Direct Booking Vs. Airbnb for Your Vacation Rental

Guests enjoy significant advantages by booking a vacation rental directly on a landlord’s site.

Thinking about planning your next vacation rental on Airbnb, Vrbo, or Expedia? Think again! Although these online travel agents (OTAs) consume much of the STR market, they may not be your best bet if you want a personalized STR experience. A direct booking site is ideally suited to your needs with attentive customer service reps tuned to your specific preferences and can save you money over the global sites. Let’s dig deeper:

Save Money on Fees and Get Better Deals

One of the main reasons why you should book a vacation rental directly on a landlord’s booking site is that you can save money on fees and get better deals. When you book through an OTA, you pay for the rental rate, commission, and service fees that the OTA charges you and the landlord. Depending on the platform and the subscription model, these fees can range from 3% to 30% of the booking value.

This adds up. For example, $2000 can include up to $600 in fees, which is tacked on to the price of your stay. For example, if the landlord seeks to make $1400 from your visit, they must charge a guest $2000 to account for the OTR fees.

You can avoid these fees or extras by booking directly on a landlord’s booking site. Landlords often plow these savings back into the business, discounting rates or offering incentives such as complimentary breakfast, welcome packs, or airport transfers if you book directly with them. You can also negotiate the price or the cancellation policy with the landlord directly, giving you more flexibility and peace of mind.

Get Better Service and Communication

Directly booking on a landlord’s booking site fosters better service and communication. When you book through an OTA, you often deal with a third-party intermediary that may not have your best interests at heart. You might encounter issues such as:

• Lack of transparency or accuracy in the property description, photos, or reviews.

• Difficulty in contacting the landlord or the OTA customer service in case of questions, problems, or emergencies.

  • Delayed or denied refunds or compensation in case of cancellations, damages, or complaints.
  • A list of “guest chores” that can include taking out the trash, doing laundry and cleaning the apartment.

You can avoid these issues by booking a vacation rental directly on a landlord’s booking site and get better service and communication through email, phone, or chat without third parties or restrictions. A personal site is likely to offer more information about the property, the location, and the amenities allowing you to discuss policies with the landlord directly. You can also expect faster and fairer resolutions in case of any disputes or inconveniences.

Enjoy a More Personalized Experience

When you book through an OTA, you are one of many guests using the same platform to find accommodation. You might get little attention or customization from the landlord or the OTA.

By booking directly on a landlord’s booking site, you can enjoy a more personalized experience and build a stronger relationship with the landlord. Many landlord sites are owned by my mom-and-pop proprietors or small businesses, which are heavily invested in the property and the area, thus offering detailed recommendations. They don’t manage hundreds of apartments and are spread too thin to deal with their guests personally. 

How to Find and Book Directly on a Landlord’s Booking Site

There are many ways to book on a landlord’s site directly. Here are some tips to follow:

Search for keywords such as “direct booking,” “book direct,” “book with us,” or “book now.” Add your destination name on Google or other search engines.

Look for logos or badges that indicate that the website is a direct booking site. These include “Book Direct & Save,” “Direct Booking Benefits,” or “Direct Booking Guarantee.”

Check out social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. See where landlords promote their direct booking sites or offer discounts or incentives for direct bookings.

Ask for referrals from friends, family, or colleagues who have booked directly on a landlord’s booking site and had a positive experience.

Contact the landlord directly through their email address or phone number. Ask them if they have a direct booking site or can offer a better deal than the OTA.


Booking your vacation rental directly on a landlord’s booking site instead of an OTA can be a great way to save money, get better service, and enjoy a more personalized experience. Following the tips above, you can find and book a direct booking site that suits your needs and expectations.

If you’re interested in booking a vacation in the Miami area and need accommodation, contact us directly, and we will be happy to assist you.

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