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

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.

 

Coming Soon: New Site Design

Cheers to you! Since RentWisconsinCabins.com was launched, we have had 1.3 million+ website visits! We NOW have the largest selection of Wisconsin vacation rentals on the internet – and we are continuing to grow! Coming this November, we are launching our new website design.

Features to the new RentWisconsinCabins.com Design:

  • Enhanced search tool – Continue to Narrow Your Search by your criteria: WI destination, travel dates, amount in party, price range, and more.
  • Google interactive map
  • A detail page for each rental – detailed property descriptions for each property
  • An awesome new design

Here is a sneak peek of what is coming. Stay tuned for more news and updates about the launch in November!

Rent Wisconsin Cabins updated design

We hope that you are just as excited as we are!

Planning in Advance vs. Last Minute Travel

Many vacationers know their favorite way to travel. Some enjoy having their getaway planned out completely months in advance. Others are happy with a weeks notice. There are definite advantages to both forms of travel.

Planned  vacation advantages:

  1. Options and openings. Where do you want to go? If you are booking well in advance, chances are that they are many options. Don’t allow your vacation to depend on what properties are available, choose the property that works best for your traveling needs. Be able to choose your rental according to criteria like what region in WI you prefer, the rental style, and the vacation setting.
  2. More time to prepare. Now that you have picked your favorite vacation rental and location, what do you want to do? By having all the dates set up, a vacationer is able to form a list of what exactly they want to do and see.
  3. Scheduling. Booking ahead allows for the trip to fit into the majority of the party’s schedules. As the dates approach, individuals can organize around the vacation to allow for less scheduling conflicts.

Spontaneous vacation advantages:

  1. Bargains. Property owners never want an opening for their vacation rental. A spontaneous trip sometimes means that you can find great deals. Search around for specials to find great properties at low prices.
  2. Weather. Wisconsin is a state of all four seasons. Some vacationers love a specific time of year and plan their trip just around that. If one is looking for a great skiing trip, pay attention to the weather and plan your vacation just after a great snow fall. The same is done throughout all the seasons, last-minute vacationers are known to plan around the weather.
  3. Adventure. Do something that you never imaged. Some vacationers love traveling to a new destination with no clear plans. Each region in Wisconsin offers something unique. Planning a spontaneous trip allows vacationers to enjoy what that area has to offer.

The decision is up to the vacationer. Whether you are planning your trip for next weekend or for next year, Rent Wisconsin Cabins is here to help.

 

New Property Listed in Central WI: Canyon Park Cabin

Here’s yet another vacation rental that we have JUST added. The Canyon Park Cabin in Dodgeville, Wisconsin offers comfort, relaxation, and fun. Get out and explore the 44 acres of land just outside your front steps. Hiking trails will lead you through the woods to a beautiful pond and stream. Enjoy the property year round – each season brings something new. Relax outside by the fire-pit or enjoy the fireplace inside the cabin. The property can sleep up 8 (4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms). Relax indoors with all the comforts of a modern home: AC, full kitchen, VCR/DVD, linens provided, and a charcoal grill.

cozy cabin in wisconsin

Things to Do in the Dodgeville, WI Area

  • A popular recreational activity in the Dodgeville area is biking along the Military Ridge Trail which is just a few miles from the property. The trail was once a railroad track and has since been converted to a gorgeous bike trail.
  • Located less than 20 miles from the cabin is Cave of the Mounds. It’s the perfect day trip for all ages and is open year round! The beautiful cave was accidentally discovered in August 4, 1939 when workers blasted into it in their search for limestone. Because of all the hype and excitement, the cave was opened about a year later for visitors. In the following 8 weeks after the opening, over 59,000 visitors came to check out the cave. Since this, more and more are coming from all regions to check out this natural beauty.
  • Travelers visit Governor Dodge State Park for biking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, boating, and much more. Take an afternoon to enjoy the park or return each day – there is so much to see and enjoy all in one area.

      

               Other Popular Wisconsin vacation destinations:

    Eagle River          |          Twin Lakes         |         Wisconsin Dells

Recently Added Vacation Property: Lake Front Cabin

We’ve just listed the Lake Front Cabin in Fifield, WI. The year round vacation rental has 3 bedrooms and sleeps 6. The vacation property is nestled in the Chequamegon National forest. Vacationers have easy access to hiking, snowmobile, and ATV trails.  Take a few steps and relax next to the Pike Lake Chain which is known for musky, walley and cropie fishing. The lake is great for water recreation and the pier can house boats and jet skis.

Enjoy the Northwoods in this Lake Front Cabin rental!

Wonderful Views of Pike Lake Chain From the Cabin

One of the 3 Cozy Bedrooms

Inviting Living Area

What We’ve Heard Back From Travelers

It’s time to let vacationers speak for RentWisconsinCabins.com for a bit.

  • “I like it…didn’t even know this website existed. I will visit more often” (Brian from WI)
  • “I have found this website to be very helpful and informational in finding out some of the things that I needed and wanted to find out about trying to plan a family get away for me and my family. Although I really look forward to planning and making reservations for me and my family I won’t hesitate to visit the site again for more information.” (Teshima from IL)
  • “Great website! pretty sure my wife wants to take about 8 vacations next summer now.” (Bill from WI)
  • “Your web. is very easy to use and thank you!” (DJ from NY)
  • “The website it great!! My wife and I love trying out new cabins in Wisconsin, so relaxing!!” (Mark from IL)
  • “I have used this website to find a weekend rental twice this year and really like it! It can be very time consuming and difficult to find a good rental but this website makes it easy.” (Kari from WI)

More testimonials can be read on RentWisconsinCabins.com