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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 27th Jul 09, 12:23 PM
    • 1,228Posts
    • 3,559Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    0 WOW
    Great 'Cheap Holiday Rentals' Hunt. How to grab fab self-catering properties for less
    • #1
    • 27th Jul 09, 12:23 PM
    0 WOW
    Great 'Cheap Holiday Rentals' Hunt. How to grab fab self-catering properties for less 27th Jul 09 at 12:23 PM
    Self-catering villas and rentals can be much cheaper than equivalent hotels; the problem is finding them at good prices. So we’d like to tap MoneySavers for their top tips on grabbing bargain hideaways, from white-washed villas to cosy cottages.

    How can you haggle down the price, and avoid renting a pig sty? Should you go directly to private owners or via an agency?

    Please press 'reply' to share your top tips.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by MSE Jenny; 28-07-2009 at 7:09 PM.
Page 1
  • Jelliebeen
    • #2
    • 28th Jul 09, 12:27 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Jul 09, 12:27 PM
    I go direct from the owner - you don't pay any comission/middle man that way.
    My parents actually advertise their s/c apartment on holidaylettings.co.uk so I tend to use that one since it's come on my radar.

    I don't really like the idea of haggling if you get it direct from the owner. There's no harm in asking politely, but if the answer's no, leave it at that. On the whole, these people aren't part of big businesses and won't appreciate people trying to knock even more money off. It's still much cheaper than hotels and the prices are set bearing all the overheads in mind. My parents actually said if they rented theirs for less than the asking price, they'd make a loss given the amount of electricty people use these days!

    Make good use of the kitchen and local markets to cook food on the cheap rather than eating out. You'll save a fortune!
  • webrow
    • #3
    • 28th Jul 09, 3:36 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Jul 09, 3:36 PM
    I've found looking on Gumtree really good for holidays accommodation. Also my friend has a timeshare and is with a timeshare company, they sell off their apartments for late availability really cheap, and they are all over, don't usually have UK apartments though, don't think I'm allowed to put details here.

    If anyone wants to know more about getting last minute availability, rather than put details on here message me and I might be able to help!;D

    I have just got back from a 1 week in Cagliari in Sardinia. Me, Partner and his 3 kids. We ended up spending £1050 for all of us including spendos. We rented an apartment (£300), it was close to the beach, bought in all supplies from supermarket, spent days on beach, made sandwichs for lunch etc. Ryanair flights were £160 for all of us, we only checked in 2 bags as we only needed limited stuff for beach etc and apartment had washing machine! Found apartment on gumtree. Fantastic holiday!! Normally we would spend this per person but both me and my partner lost our jobs earlier this year but I'm back in work now, so we had to slash the budget. I think I would always holiday like this in future. I love budgeting now!!!
    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 31-07-2009 at 11:34 AM. Reason: missed out info
  • Lapengia
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 09, 8:55 AM
    Cheap Venice
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 09, 8:55 AM
    Perhaps this is well known anyway, but if you're thinking of heading to Venice think of going in November when I've found apartment rentals and hotel prices to be much cheaper and everywhere less crowded. I managed to negotiate on the price and the removal of a late arrival fee.

