Below are common terms and definitions widely used in the villa rental or vacation home rental booking process. This article is particularly useful to those who are new in the system or practice of renting a privately owned villas and homes for a holiday.


1. Villa Owners

Villa Owners are the legal owners of the property or villa rental. Some villa owners manage their own reservations and the hiring of staff, while others outsource it or hire someone (individual or company) to manage and deal with all the necessary work for them. Some days or months of the year, they would occupy the villa for their own enjoyment. In the first place, they built the property for themselves.


2. Direct Representative of Villa Owners

They are individuals or companies appointed by the owner to act on behalf of them. ‘Direct Representative’ or ‘Villa Owner Representative’, also sometimes known as ‘Exclusive Representative’, manages the bookings and reservations of the villa (including communications to agents and guests), contract and rates negotiations, marketing and advertising, insurance arrangement, and payment process.


3. Agents

They are international travel companies, local travel agencies, and online booking engines (e.g., flipkey and, who agree to advertise or list the villa on their website/s, and get paid through a commission basis.


4. Seasons

Be mindful with the seasons when planning your travel if you intend to book a private villa. Generally, there are 3 different seasons – low, high, and peak. The rates and required minimum stay vary from each season, especially for the peak season which would require at least 1 or 2 weeks of minimum stay. Peak season is also when the rates are at its highest point.


5. Refundable Security Deposit

Security deposit is normally collected prior to the arrival of the guests at the villa. This is to ensure that in the event that there are damages at the villa caused by the guests, the owner can deduct the cost from this deposit.


6. Maximum Number of Guests

Depending on the number of rooms available at the villa, the maximum number of guests are counted as 2 persons per bedroom. There may be few exemptions for a family traveling with a kid. Should the number of guests exceed the maximum number of people required, there will be an additional charge per person. However, some villas are not flexible at all.


7. Forms of Payment / Terms of Payment / Extra Charges

There are many ways payment can be done when renting a private villa – bank transfer, credit card, paypal, etc., depending on what the owner or the company is capable of handling. The most secure way of payment is credit card. The terms of payment vary from villa to villa. In common practice, guests are required to pay 50% to confirm the booking, and the other 50% will be collected nearer the travel date. Taxes and extra charges should be indicated during the booking process whether it is included or not.


8. Insurance

To ensure not just your safety but also your money’s security, always seek for a holiday insurance when booking a private villa or vacation rental. Vacation rental insurance could cover such as holiday cancellation or interruption, damages to property or the villa, financial loss due to fraud or dishonesty, and more. This is also an indication that the property or the company you are dealing with is legit and serious.