Many holidaymakers don’t realise they are paying a hefty premium when they book through one of the large online booking sites such as AirB&B, Booking.com, TripAdvisor’s Holiday Lettings, HomeAway and Owners Direct etc. These sites are charging guests a 6 to 20% surcharge on the rental price which can easily be a few hundred pounds for peak week. In addition, the big sites also charge the holiday home owner a fee and which is sometimes added on to the rental price by the owner. As a result, there is now a growing ‘book direct’ movement gathering pace.
Although we maintain a small presence on these listing sites, it is only in the hope that potential guests will see our property and then do a bit of Googling to find us and book direct. We tend to watermark all our photos with our logo and web address for a less subtle hint. When owners get an enquiry from these sites, the responses are heavily censored and there is no chance of any reply getting through if it includes a phone number, web address, or even any subtle hints on how to find us and book direct!
Here a few tips on ways to find your ideal holiday rental without paying over the odds.
- When Googling, ignore the first page of results and any paid ads. These will be full of the afore-mentioned sites who use your money to boost their visibility!
- Try your search term in Google Images. You’ll be surprised how different the results are.
- Try your search in Google Maps. You’ll be presented with a number of properties in any given area and you can now add your required dates.
- Facebook. Most owners have a Facebook page for their property and many of these will have reviews for reassurance. Here’s ours.
- Facebook Groups. These are becoming increasingly popular and plentiful. They will range from individual town pages, such as our ‘Bude Holiday Cottage Owners Direct‘, through County/Regional Groups like ‘Cornwall and Devon Holidays Direct‘ and ‘Cornwall Holiday Homes Direct‘, national ones such as Book Your Holiday Direct, and huge ones such as ‘Dog-Friendly Holiday Accommodation‘, which has over 60,000 members. In these Groups, you can browse through the various albums or post your own individual request for area/size/budget facilities etc and then you just wait for owners to respond to you! It’s certainly the easiest way! 🙂
- If you must use the big sites and you find a property you like, Google it by name or search for clues in the description, photos or captions. Don’t forget that much of the best accommodation is not listed on these big sites anyway because of the hassles and expenses involved.
- Try using the #bookdirect hashtag on your favourite social media sites.
Quite apart from saving money, when you book direct with the holiday home owner you will always give you a much better, more personalised experience and they will then be on-hand to help with any local knowledge or query you might have. Try asking Booking.com how far away the nearest shop is!!
Good luck with your holiday search and remember always book direct or you’ll pay more!