Vacation Rental Owners/Managers: Book Direct is alive and well.

2009 seems so long ago, but that’s when we launched our first state-specific, vacation rental website: RentWisconsinCabins.com, from a home office in Waunakee, WI. Now we have 6 Live websites with plans for 21 sites by the middle of 2017. We now have ‘legit’ office space in Middleton, WI.

It didn’t take long for rental owners & property managers around the country to tell us that there is a big demand for a listing website that embraces the “Book Direct” philosophy. We speak to vacation rental owners & managers often, and the conversations are similar; “large OTA’s are out of control! They control our inventory, rates and are now charging our renters an extra traveler fee.”  Our consistent growth has confirmed that large OTA’s are not the only advertising choice.

wi-home

RentWisconsinCabins.com: Nearly 700 rentals
RentMinnesotaCabins.com: Nearly 400 rentals
RentMichiganCabins.com: Over 200 rentals
Plus our newer states RentNewYorkCabins.com, RentMontanaCabins.com and RentTennesseeCabins.com: Over 200 rentals
…We are just getting warmed up!

Our renter traffic grows an average of 48% every year. Over the last year, our websites attracted over 1 million page views.

Why take on the time & expense to roll out unique websites for so many states? It’s never been done before! By 2012, our Wisconsin website proved that (even from a home office) we can compete long term with large OTA’s in Google Search by targeting regional organic long tail keywords & topics. Search for yourself – go to Google and type in popular terms like Wisconsin vacation rentals; wisconsin cabins; wisconsin cabin rentals, etc. Then try michigan vacation rentals; michigan cabin rentals; mn cabin rentals, etc. There we are!! From these first page results, how many “book direct” websites do you see?

mn-results

We also discovered the immediate need for “traveler fee” education. We recently added a question about traveler fees to our survey and were shocked to learn that nearly every respondent had no idea that booking websites charge a traveler fee. What we’ve know for years though is that renters prefer to book vacation rentals with the owners and local managers 25-1.

What do you think of booking vacation rentals directly with owners/managers?

Joe and Team
JM Creative Group
Middleton, WI

Fishing Hot Spots in Wisconsin

Wisconsin beats Minnesota as the land of 10,000 lakes and rivals it with it’s great fishing quality. Wisconsin has some of the best fishing spots right next to your favorite Wisconsin cabin rentals. Though there are thousands of great fishing lakes; we have gathered a list of our favorite 3 lakes and what you can expect from them.

“A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work” – Unknown.

chippewa

While the Chippewa Flowage did not make the top 3, we did still want to mention this one because of its documented world record Musky reaching 69 pounds! With Hayward being home to the “can’t miss it” Fresh Fishing museum in the shape of  4 1/2 story Musky, you know what this area is known for. It has become a popular vacation destination for all Midwestern anglers. Compare 45 Hayward Cabins at RentWisconsinCabins.com; Book directly with the owners/manager to get the best rental rate. The owners will likely have some Musky fishing tips too. With perch steadily growing in population, so is Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike. Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike however are predators and make it difficult for Walleye and Muskellunge to reproduce. Local guides advise in keeping your daily limit of the legal sized Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike to help dwindling populations.

green lakeComing in at #3 is Green Lake. These Green Lake Cabins are on, or near the lake. The lake is 2 miles wide and averages 100 feet in depth but maxes out at 237 feet in depth, making this lake the deepest in Wisconsin. With these facts, it creates some of the best quality fishing in Wisconsin. Green Lake also has some of biggest variety of fishing. Some of the fish include Blue Gill, Brown Trout, Lake Trout (minimum length is 17 inches), Northern Walleye, Perch, Small Bass mouth, Large  Bass Mouth and Muskellunge (minimum length is 40 inches).

castle rock lakeAnother favorite fishing spot coming in at #2 is Castle Rock Lake in Adams County, WI. The 4th largest lake in Wisconsin is known for its sandy bottom, maxing out at 36 feet down. This man-made drainage lake is also home to these popular rod-benders – Walleye, White Bass and Crappies, but you can also find Northern Pike and Perch. Check out our Castle Rock Lake Vacation Homes.

Bass fishingComing in at #1 is Geneva Lake, in the city of Lake Geneva, WI. Though these Lake Geneva vacation homes are not on the lake, they are in town, or near town. This lake is moderately clear but that’s not why thousands of people from the Midwest travel to greet these waters. This lake is fed by fresh water springs and is home to absolutely the most prized catch: The Walleye. In fact, it’s not unusual to catch Walleye around the 10 pound mark. We can thank the Cisco here for it’s abundant supply. You can also find Northern Pike around 30 pounds and trout at 15 pounds. You can also find White bass, Rainbow Trout, Perch, Crappie, Bluegill and a heavy Smallmouth Bass population. We hear the best fishing magic happens by Williams Bay and Coleman’s Point around the 10-13 foot range. What’s your favorite fishing spot in Wisconsin?

