top of page

anna maria island





  • Writer's pictureNancy McAleer

A True VRBO on Anna Maria Island

The face and habits of the vacation traveller have changed substantially since the days of our parents. Gone are the days of sending away for hotel brochures and charting a course on their McNally Road Atlas for the great family station wagon vacation adventure! Remember those days?

Warner Bros. National Lampoon Vacation

Enter 2015 and our digitally co-dependent, fast-paced lives, and the new era of hospitality offered by home owners opening up their homes for vacationers. A typical vacation traveller now uses their iPhone and tablet to search for that ideal getaway. And to be honest, it's never been easier to find a vacation rental, make restaurant reservations, and find local shopping options to name a few. But, with the vacation rental industry giants like Expedia and AirBnb gobbling up more market share by the minute it's getting difficult for the vacation traveller to find a true vacation rental by owner these days.

A few year's ago Homeaway, the parent comapny of VRBO, opened up their doors to property managers, since then the true "vacation rental by owner" has been harder to find. As of 2015, Homeaway boasts over 1 million listings, now that makes it hard to filter through to find a Vacation Rental By Owner!

You're probably wondering about now,

  • "Why do I want to Stay at a Vacation Rental By Owner?"

  • "What's the difference in Booking Directly with a Vacation Rental Owner?"

Here are a few notes to think about.

Vacation Rental by Owner Perks

1. AVOID THE SERVICE FEE: Homeaway/VRBO/ will be adding a service fee to each booking using the "Book it Now" feature in February, 2016. Save yourself anywhere from 4 - 10% fees by booking directly with a trusted owner!

Excerpt from Homeaway Service Fee Policy

2. BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE: A home owner works with the guest directly and most often doesn't have to manage dozens or hundreds of properties. Giving you a one on one relationship from the start throughout your stay. Property managers are handling hundreds of guests at a time, the ratio of client to customer service employee averages about 200 to 1. Ask for the owner's cell phone so you can call or text when you have issues. Eliminate the middle man or worse yet a dreaded overseas call center.

3. BE A GUEST NOT A CLIENT: Notice how I said "guest" and not client? A vacation home owner has a vested interest in your vacation. They are hosting you as a guest and will go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant stay. They want you leaving and telling all of your friends about the wonderful stay you had at their home. In essence they become your personal travel agent. And they love return guests often offering discounts to model guests.

4. GET THE BEST PRICE: Many homeowners offer their preferred and returning guests discounts. This may not always be the case, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Give yourself the bet chance by respecting the property, leave it in great shape when you leave, keep the noise down and respect all the rental rules. Inquire about being placed on a newsletter contact list and be the first to find out about last minute deals, often with further discounts for being a VIP member.

5. GET RESORT STYLE AMENITIES: Vacation Rentals are becoming more and more popular as an ideal budget friendly option versus hotel resorts. Vacation home owners are invested in ensuring the property amenities are optimized for your enjoyment and let's face it, their's too while they vacation. Vacation homes used to boast 'linens included'.... gone are those days! Now owner's boast about Keurig coffee machines, ping pong tables, basketball nets, tiki huts, and even backyard beaches resembling resort style living. Amenities such as free WIFI should be the norm. Offering upgrades like spas and saunas will closely resemble the offerings of luxury hotels.

6. GREAT VACATION RENTAL OWNER'S ~ GIVE BACK TO THEIR COMMUNITY: And so shall you, when you stay at a repuatable owner's vacation rental, check the details. Many owners are invested in their community and give back by donating to their favorite charity. You may not realize when you leave un-opened groceries that they are transported to the local food bank or that a portion of your reservation is donated to a local wildlife charity.

7. INSIDER TIPS: Vacation rental owner's have Insider Tips, to help you curate and reach your vacation goals. Reputable owners have their own Insider's Guides to inform guests about the area. With tons of information on activities, things to do and local arts and culture classes that you may want to partake in. From riding a fly board to taking a painting class on the beach. Home owners are dialed in and know what events are happening on the island during your stay.

8. SECURITY & PROTECTION: A seasoned vacation rental owner will be able to provide you with trusted security and protection for your payments. Ways a traveller can validate this is by ensuring the owner uses secured websites for payments like Paypal or has a sercure booking platform. Other ways to gain trust are by reading past guest reviews, ask for references, check out the owner's commitment to their guests by looking into their social media platforms and company listing links.

9. GET A CONCIERGE FOR FREE: Booking your vacation with a vacation rental owner really is like working with a concierge for free. They will happily give you access to their preferred vendors and Insider information on their favourite snorkeling spots, shopping, restaurants, travel experiences and more. Ask if they have any vendors who might offer discounts because you are their guest.... you will be surprised at the savings and discounts you can get by working with a home owner!

How to Search for a Vacation Rental By Owner

At the time of publishing:

  • Homeaway has 1,510 vacation rentals listed on Anna Maria Island, Florida

  • 618 are real vacation rentals by owner, that's 41%

  • Incredibly 892 are offered by Property Management Agencies.

And the trend continues to find the elusive vacation rental property hosted by a trusted home owner.

You can filter the search options to find a vacation owner versus a property manager on the Homeaway/VRBO listing sites?

  1. Enter the location you are interested in

  2. Press the "More Filters" button on the menu bar (# 1 photo below). This will open a screen to refine your search.

  3. Look for the Managed By "Owner" button on the lower right side of the screen (#2 photo below). From there, you can add further options like, pool, waterfront, and more. This will put you in direct contact with vacation rental home owners and can drastically cut down your search time.


My name is Nancy McAleer and I am the owner of the "Sirenia" Vacation Rentals on Anna Maria Island, Florida. As a vacation rental home owner, I am fully invested in each of our vacation travellers needs and welcome special requests. Please find out more about myself and my friends who co-own our coveted Waterfront Vacation Rentals on our website, Anna Maria Island Home Rental, offering you that true, slightly elusive Vacation Rental by Owner.

Contact us for accommodations on gorgeous Anna Maria Island, Florida or get social with us at Anna Maria Island Beach Life.

Like this article? Feel free to share it using the social media buttons below.

173 views0 comments





Sign up for our newsletter

  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • YouTube Social  Icon

Have a question or want to collaborate? Contact me for further information. 


Some links on Anna Maria Island Beach Life may be affiliate links. For my full disclosure and privacy policy please click here.


Feel free to PIN any image from Anna Maria Island Beach Life Blog or Anna Maria Island Home Rental. 

Do not repurpose, repost, or redistribute articles (partial or fully) without written permission. 

If you would like to feature my work, you may share 1 photo from a post if it is clearly linked back to my original post, for the sole purpose of featuring my Blog or Vacation Rentals. 

DO NOT USE my articles and RSS feeds in their entirety as your own. All photos and posts are copyright protected. 

bottom of page