#BookDirect Guest Education Day 2021: 10 Reasons to Book Direct

This Wednesday, February 3, 2021, book-direct advocates in the vacation rental industry are taking the opportunity to celebrate the fourth annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day by sharing the many ways in which making the switch to a direct booking model has enriched both their customer relations and their bottom line. ItsCabinTime.com has been gathering feedback for years from cabin owners, local short-term rental property managers and vacationers alike — Here are their top 10 reasons to embrace direct booking in 2021:

  1. Book at the lowest rate

When you book directly with the local owner or manager of a vacation rental, you are paying the person whose right it is to decide the rate. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) may have leeway to mark up those prices, but they NEVER charge you less than the owner’s rate.

  1. Avoid fees and commissions

When you book directly with the local owner or manager, you cut out the go-between. This means no paying for the privilege to send messages or view an availability calendar, and no traveler’s fees tacked on at the end of the transaction for using the booking service.

  1. Learn about special offers

Owners and managers who use a book-direct business model often have repeat customers that they keep in contact with to inform previous visitors about upcoming specials. Owners/managers can also share these specials on their website, social media or listing sites like www.itscabintime.com.

  1. Choose from more options

Many owners and managers dislike the way OTAs (such as Vrbo, FlipKey, TripAdvisor, AirBnb, Booking.com or HomeAway) take control of their booking calendars and messaging. This means some of the most experienced hosts aren’t even available through large travel sites.

  1. Communicate openly

When you book directly with the owner or manager of the home where you will be staying, you can enjoy complete transparency in regard to house rules, cleaning policies and rates. Many homeowners love to get to know those who will be staying at their rental cabins and homes!

  1. Get personal attention

When you have the chance to communicate with someone who knows the home you are renting inside and out, it’s easier to accommodate specific needs. You’ll also have access to a real person who takes responsibility for your experience and sees it through from start to finish.

  1. Benefit from local insight

Above and beyond chamber websites or tourist brochures, a local owner or manager who knows the area can help you plan a personalized vacation you’ll remember. They can also give information on favorite hunting and fishing spots — you won’t find that in the guidebook!

  1. Find last-minute availability

Speaking directly with the person in charge of a vacation rental’s booking calendar means you’ll have access to the most up-to-date information on availability. This includes any last-minute cancellations that the rental owner/manager may be eager to fill — sometimes at a discount.

  1. Minimize risk of fraud

Transparency between the vacation rental owner/manager and the vacationer minimizes the risk of accidentally booking a fraudulent property by allowing each party to perform standard security checks. See tips and tricks to protect your vacation rental reservation deposit here: http://www.rentwisconsincabins.com/payment-protection.php

  1. Support small businesses

Many vacation rental homeowners, resort owners and small property managers are family-run businesses with a long history in the industry. Help protect their right to keep control of their business and keep doing the work they love by cutting out middle-man OTAs!

About Guest Education Day

Guest Education Day is a non-branded, annual event that began in February 2018. On this day, vacation rental owners and managers — as well as commission-free listing sites and other invested industry leaders — come together to support each other and promote the #BookDirect movement by educating future guests about the benefits of direct booking.

In 2020, participants using the hashtag #BookDirect shared more than 78,500 posts on Guest Education Day, and made more than 166 MILLION impressions on Instagram and Twitter alone (Source: vrmintel.com). In 2021, supporters are hoping to build on that engagement, bringing word about the benefits of book direct to even more potential vacation home renters.

Looking for a cabin to BOOK DIRECT?

You can see all of our listings brought together on one map at www.ItsCabinTime.com. Happy direct booking! #ItsCabinTime

Fall Into Big Savings on Vacation This Autumn

Summer is coming to an end, but the fun doesn’t need to end with it. Autumn’s cooler temperatures and bright colors make it the perfect time to embrace the outdoors and finally plan that cabin getaway. 

Following are just some of the perks that fall travelers enjoy. 

Fall fun

Autumn is one of the best seasons to enjoy nature’s simple pleasures. In many vacation spots, it’s easy to combine a relaxing cabin stay with trips to farmers’ markets, apple orchards and pumpkin patches, plus seasonal treats like hot apple cider and freshly baked pies. 

Lower rates

On top of autumn’s scenic incentives, travelers get the added perk of lower rental rates when they travel in the fall. If you’re looking for good values and package deals that will give you the best bang for buck, a fall vacation is for you. 

Flexible stays

Another perk of fall travel is more flexible stays. During the fall season, It’s Cabin Time’s weekly-only policy switches to a two or three night minimum. Whether you’re planning an extended trip or a weekend getaway, your dream destination is available.

A change of scenery

With both school and work being remote for many families, why not ditch your work from home routine and “work from cabin” instead? Most It’s Cabin Time vacation rentals have WiFi, so you can get a change of scenery and still keep up with your responsibilities. 

