VacayMyWay’s practice of price transparency is refreshing. It’s more than a defining characteristic, it’s crucial. Now more than ever before. Vacation rentals are booming, no question. As prices increase, vacation property owners need to remember that this is a competitive environment, and it always will be. We need to provide a significantly better value for our guests than the hotel competition. Guests paying excessive fees to the booking channel definitely reduces hosts cost advantage and profit margins. For example, a recent trip yielded the following results: We located a property in Braselton, Georgia. The summary total on a competitor’s channel included $180 of cleaning and guest fees on a $540 two night booking. A comparable hotel suite was devoid of those fees and totaled considerably – as in $300 – less. Travelers are becoming more and more cognizant of costs and excessive guest fees.
Cleaning fees are another area of concern, and many listing platforms are reducing room rates to appear more attractive in meta searches by hiding costs in fees. Another tactic is to withhold lodging tax until the final booking screen, creating sticker shock at the final stage of booking.
It’s now commonplace for Property Managers to enlist numerous fees as a revenue stream to offset rising management costs. With legacy OTA booking channels charging upwards of 20% to hosts and travelers combined, it’s no surprise. A recent article in USA Today cited consumer frustration with the lack of price transparency, and exorbitant fees which easily exceed a property’s nightly rate. Although this tactic is a standard practice in the hotel industry, it is not acceptable for vacation rental hosts striving to build a reputation of professionalism and transparency in the economy of trust.