You’ll find good deals, a better selection, and a streamlined check-in process by going through one of the local rental companies, like Brett/Robinson or Meyer Vacation Rentals. Most have offices in Gulf Shores, and you can just stop in and get your keys much like you would with a hotel. And since they're basically property managers, if any emergencies arise they can be solved more quickly than most Airbnbs.
While most condos come with linens and cooking utensils, most don’t have daily maid service, and you will likely need to throw down a cleaning fee.
Hotels are your worst bet
If you’re hellbent on getting preferred guest points during your trip, Gulf Shores has properties from most of the major big brands, but the rates are jacked up, and you can’t fit nearly as many people inside. The local “boutique” hotels -- including Island House, Perdido Beach Resort, and Phoenix All Suites -- aren’t bad options either, but still pose the same disadvantages as the big chains.
Save money and stay in other cities
The two nearest cities to Gulf Shores are Orange Beach and Foley. Orange Beach makes up the other half of the coastal barrier island and is about 10 minutes east. Foley is landlocked and about 20 minutes north on Hwy 59. Rooms here -- especially in Foley, which doesn’t have a coastline -- are considerably cheaper. Of course, you’ll then have to drive into Gulf Shores for the festival.
Parking can be tricky
And if you are coming for the weekend, most condos allot two parking spaces per rental. Which can be tough when you’ve got ten people from four different cities staying with you. Your best option is to park the extra cars in the front yards of local residents, who rent out spaces for about $10 a day.