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FlipKey is a TripAdvisor company and powers the vacation rental experience on TripAdvisor. FlipKey features 300,000 vacation homes in over 11,000 cities throughout the world. All of their property owners are verified by FlipKey so travelers know they are dealing with trustworthy people. FlipKey features the largest collection of authentic guest reviews (over 150 million) and photos in the vacation rental industry. 

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The Good

FlipKey offers rental properties throughout the United States and in 11,000 cities around the world. There are no additional fees for travelers besides the price of booking a property. Some property managers will require a small deposit to confirm their reservation. FlipKey offers travel insurance for those interested, which is an additional cost.

Travelers can send a message to the property owner through the FlipKey site using the form in the right sidebar of the property page. Guests are also given the property owner's phone number. If the number provided is an 800 number, it's probably a number for a rental company, not a private homeowner. Other benefits of using FlipKey include:

  • Search Feature - FlipKey has a search feature on the homepage so users can search for rental properties before creating an account.
  • Search Filters - Users are able to filter their search results by specifying their minimum and maximum price, number of bedrooms, number of guests, amenities, rental type, accessibility, and more.
  • Property Owners - Private homeowners and rental companies are both able to list their accommodations on FlipKey, giving travelers a large variety of property types.
  • Email Recommendations - When searching through listings, FlipKey prompts travelers through a popup to have additional properties in their selected area sent to their email. This is especially helpful for users who don't have time to look through all the listings and would prefer to have a list sent to them with their specified dates and locations.
  • Mobile Friendly - FlipKey has both a mobile friendly site and mobile app, making it simple for mobile users to search and browse through property listings no matter where they are.
  • Deals - There are over 5,000 special deals featured on FlipKey's site every day.
  • Property Owners - FlipKey verifies each of their property owners, so travelers know they are dealing with nice and trusted people.

Guest reviews are available for each property. The reviews are complete with the date the review was posted and the date the guest stayed at the property. There is also a rating key of 1 to 5 circles that clearly shows how guests enjoyed their stay without requiring users to read through an entire review.

FlipKey also has a mobile friendly site. Their search feature is visible above the fold on the homepage and allows mobile users to easily search and browse property listings. They also have a mobile app that is accessible to users with FlipKey accounts.

The Bad

  • Complicated reservation
  • Varied cancellation policies

Reservations are not completed through the FlipKey site. Once travelers have spoken with the property manager and decided to rent their property, they are sent a rental agreement to help everyone understand the pricing, policies, and check-in/check-out procedures for their stay. Then renters send their deposits either directly to the property manager or through the FlipKey website. (Most rentals require a small deposit to confirm the reservation.) FlipKey recommends that travelers either pay with their credit card or a PayPal account to make sure their money is secure. Other downsides to using FlipKey include:

  • Instant Booking - FlipKey does not have any "Book Now" buttons on their site. Travelers must send messages via the website or call the property manager directly to inquire about their rental property. From there, they complete the booking and payment process with the property manager directly.
  • Payments - Property managers have the option of requiring their guests either pay their deposits and rental amounts through the FlipKey website or directly to the property owner. If payments do not go through the FlipKey website, travelers can't rely on FlipKey if billing issues arise. This can be very frustrating if travelers booked a property in a foreign country.
  • Popups - FlipKey has popups on their site prompting users to enter their email address so FlipKey can send them property recommendations. This is an easy way for FlipKey to obtain email addresses from users who have not yet created an account. Those email addresses probably go into their email database and are then sent additional promotional emails.

Each property owner has a unique method for handling refunds and cancellations; there is not a universal cancellation policy through FlipKey for their customers. When travelers book a property, they are asked to sign a rental agreement, which should clearly communicate policies for cancellations and refunds.

If travelers paid through FlipKey, they should double check the payment confirmation page for the detailed cancellation policy. Property owners who provide refunds for cancelled trips have to know about the cancellation weeks, sometimes months, in advance. A traveler who cancels a reservation at the last minute will probably not receive a refund.

The Bottom Line

For travelers who want their vacation rental company to backup each aspect of their reservation, FlipKey probably isn't the best option. Since there isn't a universal cancellation or refund policy used for all the property owners, there is a greater chance travelers will have issues with cancellations. Property owners also have the option of requiring their guests to pay them directly, taking FlipKey out of the payment process. This has the potential to cause problems for travelers that need refunds from foreign property owners.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

1.0
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7 Reviews

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Sentiment Criteria

Value for your money
Quality of product or service
Customer service
Company trustworthiness
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GWENDOLYNN GIOVENGO
October 10th, 2017 Cleveland, TN

You can NOT change dates, unless you want to pay in full. Horrible company

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David C.
July 17th, 2017

I am a property owner and flipkey is the worst. Their calendar does not sync properly with other vacation sites causing you to double book constantly. This is a HUGE issue for renters planning their vacation. I would never use TripAdvisor or FlipKey to rent a vacation rental. Use VRBO, their system is much better and customer service is exceptional. FlipKeys customer service and owner support couldn't be any worse.