Just in case you didn’t know:


The weather has more to do with the ability to fish more so than the affects of the moon. The barometric pressure, coverage of clouds, and wind can all lead to a great day of fishing. The moon CAN increase the chances of a great catch but it WILL NOT make it worse.

EXPLORE OUR INTERACTIVE MAP AT RENTWISCONSINCABINS.COM! ZOOM IN TO YOUR FAVORITE LAKE TO SEE THE VACATION RENTALS, OR USE THE NARROW YOUR SEARCH TOOL TO FIND RENTALS THAT MEET YOUR UNIQUE RENTAL NEEDS.

Enjoying a Fall Vacation in Wisconsin – “Colorama”

If we ask vacationers to tell us their favorite vacation memory, we typically don’t expect to hear about their road trip. Bustled with excitement, the road trip always seems to take longer than anticipated. Traveling with kids? We’re sure you’re used to the classic, “ARE WE THERE YET?!” We don’t even think we’re crazy to suggest that some adults may have slipped this phrase now and then. And finally, as the vacation comes to a close and you’re all packed up you’ll think, “Do we really have to go now?” That’s the drive home that no one is ready for.

It’s time to enjoy the road trip too.

We get it. When compared to the vacation itself, it’s hard to compete. But as fall begins in Wisconsin, we want to change this mentality. Sure, biking the scenic trails of Wisconsin, visiting an apple orchard, enjoying autumn inspired events and other fun activities may trump the “drive time.” Yet, we can say that this colorful drive will be something to enjoy.

Don’t dread the travel time! It’s time to enjoy the colorful drive to your next vacation destination. It’s not too late to book your perfect Wisconsin vacation property. And where can you turn to find that? We’ve got you covered. Search over 700 Wisconsin vacation rentals & book directly with the property owners to save.

Wisconsin, Fall, Colorful, Road trip, Driving, Autumn

For those of you looking for a Wisconsin color report, we recommend using the Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report tool – it’s pretty neat. 

Traveling On a Budget, It Can Be Done

Memorable Vacation Experiences Without a Huge Price Tag

  1. Vacation Properties vs. Hotels
    Opt for vacation properties, not overpriced hotels. For longer trips, vacationers can expect to pay less when renting cabins, cottages, lodges, and homes. Plus these properties offer amenities that hotels can’t offer: full kitchens, washer/dryer, ample space, and fantastic locations.
  2. Budget for your vacation
    Once you decide that you want to take a vacation, financially plan for it. Take a small amount out of each paycheck, then plan how you wish to allocate your savings. The goal is to not be surprised — plan ahead and research some pricing prior to your vacation.
  3. Avoid traveling during the peak-season
    Many people look to vacation during the peak travel weeks, for Wisconsin that can be in both the summer and winter. But vacationer interest means more competitive pricing. Avoid that and book your vacation during the shoulder season.
  4. You don’t have to a lot pay to have a great vacation experience
    Stop having the mindset that every great activity costs a lot of money — that’s a hoax. Instead, look for properties that are near affordable attractions that interest you.

    • Love to bike? Many of the vacation properties are near popular bike paths.
    • End your evening around a campfire with your friends and family. Share stories around the crackling fire or make dinner over the flame. This Wisconsin tradition is so popular that many properties include a firepit with the rental, you’ll just need to supply the firewood and snacks!
    • If you enjoy shopping at unique shops and checking out local restaurants, search for vacation properties that offer that small-town-charm. You can spend an entire afternoon exploring the area.
    • How could we forget about Wisconsin’s lakefront properties. Step right outside your door for an entire day of fun.
  5. Take advantage of the property’s kitchen and/or grill
    We’re aren’t saying that you shouldn’t eat out on vacation — heck we encourage some indulgence. Instead, do both. Take a trip to the local grocery store; then pack a picnic for an afternoon or spend an evening grilling out. Going out to eat is never your only option with a vacation cabin, cottage, lodge, or home.

Everyone deserves a vacation here and there! Use RentWisconsinCabins.com to start your search — travel on!

Other Popular Wisconsin vacation destinations:

    Eagle River          |          Hayward         |         Wisconsin Dells

Vacationing in Large Groups

Make sure the smiles are for real!

This summer my family is having a reunion at the same Northern-Wisconsin resort my parents owned in the 70’s and 80’s. Hats-off to my mom who is organizing the trip for 16 to 18 people. Heck, organizing a weekend getaway for my family 4 (5 with the dog) is nearly impossible.

Do you have what it takes to organize a large group?

Leadership
Don’t go into the leadership role halfway; reluctant leadership is worse than none at all. Remember, the best leaders actively delegate.

