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Forget everything you know about renting Skopelos Villas

10 min.
Forget-everything-you know-about-renting Skopelos-Villas

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Are you on the lookout to find affordable Skopelos Villas to rent for your upcoming holiday?

My following tips could save you money if you follow a set of simple tips

You don’t have to be a Google Developer to know how to perform a search for your Skopelos villas this summer. A search that will help you save money.

The surprising thing is that over 60% of travellers still choose expensive platforms to book their villa. This can cost anywhere between 10 – 30% more than booking their holiday property direct.

In fact, you can pay €200 – €500 less, (depending on the length of stay and the season), for your dream villa rental in Skopelos. 

Let’s walk through this simple process

Our aim is to help you rent affordable villas in Skopelos and save money.

We previously wrote about Ways to find affordable Villas to rent in Skopelos

This article concentrates on the most important ways to lower your costs of holiday rentals.

My quest to help you save money for your holiday in Skopelos was mapped out over the last decade. While I concentrate on how you can find quality affordable villas in Skopelos, you can of course apply these tips to different types of accommodation as well.

How do you search to find Villas in Skopelos?

1. The Process of searching for Villas in Skopelos

If I'm reading your mind correctly when you search for Skopelos Villas, here is the process you follow ->

You decided to spend your holidays in Skopelos – great – I’m already feeling hopeful that we will somehow meet!

Searching for affordable Skopelos Villas can be a daunting task

'luxury villas in Skopelos'?

Hmmm, let’s not get carried away from the beginning – you might miss a bargain of some sort with this one.

'Skopelos holiday rentals'?

Well, you’re getting somewhere with this one, although you will get thousands of links with all sorts of accommodation. Apartments to rent, rooms to rent, tents to rent..you name it.

How about getting a little more specific?

Skopelos Villas to rent

This one you’re thinking, should cut out all the unnecessary bits and get you right to the point.

Guess what?

You’re right! It will save you many hours of skipping through websites, ads, etc.

2. The usual Results of your web searching for Skopelos Villas

Let’s take a closer look at your laptop, shall we? What is the 1st result we see?

Google's Top Results when searching for Skopelos Villas to Rent

1. The Thinking Traveller

The Thinking Traveller appeared in Skopelos about 5-6 years ago. They’re an exclusive Villa Tour Operator, with a large, very high-end villa portfolio. As with every Tour Operator, they also use these properties exclusively for their guests. This ends up terminating every owner-guest relationship.

They have local agents ready to cater to every whim of their guests, (these people have paid large sums of money to be there). I happen to know first-hand of their exclusivity and claims to fame.

Like every big company out there, they pay Google large sums of money on advertisement to get top results.

If you notice, there is an ‘Ad’ square box on the left of their link. This means the particular listing is a ‘sponsored’ placement. 

Useful tip:

Did you also know that by clicking on this link you charge the Ad owner a predefined amount of money set by Google? That’s one of the many ways Google makes its money.

2. VRBO

This company is part of ‘Homeaway’, like many other OTA’s, (Online Travel Agencies).

This result is also an Ad. Their huge ad budgets get them top results too. They use the same marketing tactics to get you to book through them.

3. Homeaway

The wonderful Home Away from Home. Again, this is another Ad.

You already see the pattern, don’t you?

Homeaway is already claiming listings no. 2 & 3 in Google’s 1st-page results.

Do you know realise the Monopoly game I’m trying to explain here? They used a company they have already bought and claimed spot no.2 with Google ads.

That same budget gave Homeaway spot no. 3!

4. AirBnB

Another company that started humbly back in 2008. It transformed into a dominant-hungry beast.

Skopelos Country Villas has to be part of them too.

5. Booking.Com

Next comes Booking.Com. Who doesn’t know them? Skopelos Country Villas was even part of them for a while! You know how the saying goes…

I love that quote and has been my life’s motto ever since I read that book!

Can you guess where my relationship with booking.com  fitted? 