With most travelers taking beach vacations during the summer and mountain trips in the winter, it pays off to go against the grain. Whatever type of autumn getaway you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.

Begin your search for the perfect rental at www.itscabintime.com, or choose your state below:

Wisconsin | Michigan | Minnesota | Montana | New York | Tennessee | Kentucky

Plan an Accessible Guided Fishing Trip This Summer

Rod ’n’ reel: base lakes open to fishingSummer is finally here, and with it comes a slew of outdoor activities best enjoyed in the sunshine. Fishing is one of our favorite summer pastimes because it’s accessible to people young and old, expert and novice, and those with disabilities.

The following is a list of places you can book an accessible guided fishing trip near one of ItsCabinTime.com vacation properties.

Healing Waters Fly Fishing – Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin

Project Healing Waters provides free, full-spectrum fly fishing programs and services to wounded, ill and injured veterans and military service members. The organization plans to host virtual meetings throughout summer 2020 to ensure vulnerable veterans have a continuum of care and supportive community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fishing Has No Boundaries, Inc. – Wisconsin, Minnesota

In partnership with Access Ability Wisconsin, Fishing Has No Boundaries proudly provides recreational fishing opportunities for all anglers with disabilities, as well as acting as a resource for information on adaptive fishing equipment and accessibility. As their website says, “A Fishing Has No Boundaries event is truly an unforgettable way to spend a weekend on or near the lakeshore with a new friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or a much anticipated comrade in the thrill of catching that “big one”—no matter the size.”

Western New York Adoptive Water Sports – New York

With pontoons and power boats that have flexible seating and a Hoyer lift especially for wheelchairs, Western New York Adaptive Water Sports caters to vacationers with disabilities and youth that would otherwise not have the chance to experience a guided fishing trip. 

Jeff Evans Fishing – Wisconsin

Jeff Evans is a U.S. Coast Guard Charter Captain and credentialed Wisconsin Fishing Guide on the Great Lakes, Hayward Area Lakes, Chequamegon Bay and the St. Louis River. His fishing trips are catered to the individual needs of his customers and are designed to provide an educational, interactive and fun experience while exploring the endless fishing opportunities available in Northern Wisconsin.

Contact the organizations above to schedule your accessible guided fishing trip this summer. No matter your level of ability, there are organizations and people out there who can help you have a great day of fishing. Have fun!

Thank you for supporting our growing number of regional vacation rental listing websites that allow renters to connect and book directly with owners and local property managers.

Begin your search for the perfect rental at www.itscabintime.com, or choose your state below: Wisconsin | Michigan | Minnesota | Montana | New York | Tennessee | Kentucky

Websites offers free listings for vacation rental property owners amid uncertain 2020 summer rental season

April 28, 2020 – Middleton, WI – Knowing that social-distancing will be at the forefront of vacationers’ minds this summer, JM Creative Group LLC is offering free rental property listings on three of their book-direct websites: 1 year free at RentKentuckyCabins.com and RentMontanaCabins.com; 6 months free at RentTennesseeCabins.com. 

Now more than ever, vacationers will be looking for getaways that are outdoors, isolated and within driving distance from their homes. In exchange for a free 6- or 12-month listing, property owners set up their own listing details and photos in a provided template. ”We know many rental property owners and managers are scrambling this year to fill cancellations and vacancies caused by coronavirus,“  said Joe Mogensen, the company’s founder. “This is our chance to give something back to the rental property market while also helping vacation rental owners get through this difficult time.”

An added bonus is peace of mind for vacationers. By booking directly with vacation rental owners or local property managers, renters speak directly to the person in charge and not a call center. “Rather than discouraging the connection between owners and potential renters, our group of websites take a more friendly and relaxed approach to renting cabins, cottages, lodges, or homes by offering direct booking,” explains Mogensen. Vacationers can have all of their questions answered by the owners — who are often locals themselves. They can get a real sense of what to expect in the community when they arrive and be assured firsthand that they will be able to enjoy a clean, safe and worry-free retreat.

Joe started his free-to-use internet service in his home state of Wisconsin, where he and his family have experienced many enjoyable vacations in lakeside cabins. More than seven and a half million site views later, renter traffic is up 18% compared to the year before across all of his websites.After launching RentWisconsinCabins.com, Mogensen expanded his vision with similar sites in Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Montana, Tennessee and Kentucky. He has plans to create websites for several more states. 

JMCG has proven that bringing vacation rental owners together onto state-specific websites bolsters their property’s online exposure. The peaceful, timeless feeling of a comfortable cabin is captured in his trademarked theme line, “It’s cabin time®.

For more information or a direct interview, give Joe a call at (608) 721-6238 or email him at jmogensen@jmcreativegroup.com.

The Best Hidden Beaches in Michigan

Summer is just around the corner, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome the new season than a trip to a quaint lakeside beach. Below are some of Michigan’s best kept “secret” spots to hang out and catch some rays while social distancing. 

Sleeping Bear DunesDUNESLocated on the Northeast shore of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear is large enough to have plenty of nooks and crannies to explore while avoiding a crowd. If you don’t know where to start, Tiesma Road Beach, Peterson Road Beach and Port Oneida Beach are three great spots that are both beautiful and off the beaten path. 

Lake Huron Roadside ParkPARKSitting high on a bluff overlooking the water, this hidden treasure is the perfect spot to pull over and watch the sky fade to nighttime. And don’t forget to bring a camera—it’s a view you’ll want to remember. 

Negwegon State ParkSTATE PARKDespite its official state park label, this area is severely overlooked in terms of scenic recreation spots. The State describes it as “rustic and undeveloped” and indeed, you may want to take a hike and observe some of the wildlife before hitting the park’s sandy beach shores. 

Mackinaw City Public Beach AccessBEACHWhere the Wilderness State Park and Trail Ends road meet, you’ll find this cute little Lake Michigan beach tucked away from the rest of the world—just as you’ll be once you arrive. Stretch out and savor having the soft white sand and shallow waters all to yourself.

Private Beaches PRIVATE BEACHAs relatively “secret” as the beaches above are, the best way to ensure seclusion is to use a private beach. RentMichiganCabins.com has a ton of properties available with private, on-site water access. You can have your own beach, plus all the amenities that come with the various rental properties, right at your fingertips. 

What’s your favorite beach in Michigan? Share your beach tips in the comments below!

Planning an Anniversary Trip in the Mountains

CoupleWondering what to do for your next anniversary? Plan a mountain trip! Nothing says romance quite like a mountain retreat in a cozy cabin. And while this spring might not be the best time to go on a trip, what with COVID-19, but it is the perfect time to plan one. 

Here are our tips to help you plan an amazing mountain getaway. 

Rent a cabin

CabinWhen you’re looking through all of the different types of accommodations available for your retreat, consider renting a cabin. Hunkering down in an authentic, private living space is one of the best ways to both feel at home and get the full mountain experience. 

You can find rentals to suit any type of vibe you’re looking for at It’s Cabin Time. Our properties offer a range of amenities from rustic to luxury. Plus, because we are a book-direct site, you will get personal attention to ensure that you have the best possible holiday.

Consider an off season visit

Adirondacks[Browse cabins near the Adirondack Mountains]

Factor your anniversary date into your location planning process so that you can avoid the crowds. For instance, if your anniversary falls in the four months between June and September, you may want to avoid the Rocky Mountains as it will be in the midst of peak travel season. 

Plan for downtime

Smokies[Browse cabins near the Great Smoky Mountains]

Sometimes less is more—especially on an anniversary trip where your main focus is on each other. When you need some rest, or if the weather is bad one day, be prepared to have some fun off the trails. Here are a few ideas.

If you want to enjoy the scenery even in your downtime, try doing a paint and sip; open up a bottle of wine to split while you and your partner paint the view from your cabin. Then later that night, cook a nice meal together either indoors or outside over a campfire.

Beartooth Mountains[Browse cabins near Yellowstone and Glacier National Park]

It’s always exciting to discover a new part of the world with the one you love. Happy vacationing, and happy anniversary! #ItsCabinTime

Travel and the Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered

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With coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading quickly across the globe, our day-to-day lives are changing significantly. Businesses are shut down, public events are cancelled and everyone is encouraged to social distance for the next few weeks, at least. So what does this mean for your travel plans in the coming months? Do you need to revise them, reschedule them or cancel them altogether? 

We’ve compiled information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other reputable sources to help answer your questions. 

Is it safe to travel within the US?

There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel. Using crowded travel settings like airports and train stations increases your chances of getting COVID-19. 

If you decide to travel in the next few months, consider driving to reach your destination and staying in an isolated vacation rental rather than a hotel or motel. 

If you have questions about the area you’re visiting, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.

If I cancel my flight, will I get my money back?

It depends. In normal circumstances, you would have to pay a cancellation fee or booking penalty if you did not purchase a more expensive, fully refundable ticket. 

But in light of COVID-19, many airlines including Delta, United and American are loosening their booking policies and suspending cancellation or rescheduling fees.

USA.com offers tips on how to get a refund on nonrefundable airline tickets.

What preventative measures should I take if I decide to travel?

If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 during your trip. The virus is spread through coughs and sneezes and by touching contaminated objects, so make sure to wash your hands often and carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you. 

You should also keep a six-foot buffer of space between you and strangers, and avoid touching your face if you can help it. Consider wearing gloves to help keep you mindful about what you’re touching. 

For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.

Looking for a remote getaway?

Begin your search for the perfect rental at www.itscabintime.com, or choose your state below:

Wisconsin | Michigan | Minnesota | Montana | New York | Tennessee | Kentucky