People who have vacation rental homes have experienced tremendous changes over the last few years, and none of those changes have been good.
RICHMOND, VA, July 11, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ — “Only three years ago, the big sites were purely marketing sites. You paid a subscription fee, listed your house and that was that,” said Bunnie Riedel, President of Virginia & West Virginia Vacation Rentals (www.VAvacationrentals.com). “None of us ever expected that the big listing sites would become so intrusive into our rental business, it’s been a shock.”
“The “Sharing Economy” that was touted by large corporations hasn’t been so “sharing” after all,” said Riedel. “You see it in everything now, whether it’s personal transportation, flower delivery, home improvement, dog sitting and the list goes on. In order to get your product out there, these online sites demand more and more and at the end of the day, you’re not left with much. And never mind it’s your property, your equity, your sweat, not theirs.”
The online vacation rental platforms use the equity of the homeowners to generate enormous profits for themselves in return for increased visibility. Before, when they charged a flat fee rate, they acted like the “Auto Trader,” one pays for a certain amount of space to advertise their property and gain inquiries which lead to more rentals. This would be the “classic advertising model.”
However, that model has been replaced by a high “fee per rental” charge on both vacation homeowners and travelers, even though homeowners pay a premium to have their homes listed and advertise. Additionally, the large online platforms dictate the terms of the rental, to include fees charged for such things as cleaning or deposits required, cancellation policies, merchant accounts for processing of credit card payments, contracts for the rental and most recently, how hospitality taxes will be collected and paid.
“We’re now seeing the large online sites collect “hospitality taxes” to remit to states (not the local municipalities) and they’re doing so without accounting for how these taxes will be recorded on the particular property and vacation rental homeowners are wondering if they won’t be left hanging for unpaid hospitality taxes in the future,” said Riedel. “This really is a gross over reach and it’s a bit scary in that homeowners won’t be sure if those taxes were actually paid on their behalf.”
Virginia & West Virginia Vacation Rentals (www.VAvacationrentals.com) does none of these things; it is purely a marketing site for vacation homeowner listings.
“What I saw was a need to return to the original model, the model of the advertising site where we connect travelers with vacation rental homeowners and vice versa. We do not charge travelers a fee for simply using their keyboards and we have a low flat yearly rate for advertising,” said Riedel. “In exchange, we market individual homes and the site. Our goal is to create a win-win for both sides; the homeowner and the traveler. And perhaps that’s the biggest thing that makes us ‘different’ from the Big Guys.”
Virginia & West Virginia Vacation Rentals is a project of Riedel Communications, Inc. Since 2005, Riedel Communications has provided communications and marketing consulting to government agencies, nonprofits and for profit businesses.
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