Have you ever heard of VRBO?
If you are reading this article, chances are you have. However, how much do you really know about this niche travel website? It's our business to know all things vacation rentals, and with a name the at one time stood for - Vacation Rentals by Owner, you can bet we know all about it. With a humble start in 1996, the former Craigslist style listing site has grown into a significant OTA, or Online Travel Agency.
What does that mean for you?
That's a complicated question, but an important one none-the-less. First off, it's another place for you to find vacation rentals - homes, condos, cabins, treehouses, and anything else you can think of. There's a lot to choose from as many vacation rental management companies, and homeowners utilize their site as a tool to find more guests. For us here at Ocean Reef, VRBO reservations are only a small portion of our overall business.
How does VRBO work?
Cool, a place to search for more rentals. But wait, there's more! VRBO is a business, and like any business, they have to make money - and that they do. Last year their gross bookings came in at $4.16 billion! Where do you think that money came from? Well, us of course. Not us, as in Ocean Reef, "us" as in both of us! Yeah, we pay them $500 per property annually to advertise on their website, but here is the shocking part... travelers pay them too! For the privilege of using their services, you can pay north of $500 more (via a booking fee) than if you just simply booked directly with the property management company or homeowner.
Our Best Performing VRBOs
Here at Ocean Reef, we represent 550 vacation rentals in Destin & South Walton. The norm for us is a reservation or two per property via VRBO annually. However, some outliers do very well on their website. As VRBO is striving to become a household name and they do have many faithful visitors, we want to take a moment to highlight a small group of our homes and condos that have done extraordinarily well on their site this year.
Seaclusion is a gracious Mediterranean style vacation home that provides privileged residence for up to 12 fortunate guests in the exclusively gated residential resort community called the Villages of Crystal Beach. Besides having an excellent location just a short complimentary tram ride away from the crystalline beach this place has an awesome community pool. This palm-studded setting includes cascading waterfalls into the pool, a mini tropical island, a BYOB Tiki Bar with a Surround Sound System, comfortable furnishings and stainless steel grills for poolside dining.
10. Pinnacle Port C2-503
Pinnacle Port C2-503 is in a beachfront tower in Panama City Beach with stunning limitless views of the gorgeous gulf. Two bedrooms accommodate up to four delighted beachgoers who have access to a sizeable lovely lagoon-shaped swimming pool outdoors and an acclimatized pool indoors. The grounds are nestled beside the bright white beach and the largest coastal dune lake in Florida the likes of which are found hardly anywhere else on the planet. It comes with a dock for fishing or kayaking. Other amenities include tennis courts, a gulf side fitness center with a sauna, a kid's playground, and shuffleboard courts.
9. Commodore's Retreat 207
Commodore's Retreat 207 has a prominent perch above the sugary shore in Seagrove Beach. This cozy one bedroom beachfront abode could be the perfect place for a loving romantic rendezvous but a twin bunk and a queen sized sleeper sofa can also accommodate for a small family vacation. An inviting swimming pool flanks the front of the building while the bright white beach beckons guests from the gulf side. A beachfront balcony provides seating to enjoy favorite drinks while relishing the sparkling seascape and listening to the sensual roar of the surf.
8. At Ease
At Ease is a charming Old Florida styled home that has a golden nostalgic Americana ambiance that will make you feel right at home. Three bedrooms accommodate 10 carefree guests with comfortable furnishings. This Crystal Beach locale is a short three-minute stroll away from the beautiful beach on Scenic 98 in Destin - however, a swimming pool and soaking tub await you in the back yard providing a refreshing retreat.
7. Sunseekers 4
Sunseekers 4 is perched high upon a sugary dune in Blue Mountain Beach with two bedrooms and multiple beds that can accommodate up to eight cheerful guests. This condo was recently refurbished in a vibrant, colorful tropical style that is casual, comfortable and whimsically appointed. A Gulf front balcony allows you to enjoy vivid views and listen to soothing surf sounds.
6. Silver Dunes 40
Silver Dunes 40 is a top floor two bedroom vacation residence that can sleep up to eight grinning guests with multiple beds. This recently renovated beautifully furnished retreat offers glorious southwesterly views of the glowing gulf. The stylish, comfortable furnishings provide a sophisticated upscale look that is enhanced by sea life décor and fun Floridian flair. This resort is in the heart of Destin but in a beautiful world of its own with a large swimming pool, which is heated for the cooler times of the year, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a fun gameroom.
5. Destiny Beach Villas 20A
Destiny Beach Villas 20A is a surprisingly affordable two bedroom second story vacation duplex that accommodates seven jovial beach-going guests and is located in Destiny, one of the most prestigious residential communities of Destin. The central location on Scenic 98 places you near favorite Gulf front restaurants and friendly beach bars, one of which is a short stroll away. As the upper level of this duplex, it has views of a precious coastal dune lake on one side and the jewel-toned gulf on the other. A lagoon-shaped pool provides refreshment and is a very short distance away.
4. Coast Awhile
Coast Awhile is a four bedroom home that can sleep up to 11 lucky guests in the privileged exclusively gated Carillon community near Panama City Beach. This enchanting 107-acre picture perfect world is centered between a giant coastal dune lake that supports abundant wildlife and the shimmering sugary shoreline which spans across 3,900 linear feet. Carillon Beach features three swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball, a kid's playground, garden walkways, sculpture pavilions, a village marketplace with dining centered on a fountain courtyard and a lush green for outdoor concerts and festivals.
3. Grayton Beach Villas 102
Grayton Beach Villas 102 has two bedrooms and has been recently renovated to sleep up to six gleeful Gulf goers comfortably. Its central location in the historic village center of Grayton Beach places you steps away from the emerald-hued gulf and a rare, treasured coastal dune lake that supports a wide array of fish, flora, and fauna. It is also adjacent to Grayton Beach State Park which Forbes Magazine just reported as being one of the most beautiful shorelines in the entire nation.
2. Beachside Villas 1131
Beachside Villas 1131 in Seagrove Beach is a freshly renovated vacation residence with three bedrooms that can accommodate up to eight privileged guests. This top third-floor corner position offers privacy and additional views of this coastal neighborhood that includes one of the sparkling swimming pools. Beachside Villas features its own private beach, two community pools, tennis courts lighted for night play, grills for poolside cookouts and a clubhouse that may be used for special events. It is a short stroll away from Eastern Lake which is a coastal dune treasure. Besides the beach, you may go fishing, kayaking or paddle boarding on this lovely lake and experience the beautiful serene scenery.
1. Celadon Beach 1103
Celadon Beach 1103 is our most popular VRBO property and is located in a luxury beachfront tower in the Laguna Beach portion of Panama City Beach. This affordable one bedroom vacation residence is perfect for two but has bunk beds, and a queen sized sleeper sofa that can accommodate up to six happy-go-lucky beachgoers. The Celadon Beach tower features bubbling Hot Tubs, a large lagoon shaped swimming pool that overlooks the gulf and an adjoining indoor pool with wide dramatic arched openings. A fitness center with a wall of windows also overlooks the outdoor pool. A glass-encased raised walkway above Front Beach Road connects over to a landscaped tennis courts area. This location is minutes away from abundant amusements, great restaurants, lively beach bars, and area shopping.
Take a look at each one of these Ocean Reef Resorts favorites to choose one as your own. Multiple images and full write-ups are provided for each here on our website. Just don't take too long to make a reservation because these highly desirable vacation destinations go quickly. Also, don't forget to book direct to save money!