As a vacation property owner, you’ll need to decide which vacation rental websites will give your property the best exposure as well as the largest amount of rental revenue. As you’ve probably noticed, there’s no shortage of options out there. While travelers used to be somewhat limited in their choices for finding vacation rentals, there are now dozens of sites from which they can pick. That said, we decided to take a look at the options that are out there to figure out which vacation rental sites get the most traffic and, in turn, offer the best chance of your property getting seen and booked. We’ve put together an overview of those top-ranking listing sites so you can get a better idea of what each has to offer.
While Booking.com originally gained its foothold in the travel industry by listing hotels, it presently features over 800,000 vacation rentals in 225 countries and territories. Every month, the site gets over 400 million visitors. Though, as we mentioned, the site includes a number of lodging options in addition to vacation rentals.
While it’s free to list your vacation property on Booking.com, commissions start at 15% per booking. This figure will vary from property to property as it depends on factors like your destination and its popularity.
While the website is currently working toward accepting payments, you’ll have to have the ability to accept payments directly. In addition, you’ll need to get any damage deposit directly from any guests. All Booking.com reservations are instantly confirmed, so you won’t need to confirm any bookings that come through.
On the Booking.com site, guests have the ability to book their flights and rental car and also to get information on local restaurants via OpenTable.
The TripAdvisor family of sites includes FlipKey and HolidayLettings (popular in Europe and the UK). It features over 600,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries. The number of unique monthly visitors to TripAdvisor’s site is quite impressive at 390 million; however, this should be tempered with the fact the TripAdvisor features far more than just vacation properties.
It’s free to list your site on TripAdvisor but you will need to pay a 3% fee per booking. If you have more than five vacation properties, you can get a manager account.
With a manager account, you choose whether you want to have an annual subscription (the cost of which is determined by how many properties you have) or a pay-per-lead option.
Presently, there’s no option to instantly book a TripAdvisor listing. But all bookings must be accepted or declined within 24 hours. Regarding damage protection, you choose the amount of the damage deposit that you’d like guests to provide. If they book online, they’ll pay that deposit along with their full balance. And if after there’s no damage after their stay is complete, TripAdvisor will send them a refund.
One of the benefits of using TripAdvisor is that it provides guests with the option to book flights at the same time. Their website also features a wealth of information on things like local restaurants and activities, which makes it a convenient choice for visitors.
The HomeAway family of sites includes VRBO and VacationRentals.com. When you list your property on HomeAway, you can choose to have it listed on the Expanded Distribution Network, which provides for exposure on another 25 websites. Having all these sites connected means that you’ll be able to take advantage of seamless distribution of any updated information like your rates or availability calendar. HomeAway features over 1 million homes in 190 countries and all of their sites get more than 65 million visitors every month.
Depending on your rental property and how much revenue you expect it to generate, you can choose from two different payment plans. One option is the pay-per-booking model and with it, owners must pay a charge of 8% with every booking. Of this amount, 5% is commission and 3% goes to credit card processing fees. Should your guests be paying with an international credit card, you’ll be charged an additional 2%. If your property’s on the Expanded Distribution Network, partners charge a 10% fee and if you use the HomeAway payment system, you’ll need to pay an additional 3% for credit card processing, too.
Alternatively, you can choose to have an annual subscription, which costs $399. If you’re expecting to get more than three bookings per year, it’s likely you’ll save more money with the subscription plan than you will with the pay-per-booking plan.
You have the option to enable Instant Booking on your listing, which means that guests can reserve your property much like they would a hotel room. While this is not a mandatory setting, properties that have this feature enabled rank higher than those without it. In addition, if your booking acceptance rates are low, this will also negatively affect how prominently your property is displayed in search results. With regard to damage protection, you can choose to take a damage deposit directly from the guest or require them to purchase damage protection insurance, which provides up to $5,000 in coverage.
Airbnb is one of the fastest growing vacation rental websites. Every month, it gets about 60 million site visits and it has over 3 million listings (although not all of these listings are for entire properties but instead sections or rooms within homes).
It’s completely free to list your property on Airbnb, but there is a 3% fee for each booking. You’ll have the option to choose whether guests can book your property instantly or if you’d like to approve all reservations. Having the Instant Book option may increase the number of reservations you get, but it doesn’t work for all owners. You can easily test it out to see if this feature will be beneficial for you.
You can require security deposits of up to $5,000 from your guests and this deposit will be handled directly by Airbnb (as opposed to an off-site cash payment). One of the things that makes Airbnb stand out is their Host Guarantee program, which provides protection for up to $1 million for guest damages that are in excess of the security deposit. There’s also a Host Protection Insurance Program in place that covers an owner’s liability up to $1 million in case guests get hurt on their property.
Another unique aspect of this website is that just as guests can review your property, you’ll have the ability to review them after their stay as well. This means that you can check out a potential guest’s past reviews in order to get a better understanding of to whom you might be renting.
While the site doesn’t provide visitors with the ability to book things like rental cars or flights, it does offer the opportunity to book Experiences, which are things like walking tours, kayaking trips, cooking classes, and much more. The site boasts a number of guides for many of the different available destinations.
Last But Certainly Not Least – Your Own Website
It’s important that you have a website set up for your vacation rental. Not only will this enable you to take bookings directly, but it will give your vacation rental more credibility. A website will help you to build your vacation rental brand, which can help to make your property stand out as something more special than just another vacation home or condo. It will open a number of marketing doors for you that will serve to increase your rental revenue.
Do You Need Help Marketing Your Breckenridge Property?
Managing property listings, finding owners, and working on global marketing can take a lot of time and effort. But, Breckenridge Vacation Properties can help you out. We’ll make sure your property is shown on all the major listing sites, help it get great reviews, and much more! Give us a call at (970) 528-9700 or take a look at our Program Specifics to get more information on what we can do for you.