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Owner Direct Vacation Rentals was originally founded in 1994 as a service that rented out Big White ski condos in British Columbia. Now, the Owner Direct provides listings on over 13,000 vacation rentals, including rental homes in resorts throughout the world. While Owner Direct's global reach, transparency, and online features are impressive, the service lists much fewer properties than top vacation rentals companies. Additionally, customers will need to pay a service fee with Owner Direct.

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The Good

  • Last-minute deals
  • No hidden fees
  • Listing profiles

Multinational Presence

Owner Direct Vacation Rentals is one of the few companies in the industry with a true global reach. While many companies focus all their efforts on domestic listing in the United States, Owner Direct offers renters the ability to rent vacation homes on nearly every continent. Although some countries only feature a single listing, this multinational presence is a big plus for renters traveling abroad.

Last-Minute Deals

Owner Direct prominently displays a handful of its "last-minute deals" wherein renters can receive up to 50 percent savings on the nightly rate for select properties. Last minute deals must be used within 30 days of application.

No Hidden Fees

Owner Direct provides an estimated nightly rate as well as a list of additional fees for each property upfront, before you inquire. This is not a practice employed by all vacation rentals companies, and it provides renters with the advantage of knowing exactly what they're paying ahead of time.

Listing Profiles

Each list profile contains an abundance of information: interior/exterior photos, amenities capacity information, approved payment methods, an availability calendar, and customer reviews. Renters will also see a list of close-by restaurants, shopping malls, and other neighborhood perks that are within walking or driving distance of the property.

The Bad

  • Service fee charged
  • Relatively few listings
  • No rental guarantee

Service Fee Charged

While many leading companies in the industry do not charge a service fee for those who want to list a rental property, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals collects 10 percent of the total rental cost directly from the guest, paying 90 percent to the owner. Owner Direct also applies annual fees for owners who receive a minimum of two bookings per year. This annual fee is per owner (not per property), and totals $100 plus 5 percent tax.

Relatively Few Listings

Despite Owner Direct's impressive global presence, the company lists relatively few properties on its site. Many leading companies list hundreds of thousands (and in some cases, millions) of properties. This is an area we feel Owners Direct could really improve.

No Rental Guarantee

Many providers in the vacation rentals industry offer some form of rental guarantee, which acts as insurance for owners in the event of loss or damage to their property; however, Owners Direct does not appear to offer this kind of protection. Any fees owners pay to Owner Direct goes directly toward maintaining and promoting their listing on the website.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals offers some unique features that help it stand out. This last minute discounts are great for renters looking for a bargain on a foreign listing, and the company exercises greater transparency in some areas than other companies. Unfortunately, the company lacks a few key features-most notably the rental guarantee to protect against loss or damage. So while Owner Direct may be a great option for some renters, domestic landlords may want to explore other options for listing their property.

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