Colorado VRBO host busy despite pandemic

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Although we’re still living with the coronavirus pandemic, many are trying to plan ahead for vacations and travel. Renting private homes is an attractive option for families looking to social distance while taking a vacation.  

Reiner Seelhoff tells the Problem Solvers he usually enjoys profits from renting out his beautiful mountain home on VRBO.

“This VRBO thing is like absolutely on fire right now,” Seelhoff said.

Seelhoff says some payouts from VRBO have been slow. The Problem Solvers contacted the company’s corporate office. The company explains there’s a backlog due to the coronavirus pandemic. They contacted Seelhoff directly and assured him his payment will arrive soon

Still, many families are booking homes in remote mountain areas or beaches so they can social distance while still enjoying a vacation.

VRBO provided the following travel and booking tips to the Problem Solvers based on common questions:

Is it safe to travel this summer? Where can I go?
Certain areas in the United States are starting to reopen, but local laws and regulations vary from place to place and are continuously changing. Families should check the local news, tourism boards and websites for the city or state you’re looking to visit and make sure it’s okay to go there. If you’re looking to book a vacation home with Vrbo, a banner will pop up on the site if you’re searching for vacation rentals in an area with travel or lodging restrictions. The vacation rental platform has already notified vacation homeowners and property managers if there is an emergency order or government-mandated restriction affecting their area and provides instructions for those who need to block their calendars. You can read more details about that here.

What about flying versus driving, what’s safer?

Families should choose whatever mode of travel they feel most comfortable with, but many are opting to drive since cost and being close to home are top-of-mind right now. Taking a road trip allows you to avoid crowded airports or public transportation hubs, and offers more flexibility with less planning – want to head to the mountains for a weekend getaway? Pack up the car with your hiking gear, book a vacation home and hit the road. 

What about the vacation rental versus hotel debate – which is cleaner or safer? 

Every family has different comfort-levels for cleanliness, but everyone expects anywhere they stay to be clean and safe. The best thing you can do is review your accommodations’ cleaning guidelines. Both hotels and vacation rentals have stepped up their cleaning protocols – brands like Vrbo have rolled out new cleanliness guidelines that advise homeowners to use enhanced cleaning and disinfecting methods, have antibacterial soap and sanitizers available for guests, offer contact-free check-in and make their homes unavailable for 24 hours between stays. 

The main reason why whole-home vacation rentals are attractive to families is because guests can limit their contact with other people. By booking a whole, private home, families can have the entire property to themselves and enjoy their stay without ever seeing another person. 

What happens if there is another flare up of COVID-19 and I want to cancel my trip?  

It’s all about knowing the cancellation policy. Before you book, review the property’s cancellation policy to see what specific date you can cancel by penalty-free. When COVID-19 began, the vast majority of vacation homeowners and property managers made generous exceptions to their existing cancellation policies and offered refunds and credits to their guests because the pandemic was such an unprecedented situation. We know that flexibility is a top priority for travelers when booking their next trip, and more than half a million Vrbo property managers and vacation homeowners already offer more flexible cancellation options. Be sure to do your research and plan accordingly. 

Is it safe to return to amusement parks or major tourist attractions? Will that affect how families travel?

We predict that travelers will want to take their next vacation to see and spend time with their loved ones who they’ve been missing. After weeks of sheltering in place, people want to reconnect with their extended families, grandparents and close friends. Even though some theme parks are beginning to reopen, families may be hesitant to return to crowded, high-trafficked places right away. That’s why vacation rentals in mountain, lake and beach destinations are appealing. Families can enjoy a change of scenery and spend much-deserved quality time together.

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