    BUT! The reason for this is because it's about the only month in the year that's off-season in Venice and the reason for this is because the risk of flooding is traditionally much much higher. However, flooding seems to have become a year-round risk these days, and you can get lucky - I've had a gloriously sunny (if cold) and unfloody weekend there in November.
  • wigansheryl
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:09 AM
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:09 AM
    I take SC breaks in this country a couple of times a year. The trick is to leave it as late as possible - a risky strategy for some, as prices do tend to come down the later you leave it. In the Easter school holidays this year, I got a 5* beach front apartment at Treyarnon Beach for £500 instead of £950 simply by leaving it until 4 days befor we wanted to go. I have had similar deals up in Northumberland and the Scottish Highlands. You need to be flexible about where you stay - at Easter I wanted to go to Cornwall, but did not fix my sights on any particular location in Cornwall. I also find looking for smaller agencies and owners direct also works. You have to be prepared to invest time in searching out the bargains - the good thing is once you are aware of them you can bookmark them for future use! At the end of the day, if you leave it late, the owner would rather have some money for the week rather than none!
    • crispcg
    • By crispcg 29th Jul 09, 9:11 AM
    • 57 Posts
    • 4,772 Thanks
    crispcg
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:11 AM
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:11 AM
    I own a villa in Orlando and you can get some fantastic deals by booking directly with the owner. I regularly get asked for a discount either by people looking to book a year or more in advance or searching for a last minute bargain which I will gladly offer. Try ownersdirect.co.uk for worldwide destinations or lastminutevillas.net for Florida. You're sure to find a great bargain!
    • oysterlover
    • By oysterlover 29th Jul 09, 9:28 AM
    • 18 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    oysterlover
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:28 AM
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:28 AM
    Over the last 8 years I have booked self catering accomodation through www.holiday-rentals .co.uk and have had some amazingly cheap deals. Now my family have grown up and left home we can go "out of season" and get even better prices. It's quite daunting the first time you part with your hard earned cash. The people we have dealt with over the years have been genuinely lovely people and after all it is their personal holiday home you are staying in so don't expect cloned uninspiring basic boxes! good commumication is important. Get all the things you need to know sorted out via phone or e.mail before you pay anything. Highly reccommended way to holiday.
  • lagoslife
    • #8
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:51 AM
    • #8
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:51 AM
    Private owners usually offer better deals. You can search for late deals and special offers direct from holiday rental owners on the following sites.

    http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/search/refined/world/region:1/Other:special+offers
    http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/latedeals/
    http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/search-special-offer-accommodation.asp

    My experience is that the later you leave it, the better deal you get. Some of the properties also have reviews from past guests and their own websites which can be useful.

    Agencies may also offer deals and more protection when booking.

    With all this rain I need a holiday!
    • gofes
    • By gofes 29th Jul 09, 9:52 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    gofes
    • #9
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:52 AM
    • #9
    • 29th Jul 09, 9:52 AM
    Ebay!

    My parents booked (through my ebay account) a week in the Peak District for a 1/3 of the usual cost. As this was only booked 2 weeks before the holiday.

    They were very happy with the cottage, and still got the welcome pack of local food and home made cakes.
  • marc291
    Cheap Villa Rentals
    I own a Villa that I rent and I use many websites and agents, if your looking for a deal dont just look at the Special Offer pages as these have to be paid for at a premium by the onwers. Somtimes the best deals can be found by looking at last minute availabilty as the owner will be happy to take a lower price rather than the property being empty. Large properties can often be obtained for large discounts for couples as the owners will have less costs and risks. So even if the property is for 8 people its worth asking a price for two.
    Booking well in advance is also a good way to get a deal, School Holidays fill up very quickly and you can often get a discount or at present years prices for next year. Finally Ebay, owners often sell last minute availability at greatly reduced prices, just ensure you check all the details and know whats included and whats not. Dont want any nasty surprises.
    www.holiday-rentals.co.uk
    www.villarenters.co.uk
    www.holidaylettings.co.uk
    www.ownersdirect.co.uk
    These are all the biggest and best for bookings, the also in some cases monitor the owners and offer some secuirty or peace of mind when booking.
    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 31-07-2009 at 11:34 AM.
  • cumbrian78
    Be careful with scams
    I am sure that a lot of the time there is no problem renting direct from an owner. But just be careful as I know someone who transferred money into a Spanish account after having found a villa on one of these advertising sites, and the villa did not exist! Many insurance policies will not cover you for this. Sometimes it is better to get the security which comes from dealing with a company.
  • webrow
    Yeah As Cumbrian78 said transferring money directly into a bank account offers no protection, the last one I rented we paid through paypal, that way you are protected.
    • helebark
    • By helebark 29th Jul 09, 10:27 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    helebark
    Check half term dates
    When looking for a good deal on villas in Majorca we discovered that some internet sites automatically assumed dates for our half terms that appear, for next year at least to be wrong, so we got a villa for over a £1000 per week cheaper.
  • DAMIT
    Holiday Home Owner
    I actually own a Fabulous South Facing LAKE SIDE Villa Very close to Disney.

