now abound everywhere to not book direct, because these listings shown on VRBO may be a scam and that by paying their new fee safeguards you - ridiculous. Booking with a credit card and being able to do a charge back is what protects you! Most owners are nice families, just like you, who are trying to cover the costs of their possible future retirement home or family vacation home.

By the end of 2017, we have heard that VRBO will eliminate all avenues of direct contact except through their site to make sure they can collect their extra fees. (They have already removed our phone numbers and replaced them with a generic 800 number to their call center).  For anyone who would still like to complete their booking through the VRBO website and don’t mind paying the extra fees, we will gladly still do that.

However, if you want to go back to the way it used to be and deal with the owner directly, saving their “Service Fee”, we've set up our own website and Facebook page where you can book and pay direct and save hundreds of dollars while directly supporting small business owners like us.

Steps for guests to take to save hundreds on your next vacation:

  1. Search for your perfect vacation rental on any of the listing sites like VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, etc.(they all have “booking charges”) Make a list of your top 5 or 10 noting the name of the property and location (town, island, city). Most owners call their house something and it should be pretty easy to figure out. (Sand Dollar Lake Haus for us).
  2. Very important – DO NOT CONTACT THE OWNER THROUGH THE BOOKING SITE . We get penalized and eventually removed permanently if we have lots of inquiry conversations, but not many bookings on their site (it’s a ratio thing that the VRBO site police look for).
  3. Do a Google search instead for the house name and location to see if some of your favorites have a website or a Facebook page, many already do, and many more are building websites everyday. From there you can contact them directly. Many owners (like us) have current availability calendars and secure credit card booking pages and allow you to “book it now” yourself.
There you have it – you have just saved yourself the cost of groceries for the week, a fun island excursion, dinner at a very nice restaurant, or any number of things you would rather spend $100 to $400 dollars on!
Thank you for passing the word on to friends and family.