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Vacation Rental Sites Comparisons (Part I)

homeawayimagesThe new wave of vacations and online resources for them is in finding vacation rental units such as homes, apartments, and condos. Many property owners have vacant units they’d like to rent out, but aren’t professionals in the business of advertising like hotels and resorts have become.

Yet for many who want a reality-based vacation in which they meet real locals, eat real local cuisine, and participate in actual local events, renting from (you guessed it) locals fits the bill. Rather than the usual made(up)-to-order, cookie-cutter vacation packages offered by big resorts and cruise lines, many would prefer a more down-to-earth vacation experience. Plus it’s often cheaper.

Since this phenomenon seems to be gaining a lot of attraction with the online vacation community and since resources to serve this community are popping up everywhere, a review of what’s available might be helpful.

We’ve chosen six of the most popular of these sites and are going to look at each of them to show their strengths and weaknesses as well as what those who’ve used them have to say about their service. There will be three in this review and three more in Part II along with a sum-up.

Cyberrentals.com
logo1Owned by Homeaway.com (below), Cyberrentals.com offers rental properties using the Homeaway.com database. The site is not as slick or easily-used as Homeaway.com is. See below for more information.

Greatrentals.com
logo2This site is also owned by Homeaway.com (below) and uses their database. It’s not quite as slick or easily-used as the Homeaway.com site is and offers little to differentiate itself. See below for more information.

Homeaway.com
picture-41Of the sites on our list, Homeaway.com is definitely the most well-known in the vacation rental genre. This site is affiliated with the two above sites (Cyberrentals and Greatrentals) and one other (listed in Part II), but of the four is the more user-friendly. Since all four are owned by the same company and use the same database, our review here is the primary review for all four sites.

The Homeaway.com site is easy to use and has nice listing templates that give all the information you’ll need to decide of a place is right for you. Properties listed include all non-hotel/motel accommodations, so there are some resorts and similar places listed. The vast majority of the listings, however, are homes and condominiums. Searches can be made by availability, amenities, and, of course, location.

Overall, Homeaway.com is a nice site that’s easily navigated and straightforward for the user. It is, however, the most popular site online in this genre and because of that, many of the listings are not truly small vacation rentals. A quick run-through of searches in various popular destinations shows that a lot of them are professional resorts or multi-unit facilities. So be sure you know what you’re getting before you rent.

In Part II of this review, we’ll look at three more vacation rental sites and then give a summary along with our favorite of the group.

13 Comments on this Post

  1. ghermine

    There are many more sites than those mentioned here. Owner managed save guests the most, so I suggest Googling “vacation rentals CITY NAME.” The usual listing sites will appear, but so will independent home owners with experience renting to vacationers.

    I find tips on how to avoid rental scams and good rate discounts on http://www.ecoluxuryliving.com

    Reply
  2. Surveying their strengths and weaknesses is something that could challenge them to improved or maintained their current status…

    If they improved more their quality then they could gained more attractions from the people….

    Reply
  3. Qbert

    This sounds like a FAKE PLUG by someone who works for or is in some way affiated with Homeaway (Cyber Rentals and Great Rentals are OWNED by Homeaway….coincidence?). They DO have a great inventory, and their site is user friendly; however they “bought” this inventory by aquiring the above two mentioned sites, a1vacations, fewo direkt, holiday rentals (U.K.), and one in France. Insofar as multimedia tools…not at all impressive…and they get a “kick back” for many services they offer to owners (credit card processor, sales tax reporting, etc). In all a good website, and vacation rentals ARE the way to travel.

    Reply
  4. Why only review homeaway sites?

    Reply
  5. Why only review homeaway sites?

    Reply
  6. It is all about being found easily through the search engines. Or having the name that everyone knows. It is having the best product at the best price too. So be competitive on your rental rates.
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    Reply
  7. TrishaOsborne

    As Steve said, here we have only homeaway rental sites. I recommend Carnival Cruises Ships which as the name suggests, it is a holiday cruise company. Last summer I went on holiday with them and I had a very good vacation and that is why I recommend them further to other people that want to visit exotic places and people ready for intercultural experiences and let's not forget the fun:))

    Reply
  8. What is the percentage rate of the owner and the management who will handle the renting advertisements? But, of course that's good idea that there's a property management, It will be hassle free for the owner.

    Reply
  9. What is the percentage rate of the owner and the management who will handle the renting advertisements? But, of course that's good idea that there's a property management, It will be hassle free for the owner.

    Reply
  10. anielle

    It is all about being found easily through the search engines. Or having the name that everyone knows. It is having the best product at the best price too. So be competitive on your rental rates.masini de inchiriat

    Reply
  11. Thanks for the links. Your article is very useful for me.
    Good continuation

    Reply
  12. Anybody fell odd about giving CyberRentals or HomeAway your credit card number? No PayPal or anything.

    Reply
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