It was definitely for a SEASON and the REASON was they made me realise how WRONGLY this company handles small businesses. But, we won’t go into the details here.

As you can see, most of Google’s 1st results page is dominated by such companies and ads.

Have you already made that click to one of them? I’m sure you have!

3. What do you do next with Google's search results?

How do you filter them?

More than likely, you never stopped to think about the strategies of big companies, their ad campaigns or the budgets they spend.

The ‘moulded’ route most of us take when booking for our next holiday is a pattern.

A pattern I’ve noticed throughout the years. An ‘easy’ route I’ve followed myself too in the past. 

We’ve become brainwashed to follow this process:

The most predictive route of most of us take when booking Villas in Skopelos

Don’t feel guilty.

We’ve all clicked on them at one time or another. After all, they’re international and have a massive database of hotels, houses, villas, apartments, etc.

If you were paying close attention to Results picture in the laptop above, you’d notice that…

...there are 114, 000 results for our search term, 'Skopelos Villas to Rent'

This is a staggering amount of results for a Greek island the size of Skopelos.

You simply don’t have the time to look through them all and find properties owned by individual owners.

So what do you, as a busy individual?

You would naturally click one of these guys and just go with the flow!!

Google's Search Results for 'Skopelos Villas for rent'

This 1st page will do just fine! They're simple to use, convenient and offer you tons of SECURITY!

In fact, so much security that if you dare (!), to book outside their so secure, heavenly eco-system, your whole world is going to end!

The sort of Online Travel Hubs that if you decide to use them once and create a free account, will bombard you with tons of emails. They craft each email carefully and with perfect timing. They boss you daily to:

‘Book now

‘Decide Now before the world ends!’

The truth is, I’m not completely against them! Don’t get me wrong!

They spend tons of money on advertising and clever marketing tactics. They employ hundreds, sometimes thousands of people across the globe. They know their game and are highly skilled and effective at their job.

They need to survive and they will do that extremely well.

I’ve used them myself a number of times too. It was mostly in the past, however, and before I became the owner of Villas in Skopelos myself.

4. Consequences of choosing the 'Big Players'

This is when I realised the following:

They 'attack' the owners of Skopelos Villas too!

How do these Online Booking Engines annihilate holiday rental owners?

It has become so intimidating.

I have lost potential bookings due to this ‘censorship’ scanning they use.

I had every single message bounce back to me on the pretext of having exchanged contact details when that was clearly not the case.

What was utterly infuriating was that they also ‘punished’ my listings and pushed them lower down the ‘ranking ladder’.

All because I failed to reply in a ‘timely manner’!

They’re simply killing small businesses.

Forcing them to abide by their inflexible rules and exist only through them.

Most importantly, a lot of O.B.E’s, (Online Booking Engines), will strangle the cash flow of small business owners as well.

How can they manage that?

They keep urging you to ‘Take Action‘ and pay right away so you don’t lose that villa rental in Skopelos.

Their carefully crafted psychological plan has already penetrated your subconscious.

So what do you do?

Log into your account with them and pay that deposit or the whole amount.

At this point, you think…

 ‘…great..I’ve secured this booking with the owner – I can now tick that box’.

At our end, we receive a confirmation email:

Congratulations, Mr & Mrs Smith have booked Skopelos Country Villa Delfi’. 

Further down, usually in smaller print, it analyses the costs, (wow, this person has paid about € 280 more than my actual price).

This extra cost can translate in money you could have paid for your rental car, a cool activity while in Skopelos – you get the picture. 

The confirmation email we, as owners receive, goes on to explain:

Mr Smith paid the deposit: the date you can withdraw these funds: at least 48 hours after check-in.

But wait, this is November. Mr. Smith’s check-in date is the 16th of August, I hear me say! This is a long stretch of time.

Your cash is earning them huge interests while chocking our cash flow.

But don’t you worry about that,

‘..it’s only secure to book through them’.

So, here comes the interesting question that’s been buzzing inside your head while reading this.

Why do all owners of Skopelos Villas advertise through them?

It is a necessary evil!

The sheer amount of exposure and advertising an owner can get through an Online Booking Engine is enormous.

There is no way an individual business can compete with their advertising budgets. Almost every page of a Google search page relating to any search term such as:

will be dominated by Ads and Sponsored Content from these companies. Google adores them for the thousands of euros they spend on getting page 1 results. You may see 1 or 2 such Ads by smaller companies or even individuals, but not for too long.

The Age of innocence clever bait tactics

Their list of ‘click baits’ as they’re sometimes referred to is quite endless.

A few very well-known companies, (Airbnb for example), use the ‘Refer a Friend’ bait.

So if you simply refer a friend to their site and they end up booking, guess what?

You get € 50 off your next booking!

What you don’t actually realise though is that you have paid a lot more in fees to make that next booking.

5. The Tour Operator Game

The Tour Operators and the ‘exclusive’ villa rental companies is another category of its own.

Huge companies that I’m sure some of you may have used in the past. You book through them because they have a huge portfolio of Villas in Skopelos or elsewhere.

The big difference with them is that they use these villas ‘exclusively’ and only for people that book through their company

They too have a huge impact on the ‘guest – owner’ relationship. They simply wipe out any existing relationship between you and the owner.

Having contact with the guests as an owner is not allowed. They’re very successful in this tactic.

They have their own local agents that ‘handle’ all the requests/questions you may have. 

They will meet you upon your arrival in Skopelos, give you directions to reach your villa, and from then on it’s between you and them!

I find this type of business conduct very impersonal.

I know many villa rentals here in Skopelos that operate like this for years. After all, it is a thriving business model, (though mostly one-sided when it comes to profits and return on investment ).

In 8 out of 10 cases such owners have opted for this type of business because they cannot manage it themselves

Either because they don’t speak the language, they don’t have the skills of this trade or are too busy running other businesses at the same time.

Wrapping up this 'Search Journey'

So what are you to do next time you're looking for villas to rent in Skopelos?

Don’t stick to Google’s 1st-page results

If you do, make sure you click first on a website that belongs to an individual business. Not that of a monopoly.

Skopelos Country Villas website, for example, can make it to the 1st page sometimes.

Other times it slips further down Google’s endless tunnels.
It all depends on the search phrase you used and how much competition there is for that phrase.

Even if you need to click on one of the monopoly websites, use them for research instead! If you like any villas they have listed, copy the name of that Skopelos villa and use google to see if that owner has a website.

Contact that owner directly through their website.

Don’t let their tactics intimidate you.

There are many ways to check if a business is secure and legitimate.

1st. A first favourable sign to look out for is if they have their own website. If they do that is a great sign you can check off in your ‘Security Audit’.

2nd. Another great sign to look out for is whether they have any SOCIAL PROOF. Does their business belong to any of the very well-known networks, (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)? Every individual business should belong to all or at least one or two of these networks. Look at their Followers. They should have at least 100 if not more.

3rd. Are there any past guest testimonials anywhere on their websites? Do these testimonials, (or Reviews), make it to the social media accounts?

There are clearly more signs to look for when checking out a Villa Rental in Skopelos.

If you checked all 3 above, however, you should be good to proceed with a booking for your Villas in Skopelos this summer.

Just remember every time you click on that BOOK button of a big International Monopoly, you’re killing off a smaller Villa Rental owner.

You’re handing your money to a power-hungry company who’s waiting to make huge amounts of interest from that deposit you made.

Many Villa owners I happen to know throughout Greece feel the same about this situation. They feel frustrated how these companies have managed to terrorise most travellers about Security and how it is

…only safe to book through them!

By now you should be more aware of what goes on behind the scenes:

Video - Search Process for 'Skopelos Villas'

See the searching process in action:

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