Travel industry pros offer tips and tricks for finding a Cape Cod vacation destination.
Rental properties on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are quickly booking up for this summer, but vacationers can still reserve a property.
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Blake Decker, CEO of a high-end vacation rental company Quite finicky properties, which manages 170 properties in 10 Cape Cod towns, said it is currently about 85% full. He expects to sell for the high season – between late June and late August – for the second year in a row.
“As a business, we’ve never seen this demand for our services,” Decker said.
Before the pandemic, it would be about 60-70% booked at this time of year, he said, and would never quite sell out.
“You would have holes in the season here and there,” Decker said. “So the 100% thing is a new phenomenon for me. I’ve been doing this since 2006 and I’ve never seen the 100% figure we saw last year.
Other booking platforms, including Vrbo and WeNeedaVacation.com, are seeing similar demand.
Eager vacationers can still land a rental in Cape Town with a little patience and know-how, experts said. Here are their tips for booking a Cape Cod rental for this summer.
Online rental marketplace Vrbo said less than 20% of vacation homes are currently available on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard for the month of July.
“Book as soon as possible,” Vrbo’s Alison Kwong said in an email. “It may be obvious, but don’t delay any longer in planning your summer vacation. Start planning now before holiday home availability becomes even scarcer – this will help ensure you have the best selection of properties and prices to choose from.
Airbnb’s Liz DeBold Fusco agreed, saying in an email that booking early “will let you find the listing you want, wherever you are.”
The website WeNeedaVacation.com, which offers more than 4,000 listings ranging from modest to luxurious on the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, is seeing a similar trend. Vacationers are booking summer getaways earlier and earlier, according to senior marketing manager Jennie Sparrow. The platform currently has 26% uptime between late June and Labor Day and 17-21% uptime for peak summer weeks in late July and early August, Sparrow said.
“This is the third year in a row that our site has broken records,” Sparrow said. “It surpassed anything we’ve seen in our 25-year history.”
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“My advice to people looking for their vacation spots this summer is to find a human being to talk to,” Decker said. “Find a local agency that can talk to you and work with you. Finding local knowledge would be a big help.
Decker said people can find local businesses offering vacation rentals through the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.
“For even more options, each town in Cape Town has a local chamber of commerce to which most agencies belong,” according to Decker.
He recommended calling the city chamber or checking its website for a list of agencies to contact.
Potential tenants should not lose hope, experts said.
“We are seeing a huge number of new rental properties come online.” said Decker, of Pretty Picky Properties.
Kwong said Vrbo has tools and filters that help travelers narrow down their search.
“For example, Vrbo offers a tool to help families looking for properties in popular destinations with low vacation home availability,” Kwong said. “Searches for properties in these vacation spots will include a carousel of additional properties available should travelers shift their stay dates by a day or a week.”
“It’s never too late,” Sparrow said. “We always have new registrations, between 20 and 30 per week. So keep checking.
Those considering late-summer getaways might be in luck: The last week of August has the most availability right now, between 32 and 49 percent, Sparrow said.
Broaden your search.
Flexibility is key, said travel industry professionals.
Consider visiting the area during the shoulder season in late spring or early fall, which “is still a gorgeous time to come,” Sparrow said.
Competition for rentals in Cape Town is “less fierce” in late August and September, according to Kwong, when availability “improves significantly”.
“Also, try an undated search on Vrbo – this will give a wider choice of vacation homes in a destination – to first find the perfect vacation home, then check the calendar to book the property when it becomes available. “, said Kwong.
“Try to be as flexible as possible with your travel dates and whereabouts requests,” Sparrow said. “If you like Wellfleet consider staying in Eastham or Truro or another surrounding area that may be available.”
There are plenty of “cool and quirky” areas of Cape Town, Decker said, so it’s worth trying a new destination.
Those looking for waterfront rentals may have more options than they think.
“There are also a lot of beautiful freshwater properties worth a shot,” Sparrow said. “[You can] hang out on the water, have a dock you can swim from. The freshwater properties are equally beautiful.
Airbnb users can discover more rental options with searches for “flexible dates” using length of stay rather than exact dates, DeBold Fusco said, and searches for “flexible destinations” of single listings ( think boats, A-frames and private islands).
Watch out for scams.
When using online rental marketplaces, watch out for scamswhich are rare but happening, DeBold Fusco said.
Users should never pay the full cost of the reservation outside of the Airbnb platform, Fusco said, and all such requests should be reported to the company.
“Staying on the Airbnb platform throughout the process – from communication to booking – protects our community from offline scams,” she said.
Other red flags, according to Vrbo, include incorrect or strange URLs, request for banking information, misspelled words or bad grammar and low resolution images. Also, make sure the website uses encryption to protect your payment information.
Divide the cost.
Those with budget concerns can split the cost of a larger home with multiple families, Sparrow said.
“Consider coming with very close friends or family and staying together in a bigger house, which seems out of your budget,” Sparrow said. “If there are enough rooms to combine families, that usually takes the sting out of it.”
Cost will be a challenge this year, Decker said.
“It’s going to be a tough year to get a deal on Cape Town, especially for this year,” Decker said. “You may have to dig a little deeper into your wallet than you would like.”
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