What: Rent your vacation home — or a part of your own home

Commissions & Fees: 5%, plus 3% credit card transaction fees (annual fee of $499 is an option)

Husl$core: $$

Where: Worldwide

Review:

Before there was AirBnb, Vacation Rentals and it’s affiliated companies, VRBO and Home Away, were the only games in town if you wanted to earn a little extra money renting out a vacation home — or a room in your own home to travelers on vacation. The services are similar in that both AirBnb and Vacation Rentals allow you to list your rental and just pay a service fee when someone books. Vacation Rentals, which lists you on all its affiliated sites, charges more than AirBnb, however. The service fee is 5% (vs. AirBnb’s 3%), plus you pay the 3% transaction fee when your guests use a credit card, so your total cost is nearly three-times what you pay to AirBnb.

You also have the option of paying an upfront $499 annual fee instead of the percentage-based service fees. However, you should know that Vacation Rentals doesn’t just charge you, the homeowner. The site also charges a steep service fee to renters, which is likely to add hundreds of dollars onto the top of a vacation booking. Savvy consumers, naturally, are likely to bail out when they see the monstrous service fee to use the Vacation Rentals (aka Home Away/VRBO) platform. Worse, where  AirBnb also covers your home with their insurance policy when it’s rented, Vacation Rentals does not. (From the company’s terms and conditions: “Users are solely responsible for obtaining insurance coverage sufficient to protect their properties and guests or their trip, as applicable.  Members agree that they have or will obtain the appropriate insurance coverage sufficient to cover the rental of the properties they list on the Site before the arrival of their first traveler and will maintain adequate insurance coverage through the departure date of any traveler they have obtained via our Site. Further, members agree to provide us with copies of relevant proof of coverage upon request.”)

We don’t recommend this platform now that there are plenty of others, including AirBnb, to choose from.

What their homeowners say: (From SiteJabber)

When I took out a year of listing my Condo with VacationRentals.com I was able to list my telephone number on the listing. After about a month I guess their policy changed and w/o telling me they blocked my telephone number making it impossible for me to talk directly with potential renters. I do not rent my condo w/o talking to each renter. Its terrible that they can change their policy during a contract. When I spoke with Customer Service they said they could change their policy and my listing at anytime during a contract. They also charge a fee to anyone renting that I don’t agree with. If I’m paying to have the listing why are they charging renters a fee. They are going to lose a lot of customers. I will not be renewing my listing with them.

I have been using Vacation Rentals for several years ranging from 3 to 7 properties. The company was wonderful and allowed owners to be in contact with the tenants. I never had a complaint until mid summer of 2016.The price was reasonable originally they offered a 3 month for $99. Thenthey only a 1 year at $199 per year. After selling out to Expedia, any properties I put on Vacation Rentals was also put on VRBO, Home Away and others but the price would be $249 each per year. Since somewhere around the fall of 2016 they wanted to do all communication with tenants, scheduling etc. If an owner wanted to do their own contact and contract, the price would be $549 per property per year.. I have NOT renewed any of my properties and the last one listed will expire June 4, 2017. I have tenants confused because Home Away and some others have insisted the tenants give a credit card and charged them a fee and deposit before even notifying me they are interested in a specific week or weeks. It appears the corporate has pushed too far and many owners and tenants are frustrated and no longer using this service. 

I am a vacation rental owner advertiser with VRBO & Homeaway for 10+ years with 4+ homes. Before the Homeaway Family (VRBO, Homeaway and VacationRentals web sites were bought by Expedia FOR $3.9 BILLION homeowners were required to supply proof of the home ownership by providing utility bill or mortgage statement. NO MORE. Anyone can place an ad on VRBO. The cost is now only $349/ ad. Expedia/Homeaway Family began charging travelers 6% for NOTHING. Owners are penalized if they do not use the new Book It Now system. VRBO owners ads are disabled if the owner attempts to save the traveler money by allowing the traveler to book directly with the owner. Guests are forced to enter credit card information to make an inquiry. If a booking occurs, owners do not get the rental proceeds until after the guest checks into the home (unless the owner complains to VRBO and then, VRBO will release the funds sooner. VRBO deducts from owners proceeds the credit card fees incurred when Traveler uses a credit card. VRBO harasses owners with any traveler complaint (forcing the owner to compensate the complaining Traveler), even when the Traveler did not book the home through a Homeaway Family web site. Travelers, please call owners directly. Make sure the person advertising actually owns or manages the home. Ask to be supplied a tax record or contract of employment. You will probably get a discounted rate if you go directly to the owner.

 

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