Travel warning: How to avoid fraud when renting a beach holiday home


When planning a wonderful weekend getaway or a great vacation time at a vacation home, be aware that scammers are ready and waiting to take your money, leaving you without that beautiful beach house you thought you had booked. How to avoid being a victim of online abuse? Be aware and smart. Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Use your common sense and caution and you can book a wonderful vacation for you and your family in a great location. Do your research. Use reputable travel websites for just one thing. See recommendations for a beach house you want to rent. While there are many vacation rental sites on the Internet, not all created equal. See comments and blogs on the actual site you are looking for and choosing.

Are you open to going anywhere that looks good or do you have a specific place in mind? Are your dates tight or can you be flexible? Going to a place that is off the beaten track can offer you new adventures and things you may not have thought of. If you are open to different times of the year and date, you may be able to negotiate a free night or a significant discount, don’t be afraid to ask!

One of the currently common fake bookings involves money reviews. Never book a place or send a cash invoice as a payment. This is a sure sign that someone on your site is “stuffed”. This can happen without the owner even knowing; their website is being hacked, and inquiries from legitimate renters like you are directed to their email account.

That happened recently with a California holiday home in Marin County. The landlord made an initial inquiry to the homeowner via the paid travel website. After initial contact and response, the owner’s email was compromised and the landlord was now dealing with the scam. The official layout contract was sent to the landlord on the rental dates with instructions to send the invoice to the name and address in Houston, Texas. The potential landlord went to Walmart to send him the money, and he just mentioned that it was kind of funny to send it to him. The clerk wisely warned him and decided to call the owner directly. Luckily for him, because it was a scam. As it happened, the house was open, so he could book directly with the owner by paying with PayPal.

Be careful, and you can have a wonderful time in a holiday home rental property and create beautiful and lasting memories of a once-in-a-lifetime event!



Marketing your vacation home, part two – Internet marketing


This article, the second part in a series, will help holiday home owners learn more about marketing real estate for rent online. It is important to understand that people looking for a vacation home usually ask for more than they can get with brand names. They usually want space, privacy, laundry facilities and – almost always – a lower price than if they were staying at a hotel.
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One major difference between booking a private vacation home and a branded hotel chain is that you know in advance what you will get when you book a hotel chain. Plus, if things aren’t quite right, you always have a manager on hand to sort things out for you. Holiday homes, on the other hand, are almost always rented privately owned and operated, and in the past you could never be sure what you were going to get.
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The internet has changed everything when it comes to marketing rental properties. Now potential renters can visit the website to view pictures and read information about home rental homes before making a final decision – meaning online real estate marketing should be a top priority.

Advantages of online rental real estate marketing

By looking at your rental property online, you have the perfect inexpensive way to display a vacation home vacation world. Internet marketing can put you in balance with large hotel chains; in fact it actually gives you an advantage. While their website will be practical and informative, you can set aside time and TLC to keep your site warm and comfortable, while assuring potential renters that your vacation home will more than meet their requirements.

In addition, setting up a website for your vacation home allows you a global presence. Although the vacation rental market in the United States is still in its infancy, in many other countries the rule is that families stay in vacation homes rather than hotels. Marketing through an online rental property can help a U.S. owner reach out to a family from abroad and take them home.

Putting a holiday home online

There are several ways you can use the Internet to market your rental property:

  • Create your website
  • List the house for rent with a real estate agent or manager
  • Find a vacation home in one of the many vacation spots

While all three rental property marketing options have their place, creating your own website is a must. Owning your own site gives you complete control over displaying your vacation home to potential renters. If someone contacts who you want to rent your home to, do you really want to send them to a website that contains other homes similar to yours? Remember, there are always other owners who are also involved in using the internet to market their rental property and who will underestimate you just to get a rental. Listing sites can help you reach more people, but in the end you want the renter to see your individual site.

Create your own website for your vacation home

Your website should consist of the following standard pages that are all important for the optimal marketing of your rental property:

  • Home page
  • Property description
  • Photo gallery
  • Visitor information
  • Prices
  • Contact information

Home page

Homepage is probably the most important part of your rental property marketing strategy, as this is the first point of contact for visitors with your home. Make sure your homepage design is simple, clean and messy. Consider adding two images, not just one, to make your site stand out from the competition. One image can be a traditional shot in front of the house, while the other image can be something that separates the rental property – a great view, a beautiful sunrise, a view by the pool and so on. You can also consider photographing a house lit at night, which will surely make the picture memorable.


You will also need to write a text to help you market your rental. This step may not be difficult, but you need time and think a little about what you want to say. You want to sell your home, not just state the facts. The text should help potential renters imagine coming back to your pool with a cold drink while watching the kids get ready. Set the scene first, not start with a list of the best things about your vacation home. Be descriptive and use your imagination by selling your rental property in a way that will make the reader want to know more.

To get a few ideas of what you should focus on in the text, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love about your family and friends about a vacation home?
  • What do you enjoy working when you are there?
  • Is there something you’ve found that you love that is mostly unknown in or near your vacation home?
  • What special features does your home offer?
  • What would you like to know if you intend to rent this property?

General ideas about painting

Using quality pictures of the exterior and interior of your home cannot be overstated for successfully advertising a rental property. In a highly competitive area like Florida, pictures could make the difference between securing a reservation or leaving. Sometimes a potential guest will consider several facilities with the same features and the same price. In that case, guests will undoubtedly choose a holiday home that they like in appearance. This means that quality images are key to the successful marketing of your rental property. Frequent image errors are poorly lit, taken from strange angles, containing decks and porches devoid of furniture or having inappropriate items (wet towels, piles of paper, and so on).

Some additional things you should consider when selling your photo rental property are:

  • Consider using flowers. A fresh vase of flowers may be welcome, but don’t overdo it and don’t be tempted to take a photo of a vase of flowers once – it will look silly if the same vase constantly appears in different rooms.
  • Set up the tables. In a formal dining room, open a bottle of wine, fill wine glasses, light candles and use napkins. In the kitchen part of the dining room set it up for dinner with the family, with more casual places to set up, pots of lemonade and so on.
  • Make sure you rent a vacation home in the kitchen. It should be flawless, with a cup of fruit on the counter. Basically, it is desirable that the home looks as if it is alive and as if you are just waiting for guests to come.
  • Make bedrooms welcoming by putting away sheets, smearing pillows, and putting magazines and books on bedside tables.
  • Take a photo of the bathroom in the evening. Fill the tub, add lots of bubbles, light candles, have fluttering towels and maybe a glass of red wine to create an atmosphere.
  • Use a digital camera so you can take hundreds of pictures of your vacation home. Even if you are not a photographer, you will surely get some good ones that you can use to market your rental property.

The rental real estate market with your own website can be part of a strategy that uses many other techniques, from print ads to online listings on real estate marketing sites, allowing you to attract more renters to your property. Future articles in this series will explore additional ways to market a vacation home and their benefits to you.