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Vacation Rentals

5 questions to ask when booking a vacation rental

Feb 07, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - From Pittsburg to Green Bay and beyond, the word is out: Vacation rentals offer a travel lifestyle unlike any other, providing unmatched space, amenities, services and privacy. In fact, the customizable vacation possibilities are endless.

For example, while many guests today find "home away from home" familiarities like bath toiletries, fresh linens, personal concierges or even options for childcare, additional perks might include free bicycles, private pools, in-home movie theatres with DVD rentals, or access to a fitness center with an indoor water park.

It's easy to become overwhelmed with the millions of vacation rental choices online, many listed from companies or individual owners that offer various strengths and weaknesses. Following are five questions to consider when planning a vacation rental trip:

Is there a rental agreement? Review the terms & conditions carefully. If in doubt, check with the state and/or local municipality to confirm whether the manager or owner has a business license and is paying lodging taxes.
If I have questions during my stay, do I have someone I can call for assistance? Established companies will offer an emergency guest services contact that guests can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for questions, maintenance issues, and more.

How do I know if I'm getting reliable services and facilities? Look for third-party endorsements on vacation rental websites, including membership in industry associations like the Vacation Rental Managers Association, Better Business Bureau (BBB) and local tourism or property management groups. You can also request and evaluate past guest reviews, comments and references.

How do I make a reservation? You should be offered standardized, secure phone and/or Internet reservations systems, with the ability to accept major credit cards. Security deposits can also be expected.

Should I go with a pro? Choose a professionally managed vacation rental to ensure you'll get consistent hospitality services and quality assurance standards, as well as professionally cleaned and managed homes, ongoing & objective inspections and concierge type services that provide destination expert advice.

5 questions to ask when booking a vacation rental
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