It was inevitable. For years, the websites that you went to for vacation lodgings rentals are now reaching deeper into your pockets. They justify this by implying hosts cannot be trusted. By letting them handle the money, you are somehow assured of a safer outcome. You pay 9-12% extra and the host pays 3%. You pay all up front at the booking confirmation and the service gets to sit on your money until a day after you check in, at which time the host gets his 85-88% of what you paid. Compare that with our policy here at SeaCat’s Rest, where you pay $100 to reserve your spot and the rest of 1/2 of the full amount six weeks before arrival, with the second half due upon arrival. I still pay 3% on average for advertising, but you will pay 9-12% less when I deal directly with you. No security deposits or cleaning fees and no middleman’s cut.
One of the services still allows direct contact if you wade through the gauntlet of warnings against it. Also, they take their toll on me by shuffling my listing down in search results, which I find maddeningly unfair. I asked why this was so and was told that “Travelers demand on-line booking and payments”. Funny, they don’t say “Travelers demand to pay an extra 9-12%”. So on my “listings quality” page the red circle at the top means that I am failing to meet the demands of the traveler, not that the service has gotten greedy and dishonest about hosts, and wants to punish them by hiding their listing.
Before they rolled out this tactic they were trying to make extra by processing credit cards, 3% if I recall correctly. At that time I did some research and figured out you could pay us with Paypal for 0% if you funded your Paypal account from your bank. 3% of a week at SeaCat’s Rest amounts to a dinner for two, so I thought guests could benefit from this and made it one of my payment options.
There’s a good chance my crankiness about the changes in the vacation rental websites is woefully grounded in the past; that tech-savvy travelers are so comfortable with clicking through to an instant conclusion that they can’t be bothered with saving 9-12%, and that they believe the implied warnings about fly-by-night hosts.
This post is for those who want to save some money on their vacation and don’t like to let their vacation money sit in a corporate coffer for months and months. Over the 10 years we’ve been in business we have had no problems or disputes about handling money and two cancellations (actually, shortened stays) which were resolved to the satisfaction of the guests. You can visit this page to start an inquiry or, for the time being, still go through this link to see more pictures and read more reviews, and not pay the extra for on-line booking. I have a few more listings where you’d pay the extra fee, but if you’ve read this far why would you go there? Bruce