People
Avoid looking back on your trip and saying, “we should have done some group psychological testing before the trip.” I know, it’s not practical to ask my two sisters, (I mean) everyone you’re considering traveling with to submit to testing (no matter how tempting the idea is). But, if your group came together by happenstance; the Leader should ask questions. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers; their greatest value is self-awareness.

General Attitudes
The passive/aggressive is the achilles heel of any travel group. They will not state their needs up front, but they will openly complain during and after the fact if their needs are not met. Avoid them at all costs! Get answers…How much time do you want/expect to spend with the group? How much alone? What travel pace do you prefer?

Money
Differing attitudes about money is one of the key factors leading to divorce. If $ can split up people who plan to spend their lives together, imagine what it can do to those who’ve only committed to 7 days of togetherness. Ask about equally handling big expenses (example, damages to rental property) which we know would never really happen.

Do everything you can to enjoy your vacation and, if you have accepted the role of Leader, part of your job is to help your entire group SMILE.

We want to help you explore Wisconsin, visit RentWisconsinCabins.com

Things to Look For to Get What You Want in a Vacation Rental

Don’t Be Surprised…Ask the Right Questions

  1. Photos — Look for properties with great photos of the interior and exterior that help you envision the vacation property. If the property states that there are 4 bedrooms and you only see photos of 2, ask for more! Don’t let yourself be surprised when you show up to your rented vacation property…you should have a pretty clear idea of what to expect beforehand.
  2. Details — Some property owners include fantastic descriptions about their vacation properties. You’ll want to get a pretty good idea of the layout of the home, any unique features, and area activities beforehand. Property owners love to put on their tour guide hat, just ask for more information!
  3. Location — Many vacationers are looking for a specific vacation setting when traveling. For example, a WI traveler may search for properties on a lake or snowmobile trail. It is important to distinguish what an owner defines as “Near the Lake” or “On a Snowmobile Trail.” If you are not finding clear answers regarding the proximity of the rental to whatever setting you are searching for…ASK.
  4. Configuration — Included in many of the owners detail sections is how they accommodate their guests. If the property sleeps 6, find out how the property does that – what are the bed sizes, are some of the beds sleeper sofas?
  5. Pet Friendly — Over a third of the vacation rentals on RentWisconsinCabins.com are pet friendly, but it is important to distinguish what exactly this means. Some vacation properties welcome all pets and have huge yards to accommodate them. Other rentals may apply a small fee for pets or  only accept smaller animals. If you plan to travel with a pet, make sure to figure out exactly what the vacation owner means by “Pet Friendly.”
  6. What to Bring — Don’t forget about the basics. What’s included in the kitchen and what linens (if any) need to be brought? Then think about the specific amenities that your vacation rental offers.
    • If the property is on water …Do you need to bring life jackets?
    • If there is an outdoor firepit …Do you need to bring wood or a fire fork to cook s’mores & hotdogs?
    • If the property has a washer/dryer …Do you need to bring detergent?
  7. Communication — It used to be that a vacation would cut off your communication with the outside world. Nowadays, staying in contact via internet and cell phones is very important to some vacationers. Cell phone coverage greatly varies between various vacation properties and it may be worth your time to ask if you’re concerned.
  8. Cleaning — Ask the owners if you’re expected to clean at the end or beginning of your stay. Many properties do this for you, but may apply a cleaning fee. Because each property is different, ask beforehand so there are no surprises.
  9. Extra Guests — Many vacation properties base their pricing on the number of people staying at the property. Look for specifications as to how many guests the property sleeps and if there are extra surcharges associated with extra guests. Don’t let hidden fees surprise you, get all the information from the start.
  10. Questions — If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or send an email.

 

See Places You Never Knew You Wished To See

If a vacationer clicked on our MAP of Wisconsin vacation rentals with no idea of where they wanted to go, it could look somewhat overwhelming. That’s because there are so many great places in Wisconsin to see. There are destinations throughout Wisconsin for all types of vacationers. Those that love to water ski, hunt, relax by the water and read a book, or hangout with the family inside a cozy cottage. We know there are a lot of choices, that’s why we are here to help.

Solutions for the undecided Wisconsin traveler:

  1. Use the Narrow Your Search tool to find WI vacation rentals that meet your criteria. Just enter some information like the number in your party, rental setting, budget, etc. to find a group of Wisconsin properties that fit your needs.
  2. Ask around – family, friends, neighbors. See where they’ve gone or would like to go in WI. Then use our interactive MAP of WI to find properties in that specific area.
  3. This last idea is spontaneous, but it will surely be a fun-filled adventure. Print off our MAP and place it on the wall. Throw a dart at the map and see where it lands and viola there’s your destination.

Sometimes it’s not really where go. Throughout Wisconsin there are many activities and things to do in all regions. So stop stressing about planning your vacation, relax you’re on cabin time now.

                       Some popular WI vacation locations:

St. Germain          |          Eagle River          |          Twin Lakes

~ RentWisconsinCabins.com