|Frequently-Asked Questions about Short-Term Rentals in General and Barclay International Group in Particular:
(Answers taken, in part, from Barclay International Group publication, "The Savvy Travelers' Guide to Short-Term Apartment Rentals." Note: For the sake of brevity, the word 'apartment' is used below to refer to apartments, villas and cottages, unless otherwise specified. All information pertaining to fees, rules, restrictions, etc. refers to Barclay International Group policies, and not to the industry as a whole).
Why rent an apartment instead of a hotel room?
The key word in travel today is VALUE. And there is no greater accommodations value than a short-term apartment rental. How else can travelers enjoy the space of a one-bedroom suite for less than the cost of a single hotel room? How else can they bypass expensive room service and restaurant charges by cooking for themselves, if and when they choose? And how else can they truly experience and understand a city, just as a native would?
Many apartments serve up all the amenities of a fine hotel, but with all the comforts of home. For example, many can be rented for as short as one night, and offer maid service, concierge services, business serviceseven use of a health club! Meanwhile you're able to enjoy the space, privacy and comforts of a home-away-from-home. And selection is never an issue. Barclay International Group apartments are available (or will soon be available) in most major cities and vacation spots around the world, ranging in size from studios to five bedrooms or larger, and priced to suit every budget, from modest to deluxe. Short-term rentals are usually located in the most convenient areas of town, right near public transportation.
Are short-term rentals really less expensive than hotels?
Yesespecially when two or more persons are traveling. For example, three-star hotels in London and Paris usually start at $200 per night. Our studio apartments start at $136 in London and $99 in Paris. Consider that even at the budget end of Barclay's inventory, many of the apartments still have many "hotel" features, such as concierge and maid service. Plus, with an apartment comes a kitchenette or kitchenoffering an alternative to daily room service or restaurant charges that even for a continental breakfast, can add up to $20 per person or more!
Apartments are especially cost-effective for groups of four or more. With a hotel, a party of four might have to split up into two (hopefully) adjoining roomsvery expensive. But with a One-Bedroom apartment, two persons can share a bedroom and two persons can sleep on a sofabed in the living room, often at half the price of a hotel suite or two hotel rooms.
True, some of Barclay International's apartment properties are located inside hotels, or are hotels that maintain apartments instead of rooms. But even in such cases, our prices are usually far below what you would pay if booking direct. For example, in Paris, as of February 2006, our One-Bedroom apartment at the Villa St. Honore was renting for 45% less than you would pay if booking directly. The same holds true for the majority of our hotel properties.
What's the difference between apartments, condos, villas and cottages? Between residential hotels and individually-owned properties?
The difference between apartments and condos, at least at Barclay International Group, is minimal. Essentially, a condo might refer to an apartment at a resort instead of a major city. And a villa, which connotes a larger and more luxurious accommodation might be located in the Mediterranean or in Tuscany, while a cottage, being more cozy and atmospheric, might be located in the English countryside.
The difference between a residential hotel and an individually-owned property is greater. At a residential hotel or "residence," all of the accommodations (and there can be hundreds) are available for short-term let. There are therefore usually many of each size of apartment available, and so inventory is greater. You'll probably find more hotel-type amenities, such as a concierge, business services, underground parking and perhaps even a restaurant, breakfast room or health club.
Individually-owned properties tend to be slightly less expensive but, there's usually only one apartment available through Barclay International Group at each address, so reservations might be more difficult to secure. You'll also have fewer amenities...it's more like your own apartment at home. You may have to pay additional charges for electricity, final cleaning and so forth, but you'll truly experience the city like a native.
When is the best time to travel?
That is a hard question to answer, especially since our apartment/villa inventory spans the world. What's summer in New York is winter in other areas of the globeand vice versa, of course! However, we've found that the "traditional" seasons for travel (i.e. the summer months) don't necessarily hold true anymore especially for apartment rentals. After all, not all couples get married in summer, and honeymoon travel represents a sizable portion of villa rentals. Retirees can travel whenever they like, unencumbered by work vacation schedules and school holidays. And business travel is a year round affair as well. Surprisingly, Christmasespecially in London is as busy a time for apartment rentals as the height of summer.
As travelers become more sophisticated, they are choosing to travel in the traditional "off-season" when theatre tickets, restaurant reservations and shopkeepers' attention are far easier to secure. So, in truth, there is no "best time" to travel except when it's the best time for you!
Who are the best candidates for short-term rentals?
While any value-conscious traveler will appreciate an apartment rental over a hotel, specific niche groups include corporate travelers; large families or groups of friends who want a common meeting area without sacrificing the privacy of separate bedrooms; family reunion groups; families traveling with small children; health- and fitness-minded travelers as well as those who must remain on restricted diets for medical reasons diabetics and elderly travelers); and honeymoon/romance travelers. Each of these niche groups has a special area on BarclayWeb dedicated to them, further discussing how short-term rentals suit their particular needs.
How early should I plan my trip and rent my accommodations?
It's best to book as early as you can, just to ensure that your first choice of accommodation is available. In the case where you are booking more than six months in advance, we might not have the next season's rates on hand, but can certainly make the reservation. We will then inform you of price increases, if any, when that season's rates are established.
Please note that we also accept last minute reservations. In such cases, we usually insist on calling the property to make the reservation because we won't trust fax communications in the short-term (within 72 hours of arrival).
Do apartments require minimum stays?
Most Barclay International Group apartments permit stays as short as one night, although we impose a small service charge ($25) on any stays of less than three nights. Some apartments require stays of three nights, one week or two weeks, and many villas will not accept a stay of short than one or two weeks. Some apartments with one-week minimum stays may allow you to leave earlier, but will impose a special cleaning fee.
Must you arrive or depart on a Saturday?
Our apartments will usually allow arrival and departure on the dates of the guests' choice, and in some cases, no arrivals are accepted on Sunday. Some villas and cottages, however, require a Saturday-to-Saturday stay, at least during high season. Arrival date requirements are either listed in the property description or will be explained by a Barclay International Group reservationist at the time of booking.
Is a security deposit required?
Yes, generally apartments will take a credit card imprint for $200-$300, to protect themselves against unforeseen damage to the property, and to cover incidental charges. This is no different than the credit card imprint taken by any hotel at check-in. These funds are either never charged through (if no damage is done and no incidentals are purchased) or refunded less the cost of damage/incidentals at the end of the guests' stay. In some cases, Barclay International Group will charge refundable security and hold this until you return.
Villas, cottages and individually owned apartments may require more substantial deposits, depending on the property. This will be discussed by the Barclay International Group reservationist at the time of booking.
On BarclayWeb's price list, I see listings for a 1.5 Bedroom and a 2.5 Bedroom. What are those?
A bedroom is always considered a double bedroom. Therefore, a 1.5 Bedroom apartment has one double bedroom and one single bedroom. A 2.5 Bedroom apartment has two double bedrooms and one single bedroom.
What is included in the rental rate?
Traditionally, apartment rentals include all charges, including maid service (frequency indicated in each apartment's description), linens, towels, electricity, taxes and service charges. Additional costs will almost always include a security/damage/telephone deposittaken as a credit card imprint at the beginning of the stay, as it would be at a hotel, as well as costs for incidentals, such as laundry, dry-cleaning, minibar purchases (where available), and telephone calls.
Some apartments, especially independently-owned and rented apartments in Paris, charge extra for electricity and heat. This is usually mentioned in the apartment description and will be repeated by the reservationist at the time of booking. Apartments not represented by Barclay International Group but purchasing a listing in the appropriate area of our Web Site are not controlled by Barclay International, and inclusions in such rentals must be discussed directly with the owners listed.
Cottages and villas generally have different inclusions and are each handled on an individual basis. Your Barclay International Group reservationist will discuss the amenities included in the rental of your choice at the time of booking.
What information should I provide to the company helping us rent the apartment?
By providing a rental agent like Barclay International Group with all pertinent information, you will ensure that we reserve the apartment that best suits your needs. Be ready to impart this data when reserving a short term rental:
How do I make reservations? How is payment handled?
It's an easy process, discussed in our Terms and Conditions page.
What rules and restrictions are involved in renting an apartment/villa?
Renting an apartment or villa has different restrictions that renting a hotel room. Please see our Terms and Conditions page for more details about Barclay International Group policies.
How can I find a reputable company to rent through?
This is an important question, considering the number of firms you might find on the Net. A good idea is to start with the tourist board of the country in question. For example, the British Tourist Authority and the French Government Tourist Office are great places to seek advice for travel to England and France, respectively. The addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to these organizations can be found through Yahoo and other search engines on the World Wide Web.
Use a well-established company with a reputation for good service, perhaps one that has received the commendation of publications like Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Gourmet, Business Week and USA Today. Also ask friends, relatives, co-workers about their experiences. Post questions on the appropriate message areas of on-line services and Usenet groups on the Internet.
Interested in travelers' impressions of Barclay International Group? While on BarclayWeb, be sure to browse through some of the letters we've received back from past clients.
Who will help me if I have trouble while abroad?
Our company and its associates/representatives are always available to handle problems/complaints. For more information, consult our Terms and Conditions page.
What if I get there and I just don't like the accommodations?
We stand behind our apartments and will do all possible to correct legitimate complaints. This is further described on our Terms and Conditions Page.
What do I do in case I need to cancel?
Call your travel agent or Barclay International Group as soon as you know you need to cancel your stay. For more information, check our Terms and Conditions page.
Who should I call to book all of the other parts of my trip?
For clients who book accommodations with us, Barclay International Group can help you with all aspects of your upcoming trip, from airport transfers (by bus or limousine) to car rentals at the lowest industry rate, from theatre tickets to sightseeing, from phone cards to subway/bus passes to trip cancellation insurance. And, for those not already using a travel agent, we can help you secure airline tickets at the lowest available rate. Those reserving apartments will automatically receive information on these services when you receive your apartment confirmation. On BarclayWeb, information on our supplemental services is located on the Supplemental Services general page as well as Supplemental Services pages relating to the particular country you are planning to visit.
Who is Barclay International Group?
We have been helping travelers with their accommodations since 1963, first as a full-service travel agency and later, as an Short-Term Accommodations Expert. Currently we maintain a collection of more than 6,000 short-term apartments, villas, cottages and condos around the world, suitable for clients of all budgets. We are proud of the reputation for excellence we have earned in the past 40+ years, a reputation that has been echoed by the various tourist boards as well as publications like Frommer's Guides, Fodor's Guides, Good Housekeeping and others.
Why book through Barclay International instead of calling the property directly?
First off, we have an overview that the average traveler lacks. Barclay has been in the travel business since 1963 and we're experts in both travel and in short-term accommodation rentals. By asking you the right questions, we'll be able to quickly pinpoint the best accommodations selection for your needs. Otherwise, you'd have to do all the research on your own and still wouldn't have the benefit of our experience (for example, we won't represent properties that fall below the expectations of our clients. Properties that do not maintain high quality standards are dropped from our collection.). We also compile Reference Sheets on each property, the results of which you can see in each property's description here. We've anticipated most questions a guest might have, and answered them up front, so you know in advance what to expect. That sort of thoroughness and attention to detail is rare to find in this industry.
Secondly, our prices are probably better. Because we sell in bulk throughout the year, we usually negotiate lower prices than you could obtain directly. We also maintain several exclusive propertiesespecially in Londonwhere we set the prices to ensure top value for our customers. You can't rent these exclusives anywhere else except through Barclay International Group.
Next, by booking with us, you have Barclay International Group clout on your side should you encounter a problem with a flat. For example, in the few cases we've had where clients were dissatisfied with their apartment, we've been able to shift them to another of our flats in the same city. This wouldn't be possible if you booked directly; apartments usually don't have affiliations with rival buildings.
Another benefit of booking with Barclay International Group is that we can handle all aspects of your vacation or business trip, not just the accommodations, as explained below. This is a real time- and money- saving aspect of our services.
Can I book Barclay International Group properties through my travel agent?
Absolutely! About 75% of the business we receive is from travel agents. In fact, we will only make air reservations for those travelers who are not already working with a travel agent. Feel free to do research on BarclayWeb and then turn the booking over to your travel agent to make.
Do you have any service charges?
Barclay International Group keeps service charges to a minimum. We charge $25 to place any bookings for stays of less than three nights. We must charge for unusual out-of-pocket expenses, such as making long-distance calls to secure last minute reservations, but this is usually handled by charging the call to the clients' home or business phone. And, for some of our larger specialty brochures, such as our brochure for Tuscany/Umbria, which we must pay to import and to mail, we charge $10-$15 or more for mailings to destinations outside of the U.S.A. Other than that, most bookings are made completely free of any additional fees or charges.
How can I reach you by phone or fax?
If you choose not to E-mail us at email@example.com, you can call or fax our Mill Neck, New York office.
Phone: (516) 364-0064
Fax: (516) 364-4468
How accurate is the information on Barclayweb?
All information on BarclayWeb concerning property descriptions comes from the properties themselves, and we update the descriptions as often as we receive changes from individual properties. The same goes for the apartment prices contained in our price sheet. We make every attempt to keep information as up-to- date and accurate as possible. However, we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in our pages, and urge readers to use our price sheet as a guide, rather than absolute fact. Exact prices are always given at the time the booking is requested.
How can I list my property with your firm?
You can either advertise it through Barclayweb (and have clients call you directly) or have our agents help you rent it to prospective guests. For more information, see our Advertising Opportunities page.
Are you hiring?
For opportunities to work with Barclay International Group, see our Job Opportunities page.
© 1996-2011 Barclay International Group
Mill Neck, NY 11765
(516) 364-0064 (800) 845-6636 Fax: (516) 364-4468