How to book a vacation rental home

While there is a growing abundance of options when it comes to booking a vacation home, many travelers still find the rental market a bit chaotic, at least compared to more traditional accommodations like hotels / motels. The rise in popularity of vacation rentals as a valuable alternative to more expensive hotels has resulted in a myriad of options that can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips for booking your vacation rental to make sure you get the most out of your investment while protecting yourself from scams or disappointments.

Tip No. # 1 for booking a vacation rental – Check out niche lists that focus on specific destinations.

Whether you’ve rented a vacation villa before or not, you’ll want to work with a local business and representatives who know what they do.

If you are interested in renting a beach house in Santa Barbara, a qualified representative will earn your stripes by guiding you through the suitable available properties based on your unique needs and wishes. For example, if you bring your three mountain dogs from Bern, they will recommend rental spots on Santa Barbara beach that are dog friendly and trinket free.

Plus, once you arrive, you’ll want to take advantage of concierge services to help you get reservations at that hot new restaurant, or just recommend a walk with an ocean view. An anonymous operator three states away will not be able to provide that level of local service.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. # 2: Use a credit card to protect yourself and minimize risk.

You want and hope that every detail of your vacation is perfect. But, sadly, it will not always be this way. So you need to protect yourself.

Renting with your credit card through a Santa Barbara vacation rental management company offers you that protection. If for some reason the property does not meet your expectations and management does nothing to fix it, you can keep a record of the problem and dispute the charge with your credit card company.

Owners who rent person-to-person generally insist on a cashier’s check for 50 percent of the vacation rental to reserve it, and then the other 50 percent in cash upon arrival. If you later discover roaches sneaking into your vacation home kitchen, or other items of property that have been misrepresented, you will have no leverage because you will have already paid in full in cash.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. # 3: Get the most out of your investment.

Dollar for dollar, a vacation rental offers you much more than a luxury hotel. You get exponentially more space (both indoors and outdoors). You get a host of amenities, from private pools to high-end kitchens to world-class entertainment systems, all for your exclusive use. Unlike an anonymous hotel room in a crowded hallway, you have a serene home away from home to call your own.

But there are a host of invaluable intangible benefits that you get when you book your vacation rental through a professional management company. Working with a world-class management company to find your ideal vacation home brings you a whole new level of service. A professional company has skin in the game. They are working to establish a good reputation and a list of returning clients, rather than just trying to make a quick buck.

In the best surprise category it’s no surprise, unlike an absent owner on Craigslist, a professional Santa Barbara rental company has someone who is troubleshooting problems 24/7 working hard to keep both tenants and landlords happy.

The most underused equipment is professional staff. Once you arrive at your rental villa in Santa Barbara, they will be at your entire disposal. Concierge and housekeeping services are just a tap away. The staff’s local Santa Barbara knowledge and connections can turn an average vacation into something incredible. There is no extra cost and the return is priceless.

Book a vacation rental Tip n. # 4: Book with confidence.

There is a BIG difference between someone who just wants to sell you a room and a professional vacation rental company who wants to make sure you have your best Santa Barbara vacation so long that you come back again and again. The key to that difference is keeping what you promised.

Many vacation rental agencies are just big clearing houses that list properties, sometimes all over the world. They generally do not specialize in one region and offer no other services apart from couples’ rental. They cannot offer guarantees on the rental of the beach house in Santa Barbara that you have reserved because their representatives have never visited them, inspected them for health and safety issues or even met with the owners. They cannot vouch for the actual condition of the vacation rental property, the pros / cons of the location, etc.

Some agencies just want to book the beach rental and charge their fee. They may not care much about what happens during your stay.

If you’ve never visited the Santa Barbara beach rental home you’re considering, or received a first-hand report from a trusted friend, you have no idea whether the photos you’ve seen on the website are an accurate representation. . They may be out of date, retouched, or from a completely different place. (It goes without saying that you should never rent a vacation rental that doesn’t feature photos!) Be wary of any site that only offers views or exterior shots. If they aren’t willing to show you what the vacation home rental looks like inside, you won’t want to stay there.

With a professional vacation rental company, you can be sure that the quality you see is the quality you get.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. 5: Go for the highest quality standards.

Professional vacation rental agencies have higher standards than private owners. Even if an owner strongly believes that their Santa Barbara vacation rental is clean and up to date, their standards may not match yours. Invisible dust bunnies and one person’s hi-fi system are dirty and anachronistic to someone else. A professionally managed Santa Barbara vacation home rental will also be a professionally cleaned and maintained vacation home rental.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. # 6: Understand the risks of booking through free listing sites like Craigslist.

Posting on a free site is, well, free. There’s no crime in that (who doesn’t love free?), But that could point to a general laissez-faire attitude that the landlord has towards their property and their tenants.

Owners who are willing to pay a fee to keep their vacation homes booked and in first-class condition have already demonstrated their care and commitment to a mutually beneficial working relationship. The management companies they work with are companies that you can rent from without worry.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. 7: Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

The more often these vacation rentals are occupied, the happier the owners are, so if you are planning a last minute or extended stay or are a frequent visitor, there is often room to negotiate the price of your vacation. . rental. Sometimes the discount can be as high as 30 percent.

Booking a vacation rental Tip n. # 8: Research and compare rates, services and conditions before entering into a rental agreement.

When trying to narrow down your choice of a Santa Barbara vacation rental, be sure to compare apples to apples. A smaller house on the beach will probably cost more than a larger one in the hills. Know what you get from each property and from each management company. Follow your instincts and go with the company that will happily show up in the middle of the night to meander around the sink.

Another benefit of working with a professional Santa Barbara vacation rental management company is that it is very easy to do a background check on them. Call or visit the Better Business Bureau or a vacation rental site like Has the company filed reasonable complaints against them? How were they resolved? Google the name of the Santa Barbara vacation rental company and its owner and you’ll get a wealth of informative opinions.

The growing popularity of Santa Barbara vacation rentals has spawned a wealth of online resources. Your best bet is to do your due diligence and compare rates, services, reputation, views and conditions before entering into a rental agreement. It is your vacation and booking the right accommodations will help ensure that your vacation meets and exceeds your expectations.

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