We often get inquiries from clients about whether we can help them book inexpensive vacation rentals via Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO or other similar online sites. While we know that lots of folks have had positive experiences while traveling on a budget and booking through those sites, we don't book our clients through those companies, for a few different reasons.
First off, those companies have a really spotty track record of verifying the quality--or sometimes, even the existence--of the properties they're selling. We recently spoke to an industry trade publication, Travel Pulse, about this problem. We told that publication about clients who'd gone off on their own to book properties, only to find that the quality was disastrous, or--even worse--that the listing was a scam.
On top of that, the online vacation rental websites haven't done much of anything to cultivate relationships with travel consultants. We've said this about online booking engines like Travelocity and Expedia, but it applies to Airbnb and VRBO, as well. When you book through those sites, you're paying commission to a big internet company. And yet, they're not doing anything to take care of you when you travel.
On the other hand, if you book your vacation rental through Huckleberry Travel (or any other reputable travel agent, for that matter), you're probably paying about the same price, since many of the vendors that travel agents use have some kind of price-match feature. And yet, when you book with us, we're actually invested in making sure that you're having a hassle-free travel experience. The Trivago Guy might be hot (in maybe a kind of skeezy way), but he's not going to re-book you to new accommodations if Trivago gets you a cheap rate at a noisy hotel when you're a sensitive sleeper.
And, really, you don't have to roll the dice with the on-line B&B companies. The travel vendors we work with can put you into a diverse array of property types. We told Travel Pulse about our clients who were booked into a private riad in Marrakech, and how we averted disaster by moving them, after a pipe burst. But we've also found reliable B&B properties in Normandy, in one of the teeniest, tiniest towns imaginable. And the hosts were lovely, the breakfast featured homemade jams, local cheeses and we had delightful company. But we booked it through a reputable vendor, to take away any question marks.
Here's the upshot. When you retain us to plan your vacation, we do everything we can to make sure that your travel experience is hassle-free. We have relationships with the companies we use so that when we recommend and book a trip for you, we know that we can stand behind that experience. And, if something goes sideways (which sometimes happens, unfortunately), we've got the relationships and connections to fix it.
So, if you're looking for a villa, an apartment, or some other vacation rental, whether its because you're traveling with a group of friends and family, or because you want a more authentic experience than a hotel can offer--we can help with that.