Monthly Archives for February 2024

What Happened to Instant Quotes?

TRAVEL - February 17, 2024

Have you noticed when you book a hotel or look at airline tickets they have different rates for each day and if you check back tomorrow, the rate may be different than it was today? This is known as “dynamic pricing” and has been quite common in the travel industry for many years. Recently, this technology became available to vacation rental owners as well.

At this time, approximately 50% of our listings display a rate table and about 50% are using dynamic pricing. Because the rates change frequently, we are not able to show the current rates on our website if they are using dynamic pricing. When that happens, you will see a message on our quote calculator to contact the owner for a quote. Some owners will display an overall range for their rates where the higher end is for peak (summer or high demand periods such as festivals) and the lower end is for winter or off-season rates.

In the future, we hope to integrate with those services to bring you more accurate pricing. In the meantime, please submit an inquiry to the owner for a quote. If you do not hear back from the owner within a reasonable time frame, please contact us and we will follow up with the owner to make sure they received your request.

About half of all our owners have a verified “Book Direct” website associated with their account. If you see the “Book Now (Owner Website)” button, you can safely go to their website for an accurate quote and the ability to book instantly, if desired. We have also started adding a listing specific link which will appear just below the photos (not all listings have this enabled yet but you can always use the red “Book Now” button). See image below:

Look for the Book Now links on most listings

The Alabama Gulf Coast in particular is in very high demand for the summer months. Holding out for a “last minute deal” usually backfires – prices tend to go up (way up!), not down, for last minute openings in June and July. If you are on a budget and your dates are flexible, we have great weather and good rates from mid-April to mid-May and the prices start going down again in mid-August. September is a terrific time to visit – the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the pool and it’s less crowded.

And remember, you are already saving up to 20% just by avoiding those high booking fees and site commissions charged by those “big sites” – your vacation dollar goes farther on AlaVHR! Each listing is individually owned and operated. All owners on AlaVHR are verified. Please contact the owners directly through the website for more information or to book. Good luck and have a wonderful vacation!

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February is #BookDirect Month on AlaVHR

TRAVEL, TRAVEL TIPS - February 3, 2024

February is Book Direct Month

February 7th is International Book Direct Day!!!! Here at AlaVHR, we celebrate #BookDirect Day everyday, but we thought we would take #BookDirect Day a step farther and celebrate the entire month of February!

What exactly is #BookDirect Day?

The “book direct” movement started in 2018 when the “big sites” like VRBO and AirBnB started charging ridiculous fees to travelers and hosts to advertise on their websites. These fees are now 20-25% of the total that the guest ultimately pays for their vacation. #BookDirect Day was created to educate travelers why they should book direct and how to do it safely.

When you “book direct,” you are going directly to the owner or property manager and cutting out the middle man. At AlaVHR, we connect you directly with owners and property managers with NO ADDED booking fees and NO site commissions! Owners pay us a small annual fee, and you, the guest, pay the owner directly. Super Simple and Super SAFE because we verify every owner that lists on our site.

You will see a lot of posts on social media or digital classifieds where someone is offering to let you book directly with them – be very careful! Scammers are real and all too common. It’s very easy for them to pretend to own a vacation rental and scam you out of a down payment or worse, the entire payment for a vacation. We hear stories of families traveling 8-12 hours only to find they have no place to stay! Don’t let that happen to you – learn the signs (check out our short video with real life examples here) and be sure to check first!

If you ever have questions about booking with one of our owners, Contact Us and we will be happy to look at it with you to verify you are communicating with the verified owner.

Besides saving money and not getting scammed, there are many other reasons to #BookDirect:

  • Direct communication between owners and guests. Do you have any special needs or concerns? Speed up your selection process by going straight to the source.
  • Local Expertise – Our owners know the area and can offer tips on where to eat or things to do. At AlaVHR, you can also call us directly for information about your next stay.
  • Best rates – You are automatically saving up to 20% off those “big sites” – the average family saves over $400 – yikes!! Think of all the FUN your family could have with that extra money!
  • Supporting local small businesses

So go ahead, #BookDirect with one of our Verified Owners on – you will be glad you did!

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