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Booking directly saves you $, time and worry!

Added: Jun 18, 2017
Category: What's up

On Line booking is dominates the accommodation travel booking industry.  But you don't have to be a big on line travel agent to offer booking on line!  You can book on line directly with your host, Niagara Holiday Rentals at www.niagaraholidayrentals.com !  Or call us and we'll chat with you about your accommodation needs and what to do in Niagara 905-468-8985 X 1.

On line travel agents (OTA's)in our industry are dominating the travel experience as guests like to have one stop shopping for their travel requirements.   Increasingly,  the OTA's have changed their pricing structure so to advertise on them, it is increasingly more expensive and difficult. 

In our industry, up until a couple of years ago, it was HomeAway, VRBO or FlipKey (Trip Advisor) that dominated the marketing of vacation rentals across North America.   Then AirBnB entered and disrupted the whole game!  AirBnB showed the other OTA's how much profit they can make but they forgot that renting a house isn't like renting a room.   At house, the guest is responsible for the whole house and all that goes on during their stay.  In our town that means the house is worth between $500,000 to upwards of $2,000,000.  Way more liability than the guest realizes!  That is why direct contact with the guest is so important.  The guest needs to know the house is properly insured to operate as a vacation rental, and in a lot of cases, there are local by-laws that must also be followed so the guest does not incur unknown liabilities. 

There are many more OTAs have entered into the vacation rental accommodation sector, Booking.Com, HouseTripping.com, Tripping.com, Expedia.com etc, this then created a new opportunity for yet another level of expense.  Channel Managers have gained popularity as a way for a host to manage their availability and pricing and push out data to the OTA's.  

While the OTA's keep increasing their fees to both hosts and guests, municipalities are making it more difficult to be able to operate a vacation rental.   OTA's now make it difficult for direct communication with the guest and block out information or hide policies unique to the guest or the host property.   This makes it really difficult to make sure there is an understanding of expectations for both the host and the guest .

Whether you are a host or a guest, always pick up that phone and make direct contact.  This gives peace of mind to everyone.   While the world of instant booking is easy, sometimes easy doesn't get you the results that you want.   If the guest and host speak to each other over the phone before the booking is finalized this gives both of you the opportunity to check all those boxes of information that you need to know in order to make sure your holiday is a joyous occasion!

I know that you have often planned a get away a long time in advance and we are aware that your world is so very different than Niagara-on-the-Lake!  When you are visiting with us and staying in one of our vacation rentals, we want you to have peace of mind.  We also want our home owners to have confidence that their property is well cared for.  Neither of these two requirements can be fulfilled by an OTA.  Yet the OTA's pricing is averaging around 25% of the total booking.  

Another pet peeve of mine, is that in Canada, the OTA's aren't registered and all the money flows through Ireland or other off shore tax havens.  In addition, no where do I see proper trust accounting rules.   While OTA's often collect 100% up front, the host does not receive anything until the reservation is noncancellable (often just a few days before guest arrives!) 

Vacation Rental is a big industry but it is comprised of many homes often managed individually or by local property managers.  These are the hosts for your stay and we are the ones that can make sure your stay runs smoothly and are available while you are in town.   However, the OTA's have been that collective place we can use to help with marketing and technology requirements.  Unfortunatley we have made them powerful and with power should come great responsibility.  Unfortunately the guest and the host have all the responsibility and the OTA's just pound their chest for more $!

So what can we do as a guest and a host?   Well we can talk together and work together .  This will keep your holiday cost down and keep us in business.  You can find us a lot of different ways, but make the effort to work directly with the host.   The extra effort will be worth it!

Janet Trogdon




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