Booking sites like VRBO and Airbnb revolutionized the travel industry. Their key role has been to bring vacationers and property owners together in a way not possible before the internet (obviously…). As vacation rental owners, we have benefited greatly from the booking site model. Things began to change about four years ago when larger travel websites acquired VRBO. Investors in those booking sites naturally were keen to maximize revenues. VRBO had operated on a subscription model, property owners paid an annual fee to be on the site. That model didn’t excite those investors and changes were made. VRBO with its large market share was able to strong arm their customers, property owners, into paying a booking fee. Why stop there though, why not make renters pay a fee as well. Now VRBO and Airbnb collect fees from you the traveller and the property owner. Property owners can, to a degree, build the owner fees into the nightly rate. The result is that you, the traveller, pay even more.
Booking directly saves you money!