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Simon
July 13th, 2017

Hosts Be Aware – You can easily lose hundreds or even thousands with Flipkey / Tripadvisor Want to list your home for short term rental on tripadvisor / flipkey? You'd better read this, based on our personal experiences. It happens time and again. No matter what cancellation policy you have, or how confirmed a booking is, any picky or even shady guest can come in, spend nights, use all your facilities and leave without paying. The only dirty trick needed to pull, is to send an unfounded complaint saying “property is not as expected”, and tripadvisor / flipkey would hold back all rents a host entitled to, disregarding any cancellation policy, rental rules & facts. Below are real events in detail. We have been a host for years. What we offer is a private suite with its own separate entrance at our backyard garden side. It has its own kitchenette, bath, bedrooms & laundry. Our family lives upstairs. We listed my suite on multiple websites, and get 5 star reviews from many guests. The first sentence of the property description says “...private suite, in a 3-storey house...” Also we always send a greeting email to confirmed guests, saying “...pathway will lead you to the walkout level entrance door, just ring the door bell & I will greet you there. In case I'm away from home (or too late), I'll give you the code for a key lockbox...” It should be crystal clear to any sane person that - what we offer is a private suite on walkout level & we live upstairs. In the afternoon of June 30, 2017, a group who booked from tripadvisor arrived. We greeted them, chatted, led them into the suite & gave them the key. Later on, they asked if they can use the laundry detergent etc. in their in-suite laundry. While we're telling them “of course”, we could see them cooking in the kitchen. Later, they asked us to show how to set up the sofa bed in the living room. We happily showed them & called it a day. The next morning, we received an email from tripadvisor saying “...the guest informing us that the property is not as their expectation, the guest has informed us that the property rented is the basement and they were not informed that the property would be shared...” Right away we tried to contact the guests, by texting to their mobile # and through tripadvisor's own message system. We told them they should know that's what we offered from the beginning, based on clear descriptions & emails. And there is nothing shared, for they have totally separated entrance & every room to their own. We don't even live on same levels, and don't have to see each other at all if that's what they want. We also asked if they wanted to continue their stay or not. If not, please inform & release the dates ASAP, for it's peak tourism season (Canada Day) & new guests may book any time. And we told them if someone else took any of those days once they release, we'll be glad to refund corresponding days' rent to them even though they long passed cancellation/refund deadline. No reply was ever received from the guests. So all the days were still shown as booked by those guests, and couldn't be released to any potential new guest. At the end of rent, we went down to do cleaning. Almost everything was used – kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, towels, soap, toilet paper, washer & dryer... A side note, even though we clearly state and put sign on entrance saying “no outdoor shoes please”, multiple dirty shoeprints were on living room & bathroom floors. But guess what, tripadvisor / flipkey not only refused to release the fund that we totally entitled to, but also tried very hard to trick / coerce us to refund those picky or even shady guests, simply due to their unfounded complaint of “property is not as expected”. Our loss can be more than $1,000, for all those peak season days hold, booked, lived & not paid. Plus, it makes us feel really bad, for the tripadvisor / flipkey didn't help us at according to the policies, rules and facts. Instead, they're obviously more interested in helping those picky or even shady deadbeats to bilk from us honest hosts. And this is not a single isolated case. So hosts be aware – list with tripadvisor / flipkey and this can happen to you any time for any trip. We'll have to raise rates on tripadvisor / flipkey, to cover this kind of situations. We don't have any similar things with guests booked from VRBO, HomeAway and Airbnb, through which we have more bookings.

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gringoal
January 4th, 2017

You would think a web based vacation booking organization who charge up to 13.5% sales commission would be able to afford a North American based support team and not outsource to an Indian call center with all the usual attendant language and cultural issues associated with third world outsourcing.. I am a FlipKey rental property owner who recently had occasion to refund $500 to a guest because an appliance broke down during their stay. After phoning FlipKey support they "thought" the refund should made through PayPal to FlipKey and gave me a case number. I made the transfer as instructed and then received an email telling me to reply when the transfer was complete. Their email, like all their replies is from a "No Reply" address , I phoned again and talked to a "supervisor" who appreciated me "sharing my concerns" he promised an email which never arrived. I have written to their PayPal registered address asking for confirmation of receipt of $500 but I have now received a reply saying they have no record of the case number. My guest has not received the $500 and TripAdvisor/Flip Key appear to be denying that they ever received it. Obviously my next step is to to action against TripAdvisor/Flip Key through PayPal for fraud. My point is that like many internet companies TripAdvisor/Flip Key are attempting maximize their profits by cutting their operating costs to the minimum and the best way to achieve this is to outsource their support to poorly trained and irresponsible overseas customer call centers. The very fact that all their long awaited replies come from "No Reply" address' shows that they are not really interested in entering into a dialogue regarding their customers concerns.

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Gloria Simmons
August 20th, 2016 San Diego, CA

I lost 3 inquiries due to their exhorbitant fees per stay. This site tried to charge these people $750 for a 3 week stay at my Maui condo. When I called them on it, they said I could reduce that if I would pay them $659 up front for advertising. No other site does that! I would rather pay the 3percent for each booking I received. I am getting way more bookings from airbnb as they do not charge these fees to any of us.

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Jackie
May 12th, 2016 Huntsville, AL

Flipkey has tried to rent the same house to me over, and over, I finally was able to talk to someone, who said he was in Bangladash. (telamarketer) he said they no longer listed that house for rent, yet he has text me many times trying to rent me the very same house, wanted me to pay without speaking to Mgr, or owner. The same 7.5B.R. with pool, what a SCAM!!!!!!!! Renter BEWARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jan Zobel
June 16th, 2015 Kailua Kona, HI

As a vacation rental owner who has used (and benefited from using) FlipKey in the past, it's been more than a little frustrating to see how they've evolved recently. It is impossible to reach anyone connected with the site. You can e-mail them but, in return, you'll get a form letter that doesn't address your question/concern. You can, as I have a number of times, call them. My experience has been that the message says there are 5 calls ahead of mine. Then 15-20 minutes later comes the message that there are more calls than normal so the wait will be longer. Then, 20-30 minutes later, the call is disconnected. This happens each time I try to reach them. They have greatly increased their fees this year and that, combined with the unwillingness to communicate with their customers, has meant I've stopped using them to advertise my property. We both lose but they don't seem to care.