Book Direct to save money by renting a vacation rental instead of a hotel room
âWhen renting a vacation rental, if you book direct it will save you TONS of money! Let's face it, we all LOVE a bargain!
Before we delve into saving money, lets focus on how bargains are what turned North Conway into a four season resort versus just a simple ski town.
North Conway from its humble beginnings transformed itself into a vacation destination for families and singles to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
âIn 1988, the North Conway outlet mall called Settlers Green opened its doors as one of the first outlet malls in the country! Vacationers and shoppers alike poured into town for the bargains that these new outlet stores had to offer.
Couple that with the great interest in the outdoors that swept this country in the 80s and suddenly, there were young people with canoes and kayaks strapped to the roof of their cars, families all with backpacks on their backs ready to go for a day hike, bicycles strapped to cars so that people could bike the scenic byways that crisscross these beautiful white mountains. Naturally, we needed more places for all these new vacationers to stay
There has always been a cottage industry in North Conway where folks rent their vacation homes on a short term basis. Most of the owners did this to help defray the cost of owning their ski chalets.
Renting to defray the cost of a second home used to be referred to as short term rentals. The industry has grown and matured and now there is the term vacation rentals. People in the 90's and the early 2000's began buying up properties in vacation towns and renting them short-term to people from out of town.
Big business started to take a look at how they could monetize this new industry called vacation rentals. Three big companies threw their hat into the ring; Airbnb, Expedia, and Tripadvisor. They have systematically bought up most of the small regional companies where folks used to be able to advertise their short-term rentals.
In 2016 the vacation rental industry made headlines with the record sale of VRBO and Homeaway to Expedia for 4 billion dollars! Suddenly, the race was on to satisfy investors and stockholders with money made from these newly acquired vacation rental listing sites.
In February of that year Expedia introduced something new to the industry, guest service fees. Now vacationers must pay 8 to 22% service fee to these companies for the privilege of utilizing their aggregate websites to find the perfect vacation rental for their family or group.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to VRBO, Airbnb, and Tripadvisor. I have written several blogs with great strategies to help you save money when you're renting a North Conway vacation rental.
Here are six ways you can save money when you stay at a North Conway vacation rental.
The infographic above highlights six ways you can save money by renting a North Conway vacation rental instead of a hotel room!
The seventh is the MOST important! Book direct! #BookDirect
By booking direct with an owner of a vacation rental, even before you step into the home, condo or cabin, you have saved yourself tons of money!
Expedia, VRBO, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, booking.com and all the rest, charge up to 22% to GUESTS in Service Fees and other fees.
âSave that money and book directly with an owner!
1. Eat IN - Skip North Conway Restaurants
âFour seasons Lodge is a vacation rental located in North Conway New Hampshire. The average group that vacations at our White Mountains cabin rental is about 15 guests. Let's say that those guests would like to go out to dinner one evening. As a local, I know that an average meal in town will run you about $20-$22 including tax. If you do the math just for food no drinks and no tip for that group is $330.
$330 spent on just one average dinner. Most vacationers come to North Conway, NH to hike ski or kayak or bike for a two-night weekend. Staying in a hotel, even if you get a continental breakfast in the morning, you still have to eat out four meals during a weekend.
If I had to do the math conservatively, I'll guess that most groups spend the better part of one thousand dollars just on eating out. Choosing a vacation rental rather than a hotel room is guaranteed to save you tons of hard-earned cash on food.
Those of you with food allergies know how hard it is to find a restaurant that can accommodate your needs. Cooking at home in the kitchen of a vacation rental is a sure fire way to be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest and not be sick from allergies and sensitivities.
So, dine in - not out!!
2. Drink IN - Not OUT
Yep, âI've been known to enjoy a good unfiltered wheat beer on occasion!!
As a local I can tell you that a glass of beer in the Mount Washington Valley is going to set you back between five and six dollars at any of the local bars or restaurants.
Most of my friends prefer martinis to beer. I personally don't care for gin of vodka so I'd never drink one, but what I have seen is the difference in their bill versus mine at the end of the night! There are many bars and restaurants that make wonderful martinis in North Conway and I know the cost of said martini will set you back $8 - $13 each!
I'll return to my sample group of 15 people vacationing at Four Seasons Lodge. Let's say of those 15 people, 3 don't drink. That leaves 12 folks that will order some alcohol when you're out for an evening of fun. I would guess that most groups have more beer drinkers than martini drinkers so let's say nine drink beer and three have martinis.
A quick calculation of those 12 people, beer drinkers drinking three and martini drinkers ordering two each is going to fetch you a bar bill of over $200 before tip by the end of the evening.
