Vacation rentals have become a popular choice among travelers across Europe and North America. Different kinds of rentals are provided by people who privately own properties like villa, condominium, townhome, cottage, farmhouse and apartments.
Mostly vacation rental homes are owned privately, which is why the accommodation is mostly inconsistent. Vacation rentals are also rented only for nights, like in hotels, however more prevalent industry is usually of weekly or monthly rentals.
The kind of facilities and luxuries provided by rental home owner depend on your budget. They can vary from private, fully furnished villas to small rooms with little furnishings. Important factors that influence rental price include availability of basic facilities like security, electricity, water, heating system (for cold areas) and cooling system (for hot areas). Extra price is charged if your house offers a beautiful view of ocean or city, with private beaches, cooking lessons, working staff, boats and chefs.
Vacation rentals are different from timeshare where houses are offered for part time ownership, which provides some weeks of rental. Timeshare is more like a real estate with multiple owners sharing jointly.
Vacation rental market represents budget of $100 billion in the whole world. There are various online websites where rental house listings for different countries, regions and cities are provided. One can rent a vacation house either by a middleman (an agent), an online website or by direct contact with the owner. Many owners providing vacation rental facility have their own private website. The problem with private websites is that each private owner demands his or her own terms and conditions, cancellation policies and pick-up procedure. On the contrary, agencies have a common policy for all listings. They handle billing and reservations on behalf of the owner. A small percentage of commission is charged by the owner for providing listing services, for which the rent becomes higher.
A contract is signed between house owner and rental management company, whether it is an agency or online website. The companies provide property maintenance and handle housekeeping as well. Agencies also market the rental property and handle all the billing transactions and reservation. Another alternative practiced by rental managers is to provide a guaranteed rental to house owners. In this process, money is paid in a single transaction which covers rent of number of weeks the owner wants to rent his house. This is usually practiced by house owners as it guarantees a steady income alongside the perk of not managing rental problems at all.
Many travelers prefer hotels over home rentals because in various online websites, the whole place looks like a paradise in photos whereas in reality, the house is largely ill-equipped. In order to provide authenticity of service claims, many online companies provide user reviews.
Another insecurity that prevails in many tourists is of fraud. Many online forums create false accounts and provide pictures various home that are hardly real. It often leads to tourists paying large amount of money in advance, only to find that the place doesn’t really exists in reality. To cater this problem, it is important to book from a renowned website. Websites like HomeAway and Airbnb are very popular in this industry.