Every year millions of holidaymakers descend on the greater Orlando area from all over the world. For most visitors, arrival forms the end of a journey that began several months earlier when they took their first tentative steps down the yellow brick road of accommodation planning that leads eventually, all being well, to the emerald city. Or Emerald Island in this case. At Emerald Island Private Rentals we've put together some tips to help you along the way.
The purchase of goods or services will always involve an element of negotiation. Before you start even thinking about going into battle over 1 free extra night in a 7 bed villa, you need to build up your armoury. Or, stepping back from the mixed metaphors for a minute, you need to get yourself into a position where you CAN negotiate. The first step in doing this is to spend some time thinking about how you are going to get to Orlando and when. Research and put together a number of flight options and costs before you even consider contacting any property owners. You'll find getting a good deal on flights a lot harder than on holiday property rentals. Ok, so you've followed our advice. Now you know 3 or 4 potential dates when you can fly into Orlando without turning your personal finances into Lehman Brothers balance sheet circa 2008 (remember them?).
3 into 16 doesn't go; well it does, but you'll end up with an unpleasant number in return. Before you embark on your holiday planning journey you should be clear in your mind about potential party size. You'll find pretty quickly that owners quote rentals based on the size and run costs for the property they own. This may seem a no-brainer but holidaymakers still persist with blanket enquiries “my dog has just died please rent me your property for $75 a night.” This may be acceptable (not the bit about the dog but the rest) if you've just sent it to a 2 bed condo owner but it's unlikely to trigger anything other than disdain from a 7 bedroom villa owner. All is not lost however. There is no doubt that some owners of large villas (and condos too) are willing to consider heavy discounts if it's in the interests. By that we mean the property will likely remain empty if they don't rent it to you at your ball-breaking discounted rate. Remember however that if the run costs of the property are higher than your discounted rate then it ceases to be in their interests. See “Create Your Own Late Deal” below for more on how to make this work.
Emerald Island Resort - 3 miles from Disney.
Do not become completely fixated by cost or make your main aim to screw down all property owners until they are whimpering wrecks ready to hand over the keys just to make you go away. In American parlance you are a 'low baller'. The art of the low-baller is to begin each initial engagement with owners by setting the price for them. You blanket email all owners across a resort community without even looking at properties to weed out all owners who have pride in their homes or a service that is worth paying for. But you frequently rage against the resort owners association when you rented from the owner who hasn't paid a bill in years and who's lucky rental guests find themselves barred from accessing any of the resort facilities or, for that matter, the US national electricity grid.
This doesn't mean you can't and shouldn't barter. You absolutely should. But be careful. The cheapest rental property does not necessarily deliver the best value rental property. Think about the engagement and general feel you get from interaction with each owner. Are they personable, keen to offer tips/advice? Don't underestimate the value of service. If an owner pays attention to ensuring all your questions are answered they will likely pay as much attention to keeping their property in top condition and ensuring a guest's every need is met before, during and after a stay.
If you're looking for a late deal you won't find that a year in advance. Owners will be extremely reluctant to release short term bookings far in advance. By filling a 5 day slot over a year away the owner will be all too aware they are creating logistical problems for themselves and will likely to find it more challenging to secure lengthy bookings around that awkward 5 day slot. In short, you'll likely pay a premium for such a booking. The clue is in the title “LATE deal”.
If you want a great deal create it yourself. All owners are driven by the raw desire to fill their property 52 weeks a year. It's like an evolutionary anachronism. Probably something to do with cavemen and women and those which were lucky enough to have a second cave in the sun somewhere. In short, you create your own deal by investing time reviewing property availability calendars. Look for awkward slots, perhaps 1 entire week, in the not too distant future, surrounded by unavailability. An owner will want to get that slot filled and unless holidaymakers are flexible they aren't going to find it easy to fill. You've got your potential flight dates, you've got your potential properties and now you've got your available “potentially discounted” rental dates. Don't out your cunning plan to the owner. You don't need to say “I've just checked your calendar and having found an awkward slot for you to fill you should give it to me cheap as it's better with me in it than lying empty.” Be cute. If you find such a slot send an enquiry directly to the owner asking them to quote you for those specific dates. Then begin to barter. You'll know you have considerable leverage.
The most important piece of advice is research the property and owner. Do some google searches for the property name and property owner. Look for reviews and posts on discussion forums. Is it positive? What have previous guests said? You'll find reviews and posts on sites such as tripadvisor and disboards. Further, check out the reviewer or posters profile. Have they been active on the site for several years, how many posts have they made. This helps identify them as a genuine and experienced source of information. Once you've found reviews and posts, ask questions. You'll find a host of people willing to help you out with your accommodation choice and Florida vacation planning.
Before you begin contacting property owners build yourself a list of all potential rentals using the guidance above. Whether it's a notebook or an excel workbook set out resort, a link to the property and where you found it, property details and the owner's name, email address, phone number, your travel plans, the actual quote and some comments. Doing this allows you to track and scan your options. And when you are ready to start contacting owners, do it slowly, step by step. If you send out 10 enquiries on day one and then negotiate for a week with those 10 you are going to have some useful learnings for the next 10 and so on.
I hope you've found our short article helpful and insightful. Happy holiday property hunting!