Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Ski Vacation Accomodations Now....

Woo-hoo...check another item off my to-do list. As mentioned prior we do a very large ski trip every winter for college friends and their families. Our numbers have been anywhere from in the teens to pushing thirty depending on the year, destination, etc.. We have singles, couples, and families. We prefer houses/townhomes with a group this size as this is just as much a reunion as a ski vacation, so we want to be able to have common areas for the adults and kids to socialize in at any hour.

But no matter what the numbers we always book early. Most winter vacation rentals start coming on the market after Labor Day. This early booking is good for a few reasons...you have the best selections and availabilities by searching early and it also allows you or your fellow travel companions plenty or time to search for a decent airfare. Which we all know in this day and age is pretty tough.

This year we are returning to Park City where we have been in the past. 2002 for the Winter Olympics as well as 2004 for our group trip. I started my search the week after Labor Day. I went to a general Park City Tourism site and found all their property management companies. Before contacting any of them I ensure I have my dates dialed in. We generally avoid holiday weeks/weekends as rates can be double. I also ensure I have our accomodation needs thought out as well...approximate number of bedrooms, baths, linen service, stocked kitchen, on a shuttle route, parking, hot tub are just a few of the things to think about. And of course above all the budget. Be sure when communicating with anyone regarding numbers they include any taxes, booking fees, cleaning fees, etc.. If you get a number without those you will generally see it inflate 10+% when the broker adds them in. Then start contacting away. Nearly everyone has websites with photos, maps, etc. But do not be afraid to ask for physical addresses of properties, so you can see if "downtown" is really downtown.

Another avenue to consider is VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) or listings on Craigslist. Generally you will see huge savings in these properties as they are not paying a middle man to do their advertising or management of their property, including check-in/outs and cleaning. However, you do need to be careful by going directly through the owner. Ensure they have a contract and read it thoroughly. If their listing does not have previous guest comments ask for referrals. Also if you find something you really like, but is a little out of your range...ask them in they are willing to negotiate. This is more likely to happen with the direct owners vs a property management-ran property.

So here's a list of past properties or companies we have used and have had wonderful experiences
> 2002: Resort Quest in Park City, UT Property no longer listed
> 2003: ...back to you on this one. Need to find the info.
> 2004: Resort Quest in Park City, UT Property no longer listed
> 2005: tahoevacation.com in Zephyr Cove, NV Property#303
> 2006: Vail Central Reservations in Vail, CO Gore Creek Meadows Condos
> 2007: was VRBO is now TahoeMoonProperies in Tahoe City, CA Carmen's Talamont Retreat
> 2008: VRBO in Steamboat, CO Steamboat Escape Cimmaron
> 2009: VRBO in Park City, UT Canyon Cottage....keep your fingers crossed this one is as good as year's past

There is one other property management company I would like to mention. Even though I have not booked one of their properties their sales associate tends to bend over backwards to try to get my business...Mountain Reservations. Most notably Nate out of Park City.

And with Resort Quest in Park City ask for Janice White.

Our 100 degree days are gone here in NorCal and the leave are starting to fall. So snow is slowly coming to our mind....


Daniel said...

Hello there. I just ran across your post and I work with Mountain Reservations, and I know our agents will appreciate your comment as they are willing to bend over backwards for our customers. Since we aren't a vrbo, we work with many property management companies we have more options for all of our customer so hopefully we can find something perfect for our customers. Also we've just opened up a new site vacationroost.com and work more than just Ski now. Hopefully the next time you need to book please give us a call.

Again thanks for the mention.

Daniel C.

A. Jolly said...

The 2009 Canyon Cottage was a wonderful stay. Only could have been better item is if there were more towels/linens.