The Low Cost Leader in Vacation Rentals Says Growing Fees are Costing Consumers Too Much

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Top vacation rental marketplaces are charging fees that ultimately cost travelers nearly 20% more than it should. being a low cost leader for vacation rentals is combating that by vowing not to charge commissions to the owner or add booking fees to travelers that result in higher prices on other platforms.

Travelers are paying too much in booking fees

Travelers are paying on average 16% more than they should, directly related to unwarranted booking fees!

Vacation rental sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and FlipKey are rolling out faster and more convenient ways of booking online, like Airbnb’s ‘Instant Booking’ option. But there’s a catch.

And it comes in the form of large fees for both travelers and owners. The overall effect is higher prices for consumers and less of that money actually making it into the owners’ pockets, as the gap continues to grow between what travelers pay and what hosts receive.

Yet many travelers are clueless as to what’s really going on. They just see the large number of listings and quick booking options, without realizing the increasing prices and fees that lurk below the surface.

What These Fees Are Costing Renters

To give an example of these fees in action, FlipKey and its family of sites are now selling owners on a 3% commission. At the same time, they bill guests a “small” booking fee, from 8 to 14.5% – though there’s not much indication of which guests pay what and how the fees are determined for each.

Most owners will state that the average is around 16% with the 3% that they, the owner, are charged.

So, if a traveler spends $500 on a rental, they’ll end up paying out an extra $80 in fees. If a traveler’s bill is $1,000, they’ll shell out another $160. That’s enough to get a traveler an added night or two in a decent home or hotel.

But it’s not just one site doing this. Airbnb operates in much the same way, with a 6 to 12% fee for travelers and an undisclosed charge for hosts. Again, these charges add up quickly and really affect both travelers and owners.

Then there’s HomeAway’s Expanded Distribution Network, which charges owners up to 23% commissions to have their properties advertised through sites like Expedia and KAYAK. Can you imagine how much that adds to the travelers’ final price?

In short, all of these companies are seeking to commoditize vacation rentals, creating a more streamlined and transactional marketplace. But at what expense? Is a slightly more convenient booking process and the illusion of choice worth a 16% or even higher increase in price?

Many of their clients don’t think so – and are even seeking legal action. Of course, this only causes travelers to suffer even more.

How Owners and Travelers Are Closing the Gap

Frustrated travelers and home owners are now seeking out direct booking channels, like, to help close the gap in both pricing and communication. allows owners to advertise their properties on a subscription basis, instead of taking a percentage of their business. After all, owners of other businesses don’t give a percent of sales to Yelp or other advertising sites as a result of advertising there, so why should it be required for a small vacation rental company?

On the travelers’ side, sites like charge no booking fees, meaning you save at least 10 to 15% on every transaction.

When booking direct or through an online platform, travelers shouldn’t be forced to pay extra fees and commissions, whether a traveler or a home owner.

By empowering vacation rental owners to advertise in a commission-free environment, sites like provide better rates and savings for travelers. And when travelers can afford to travel more, owners earn more money from their property, ensuring that the market for unique travel accommodation will continue to thrive for years to come.

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Kyle Gale
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