Finding a vacation rental villa can be difficult. Deciding a destination, asking time off work and booking flights can all be stressful. Somewhere in that jumble of to-dos, there is the most important decision: where to stay during your vacation. Sites like Airbnb, VRBO/Homeaway and Flipkey can make finding a vacation rental super easy, but that ease does come with a price. As fees become more and more ubiquitous in the travel industry, guests pay way more, from hundreds to thousands of dollars more, by booking on sites like these.
On top of added fees, vacation rental sites with instant online booking are also distancing the guest from the property managers. They make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the guests and the property managers to communicate before payment has been made.
In an attempt to secure the fees and prevent visitors to their sites from booking directly with the property managers or owners of the villas (thus circumventing their fees), often these type of sites have stopped allowing guests to see the property manager’s contact information and recently stopped allowing property mangers from seeing guest contact info as well.
This arrangement may not be too problematic for a couple booking a studio in Miami or flat in New York, but it creates very real problems for guests traveling to a tiny Caribbean island. There are tons of small things about the island and each property that we would love to chat with guests about! i.e.:
Do you have small children? Well, I’d like to point out that this property has a metal spiral staircase that you may have missed in the photos.
Are you expecting a perfect white sandy beach? Well I’d like to tell you that sometimes natural beach erosion happens and the beach can be more rocky.
Does Grandma walk with a cane? I’d like to recommend a villa that has a bedroom on the same level with the living room, kitchen and pool deck.
So, what is the alternative?
Thank you for asking 🙂 Each property you see on these sites is owned, managed and booked by real people. These people know the villa and the destination. They can talk to you about your specific group and set accurate expectations for your vacation specific to the island and villa you have chosen.
The best example of this is a situation that I’m actually handling right now. A guest booked instantly through Airbnb, and unfortunately I could not communicate with them prior to their instant booking. The guests have booked a remote villa that is not walkable to any restaurants or activities. I know from personal experience that taxis to and from this part of the island are hard to secure, expensive, and that the best means of transportation is a rental car. The issue? The guests stated in the Airbnb email that they are celebrating graduating from college. I doubt they are older than 22 or 23, which means they cannot rent a car (must be 25.) I would have loved to tell them this very important detail that will surely affect their trip, but I didn’t have the chance since they instantly booked with Airbnb.
To conclude, we recommend talking to someone who has personally seen the villa prior to booking. Take an extra moment to google the name of the villa to find the contact info for the property manager and reach out to them. They can often offer imperative insights into villa location, floor plan and compatibility with your unique party.
You can find our villas at TC Villas. Contact TC Villas at email@example.com or by phone from 9-5 EST at 1.877.467.4858 to book your perfect beachfront vacation rental villa in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands!