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7 Top Reasons To Book Direct Using Alternatives to Vrbo & Airbnb

vrbo and airbnb
Say NO to Airbnb & Vrbo's Service Fees

I've owned a North Conway Cabin Rental for 30 years and it makes me crazy that online travel agencies have been charging YOU a Service Fee since 2016 of 8-20%!!!

It's my mission in 2023 to point you to alternatives to VRBO where you can safely rent a vacation rental or cabin rental in North Conway, NH

Airbnb’s Humble Roots

I could have used Vrbo as an example here but Airbnb's numbers are easier to gather.

Airbnb was started in 2008 when there were not many alternatives. Today, one of the top searches on Google is "alternatives to Vrbo".

Read on and you'll find out why guests are looking for alternatives to Airbnb and Vrbo.

Airbnb started out as place where folks could go to rent a couch or a room to stay for the night. It was a great way for folks struggling with mortgage payments during the height of the recession to make a little cash.

Airbnb’s premise was to connect like-minded folks and share a home space and experience the area together with out of town guests.

Airbnb does not allow guests and hosts to communicate by phone or email and payments are made solely using “Book It Now” buttons.

If an owner contacts a guest off the Airbnb website, their Airbnb listing will get deleted.

Airbnb and Vrbo charge guests booking commissions of 6-15% plus a 3% fee for credit cards charged to owners on bookings made through the sites.

Airbnb is shifting the Service Fees to the owners. They are suggesting that owners include them in their nightly rates and when guests pay, Airbnb deducts the fees.

The BIG take-away here is that if you find "alternatives to Vrbo", you will save yourself LOTS of money!

Airbnb's presence in Conway, NH includes:

  • Over 900 Listings

  • 28% offer a couch, room or camping space out back

  • 72% are whole house venues

  • 26 listings have no reviews

  • 11 listings have up to 2 reviews

  • The average nightly rental rate is $159

  • About 1/3 are a couch/room or camping space

  • About 1/3 are whole house venues

  • About 1/3 are hotels/motels/hostels/timeshares

1. We love our guests and Airbnb is not a good alternative to VRBO. Booking directly with an owner is an alternative to Vrbo that will SAVE YOU MONEY!

2. We genuinely want to get to know our guests at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch so we can assist them in making their vacation as wonderful as possible

3. Airbnb (and Vrbo,, Expedia, etc.) charges a booking commission

4. In an effort to make a vacation affordable for most groups, we quote according to the number of guests and date.

5. We want to speak with our guests before booking to make sure Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch is a great fit

6. Airbnb would bury my listing because I refuse to hound my guests for reviews

7. There are many glitches with the Airbnb and Vrbo websites


1. We love our guests and want to ensure they are a good match for Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch

Booking a North Conway Cabin Rental or North Conway vacation rental on Airbnb is done by selecting dates, number of guests, number of bedrooms and rate.

On Airbnb, you may peruse the description of the vacation rental in North Conway on the website but you do not have any opportunity to speak with the owners or get more information about the property.

We want to ensure that our guests are a great match for Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch.

Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch is a North Conway cabin rental and a special place but not for everyone! It's small, private and unique and in a 300 year old farm house!

We chat with folks to explain the layout of The Ranch and our proximity to things to do in North Conway while on vacation. There are North Conway attractions you can visit while on vacation and all are within a 5-10 minute drive. We love to recommend some of our favorite haunts and activities!

I also ask about the purpose of their trip so I might assist them in having a meal catered, give them information about events that will be taking place in North Conway during their stay, recommend family friendly North Conway restaurants or anything else that will help them have maximum fun in North Conway, NH!

We love Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch - a NH cabin rental and keep it, according to one of our recent reviewers, “meticulously maintained and spotlessly clean.” You won’t have to worry about any bad surprises if you vacation with us!

2. We genuinely want to get to know our guests so we can assist them in making their vacation as wonderful as possible

NH cabin rental owners that offer their vacation rental on Airbnb are at a great disadvantage because they are not able to communicate by phone or have access to a renters email address. Those owners miss out on helping their guests plan a perfect vacation.

Folks that contact us about renting want to know more! And… we’re locals so we can enlighten them!

From our discussions with some guests to our Insider’s Guide to North Conway or our blog, Things to Do in North Conway, we can describe or send you information that will assist you in planning a vacation where memories will last a lifetime!

We live here and play here so almost anything you’d like to do, we can give your our opinion about quality, cleanliness and price. Restaurants, cheapest NH ski rentals, best hikes, where the best photo ops are, great beaches, appropriate ski mountains for your group and much more.

3. Airbnb Charges a Booking commission

Plain and simple…

Airbnb charges a booking commission to YOU on every rental made on their site.

When you book Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch through our site you never pay any booking or service fees!

The online travel agencies will try to make you believe that you get some sort of guarantee using their site and paying the expensive Service Fee!

4. The Unique Way We Quote Rental Rates

In an effort to make a vacation at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch affordable for most groups we do not have seasonal or rack rates.

During non-peak times we base our rates for our North Conway cabin rental on the number of adults and children in the group, dates, and number of nights.

Book-It-Now type of booking does not work for our pursuit to make a vacation at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch a reality for most groups.

If we subscribed to that type of booking we would have missed out on a few of our favorite repeat guests including; a father and son that spend quality bonding time hiking every spring and fall, a small family that vacation together every time Dad gets a leave from the military and many more scenarios like this.


Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch – North Conway, NH

Unlike most Airbnb and Vrbo hosts who are new North Conway vacation rental owners, we have owned a North Conway cabin rental for more than 30 years.

We have hosted tens of thousands of guests and they all have been excited to book directly with me as an alternative to Vrbo and Airbnb.

I decided to take my listing off Vrbo (I never listed on Airbnb) in 2015. I used to say that I was the Southwest Airlines of the vacation rental industry.

I've worked hard, made my New Hampshire cabin rental the best it can be. Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch is meticulously maintained and spotlessly cleaned as well.

We are a family friendly North Conway vacation rental and have been hosting vacationers in North Conway for more years than some of the Airbnb site users have been on this beautiful Earth!

Of the many inquiries I receive daily, it’s infrequent when we speak with folks that have never stayed with us, are related or work with someone that’s stayed with us or have never heard of us!

We are well known by folks that frequently travel to North Conway, NH in in direct opposition to the typical Airbnb vacation rental owner who is renting their second home once in a while.

Our guests know the minute they walk in the door that Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch is not a typical Vacation Rental.

The wood furnishings in The Ranch are lovingly hand crafted by Russ, mostly from trees that we have cut down, milled and planed. He puts extra ordinary touches on every piece he crafts.

We are outdoorsy folks and have all the best tips for your outdoor New Hampshire adventure.

Over the many years of sharing North Conway with our wonderful guests we have picked their brains for information, mainly asking how we could have made their stay more enjoyable and memorable.

We are tried and true. While many motels and vacation rentals were being foreclosed or auctioned off during the recession, we were renovating continuously.

Our goal is to change up something every month to make ourselves better. We're still updating and putting more unique rooms together!

We promise to do our best to make it possible for you to make vacation memories that last a lifetime!

Our reviews and list of repeat guests (some have been vacationing with us more than 25 years) show that we are true to what we say.

We’ll look forward to hearing from you in the future!




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