In past years, renters could visit Vacation Rental websites like VRBO or Homeaway or TripAdvisor, etc. and find rentals by local owners. Then they were free to send private emails or make phone calls to the actual property owner and perhaps make their best deal directly with that owner.
But that has all changed in 2016-2017. These Vacation Rental websites have become BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATIONS, often headquartered thousands of miles from all the rentals they advertise. That's not necessarly a problem, but the way they are trying to take over the entire rental business is a major problem, both for owners and renters!
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM FOR RENTERS?
PROBLEM #1: BOOKING FEES These major sites now add EXTRA FEES (called BOOKING FEES or SERVICE FEES, or in some cases both), on to the cost of your rental. These costs are not insignificant , they range for $100 to $200 extra per week, up to almost $500 for a monthly rental.
Renters have no options, whenever they find a rental and Book it directly on one of these major sites, they will get those extra charges added on to their cost,
PROBLEM #2: CENSORED CONTACT These major sites now carefully censor all email communications between you and the property owner. In past years owners could send renters extra information by way of other website links, or phone numbers, or whatever info a renter required. Now every email between the owner and the renter is censored to avoid owners passing on alternative suggestions or contacts in the event that the property is not exactly what the renter requires. Some of these websites may soon (or may already) block phone numbers forcing renters to only communicate by censored email.
PROBLEM #3: WHO TO CONTACT? These major sites under the guise of protecting you the renter, require you to send full rental payment to them, (Opposed to sending it to the actual property owner). This may work OK, right up to the time the renter has a deposit/payment issue, then who does she call?
Consider how much fun it will be to try to resolve your problem with their newly hired, remotely located (India?), "Customer Service" employee who has absolutely no personal stake in your problem. Good Luck with that.
SOLUTION #1: USE LOCAL SITES
Many Siesta Key owners and Condo offices have their own websites dedicated to rentals at their specific location. How do you find "Local Vacation Rental" sites? Simply click this link or do a Google search.
SOLUTION #2: USE MAJOR SITES TO "SHOP" - BUT DON"T BOOK THRU THEM!
Virtually ALL rentals on Siesta Key BEACHES are individually owned units in major Condominimums. Almost all of those Condominimums
have their own Rental Offices that do NOT CHARGE EXTRA BOOKING FEES! So simply shop the major sites to find your perfect rental, note what
Condominimum it is located in, and contact that Condominimum Rental Office directly to book. Use this link to get every Condo's Website & Phone Number:
For example, you find your perfect rental on a major rental website, it's called "Rare End unit in Fisherman's Cove", now click on the above link, find "Fisherman's Cove", click on it to get to the Fisherman's Cove Rental Office, and simply call or email them, and SAFETY book the unit you found without paying hundreds of dollars extra in "BOOKING FEES" charged by the major Rental Websites for booking through them.