For many years, vrbo.com was the most popular listing site for Palm Springs vacation rentals. VRBO (which stands for "Vacation Rentals by Owner") traditionally has had nearly 100% of the roughly 2000 registered Palm Springs vacation rentals listed.
This may be changing somewhat as consumer preferences shift toward competitive VR listing platforms such as Airbnb. Additionally, some owners and vacation renters have become disenchanted with VRBO (and its sister site, HomeAway) since those sites started charging guests a booking fee.
However, you can still find most rental homes—regardless of whether they're owner-operated or managed by a property management company—on VRBO.com.
Since there are so many listings (and, Elrod Villa lists there too, see https://www.vrbo.com/127392), there are a couple of tips that can be very helpful to narrow down your search. While VRBO doesn't support searching by keywords (which is unfortunate if you're looking for "midcentury modern" properties or "historic" homes), you can customize your search in several helpful ways:
VRBO is great for finding Palm Springs vacation houses, and it can be easy to use for booking, but here's something you should know: Many Palm Springs rentals can be booked directly—either via the property manager's website/phone number, or the property's dedicated direct booking website (like the one you're on right now)!
I know this sounds ironic. The "by owner" part of "VRBO" makes is sound like you are renting directly. However, now that VRBO is charging a booking fee—and hiding the owner or manager's direct phone number and email until after you book, you're not actually dealing directly with the vacation rental owner.
So here's a tip:
If the home has a "branded name" in its listing, it's likely to be directly bookable. The easiest thing to do is to simply type that name into Google (here's an example using Elrod Villa). You will likely find the home's direct booking site in the search results (which won't necessarily be the first search result), or in the Google Business listing that will also appear. (You might also want to add "Palm Springs" to that name if it's too generic, of course.)
Alternatively, if the VRBO listing shows a "Property Manager" rather than an "Owner" the property may be part of a portfolio of vacation rental houses managed by a property management company. You may be able to find direct booking information for those homes by Googling the name of the property management company. (Recently, it looks to me like VRBO/HomeAway has been experimenting with hiding property management company names, so I'm not certain that the vacation rental company name is always shown.)
Use the information you find from your Google search to contact the host or manager directly! This can save you a substantial amount of money on your vacation rental booking. Here's how:
If you do rent a home via VRBO (or HomeAway, or another similar listing site) you're typically not-quite-done. Regardless of whether you choose to book direct or via a listing site, there's another step you'll typically have to go through to complete your reservation in Palm Springs:
The city's rules requires managers to execute a separate, signed rental agreement with you. That agreement will usually require your contact information, the names (and possibly ages) of all guests and will likely also ask for information about the vehicles you are bringing. (Because parking is limited to only one car per bedroom under the current Palm Springs vacation rental ordinance.)
Also, if you're under the age of 25, Palm Springs VRBO homes won't be able to rent to you. The "responsible guest" (the person who signs the vacation rental agreement) must be at least 25 years of age. This doesn't mean that all guests have to be 25 or older, just that the primary renter must be. This is sometimes an issue for festival season bookings around Coachella, Stagecoach, Splash House and other popular events in and around Palm Springs.
For more information on finding and booking vacation rentals in Palm Springs, see our article, "Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs: Helpful Information for the Savvy Traveler."