    I am just one of an estimate 25,000 owners, mostly British, who own and rent out throughout the year in the Orlando Disney area of Florida.

    The public in general do not know about our Fabulous villas at fantastic bargain prices all year round!

    You can rent a Large FIVE double sized Bedroom home with Private Heated Pool with all the facilities, Games room, Plasma TVs, TV in all bedrooms, SPA, sun loungers/deck, small gated community, like mine from between £500 - £800 per week inclusive of local Taxes.

    That could be as little as £7 per person per night!!!

    Go Direct to the owners just google it!
    • golddustmedia
    • By golddustmedia 29th Jul 09, 11:05 AM
    • 796 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    golddustmedia
    Tips from a SC holiday OWNER.
    I've just sold my self catering holiday business so I don't mind sharing tips on how customers could get the best deals out of me.

    I was registered with a holiday agency but of course also took private bookings, which realistically were the greater volume of my business but at less money than the agency bookings.

    1. Going DIRECT is the best chance of getting a deal. I prominently mentioned the name of my holiday apartment in the text description on the agency website. Using this customers could "google" and find my own website. Likewise direct enquries got better prices as my agency charged 22% commission! So even offering 15% less for direct bookings I was still better off!
    2. School holidays are out. The school holidays are the bread and butter for SC holiday owners and as much as 75% of annual income comes from the 12 weeks of school hols. These nearly always book in advance and at the full asking price. Even when there is late availability we're reluctant to discount them as you know you'll pretty much always get a booking at a premium rate.
    3. Cash is king. When booking owners want security so booking in advance chances are discounts will be slim but something that always greased the wheel with me was to offer a small deposit in advance by cheque (10-20%) but offer the balance in cash on arrival.
    4. Less cleaning = lower costs. The last thing any holiday manager really wants is to find a dirty holiday home, every piece of linen and towels used and every room used etc. So if your group is small (just a couple) say so and state you won't use any second bedrooms. Perhaps offer to take your own towels or even linen or give some assurance you'll leave the place clean. I had some customers who visited every few months or annually but was happy to give them a sizeable discount having found they'd left the place so clean I had only a minimal linen change and tidy before I could let the next guests stay. Likewise easy is an incentive, anything that I don't have to do (such as meet you for check-in or setup a cot) is less work for me!
    5. In-fill the dates. I had a full daily availability on my website but obviously had to sell to set dates (7 nts began Saturdays, weekends were Fri-Mon and mid week Mon-Fri). Of course this meant that sometimes I had a booking for a weekend but nothing mid week until the following weekend. Where I had odd numbers of days like 5 nts etc it was rare to get an agency booking so I was always happy to take a discounted private booking to try and get back to back bookings. SO, ask the holiday owner what vacant dates they have to fill between bookings. Typically if 7 nts was £450 with me I would end up doing 5nts infill for half that. Basically an empty holiday home makes no money, but do remember every owner does have their minimum operating costs (the costs for cleaning, consumeables, electricity etc) so bear in mind there comes a monetary figure where it's better to leave empty than take a booking. My minimum was £100 for 3 nts on a 2 bed apartment (cleaners and fuel etc would be about £50).
    6. Courtesy is key on the phone. Think about your personality before you phone or enquire about a deal. Understandably holiday letting is a risk to a holiday owner. I was always MUCH happier to offer a deal to a friendly pensioner couple or polite professional couple rather than a noisy family looking for a cheap deal. It's just a case of common sense. Given that I had never met guests before you have to assess the likely risk of finding damage or a dirty apartment by what you can learn on the phone in a brief chat. So I would suggest before launching into "what's your best price for these dates" you ask about the property, be interested, talkative and convey the idea that you're responsible! After all when asked the price as owner I had full choice. Ok there was a guide but if I decided in 60 secs on the phone I want this person to rent it and not the person who emailed 5 minutes ago then I'm going to offer you a discount to try and get your business and not have to pursue the unknown quantity on the email. Sounds bad but when I'd get someone on the phone enquiring about the best deal for their teenage son etc there was no way I would offer a discount.
    7. eBay for your holiday! Lastly, when I had odd dates within the next few weeks I cleared the real bargains on ebay. So get searching!
    So there you have it, as an owner my best deals went to people who phoned me nicely to fill in vacant dates I had between bookings and who paid cash on arrival.
    Last edited by Former MSE Lawrence; 31-07-2009 at 11:36 AM.
  • fluffygrue
    I've always found Homelidays to have the best s/c deals, but haven't yet booked with them.

