Home Sharing Websites: Safe or Risky?

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Is it time to plan your next vacation, and you are curious about the new home sharing websites? Or are you a frequent traveler who is looking for a long term investment opportunity that will allow you to enjoy amazing, stress-free vacations?  Let’s discuss the differences between timeshare vacation investments and home sharing options so you can figure out what choice is best for your next trip.

Home Sharing Vacation Rentals: New Concept

Home sharing websites are a newer vacation rental concept that has really increased in popularity over the last five years. Popular home share websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and Housetrip are becoming more and more utilized for vacation rentals and the industry is growing fast. The private accommodation market grew faster than the total US travel market in 2016, and is believed to be worth more than $36 billion now. That’s a whole lot of travelling! Home sharing websites list properties online that owners rent out as short or long term lodging to potential travelers. The property description and photos are online and you request a reservation based on calendar availability. Your credit card on file is used to pay for any confirmed bookings. Some properties require payment to be made in advance, and others allow you to secure a reservation with a deposit alone.

What are the Risks of Home Sharing Rentals?

The 18 to 44 year old demographic is the number one age group who uses the home sharing service. As it can be a good option to find lower prices and a more authentic travel experience, that aspect is appealing to younger travelers.  The downside of home sharing services is that sometimes the advertised property is not what you thought you were booking based on photos and descriptions alone.  Some properties are intentionally misrepresented to trick unsuspecting renters into a property that doesn’t meet their cleanliness standards. Another con to home sharing as a vacation rental is that it can be difficult to resolve problems if the owner is unavailable or unattentive. An online rating system is useful so you can review the property after your stay, in order to share your experience with other travelers interested in booking a certain property. Likewise, the hosts can also review travelers to avoid renting their property to unrespectful renters who leave properties dirty or damaged. Even worse, more some fake owners have illegally posted properties to rent that they do not even own! Make sure to only book properties that have good reviews so that you can prevent a disaster vacation!

The Benefits of Timeshare Investment

If you are looking for a more stable, secure vacation rental why not consider a timeshare investment? Timeshares eliminate the misconceptions or disappointments that may occur when you book through an unknown home sharing website. With genuine timeshare ownership, you visit and get to know the property before you purchase and quality and service standards are well established and enforced. Maintenance and upkeep is a priority at a timeshare investment, so you won’t be disappointed or surprised by an untidy vacation rental.   Another huge benefit of a timeshare investment is that you have access to competent concierge, courteous staff members, and house cleaners on site. There are also many amenities such as pools, gyms, spas, and restaurants that can make each vacation every more enjoyable.  Timeshare staff is trained to provide excellent customer service and recommendations, and are always willing and focused to prevent any issues during your vacation. They can assist you in making dinner reservations, arranging tours, and booking transportation to the airport or for a day trip. With a home sharing property, you are on your own to handle all arrangements and decision making on what activities and tours to try.

To conclude, home sharing properties and timeshares are both options to consider for today’s savvy traveler. Home sharing properties may offer a more organic vacation experience, but be aware that booking a property unseen does not come without risk. Timeshares, on the other hand, provide consistent, excellent properties with access to amenities and a reliable level of comfort and service you can count on. Which vacation rental option makes the most sense for you?

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