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Booking Steamboat Vacation Rentals Without Fees

Chances are good that if you are booking a vacation rental in Steamboat Springs, you've been perusing the well-known vacation home marketing sites...VRBO, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor/Flipkey. You're probably also looking at some of the bigger local players. Not only are these sites costly for owners to list on, they are also costing renters in a big way. Between subscription fees, administrative fees, and credit card fees, costs keep going up for property owners to get bookings through these sites. And what does that mean for Steamboat vacation home seekers? Higher nightly rates and added fees, of course.

Here's an example...I recently lost a house I manage and decided to look it up on one of the biggies to see what it's listed for and I was blown away. My February rental rate? Approximately $700 per night. The rate now? $1723 per night and that doesn't include all the fees!!! And that's the sale rate! I'm not kidding. I still manage a place 2 doors has an over-the-top amenity package...I'm talking robes, luxury linens, a total tech package with TV's in every room, XBox, Sonos, media room with giant screen and surround sound...the hot tub even has an overhead porch heater! And it has the same layout! But the prices aren't even in the same stratosphere!

So what can a smart shopper do? Get Googling and find independent listings, go direct to owners or managers, find small management your homework! I promise, you'll save a bunch if you book direct with homeowners and property managers who are not in bed with one of the big listing sites. At Steamboat Elite ( we have a small number of luxury vacation rentals and while we do list on the bigger listing sites, if you come to us directly we are more than happy to help. Now, to be clear, if you find our homes on one of the major sites and you submit an inquiry through them, it's game over. You are locked in to renting through their site and you'll pay the service fee. But that doesn't mean you can't try to negotiate the price or ask for a service fee refund from the owner/manager. For a 5 or more night stay, I'll go for it every time!

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