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:, 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 Nearly 700 rentals Nearly 400 rentals Over 200 rentals
Plus our newer states, and 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?


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

Chippewa Retreat is one of Wisconsin’s finest resorts

Rent a Lakeside villa for multiple purposes. Use this for family reunions, family getaways, corporate retreat weekends, weddings and more. This year round resort offers many amenities and luxurious amenities. Each villa comes with:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Linens Provided
  • Furnished Kitchen
  • Vehicle and Trailer Parking
  • Fireplace
  • Outdoor Firepit
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Fishing Boat Available
  • Pier/Dock
  • Pool
  • Deck or Patio
  • WiFi Internet
  • VCR/DVD Player
  • Satellite/Cable TV
  • Year-round Rental
  • Canoe/Kayak

Expert staff on hand can help you organize your group accommodations, needs and personal touches.

To view a video of the resort villas and grounds, click here.

Enjoy pool side in the cabana, complete with a double sided fireplace and plenty of tables with umbrellas and more.

On site restaurant and bar provide exquisite brunches, dinners, and desserts with terrific presentation.

Planning a wedding? Chippewa Retreat can help you plan your lakeside dream wedding of up to 250 people.

Scroll through to see resort and villa pictures. Click on the links to view more about each villa.

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Chippewa Retreat: Duck Blind Lower

Chippewa Retreat: Duck Blind Upper

Chippewa Retreat: Lily Pad Lower

Chippewa Retreat: Lily Pad Upper

Chippewa Retreat: The Den

Chippewa Retreat: The Lair

Chippewa Retreat: The Nest

Chippewa Retreat: The Perch

Introducing 2 new properties to!

Willow Shores: Birch

Willow Shores in Beaver Dam provide a terrific and comfortable home away from home. This rental sits on a double lot on Beaver Dam Lake to ensure more privacy for your vacation. A fantastic country home perfect for all of your family needs. Enjoy the sleek and modern finishing touches! This vacation rental sleeps 6. No matter what the weather is, you will have something to do for everyone. August and September 2015 availability! To view more information or to inquire/book directly with the owner, please click here: Willow Shores: Birch

Albany House River Cottage

This Pet friendly cottage is located in Albany, Wisconsin. When it’s time to truly relax on vacation, try the spa room, whirlpool, and fireplace. For some recreation fun, enjoy fishing, tubing, or canoeing the Sugar River, which is in the backyard. Hop on a bicycle and bike through the gentle hills to New Glarus to taste some famous Spotted Cow at the New Glarus Brewery or try an artisan cheese at the Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus. Come and enjoy a simpler time. For more information or to inquire/book, please click here: Albany House River Cottage

#PetFriendly Accommodations Set the Standard for New Trends in Vacation Rentals

It’s always been a question Wisconsin vacation rental owners ask themselves; “Should we allow pets at our vacation rental property?” The answer will depend if they could use the extra bookings. Traveling with pets is a trend that’s not going away any time soon, and I would be surprised if it ever went away, but the desire to bring pets along has become increasingly important in where vacationers stay. Other than instilling a pet deposit, what can you do to ensure that you do not turn away any business unless absolutely necessary?


Questions to ask renters about their pets:

  1. How big is your pet?
  2. What breed is she? Do you have papers to prove this?
  3. Has he been neutered or spade?
  4. Is he good around strangers?
  5. Is he potty trained?
  6. Do you leash the dog ( there could be a leash law)
  7. Has he had his shots?
  8. Are you planning on leaving your pet for any reason if you exit the property?

You might ask why it’s such a big deal to allow pets. They can be messy right? Well, there are a few bad apples out there but if you ask the right questions and prepare your home with the right stuff and give your guests directions, it can be nothing but smooth sailing from there, and guess what? You can actually charge more for your “pet friendly” Wisconsin cabin rentals.

A few suggestions for showing your guests that you will be accommodating but not walked all over:

  1. Create a welcome gift consisting of doggie bags, a helpful list of tick solutions, doggie treats and pet hair rollers for carpet or couches.
  2. Give a rundown where the carpet cleaner is, the glass cleaner and extra rags or booties for paws
  3. State a list for charges if something were to be damaged such as a couch or a window. Explain why there you charge more, such as cleaning fees to make sure all hair is out, cleaning vents and A/C units, etc….

Most guests are just happy that they can bring their pet for their vacation, eliminating the kennel fees and enjoying family and fun moments that the can share with their beloved pet.

Point Cabin – Peaceful and Secluded

Just Added Rental Cabin in Boulder Junction

Looking for a picturesque escape in Wisconsin? Visit Point Cabin on the Wildcat chain. This unique property is surrounded by water on three sides – each room offers great lake views! Point Cabin offers ultimate privacy and allows vacationers to enjoy all that the Northwoods has to offer. Relax on the deck, watch the loons, and listen to the birds chirping in the trees.  This vacation cabin in Boulder Junction is near many restaurants, shops, and galleries.

The cabin features three bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. This cabin is privately owned, but managed by a local resort. This allows vacationers to utilize the resorts amenities: beach area, canoes, kayaks, tennis courts, and other weekly activities. Whether you are looking for a private getaway, a family fun adventure, or something in between, Point Cabin is a great option.

Point Cabin

Point Cabin in Boulder Junction, WI

Northwoods deck and lake view

Spacious deck and lake views

                     Other Popular WI vacation destinations:

              Eagle River          |          Twin Lakes         |         Wisconsin Dells

Experience This Ridge-Top Cabin

On Mississippi Ridge – WI Vacation Home

Nestled on Eagle Mountain is this vacation cabin that overlooks the Mississippi River. The vacation cabin in Ferryville, WI features a large deck which offers great views of the river and sunsets. There is a custom built fire-pit to enjoy the wonderful evenings in Wisconsin. The interior of the home offers the charm of a classic cabin or cottage with modern amenities. This two bed, two bath is great for a family or a group of friends.

Ferryville is on Mississippi and offers great recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hunting, kayaking, & hiking. In the area there are 165 bald eagle nests and 306 different species of birds!

Upcoming events in Ferryville:

  • Market in the Park – Visit the Sugar Creek Park for the local market each Saturday from mid May – October.
  • River Bluff Daze – This family friendly event is held July 28. Come check out the antique track pull, kids activities, food, and beverages. Stick around for a fireworks show in the evening over the Mississippi river.


                           Other popular WI vacation locations:

          Eagle River          |          Twin Lakes         |         Wisconsin Dells   


New Member Listing near Tomahawk, Wisconsin

McCarthy’s Breezy Bay Retreat is located along side of Lake Nokomis, near Tomahawk, Wisconsin. The two Bedroom cottage sleeps up to six (four adults). Some local activities and shows include the Kwahamot Water Ski Club, paint-balling, Harley Davidson factory tour, excellent fishing, snowmobiling and hiking trails, etc.

Whether you’re looking for a family vacation or a weekend get-away, it’s time to treat yourself.

                         Popular 2012 destinations in Wisconsin

                                                      Wisconsin Dells    |    St. Germain    |     Minocqua