Home For Travelers Location Spotlight

I recently had the opportunity to visit Big Bear Lake, CA and meet with several of the leading property managers in the area. I had never been to Big Bear Lake, but I understood the area as a unique skiing getaway for local Los Angeles residents. As I was visiting in the middle of June I assumed the town would be in hibernation as it waited for the ski season to ramp up… I was wrong.

To my surprise, Big Bear Lake features a vibrant summer community. Featuring a comfortable 75 degree breeze off the lake, I found many Palm Springs, LA and Ontario residents frequenting the area to escape the heat and bustle of “sea level California.”

I was able to secure a vacation rental home through Big Bear Vacation Rentals and spent the night sharing laughs and drinks with Nick Lanza and Cheri Scott (the owner and marketing manager of Big Bear Vacation Rentals, respectively). Within a few hours we had taken a boat ride around Big Bear Lake, enjoyed a wonderful meal at a local lakeside restaurant and then finished the evening with some games of pool and nightcaps at a neighborhood house party. When the night was over it was hard to believe that it was only Tuesday.

Big Bear Vacation Rentals:

 Big Bear Vacation Home, back patio

I have since recommended the area to my family that lives in the Los Angeles area and have a new sense of appreciation for the year-round advantages certain vacation rental destinations maintain. I am looking forward to visiting Big Bear again this winter, but I’ll be sure to keep this in mind as a recommendation to friends and family for an excellent vacation spot anytime during the year.

Thanks again to my wonderful hosts at Big Bear Vacations… Click here to read my FlipKey review of my Big Bear Lake vacation rental experience.

Back patio of my Big Bear Vacation Rental:

 Big Bear Vacation Home, back patio

I’m heading to Croatia this summer with a group of friends. Rather than bounce around from hostel to hostel we have decided to upgrade to a week-long boat charter. After a little online research, I submitted a request to a charter service and a boat broker quickly responded. He was very helpful, selected a perfect boat for the group and then asked me to wire $12K to the boat owner’s bank account.

Hold on – wait a minute. You want me to do what?

I had read enough international scams to smell on few fleas on this deal, so I kindly told the broker that if he couldn’t accept a credit card then I wouldn’t be able to reserve the boat. He insisted that he ran a legitimate operation and provided references of his past guests. I noticed one of his references was a professor at Babson College. A professor seemed like a legitimate reference, so I emailed him (email string featured below).


Professor X:

My name is Jeremiah Gall and I’m a Boston area resident. I’m a few months away from going on a trip to Croatia and considering renting a private boat charter. The company, a charter broker by the name of Navicular, gave your name as a reference. Our main contact, Manuel, said you rented the MS Eleganza and can verify the legitimacy of their business. We are being asked to wire $12K to the owner of the boat and are looking to verify this business and feel more confidence about sending this wire.

Please let me know if you can confirm and provide any information.

Cheers and thanks for your time,

— Response —


I too was reluctant to wire the $15,000 up front, and had the business checked out by my son’s father-in-law who is Croatian. I had no issues with the final financial arrangement, but be sure to bring plenty of cash in euros as it is difficult to find cash on the islands. The experience we had on the Eleganza was fabulous, and my sons and their wives are pestering me to do it again. I can give the highest recommendation for Navicular from my experience with the captain, Lovre, he was honest, attentive and responsive. Have a great trip.

Professor X

The professor’s email satisfied my concerns and presto: I was converted into a wire transferring guest of the MS Eleganza!

Renting a boat charter requires the same level of trust, if not more, required to convert a vacation rental guest. How nice is the boat? How’s the crew? Is this a legitimate business? Where is my money really going? Add to these concerns an international element and only the strong of heart or those, like myself, who are provided the verified words of past guests will participate.

Trust is an international currency and it’s as difficult to find as a two dollar bill. Small lodging business operators (vacation rental managers, rent-by-owners, boat brokers, etc.) are all faced with the challenge of establishing trust with their end-customer.

Soon, FlipKey will open its doors and offer the industry the first dedicated resource to effectively establish and communicate trust to your customers.