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Updates on the Vacation Rental Front

When you are searching for a vacation rental for your hard-earned vacation, it is imperative that you are educated about what is happening in the VR World.

Back deck off master bedroom

In February of 2016 Expedia purchased Home Away, which had purchased Vacation Rentals by Owner, commonly known as vrbo. They then quietly implemented a service fee for renters. Up until this point, they had operated on a system where we, the owners, purchased so-called "metal" subscriptions on an annual basis. These subscriptions were ranged from $299 to $1399 per year, and the more you paid, the more photos you were able to upload. The amount of your annual sub also determined your placement on the pages for your local area.

We turned our beloved home into a VR after we were relocated to Washington State in December, 2006 for my husband's career. We put the house on the market briefly but we were heading into winter and the market had flattened. After two nightmare long-term rental experiences (first party froze the hot tub solid; second froze one of the three heat zones) we decided to turn it into a vacation rental.

We furnished the four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home from scratch and put it on vrbo in November of 2008.

Living area

Since that time we have grown the Cliffs Ridge Family to include many repeat customers including some who deem it their own family ski lodge. We were #1, 2 or 3 in the vrbo listing for the Marquette area for a seven-and-a-half-year run.

Now with all of the changes enforced by vrbo, and followed quickly by Vacation Home Rentals and FlipKey (who have merged and been purchased by TripAdvisor) the customer and the owner each must be aware of the additional costs that are being charged to the customers. The goal of the majority of the traditional VR websites is to cut off the communication between owners and customers. We like to know who is in our home; we hear from our customers that they like to know us as well.

Now, more than ever, potential renters need to research a bit further and contact owners directly. My website, for instance, after a lot of hard SEO (search engine optimization) work, is on page two or three if you conduct a Google search for vacation rentals in Marquette, Michigan.

Check out our Facebook page as well:

Now that we have moved back to the Midwest we are able to spend much more time at the house and have been continually updating. An up-to-date calendar is located on the website. We hope to see you soon!

Cat and Rob

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