If you found us through any of the well known vacation rental websites, such as HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, TripAdvisor.com, FlipKey.com or AirBnb, this message is for you.

We have been award-winning members of most online vacation rental websites for more than a decade and continue to be, although we are relatively new to AirBnB.  They are all different versions of the same thing, but these sites and the industry in general are evolving quickly.  As they battle for a larger share of the vacation rental market their focus has shifted from conveniently matching travelers with vacation home owners, to profits.  They now focus on getting paid over helping guests plan the perfect vacation destination or rental. 

They are all morphing into these big, cumbersome entities as they merge with bigger and bigger companies. (HomeAway bought VRBO in 2006 and they were both taken over by Expedia just a few years ago). 

Most of these sites charge guests and owners very high booking fees, credit card use fees and taxes, which is why the rates shown on these sites are often different and higher than you may see on a rental owners' site such as ours.  We don't charge booking fees or add-on fees which is a substantial savings to travelers. 

And while we only accept a small, fully refundable deposit at the time of the reservation, most vacation rental websites want immediate payment up front and/or long before your actual travel dates.  What most guests don't realize is that they don't pay the owners until just before or immediately after check-in.  That's often four, six or even twelve months out.  This incentivizes owners to work with guests to take direct bookings at lower costs over guests that wish to book through a TripAdvisor or HomeAway site.

They are also making it nearly impossible for guests and owners to communicate directly, share names, phone numbers or even e-mail actual addresses prior to you, the guest, paying them.   Wouldn't you like to know who you are renting from before you pay out thousands of dollars?   In the same way, owners would like to know who they are renting to before they get paid and provide personal information about themselves or their properties.  Strangely, it's not until these vacation rental sites get your credit card information that owners and guests learn anything about each other.  It's not a very safe or secure system in the estimation of many travelers and most owners.  But since travelers pay to these "reputable" sites, there is a "sense" of security. 

Clearly vacation rental websites rush the process and put profits over the interests of both travelers and owners.  That said, you are free to book however you would like; We greatly appreciate your business any way we can earn it.   And while most of our guests do book through us directly, you are free to reserve using the site or system that makes you the most comfortable.  You should do what works for you, but we want you to know that you do have the option of booking directly through us to save money, communicate more easily and take as much time as you need to plan your vacation... without credit-card in hand.  The truth is that we, as do most vacation home owners, offer more flexibility and more payment options than any of the vacation rental websites.  And saving money now leaves you more money when you're actually on vacation. 

Speaking of "saving money,"  All of our guests receive our "Top 10 Amazing Money-Saving Tips When Planning an Aruba Vacation."  In addition to great money-saving tips, we provide you with 15 ways to save on airfare and travel expenses. 

Start by requesting our "Top 10 Things to Consider When Planning an Aruba Vacation."  This will save you time, money and stress in the vacation planning process.

Thank you and Happy Travels,

Mike Gilliar
Great Aruba Vacation Homes
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