couple sitting on a dock at sunset

7 Reasons Why You Should Book Your Cottage Rental Direct in 2022

Taking a cottage rental vacation in Ontario is something thousands of groups do every year, but it’s not the easiest task to find just the right one for your family.  Just figuring out which location is best is a challenge.  Is a big sandy beach important, or do you want to dive off a dock?  Is unlimited wifi essential or are you happy to unplug for a week?  Do you want to be close to activities and attractions or are you happy to relax by the water day after day?

All these decisions are ones that a good rental manager can help you with.  Their staff have visited every property personally and will help match your needs to just the right cottage.

When you reserve with an online listing platform such as Airbnb, HomeAway, or VRBO, you won’t get the opportunity to talk to the person who knows the property best before you book.  And that could spell disaster.

Here are 7 reasons why you should #BookDirect…..

1 Location Knowledge

There’s over 250,000 lakes in Ontario, and while we cannot claim to know them all….we do know our stuff – and we have personally visited every cottage we represent.

We’ve driven the cottage roads and can tell you if they are good for cycling or walking your dog; been to the local villages and towns and tried out the restaurants, and tested out the water to make sure the description is accurate.

Haliburton sign

You can’t call Airbnb and get a personalized recommendation on what cottage would be right for you. 

But you can call us and speak to Sandra who’s spent a week at Stay and Play, or ask Cathy about Galini Lake House, Christina about Serenity Cove, or let Kaitlyn tell you about her vacation at Wagon Wheel.

That’s right! We want our staff to experience cottage country themselves so they can tell you whether the beds are comfortable or the water pressure in the shower is good and that Netflix doesn’t buffer!

Trying to make a call to VRBO and asking for that kind of info!

2 You’ll Save Money

You will get the best rates by booking direct – it’s simple economics.

The online travel agencies charge service fees to guests and they also charge owners and agencies a commission on each booking.  Guess who really gets to pay that commission?

Yes, you – the guest.  The rate will be hiked enough to cover that commission.

It’s a double whammy.

Did you know that online travel agencies such as Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, and Trip Advisor add hundreds of dollars in fees to your booking total. You could pay over 20% more than you would by booking direct.

A rental agency is likely to charge a small booking fee that will cover their credit card and administration fees but it is significantly lower than the service fee from the big sites….and they know nothing about the property or whether it really suits your group.

You’ll also get the best price by booking direct. Owners and agencies often bump up their rates on the large listing sites to offset the fees they are charged.  For example, Airbnb charges up to 5% for advertising, and that fee is often passed onto the traveler. That’s on top of the service fee!

3 The Best Cottages Are On Local Sites

Many of the best cottages aren’t listed on the major sites because the cost of listing is high and the rental agencies have high demand so don’t need these alternative methods of advertising. You could be missing out on some of the best properties by not researching for what else is out there.

You won’t find this beauty on Airbnb or VRBO – you’ll have to book direct with CottageLINK Rental Management!

4 Personal Connection

When you book direct you’ll get personal contact with the manager or owner. Want to know what the waterfront is like?  Is it weedy?  What is the lakebed like underfoot?  Is it busy with boats? 

A manager and owner can help with your special needs. Do you need to know how many steps to the beach or whether a bathroom will accommodate a wheelchair?  Your boat may need a minimum depth at the dock and a nearby boat launch. 

These are just a few of the myriad questions we are asked every day when guests speak with us.  When you book with an Online Travel Channel (OTC) you don’t get to ask those questions (and more) before committing to the booking.

An owner or agency will be honest about the waterfront

5 Safety & Protection

The online travel companies will tell you it’s safer to book with them because they have ‘guarantees’ and will refund you if a property isn’t genuine or not as described.

This is great if you don’t mind arriving at a place to find it doesn’t actually exist.  Yes, they will look after you then and probably refund your money but you’ve still gone through the stress of a ruined vacation.

Alternatively, when you book direct with an Ontario cottage rental agency you can be guaranteed the property has been inspected, evaluated, and listed accurately. 

Look out for the TICO logo on genuine agency websites – this means your vacation is protected under the Travel Industry Council of Ontario regulations. 

TICO logo

6 Special Offers & Last Minute Availability

Outside peak summer periods, managers and owners often have special offers. You’ll get insider information on deals and late availability offers by having direct communication with a cottage rental agency.

7 Customer Service

The big sites are just a marketing platform for owners and agencies.  They might declare that they offer 24/7 customer service but when you have questions before during or after a booking no one at their call center will be able to help. 

They can’t help if the toilet backs up or if something breaks down.  They’ll just redirect you back to the owner or agency to answer any questions.

So, when you really think about it, why are you paying “service fees”, when it doesn’t necessarily create a better experience for you?

Tips to find a perfect cottage rental

Here’s a couple of tips to find the source of a listing on one of the big sites.

  • Google the name. If a cottage has a name, you’ll probably find the #BookDirect source by just Googling it.
  • ..and the listing text. Similarly, if you take a chunk of the text and put it into Google it is likely to come up with the original source  of the listing.
  • If the listing shows the lake or river where the cottage is located, try searching for ‘cottage to rent on xxx lake’.
  • Google ‘Ontario Cottage Rental Agencies’. Look for the TICO logo as this shows the agency is operating legally within the laws of Ontario – and it give you consumer protection.

It’s not difficult to #BookDirect.  For a few minutes more of your time, you could save hundreds of dollars and have the peace of mind that you’ve found just the right spot for your vacation.

CottageLINK Rental Management
Toll Free: 1-866 323 6698

Our Hours:
Mon-Fri 9-5
Sat-Sun 9-5

Business Address:
PO Box 39036
Columbia PO, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2T 0A7

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