Below is a post that is making the rounds on facebook and so it should has it's a terrific posting and put a lot of what is going on in a nutshell. I haven't "shared" it on facebook yet simply because I've been doing quite a bit of promoting book direct lately and I think I need a bit more balance with stuff about the VRs themselves or things to enjoy in Tucson. I can't be any more behind this "Book Direct" movement and hope the majority of travelers will soon catch on!
If you book a vacation rental home online, chances are you will pay 15% to 20% more than you should…. There are two companies that control nearly all the google and other search engine results for vacation home rentals: Priceline and Expedia. HomeAway, VRBO, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, cheaptickets.com, trivago, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc. are all own by these same two companies.
I believe these two companies have created an illegal monopoly in the market, but until our lawmakers learn to do their jobs, what is a traveler to do? One thing you can do is go to www.houfy.com and bookmark this site. This is a new, innovative upstart site that is a David attempting to take on Goliath.
It is a difficult, up hill battle, but sometimes nimble “Davids” win. Houfy (House for You) has vacation rental homes from around the world listed and there are no fees to the travelers who book. As a start-up, their selection of homes is smaller, but growing. They have other interesting features such as local “Guides” written by vacation home owners to assist travelers with planning and feeling at home in the city they are visiting.
Many travelers have learned to use the big online booking companies to LOOK not BOOK. Visit these sites to find a home or hotel you are interested in, then find the direct contact via a google search, and call and book directly with the homeowner.
Houfy is another option. You can communicate directly with the homeowners and use the platform to pay without having an additional “service fee” tacked on to your vacation.
Vacation Rental owners have speculated for some time that this would be rolling out and it finally has. AirBnB is the first but VRBO/HomeAway and all the others WILL follow. AirBnB is starting off tentatively and just to some but they will get the kinks out and make this new policy across the board as will all the other big OTAs (Online Travel Agencies).
As it stands, travelers can currently recognize and attribute higher costs to the big boy OTAs and they want to hide that fact as best they can.
This will leave the little guys looking like greedy owners who price gouge and want exorbitant rates.
When this whole thing first began back on that fateful day in February of 2016, I said then and there that the true ultimate goal is to break the vacation rental industry and do it so that it appears to be legitimate business decisions that did it thereby no government oversight or repercussions. I still think that's true. The small time VR owner simply won't be able to absorb all the overhead and expenses, etc., etc., etc. and stay in business. They'll have to price their VRs so that they aren't within a reasonable cost option for most folks and people will simply return to using hotels as their main lodging for travels.
Big luxury homes and specialty houses will continue to do just fine on the OTAs but the small lofts, single family homes, condos, etc., etc. that accommodate up to four or five people, won't be able to keep this up and will start falling by the wayside. It's a shame but this is a business now in decline generally.
There are some sites that are trying desperately to create owner to renter connections WITHOUT service fees and I'm there on a few of them. Please support these sites as this is the only way the little Mom and Pop vacation rentals will be able to survive. Book your next vacation on them or list your vacation rental on them. Here's links to two: Houfy: https://houfy.com and Vacation.Rentals: https://vacation.rentals .
PLEASE REMEMBER, BOTH GLENN HOUSE VR AND GARCIA HOUSE VR HAVE LEFT THE GREEDY OTAS AND DO NOT INCORPORATE OR CHARGE ANY SERVICE FEES HIDDEN OR OTHERWISE!!!
Here's what AirBnB sent out today to select property managers: