While we were planning our recent trip to Iceland, an email landed in my inbox that piqued my interest. It was from Roomorama, a company that offers short-term rentals on apartments, homes and rooms. It’s essentially a meeting place for people who want to put their private accommodations up for nightly or weekly rental and those who want to stay somewhere other than a hotel. Some people call these vacation rentals. I call it convenient.
Roomorama invited me to try its service in exchange for a voucher, and since I was looking for somewhere to stay near Reykjavik for a few days, I decided to give it a try.
The Roomorama website is easy to use. I’m immediately turned off by sites that are crowded and cluttered, but Roomorama’s is simple to navigate. You can either search generally by destination, or you can focus your search with a city, dates and the number of people traveling with you. Search results return a clean listing of the lodgings that include a picture of the property available, the type of property, number of rooms and the maximum of people the property can accommodate. Prices are listed per night on the right hand side in big, bold font. This, of course, is probably what is most important to a lot of people, so the fact that it’s front and center is awesome.
You can sort the results by those that are recently active, title, cost (low to high or high to low, and you can choose from a number of currencies) and express booking. This gave me a quick way to weed out places that were out of my price range.
From there, Roomorama makes it easy to read the descriptions of each of the properties, scroll through pictures and make contact with the property owners. I contacted about a dozen people about the accommodations for information such as location, amenities and parking, and this is where things got a little fuzzy. I received very few responses, so Roomorama stepped in on my behalf to contact some of the people I’d emailed to expedite responses. I was reassured that Roomorama would do this for any customer through the customer service team, which is available 24/7, but as I didn’t have the exact same experience the standard customer might have had, I don’t know what this interaction would have been like. In the end, I received responses from about half of the people I queried, which I found curious. Why wouldn’t you respond if someone was interested in potentially renting the place you’ve listed?
Booking through Roomorama
In any case, we found a great apartment to rent for a fraction of the price that a hotel room would have cost. I looked into how much places in Las Vegas were going for and found that the vacation rentals in general on Roomorama are a good deal compared to hotel costs.
I had a fair amount of back-and-forth discussion with the property owner once we chose the vacation rental we liked. I like that he had a profile picture of himself and that he was quick to respond to my questions.
I appreciated the fact that there was no money exchange over the internet. We had to reserve the room through Roomorama, but then we received a payment code that we gave to the property owner upon arrival. This means that he couldn’t collect any cash until we received keys to his place in return. Once upon a time we were burned through another popular vacation rental company when we put down money and the homeowner took it and ran. This particular company told us they couldn’t do anything because we hadn’t bought the “protection plan.” Well, you don’t have to buy a protection plan at a hotel (though reservations do get lost), and I wouldn’t expect to do the same with a vacation rental, so Roomorama’s system of holding them money until you exchange code for keys is one of the best things about this service.
The apartment we ended up renting in Reykjavik was awesome. Our host met us as we had arranged and the apartment matched the photos and description on the Roomorama website. He gave us a local phone number to reach him if necessary while we were in town, and we exchanged a few emails while we were there regarding details around the apartment. After staying in so many hotels during our trip, it was nice to stay in one place for a few days with separate sleeping quarters as well as a kitchen. We were very satisfied with the property, the communication with our host and the apartment. Overall, our experience with Roomorama was a fairly seamless one, and I would definitely use the service again.
Things to Note about Roomorama Vacation Rentals
> Most rentals are available for a minimum of two nights but I came across some that required up to a week for a minimum stay. If you don’t want to stay as long, ask the owner if he is willing to consider a shorter stay.
> If you don’t receive a response to an inquiry about a property, you can ask Roomorama to assist, but I’d suggest moving on and finding a different place to stay. If someone isn’t responsive to your booking inquiries, do you think they’ll be responsive if you have other questions or concerns? Make the site a better place by booking through those who are serious about renting out their properties (thus allowing them to float up in the rankings that were recently active).
> Contact your host to ensure a smooth key exchange and check-in at the property.
> After your stay, Roomorama will send you a survey about your experience. Fill it out to help Roomorama provide a better service and to let others know about the stay at your vacation rental property.
Roomorama’s website | Roomorama offered me a voucher to try its services, but all opinions are my own.
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