Did you know that VRBO, Airbnb and HomeAway charge a service fee just for booking through their site? Online Travel Agencies (OTA) wow consumers with all the bells and whistles but the truth is their fees are higher, plain and simple. Why pay fees that can be as much as 9% onto your total rental fee when you can book direct?

Here is an example of what we are talking about. A family from Tennessee sent Luxury Simplified Retreats a booking request for seven nights at The Oasis, one of our luxury vacation rentals on Folly Beach. After looking at their quote from an OTA, we noticed an additional charge of $303.06; which was labeled “service fee.”

This fee as described on an OTA website represents, What is the service fee?


The service fee is paid by the traveler when booking through OTA websites. This fee covers the cost of providing 24/7 customer support, enhanced site and mobile features for both owner and travelers, plus expanded marketing efforts to generate more exposure to global audiences. Additionally, when a traveler books and pays through an OTA, they are eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee.

Paying the fee

Travelers pay the service fee by credit card when paying through the secure OTA checkout process. The service fee is only charged to the card once the booking has been accepted by the property owner or manager. The service fee is, on average, approximately 6% of the rental amount, excluding refundable deposit or taxes. This fee is lower than other travel websites that charge a similar fee.

The fee is being assessed to the traveling consumer for marketing efforts that OTAs and the individual property owners should be responsible for out of their own pocket.  These are after all, the normal cost of doing business.  There is no benefit to the consumer for online travel agencies to generate more exposure to global audiences.

Luxury Simplified Retreats invites you to book with us directly on our dedicated site! By direct booking direct, you avoid this unnecessary fee arbitrarily added onto your bill – which in turn will save you hundreds of dollars. Aren’t there other things you’d like to spend that money on while vacationing?

Not only do you save money, but booking with us means you’ll have an unforgettable luxury vacation experience. We handle everything for our home owners so they can rest easy knowing that we have their vacation rentals and the needs of their rental guests well in hand. Our reputation is as respected as it is renowned, and our Retreats Concierge team are the best in the industry.