Another insiders tip I think vacationers that come to the White Mountains should know is that there are three arresting agencies in the valley. The local police, the Sheriff's Department, and the state police all patrol our roads, byways and highways and can arrest anyone that's driving under the influence. If you read the police blotter in town you'll find that those three arresting agencies do not discriminate against either locals or vacationers. Most weeks there are about a 50-50 mix of who was arrested for driving under the influence the previous week.
If you choose an alternative to VRBO and rent a vacation rental in North Conway you can be sure that not only will you save $200 per night on your bar bill but you also have the chance of saving tens of thousands of dollars from a DUI
3. Amenities are FREE
âFour seasons Lodge has a slew of wonderful amenities! Our showstopper is our private heated indoor pool. We also offer toasty sauna, foosball table, karaoke machine, a Wii game, and much more.
Several years ago I was made aware of the fact that local hotels and motels are charging for amenities that they offer. I couldn't understand why they started doing that but I'm happy they did!
I'm very active in the vacation rental industry and I am friends with several hundred vacation rental owners. Of that entire group, I can say with confidence that none of us charge for amenities we provide for our guests.
There are plenty of things to do at Four Seasons Lodge; swim in our pool, sing the night away with our karaoke machine, challenge your friends to a game of foosball, or go bowling with our wii game. When you rent our vacation rentals you'll never have to reach into your pocket, our amenities are all yours and are free!
4. No Babysitter Needed
âMy kids are grown so I don't have to worry about babysitters anymore, but I vividly remember what a challenge it was to find someone I trusted and someone I could afford to watch my children!
I just googled how much it costs per hour for a babysitter and was flabbergasted that the hourly rate ranges from $14-$18 per hour. I assume that those rates are for families with two maybe three children.
Groups traveling together that vacation at four seasons Lodge typically have between six and 10 children in the group. If I multiply that hourly rate out based on even $15 per hour for three children, I'm quickly up to about $50 per hour for child care.
A typical dinner at a decent restaurant is at least three hours. Not counting the price of the meal, your group would be out at least $150 plus tip just in child care.
If you rent a wonderful vacation rental in North Conway, you can save that money because your children can be sleeping upstairs and you can be relaxing by the fire!
5. FREE Wi-Fi
âIt's amazing to me that I even have to have this on my list of ways you can save money!
Like I said before, I know hundreds of vacation rental owners and I can safely say that every single property that they own or manage is equipped with free Wi-Fi!
If I hadn't been staying in a hotel just recently where they charged by the hour for Wi-Fi, I wouldn't believe that this practice is still going on. I ponied up and paid the charge only to find out the signal was terrible so I use the hotspot on my phone anyway!
Moral of the story again is rent a vacation rental and you can save lots of money!
6. Free and Discounts for White Mountain Attractions!
âVacation rental owners want their guests to have a wonderful time on vacation. One of the ways we can make their time even better and less expensive is to use our connections in town to arrange freebies and discounts for guests.
Every vacation town has an assortment of attractions and restaurants that make that area special! In the White Mountains there is lots to do and see and in an effort to make it possible for our guests see and do even more, we've arranged for discounts at many places and provide our guests with free tickets for other things.
Every guests who vacations at Four Seasons Lodge receives a ticket for free cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing at great Glenn trails. This ticket also entitles our guests for discounted rentals on equipment and Snowcoach rides!
We also offer all our guests discounted ski tickets for Wildcat Mountain and Attitash Mountain.
McGrath's Tavern, a Valley original restaurant, is owned by Seammus McGrath-a friend of mine! He is a fantastic chef and a wonderful business owner and graciously gives guests of Four Seasons Lodge, a 10% discount on their bill. Former guests that have dined at his restaurant agree with me that he has some of the best food in the Mount Washington Valley.
7. FREE Local Insider Information
I've lived in the Mount Washington Valley for many decades!
I've worked several places around town, I've written my horses down just about every trail and as far up every mountain as we could get, I've to the rivers, I've cross country skied across many fields, I've snowshoe to the top of cathedral ledge, and I've driven many scenic drives in my years here.
I showed you many ways to save money in town with the first six suggestions. I think this section is the most valuable part.
As a local, I can tell you which restaurants care about your allergies and sensitivities. I can tell you where the best places to go swimming. I can map out a great scenic drive for those who would rather see the vistas from comfortable car. I can steer you to the best ski mountain based on your skiing abilities.
I think the best part about renting from a local is that if they don't have the information for you, they know who to call to get some great suggestions!
If you know that the owner of the vacation rental you're staying at is a local, take advantage of that. Asked them for suggestions and information to help make your vacation your best yet!
We are locals and know the ins and outs of North Conway.
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