You’ve decided it’s time to treat yourself and take a vacation. With so many options on Google, it can take time to decide what website you’ll use to book your vacation home. This guide will lay out the advantages of direct booking vacation rentals.

Travelers often use rental websites like Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey, TripAdvisor, and But did you know you can save money when you book direct vacation rentals? These third-party listing services may charge as much as 25% more with commissions and booking fees.

Our Vacation Planning Advisors live, work, and play here. They can offer you local insight and tell you about the area’s hidden gems and the best beaches.


Sunset view over canal from a huge lanai with negative edge pool.

What is Book Direct?

When you book direct vacation rental homes, you reserve a short-term rental through a vacation rental company or property manager. This includes a guest who books a rental home online after seeing an advertisement or in a physical office.

Many benefits of booking direct:

  • You will save 5% to 25% on booking and service fees
  • In case of any delays, cancellations, or changes, you will work directly with the management company
  • You will enjoy excellent and timely customer service
  • You’re booking with agents who have insight into the area’s hidden gems, beaches, restaurants, and activities


How Far in Advance Should You Book to Get the Best Rate?

Planning your vacation is exciting! One key question often looms large in travelers’ minds: How far in advance should you book to secure the best rate? Here are some insights to help you make the best choice.

Peak vs. Off-Peak Seasons

Demand for rental properties can surge during peak season. This means higher prices and lower availability. You may secure excellent rates and have more options if you travel during off-peak times.

Length of Stay

The length of your stay can also affect when you book. Longer stays often benefit from early booking and can get you more favorable rates. If traveling with a larger group, booking well in advance is essential. It ensures you’ll have ample space and all the necessary amenities.

Last-Minute Getaways

Sometimes, the allure of a spontaneous getaway can be attractive. And you might find exceptional last-minute deals. Watch for these opportunities, especially if your schedule allows for a spur-of-the-moment adventure.

Special Offers and Promotions

At Royal Shell, we frequently run promotions and offer special deals to make your vacation even more affordable. Keep an eye on our social media pages or booking site for updates on these limited-time offers.

Balancing Flexibility and Planning

Ultimately, the ideal booking window depends on your specific needs and preferences. For travelers seeking peace of mind and prime property choices, booking well in advance is the way to go.


Woman booking a rental on the Royal Shell website.

What Day of the Week is Best to Book?

The day of the week you book your vacation rental can be a surprisingly influential factor in securing the best deal. Let’s explore the patterns and strategies that can help you make the most of your booking day:

Midweek Magic

For many travelers, booking your vacation rental during the middle of the week—typically Tuesday or Wednesday—can yield some of the best rates. This is because many property owners and rental companies release new rates, promotions, and deals at the start of the week.

Avoiding the Weekend Rush

Weekends are often the busiest time for booking travel, as many people have free time to browse and make decisions. Increased demand can lead to slightly higher prices, so book on a weekday to secure a great deal.

Plan in Advance

No matter what day you book, planning your vacation well in advance can open doors to many benefits:

  • Availability: By booking early, you have a wider selection of vacation rental properties.
  • Better Rates: As demand increases closer to your travel dates, prices may rise, so book early.
  • Peace of Mind: Early booking provides peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about last-minute availability issues or rushed decision-making.
  • Planning Flexibility: You have more time to plan the finer details of your trip, including activities, excursions, and dining reservations.

Consider Local Time Zones

Keep in mind that the ideal booking day may vary depending on the destination of your vacation. It’s wise to adjust your booking strategy according to the local time zone of your chosen destination.

Stay Informed with Alerts

Stay ahead by signing up for travel deal alerts and newsletters. Many vacation rental companies, including Royal Shell, send updates and notifications about new rates and promotions. By staying informed, you can be among the first to know about attractive deals, regardless of the day of the week.


What is the Best Website for Vacation Rentals?

Smooth digital transactions start with a great website. Yet, third-party vacation rental websites don’t always show all properties to potential guests. And using a search engine to find rental homes may also lead you astray. Search results often favor large Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) that will cost you extra.

Book your vacation rental direct with Royal Shell and get the best possible price. With nearly 30 years of excellence in the industry, our top priority is providing our guests with a full-service hospitality experience, including 24/7 access to guest services and maintenance. Let Royal Shell find the perfect property to make your vacation dreams come true.


View of the Gulf of Mexico from the lanai of a Sanibel Island rental home.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a House on Sanibel Island?

Pristine beaches, natural beauty, and charming communities define Sanibel Island. It is a sought-after destination for travelers looking to rent a vacation home. The cost can vary based on property type, location, season, and amenities. Let’s dive into the key factors that influence the cost of renting a house on this enchanting island:

Property Type and Size

The type and size of the vacation rental property significantly impact the cost. Sanibel Island offers a range of options, from cozy beachfront cottages to spacious waterfront estates. The larger and more luxurious the property, the higher the rental rate is likely to be.

Location, Location, Location

Sanibel Island’s beachfront properties or those with unobstructed Gulf of Mexico views tend to command premium prices. However, further inland can present more affordable options but are still close to the beach.

Seasonal Fluctuations

Sanibel Island experiences seasonal fluctuations in rental rates. High season, typically during the winter, tends to be more expensive. This is because of the influx of visitors seeking refuge from colder climates. In contrast, the shoulder and off-peak seasons can offer more budget-friendly rates.

Duration of Stay

The length of your stay can also impact the rental cost. Many vacation rental properties offer discounts for extended stays, making longer vacations more cost-effective.

Amenities and Features

Homes with unique amenities and features are often more costly. Consider your priorities and budget when choosing a rental that matches your needs. Don’t pay for amenities you do not need.

Special Offers and Promotions

Keep an eye out for special offers from owners or vacation rental managers. Limited-time promotions can make your Sanibel Island stay more affordable.


Are Vacation Rentals Good Investments?

One of the main reasons people opt for a vacation home is the potential rental income. Royal Shell’s real estate agents will help you find the perfect home with rental potential. As the owner of a vacation rental home, you can use the home for a special occasion, a beach vacation, or anything in between. It can also be a future retirement home if you’re playing the long game. And the income you’ve built by renting can help fund your retirement.

If you’re ready to rent your home, consider hiring a professional rental management company like Royal Shell. Our team of experts understands the vacation rental market and will tailor our approach to maximize your property’s potential. We handle everything from marketing and bookings to maintenance, housekeeping, and guest satisfaction. Royal Shell makes property rental easy!


View of the Gulf of Mexico from the deck of a beachfront Captiva Island rental home.

Book Direct and Save with Royal Shell

Book direct vacation rentals with Royal Shell and start looking forward to your trip to paradise. We have rentals in Ocala, Florida, Western North Carolina, and Southwest Florida, including Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Save money, get expert local advice, and choose from available homes in our inventory. Some of our units are pet-friendly, too, so you can bring your family fur baby. If you’re traveling with a big group and looking for a large estate home to accommodate everyone, we have a variety of homes that can meet your needs.

Enjoy a luxury beach home rental on Captiva Island with access to the beach or breathtaking beach views. Stay on Sanibel and get on Island Time in one of the island’s charming homes or condos. Visit Fort Myers and enjoy proximity to everything Southwest Florida offers. Naples is known as an arts destination, and they have some pretty delicious restaurants. If you’re an equine or golf lover, you’d love to stay at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club.

For a change in scenery, we also offer mountain rental homes. Stay on the Highlands-Cashiers plateau in Western North Carolina. You can explore waterfalls there, watch the leaves change, and enjoy the cooler weather.

Royal Shell offers many places to stay. We offer travel insurance and Flexcation™ options so you can plan confidently. We’ll be here to help you plan an epic vacation and create lasting memories for years to come.