The people at Smarter Travel put together a great write-up called "Tips for Securing A Perfect Vacation Rental in 2011." The article discusses the vacation rental industry and what you, the customer, can do to ensure the best vacation ever! Here are some of the tips and secrets they shared about securing a vacation home, mixed in with my own experience in business here at Carolina Mornings.
For first time renters:
-Be sure you understand how the property is managed (either by a management company, or cared for by the homeowner). This will help you understand how you deal with any "issues" that may arise for you during your stay.
-Be sure you understand the rental contract! If there is no contract, be sure you understand how everyone is protected in your exchange (without a written contract, you may end up not having a vacation rental and losing money!!)
-Be sure you understand how the payment is processed and handled.
-Be sure you understand how transfers, refunds and cancellations are handled before you secure your rental!!
-Be ready for pre-departure steps; when dealing with a whole house rather than just one room, there is usually a few things required before you leave to make the job faster for the cleaning crew(like throwing in a load of laundry and stripping the bed).
"The benefits of renting from a company you can trust with your family, your credit card, and your invaluable vacation time can't be understated," says Geoff Ballotti, president of a fellow rental company. It is true- dealing with a company that has BBB credentials and has been in business for years usually will prove a better transaction than dealing with an individual that you are completely unaware of.
For all renters:
-Be sure you know the nightly minimum. No longer do most places require a full week's visit, but most places do have nightly minimums which fluctuate throughout the seasons.
-Be a smart traveler and aware of what you are looking for. If you know that you usually prefer an upper-end vacation, do not secure a rental that is rustic!!
-Know the area you are visiting. If you are coming from the beach, realize that driving in the mountains is much different.
-Be sure you are ready for your destination at the time you have scheduled; many destinations have "seasons" of heavier tourist traffic than others. Educate yourself on where it is you want to go and be ready for the experience.
Being able to affordably rent a whole house rather than just a room is priceless. Above all, take the personal responsibility to educate yourself and ensure that your safety and comfort (no one else has the same comfort level as you!) are cared for. This is your vacation, and you can be sure you have set the mood to have a great one!