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2016 the challenges of Vacation Rentals

Added: Dec 31, 2015
Category: For Vacation Home Owners

As the New Year approaches, my thoughts of 2016 are more about the running of a vacation rental business than of anything else!

Partly because 2015 saw some significant changes in my personal life (all for the good, but a little exhausting!). It would be nice for 2016 to be peace filled, continued good health and hopefully more time spent with family and friends!

New Year’s day, I am hoping to make it to Fort George for the shooting of the cannon at Navy Hall. It starts at 3:00 and it’s a way to start the New Year off with a Bang!

My biggest challenge for the 2016 will be in marketing our vacation homes now that Expedia has purchased the largest vacation rental advertising website, HomeAway. This includes the very popular vrbo.com.   While this ultimately may be good, it’s the transition I am worried about and the focus Expedia has on the cheap prices and also forcing their business practices onto the vacation home owners.   https://biz.yahoo.com/e/151215/away8-k.html 

My suggestion to all of you who are looking to book a vacation home is to always try and search for a way to book by speaking directly with the person responsible for managing the home while you are staying. This is the best way to secure that your reservation is as what it is expected to be and also to know that you have someone to call during your stay.

Myself, my husband Eric and all the people that work with us are very knowledgeable about our town and can help you with your plans during your holiday, but also we are here when something doesn’t go the way it should. Hospital emergencies are rare, but knowing what pharmacy is open, where there is a walk in clinic, or even where to go for a cheap and cheerful evening out!

The other challenge for us is the low Canadian dollar. While this is great to bring in business, its difficult to explain that we can only charge in Canadian dollars and that we advertise on lots of different websites which each show different currencies. The conversion from US to Canadian dollars fluctuates all the time and because we only take payment through MasterCard or Visa, the exchange rate used is not within our control. In addition, the credit card companies may charge fees for foreign currency transactions.  

We advertise primarily on the parent companies websites of HomeAway and TripAdvisor. These two parent companies then push out our information to a multitude of other websites like VRBO.com , FlipKey.com, CanadaStays.ca, VacationRentals.com. Expedia will push out vacation rentals to Travigo and Travelocity. However, they will advertise using the currency that goes with the domain name, or so they say. But if you don’t know the currency or there seems to be a variety of prices available, please go to my website www.niagaraholidayrentals.com and this will always be in Canadian dollars and the calendars are up to date!!

I also suggest to vacation home travellers to google the name of the house and the town, this should bring up contact information somewhere on the first google page to directly contact the people responsible for the vacation home. This will give you the best price and also confidence in what you are booking! We pay to list on all of these big websites and now most of them are charging you additional fees for using their booking system.   I don’t actually understand this.

Vacation rentals is just a compilation of individuals with second homes that they are renting. The renting isn’t out of the pure generosity, it’s to help offset the expense of ownership. If the homeowner can’t make enough, then they will either sell the house or stop renting.   There is myth that people who own vacation rentals are just in it for the money and are wealthy. My homeowners do not fit this profile. The homes are part of their retirement plans, and the homes are cherished, full of hope and memories. The vacation rental is a tool for them to continue to fulfill their ambitions and be assured that it is well taken care of.

I hope that you make lots of travel plans in the upcoming New Year. But I also hope that you work with us to make sure that we can still afford to stay open and book directly with us!

May the New Year bring you all peace, good health and joy filled times with family and friends!



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