    Melanie
    • petesellit
    • By petesellit 29th Jul 09, 11:12 AM
    • 42 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    petesellit
    The Great “Hotels & B&Bs, want to offer MoneySavers a discount?” Hunt
    Don't forget the thread of MoneySavers offering discounts to other Money savers, it's under Home & Play > UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments ...
    but there are many MoneySavers including me who are offering money off Villas abroad for members of this site.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=1680959

  • welfy09
    Have to show my support for 'homelidays' (not allowed to post link as a newbie) here. It can take a while to search through to find correct location and budget at the same time, but the map function is really helpful. Have used them three times now - twice in France and once in Spain, usually ended up paying around EUR50 per night, but can vary depending on time.

    Only issue I have had with booking direct with owners is deposit - most want bank transfer which is costly, have always managed to confirm by sending a GBP cheque as a deposit which has then been returned to me on arrival when I paid the full balance in cash.

    Re: leaving until the last minute - bit risky if you have flights booked. Spent ages emailing owners for a trip to Marseille a few weeks ago and only one was still available, so was a bit wary about what it might be like! But it was lovely, owners very helpful etc.

    I think booking direct with owners has got to be the best way - you're not paying a middle man, and they really do tend to want to bend over backwards to accomodate you in my experience.
  • karendb
    Andorra is great for renting in August as it's off season for them. We booked a ski apartment couple of years ago with Homelidays and had a great holiday - beautiful views, plenty to do for the kids etc.. We flew with Ryanair to Girona and hired a car. However, it's easily possible to do a ferry-drive and do a stop-off at a Formule1 etc.
    I would love to be lazy but can't find the time
  • beaujo
    I've found looking on Gumtree really good for holidays accommodation. Also my friend has a timeshare and is with a timeshare company, they sell off their apartments for late availability really cheap, and they are all over, don't usually have UK apartments though, don't think I'm allowed to put details here.

    If anyone wants to know more about getting last minute availability, rather than put details on here message me and I might be able to help!;D

    I have just got back from a 1 week in Cagliari in Sardinia. Me, Partner and his 3 kids. We ended up spending £1050 for all of us including spendos. We rented an apartment (£300), it was close to the beach, bought in all supplies from supermarket, spent days on beach, made sandwichs for lunch etc. Ryanair flights were £160 for all of us, we only checked in 2 bags as we only needed limited stuff for beach etc and apartment had washing machine! Found apartment on gumtree. Fantastic holiday!! Normally we would spend this per person but both me and my partner lost our jobs earlier this year but I'm back in work now, so we had to slash the budget. I think I would always holiday like this in future. I love budgeting now!!!
    Originally posted by webrow
    I am wondering if you could share the contact details of the apt where you spent your holiday. I am still trying to get an apt for my holiday in Sardinia. Many thanks.
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