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If there’s one thing that can put a damper on your vacation experience, it’s your wallet. A tight budget can severely limit your list of activities, turning your getaway into a dull retreat where you barely leave your hotel room.
One of the most significant expenses associated with travel is accommodation, especially during peak travel periods when demand is high, and vacancies are low. As a result, the concept of vacation rentals was born – and it became an instant hit with financially savvy travellers.
A vacation rental is a fully furnished property that’s rented out temporarily to travellers seeking accommodation. This type of arrangement appeals to travellers as they benefit from more comfort, privacy, flexibility, and lower cost than hotels and motels.
Though Airbnb is currently the most prominent player in the vacation rental market, numerous other competitors exist, such as FlipKey.
What Is FlipKey?
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace that connects property owners with travellers looking for a convenient, safe, and affordable way to book accommodations. The travel company was founded in 2007 and acquired by Tripadvisor in 2008, which boasts over 830,000 properties in 190 countries. TripAdvisor is a well-established company, with over 500 million traveller reviews under their various brands, including Holiday Lettings, Vacation Home Rentals, and HouseTrip.
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How Does It Work?
Booking your accommodation with FlipKey is done entirely online.
On the FlipKey homepage, click on the “My shortlist” heading, followed by the “Start your search” button. From there, you can select your desired destination from a comprehensive list. When you click on a destination, a new page will bring up the available accommodation options. You can use several filters to narrow your search to only those rental units relevant to you. The filters allow you to search by:
- Check-in and check-out date
- Number of people in your travel group
- Nightly rate
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Unit type (apartment, villa, studio, townhouse, log cabin, etc.)
- Pet suitability
- Nearby activities (beaches, ski resorts, nightlife, fishing, golf courses, etc.)
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Once you’ve settled on your ideal rental unit, enter your contact information and send a short message to the owner introducing yourself. Once your stay is booked, you can make your payment. You must have a Paypal account to process your transaction, as this is the only acceptable payment method on FlipKey. You’ll be given a booking reference number upon payment.
You can manage your booking through the FlipKey website by entering your booking reference number and email address. From here, you can view your reservation details, contact the rental property owner, pay for your trip, and cancel your reservation if necessary.
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If you’re even vaguely familiar with vacation rentals, you’ve likely heard of Airbnb, which currently dominates this steadily growing industry. Alternative platforms tend to be overlooked by travellers. Still, FlipKey has taken great strides to differentiate its brand from the industry leader. And with hundreds of millions of reviews amassed under the Tripadvisor brand, they’re poised to grab more market share.
FlipKey’s platform is geared toward travellers who are content with visiting traditional destinations and are accustomed to the amenities typically provided by hotels. FlipKey aims to replicate this experience but at a more affordable level. As a result, their platform offers fewer listings than Airbnb, with most concentrated in popular destinations. If you’re not keen on visiting remote or obscure places, there’s plenty of great options to choose from.
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One area FlipKey specializes in is group bookings. Many of their rental properties can house multiple people, which is perfect if you’re planning a trip with family and friends.
To get an idea of what FlipKey offers, take some time to explore their website. You can browse for vacation rentals, destinations, and other details in various ways:
- Top vacation rental destinations: This section is displayed front and center on the homepage with vibrant photos. Browse to see what the best vacation rental destinations are.
- Trending destinations: See what destinations are on travellers’ radar at the moment.
- Travel favourites: This is a list of destinations heavily favoured by travellers who’ve previously used FlipKey.
- Popular destinations: Aching to go on a trip, but not sure where to go? Check out the list of the most popular destinations to gain some inspiration.
- Blog: Check out the site’s blog for helpful insight about various destinations.
- Galleries: This section contains photos of some of the top vacation rental properties listed on the site, allowing you to view how they look inside and outside.
- Trip Ideas: Explore destinations based on specific goals and activities you have in mind, such as a weekend getaway at the beach or a yoga retreat.
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Affordable pricing for accommodation is of primary importance for individuals who wish to travel on a budget. Travellers expect quality rentals at reasonable prices with no hidden costs or last-minute price hikes. For the most part, vacation rental platforms have honoured this commitment. However, the industry is sometimes criticized for engaging in price gouging during times when demand for service spikes. Airbnb, in particular, has been admonished for its unfair pricing practices.
In contrast, rumour has it that FlipKey maintains reasonable prices on their vacation rentals listing during periods of high demand. If this is true, FlipKey can be counted on as a great alternative if platforms like Airbnb fail to offer sensible prices during hot-ticket periods.
Regarding pricing, signing up for FlipKey is free. Your only charge is a booking fee, ranging from 8 – 16% of the total rental cost.
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Benefits Of Booking With FlipKey
- Owned by Tripadvisor: FlipKey is owned by Tripadvisor, an American travel company that operates 25 different brands in dozens of countries. Tripadvisor is a trusted and reputable firm that has been in the travel business for over twenty years, which helps to instill confidence among travellers in FlipKey’s ability to deliver a quality service.
- FlipKey staff verifies property Owners: Feeling anxious about staying at a stranger’s home is normal. But luckily, FlipKey guarantees that the property owners who post on their website are legitimate. You can sleep easy knowing that the owner has been properly vetted.
- Online reviews: FlipKey’s history contains a comprehensive collection of reviews, which helps to solidify trust and enables travellers to make informed decisions when planning their trip. And, since Tripadvisor owns FlipKey, the reviews carry that much more weight.
Can I cancel my booking and get a refund?
Do I have to pay my damage deposit upfront?
How do you cancel a booking with FlipKey?
If you’re an avid traveller, then FlipKey is an excellent travel service for booking affordable accommodation. Though the platform’s destination options may be limited compared to competitors such as Airbnb, it still offers a sizable collection of vacation rentals in popular locations around the world. FlipKey verifies each property to ensure that what you book is what you get when you arrive at your destination. Check out what FlipKey has to offer if you’re planning a getaway in the near future.
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