I've been doing a bunch of blogging about "book direct" and trying to educate travelers about the greedy OTAs (Online Travel Agencies i.e. VRBO, HomeAway, AirBnB, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, etc.) and it's high time to do a little blogging simply about our two little short term rentals and what they have to offer!
I usually write one blog for both so you'll find the same thing that's here and then on our sister site Garcia House (https://garciahousevr.com ) but in this instance I need to change that up a bit! Garcia House is suited for a single for long stays or a couple for short ones as it is a very comfortable and spacious studio but I keep it rented to only singles when the stay is two weeks or more (or at least thereabouts). That's our other short-term furnished rental but this blog is about Glenn House -- our two-bedroom, single-family house.
There's a lot of different terms for us now including short-term rental, furnished housing, furnished rental and vacation rental among them and those of us who are NOT listed with the "Big Boys" have a very hard time being noticed in searches as the Big Boys dominate the results.
At least for the time being, we're turning more to extended stays for traveling professionals and one place we advertise is Furnished Finder which specializes in travel or gypsy nurses ( https://furnishedfinder.com ). I'm thankful that we've got some real pluses for travel nurses and that's that we're already cost friendly and then I work up a quote depending factors such as the time of year, etc. We're not just budget friendly, we also accept dogs and multiple ones too at Glenn House! That's another place we advertise and that's Pet Friendly NA and their sub site Pet Friendly Tucson ( http://petfriendlytucson.com/by-owner-rentals.html ). The other thing that makes us terrific for a "gypsy nurse" is that we are just a short, convenient ride to Tucson Medical Center (TMC) in one direction and Banner University Medical Center ( Banner UMC ) in the other. We're good for other hospitals but for those two, our location is fabulous.
We are outfitted with everything a traveler could want from linens and towels, washing machine and dryer, two bedrooms, high speed wifi, TVs throughout the house, central air and heat, utilities and wifi are included, parking is just steps from your door, we accept multiple dogs (they can be big ones too!), there's an enclosed patio and BBQ and I could go on and on! It truly is a dandy of a house to rent whether it be for an extended stay or for a quicker turnaround.
I really work hard at trying to make our Guests as comfortable as possible. We're not fancy -- For fancy you're going to have to go someplace else -- but for clean, convenient, outfitted with vast array of assorted amenities, easy on your wallet AND welcoming to dogs, we are top notch! Feel free to contact Fran through our "contact" page -- Please do NOT text! Admittedly, I'm not a great texter and sometimes they arrive and go unnoticed for days! If I know one is likely, then I keep an eye out but otherwise, I miss them too easily. Email or phone and it would be most unusual if it took more than four hours to hear back from me and probably WAY sooner than that too!
Hope to hear from you!!
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:
Well the one year anniversary since leaving VRBO / HomeAway has come and gone for Garcia House and it's been about six months since we let our subscription with Glenn House expire.
So far, so good. Not great. Okay. Good. We did have bookings found thru VRBO in 2018 and while Glenn House was occupied most of the year, Garcia House did have a lower occupancy rate. That was partly due to fact that I didn't have it available while we did some renovations and upgrades and then I closed it off for bookings again while we needed it for personal reasons but it wasn't too bad.
Until Houfy and Vacation.Rentals start providing leads for us (and some of the other sites we're now on), I'm going to concentrate on extended stay bookings for traveling nurses and professionals. I've got to admit, I much prefer a lower income over high turnover. If I wasn't the "cleaning service" and/or I charged for that, I might feel differently but I do it and pass on the savings.
We are lucky in the regard that both our places weren't high-end luxury homes and were already in the budget-friendly category. I look forward to hosting more travel nurses (and others!) in 2019!
Happy New Year!