What are Vacation Rentals?
Vacation rentals is a term commonly used in the travel industry meaning renting out a furnished home on short-term basis (usually weekly). These have been popularized in Europe as well as in Canada. However, they are now becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Some also address these as self catering or villa rentals. There are certain countries like England, France, Spain and Ireland where the government itself promotes and certifies holiday rentals. Some of them also offer their own vacation rental programs.
Vacation rentals are commonly referred to as villa rentals in Europe. The client, in this case rents out the vacation property for a fixed period of time. Many people rent out on a nightly basis in a similar manner to hotel rooms. The practice that is more prevalent in this industry is weekly rentals. An actual vacation rental is not a property to be sold to the guest. What actually happens is that the guests use the property for a predetermined duration.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vacation Rentals
are generally appealing for many reasons, some of the foremost being cost savings, more space, and no tips, taxes or service charges that are associated with hotel rooms. Villa and vacation rentals have kitchens for cooking, living rooms for gathering together and offer the appeal of living in a real neighborhood and soaking up the rhythm of the locals. In the United States, hotels often enjoy the advantages of brand recognition, familiar reservation processes, and on-site staff for problem resolution. For a guest, booking a vacation rental may mean stepping out of that comfort zone in order to garner some of the advantages they offer. Perceived cons of vacation rentals can include having to communicate directly with the property owner, being unfamiliar with the property, lack of on-site staff, and concerns about quality or cleanliness -- however, these are most often mitigated by dealing with villa or vacation rental agencies that manage vacation properties for owners and they offer many of the same services hotels offer to their guests, e.g., front desk check-in, 24-hour maintenance, in-house housekeeping, concierge service.
The benefits generally outweigh the potential negatives, with many vacation rentals offering more space (multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, separate living areas), more amenities (fully equipped kitchens, fireplaces, private hot tubs), convenient locations (on the beach, ski-in/ski-out, city centers in real neighborhoods) and greater privacy than a hotel, including the fact that many villa/vacation rentals give travelers the option of inhabiting real neighborhoods in their destination and living like the locals.
Vacation rentals can range from budget studio apartments to lavish, expensive private villas in the world's most desirable locations, some with pricetags of many thousands per night and all the amenities you would find in any luxury accommodation (fully staffed, private beaches, boats, chefs, cooking lessons, etc) to cater to the guests.
Vacation rentals are available in most states of the US and very prevalent in major tourist areas such as Florida, Hawaii, California, and North Carolina. The vacation rental market is much larger in Europe than it is in the United States as it has long been a common travel option for European travelers.
Vacation Rental Managers
Many property owners contract a vacation rental management company
to manage the business of their vacation rentals. These management companies market the vacation rental property, providing information and photos to guests and handling reservations and billing in the homeowner's stead. These companies also handle details such as guest check-in, housekeeping and property maintenance.
Many such companies are members of VRWD.com and there are additionally many rental property management companies that deal only with vacation rental brokers/agencies that specialize in vacation rentals.
Listing Services and Aggregators
There are numerous agencies that specialize in villa/vacation rentals and most can be booked via the internet. Reputable vacation rental agencies will have familiarity with the regions and properties they represent as well as official booking/rental agreements and generally standardized booking procedures, cancellation policies, etc.
Additionally, vacation rentals may be offered through web portals such as VRWD.com, MasterpieceRentals.com, DirectVacationRentals.com, etc... Aggregators typically display property information and photos provided by the homeowner, however the listing services bear no legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Also, because the listing services do not verify the information guests are encouraged to request references from past renters and to procure a lease agreement prior to sending money directly to a homeowner.
Because each property owner has his or her own deposit and payment requirements, cancellation policies, key-pick-up procedures, etc., a guest must contact the property owner or owner's agent directly in order to book. A guest who books through a listing service or direct from property owner may experience the benefit of lower rental rates.