Online, listing services, agencies and management companies that manage vacation rentals
Vacation rentals and villa rentals are arranged either direct with the owner or through an agency, usually via the internet. Many owners have their own websites, but most also use listing services, which display property information and photos provided by the homeowner. Because each property owner has his or her own deposit and payment requirements, cancellation policies, key-pick-up procedures, etc., a guest contacts the property owner directly in order to book.
There are different kinds of listing sites, with different specialisms (for example, destination-specific, luxury, rural, etc.) and features (such as instant booking or loyalty programs).
In November 2015, Expedia bought HomeAway (which also owns VRBO and many other vacation rental brands) to compete with Airbnb and Tripz.com.
There are also other online vacation rental sites that specialize in metasearch or resort residences.
In contrast vacation rental agencies handle reservations and billing on the homeowner's behalf, and there is no direct contact between the guest and the owner. Because the fee or commission charged to an owner by an agency is higher than that charged by a listing service, the rent tends to be higher.
There are also many management companies that organize all aspects of the rental on behalf of the owner, including property management, repairs service, keyholding and cleaning services, OneFineStay in a number of European cities and Interhome in many European leisure resorts are two of the best known.
In the United Kingdom villa holidays are also sold by tour operators as packages including flights and car hire. This is convenient for guests who prefer not to make their own arrangements, but may not be cheaper and does not usually allow the guest to choose a specific property.
Most property owners contract a vacation rental management company to manage their vacation rentals. These companies handle housekeeping and property maintenance. Some management companies also act as agencies, marketing the vacation rental property, and handling reservations and billing. To make the marketing process more effective, some companies have been working on Real Estate Virtual Tours. Most vacation rental management companies work on a commission basis, meaning they do not make a guarantee to the homeowner in terms of weeks that will be rented or revenue earned. Rather, they collect a commission ranging from 20% to 50% of any revenues generated.
An alternative arrangement is where vacation rental managers provide homeowners with a guaranteed rental. Under these arrangements vacation rental managers buy all of the weeks the homeowner wishes to rent in a single transaction. This provides the homeowner with guaranteed income, and puts the risk and management burden on the rental manager.