Vacationing Outside The Big Box Hotel

Vacationing Outside The Big Box Hotel



The Internet has proven to​ be a​ natural tool for potential real estate buyers. You can check out homes now through MLS listings that provide multiple photographs,​ room sizes,​ heating and cooling features,​ landscaping and more. Gone are the​ days of​ getting in​ a​ car and driving to​ home after home with a​ real estate agent who is​ guessing at​ your tastes.

The same is​ proving true with vacation rentals. Resorts have long marketed their facilities online,​ but the​ use of​ the​ web for individual seasonal rentals is​ just hitting its stride. it​ has proven to​ be sufficiently successful that venture capital has entered the​ arena and a​ number of​ homegrown websites for vacation rentals are being acquired and consolidated.

The biggest player in​ the​ consolidation market thus far is​ HomeAway,​ a​ two year old company that is​ backed by $160 million in​ VC dollars and has engaged in​ a​ number of​ acquisitions,​ quickly building critical mass in​ the​ online seasonal rental business. Homeaway's most recent and biggest purchase has been VRBO,​ or​ Vacation Rental By Owner.

VRBO claims 60,​000 individual listings and more than 20 million site visits per year. Other acquisitions that created the​ HomeAway business structure include http://CyberRentals.com,​ http://GreatRentals.com,​ http://A1Vacations.com,​ http://TripHomes.com,​ http://Holiday-Rentals.co.uk in​ the​ United Kingdom and FeWo-direkt.de in​ Germany. These and other properties give HomeAway a​ catalogue of​ 60,​000 rentals in​ 90 countries. in​ two years,​ they have grown very quickly.

Vacation Home Rentals remains a​ web presence with over 14,​000 listings,​ principally in​ the​ sun-n-fun states of​ California,​ Arizona,​ Hawaii and Florida. Vacation Rentals also remains a​ strong web presence,​ with a​ hefty investment in​ search engine marketing. Their home page lists virtually every state and several continents with countries listed beneath them.

On all of​ these sites,​ seasonal rental property owners pay a​ fee to​ list their property and post photographs,​ floor plans,​ fees,​ etc. On HomeAway,​ the​ cost is​ $300 to​ list your property for one year. There is​ no charge to​ customers who wish to​ rent. Generally,​ the​ sites simply provide referrals and the​ rental arrangements are negotiated between property owner and vacationing tenant.

An example of​ such a​ listed rental property is​ Moose Back Lodge,​ which maintains listing on​ HomeAway and other major rental sites,​ as​ well as​ its own website: http://www.moosebacklodge.com. Many owners maintain their own websites in​ addition to​ securing listings on​ rental directory sites,​ allowing them to​ provide a​ kind of​ online "business card" for the​ propriety that isn't tied to​ a​ particular directory's formatting. Direct,​ owner operated websites provide opportunities to​ allow the​ personality of​ the​ property to​ show through in​ the​ design and information presented on​ the​ site,​ as​ well as​ the​ ability to​ better control the​ content.

There are also real estate agencies that provide regional rentals in​ popular vacation areas. States like Maine,​ North Carolina,​ Florida and many others will have realty companies that handle vacation rentals as​ a​ sideline - managing properties for absentee landlords. These websites usually have excellent photo and text descriptions of​ their properties,​ along with a​ calendar of​ available dates. in​ many of​ these cases,​ rental arrangements are made through the​ agent.

Then there are facilities in​ tourist areas that handle their own marketing. These include major and minor resorts and B&Bs. Often a​ small facility such as​ a​ B&B will link to​ a​ regional B&B marketing web site or​ a​ local chamber of​ commerce. There are also large developments built around recreational facilities such as​ lakes or​ skiing facilities that handle seasonal rentals for the​ people who buy the​ condos and houses built as​ part of​ the​ development.

Planned developments in​ recreational areas are often second homes for their owners,​ but also income properties. in​ the​ larger ones,​ the​ developer will often have a​ permanent office for both sales and seasonal rentals. in​ these cases also,​ the​ rental agency acts as​ property manager and handles both rentals and maintenance for the​ owners.




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