You don't mind paying a few extra hundred dollars on your next vacation rental, do you? According to the Big Guys you don't. They have actually said that "travelers don't mind paying a booking fee". That is not reality.
A couple years ago, they raised the Booking Fee to as much as 15% to 20% of the rental rate. It is not assessed on taxes or security deposits. So, if the rental rate is $3,000 and there is another $400 in fees for cleaning, linens, pet fees, etc., the Booking Fee will be based on $3,400.
The Booking Fee they are charging the travelers is for booking through their site and they keep all the money. The homeowner gets none of it. However, they label it simply as “Booking or Service Fee” in their site. Understandably, renters are often confused, as they think the homeowner is charging this Fee, and are unaware that it is charged by the Big Guys and the homeowner has no control over it.
In some instances, travelers don't even know they are paying a Booking Fee because the Big Guys have gone to great lengths to hide it from plain view or identify that it is their fee. So, if "travelers don't mind paying a Booking Fee", why hide it or why not own up to it?
While some homeowners have sought to offer clarification in their listings or communications with travelers, the Big Guys have penalized them and even gone so far as removing rental listings if a listing contains mention of the fee or communications through their system to travelers even mention the Booking Service Fee.
Limiting What you See
The Big Guys hamper any effort for travelers to avoid paying the Booking Fee. They have blocked owners telephone numbers from rental listings, so the only way travelers will be able to contact owners is through their system. They hide travelers information leaving the only communication possible being through their system.
Many owners have begun listing their vacation rentals in alternative sites like this one, creating their own sites, and creating Facebook pages for their properties, in order to be able to book travelers without the traveler having to pay the Booking Fee.
What Can the Traveler Do?
If you find a Maryland, Delaware or Washington DC vacation rental you like listed on the Big Guy sites, don't immediately book it. Instead, search this site, where you can book it without paying the Booking Fee. If it is not listed on our site, contact the owner and tell them to list their rental here so you can book it without paying the Booking Fee.