Besides a great destination, comfortable and contemporary accommodations are key ingredients in the formula for a perfect vacation experience. Spacious guestrooms, plush bedding, and modern amenities are all offered by hotels and resorts for this very reason, to make guests feel as if they’ve arrived “at their home away from home.” So what better way to give your clients that “at home” experience on their next getaway than to book them in an actual home—a vacation home that is.
Vacation home rentals are quickly emerging as an alternative to staying in a traditional hotel or resort. And Discover Vacation Homes, an agency dedicated to raising awareness about the vacation rental category and allied with several nationwide vacation property management companies, is at the forefront of this trend.
“When choosing a vacation rental from an established property management company from Florida to Oregon, one that is a member in good standing with the Vacation Rental Managers’ Association (VRMA), travelers can be assured that there’s a reputable business maintaining and servicing the property and its guests each day,” says Steve Trover, a founding member of the Discover Vacation Homes initiative and v.p. of the national Vacation Rental Managers’ Association. “This includes all of the proper inspections, housekeeping, landscaping, laundry, reservations and more.”
And this vacation home rental trend has trickled down to the travel agent and opened a whole new arena for those looking to book families, groups or even couples seeking a little bit of privacy. Agents, in fact, can earn 10 to 15 percent commission for these bookings. Travelers, too, will benefit because, as Trover explains, renting a vacation home can actually be a lot more inexpensive than renting at a hotel. For example, some vacation rental homes in Orlando start at $120 per night, but sleep up two eight travelers versus just one or two in a hotel room. Condo rentals in Orlando start at around $89 per night, while the largest 7-bedroom homes can run $539 per night (during high-season) and sleep up to 16 guests.
Additionally, says Trover, “Having an in-room fully equipped kitchen offers great value to travelers who want to save on dining out for every meal. Rather than spending hard-earned vacation dollars on a full restaurant breakfast every morning, vacation rental guests have the exclusive ability to simply stock up from the supermarket on their favorite cereal, snacks, eggs or pancake mix.”
If your clients are worried about missing out on those extra amenities that resorts offer, Trover explains, “When staying in a professionally managed vacation rental, guests experience most of the benefits of a traditional hotel stay with additional amenities and an inherent value that can’t be matched by even the highest quality resort, including a concierge, as well as options for in-home massages, spa treatments, a personal chef to cook meals, pre-arrival grocery delivery services, child care, and more.
“In all honesty,” continues Trover, “vacation rentals are ideal for nearly every type of vacation, from family trips to reunions, girlfriend getaways, multi-generational vacations, ‘mancations,’ honeymoons, destination weddings, team-building seminars, celebrations or any other trip in which space, value, togetherness and general privacy are desired.
“Choosing a professionally managed rental affords travelers and travel agents the same trusted, dedicated service they’d expect from the highest quality hotel,” he says, “along with added values and guest amenities that remain unmatched by most other lodging options.”
Trover adds that since professional management companies have multiple properties of available rentals in their inventory, they have the ability to discount and often offer last-minute specials with value-added benefits, including coupons for local activities, shopping and dining, as well as complimentary rental cars, gift cards, home features and more.
a peek inside During a recent visit to Orlando, FL, Recommend got a first-hand experience in one of these homes. This stunning, 2-story, 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom home boasted all of the amenities one would expect of a top-end resort…and then some. This particular home is managed by Imagine Vacation Homes, a vacation property management company under the umbrella of Discover Vacation Homes, which, in fact, works with many vacation property management companies in the Orlando area, thus offering a multitude of vacation home options for your clients.
In addition to tons of common space, including a living room and two family rooms (one on each floor), the property featured five spacious bedrooms and more beds than the average family would know what to do with—one king, one queen, six twin-size beds and a full-sized, pull-out sofa bed. The house also had a large dining room with plenty of seating, a fully equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, outdoor BBQ, a private heated pool, and several entertainment options, including books, board games, TVs (in the family rooms and most of the bedrooms), two DVD players with an array of movie options, and a PlayStation game console.