We know that we are aging ourselves here, but back in the day when you wanted to travel to Hawaii and “get away from it all,” you called up your favorite travel agency. A helpful travel agent would do his or her magic, finding you flights, booking a nearby hotel, and getting you tickets to lots of fun adventures. These days, travel agents have mostly gone the way of the horse-drawn carriage. It’s easier than ever for you to hop onto an online travel site and do all of the booking yourself, from flights, to vacation rentals, and fun scuba diving tours. However, now the challenge becomes choosing which booking sites to use. In the past few years, sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and even TripAdvisor let you view, compare, and book vacation rental condos and homes in Maui. With all these large sites at your beck and call, is there any reason to use a small family owned, Maui-only vacation and holiday rental site like Ali’i Resorts? Obviously, we think the answer is yes, and we’d like to tell you why.

The Personal Touch

It’s true that you can find beautiful, high quality vacation rentals on Airbnb, VRBO, and TripAdvisor. However, you likely won’t get the Hawaiian “personal touch” that sets Ali’i Resorts apart from the rest. You see, at Ali’i Resorts, we live in Maui and make it a point to greet our guests at the door when they arrive. We are also here to recommend great restaurants, the best whale watching tours, and which stops you should make on the Hana Highway. We can also address any problems you face quickly and efficiently.

Compare that to Airbnb, where your experience can vary greatly. The owner of your property might leave you a few brochures to peruse through or send you a welcome text. But she may also not even live in Maui, because the condo you just rented is her vacation home. That means she can’t really give you good recommendations, or, more importantly, fix the sink right away if it starts leaking.

If you really just want to get the best deal possible, then you can always rent a room in a house on Airbnb. If you want the most choice and a quick online rental, VRBO is great at that. If you want a personal greeting, consistent service, and to make a connection with property managers who really care about making your trip to Maui wonderful, then choose Ali’i Resorts.

No Hidden Fees

One of the biggest benefits of large vacation rental sites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and VRBO is that you have tons of choices, which means you can get a good deal on a property that fits all of your needs. Oftentimes, however, the initial prices that come up in your searches aren’t actually accurate. That’s because these sites have a habit of tacking on fees (often a hundred dollars or more) that aren’t reflected in the initial price. You’ll only see them after you’ve clicked on a property, fallen in love with it, and are ready to check out.

TripAdvisor slaps on an “owner fee” which is the same amount no matter how long you stay.  A typical owner fee for a two-bed, two-bath house in Lahaina, Maui was $239. That’s almost the cost of staying an extra night! Airbnb lets each individual property owner determine their own fees, so you might see a $150 cleaning fee attached to your bill at checkout, along with an extra “service” fee of $149 (whatever that is). It also isn’t unusual for owners to add an additional “per person” fee. So, for instance even though a condo with two king beds and 1 couch can reasonably sleep five people, the owner charges a $15-person extra fee per night for parties over two people. If you have a group of five who wants to rent the house for seven days, you’re looking at an extra fee of $315! (That’s on top of the cleaning and service fee.)

VBRO takes the cake, though. We’ve heard reports of customers getting hit with a $500 booking fee when it comes time to make their reservations. That makes the property far more expensive than it originally seems, especially if you are only staying in Maui for a short time.

At Ali’i Resorts, we work incredibly hard to keep our rates competitive, but if you think about it, our rates are actually far lower than they seem, because we do not hit you with hidden fees. Our service and cleaning fees are included in the rental price that we list front and center on each property in our catalogue. We don’t try to fool you with intentionally low prices only to surprise you at checkout. The price you see when you start looking at our properties is what you get…okay, we’re going to have to add taxes on at the end, but you knew those were coming!

Reliable and Trustworthy Contacts with Few Restrictions

The final benefit of choosing to book your Maui vacation rental through Ali’i Resorts is that you’ll get to work with us, and only us! We are a close knit company that has been in this business for 13 years. We love Maui, and we love making our guests feel at home. We offer consistent and reliable service. Every one of our vacation rentals was chosen because it was a safe, clean, high quality property located close to the beach. We have all of our rentals professionally cleaned after each guest leaves and inspect each property before the next guests arrive.

If you choose to rent through a large, global site, you are rolling the dice. Most of these sites are only clearing houses where owners can promote their own properties. You won’t really know who you are dealing with and how much they care about answering your questions or addressing issues that arise. There are many cases (as you can see in customer reviews) when a property wasn’t as clean or safe as promised or when images on the site made the property look much nicer than it was.

Many owners also impose their own rules. Some do not allow children. Many require a minimum length of stay (sometimes as long as five days). Some Airbnb owners rent a room in a home where they are living, so you’ll get a stranger as a houseguest on your vacation! Also, many of these homeowners are “part-time” property managers, trying to figure things out as they go along. They may not be able to willing to address problems that come up in the middle of the night or even know how to fix an air conditioning unit that stops working.

At Ali’i Resorts, managing our Hawaii vacation rental properties is what we do full time, and we get most of our customers through referrals and return service, which is why we are truly dedicated to making your Maui experience wonderful!

If you want a reliable and service-focused experience when you book your Maui vacation rental, we hope you will consider Ali’i Resorts. We are Maui born and bred, and we can’t wait to show you all the treasures this island holds, starting with your awesome vacation rental!

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