Build Your Own Vacation Rental Website
This is a step that you can skip and come back to later, but we recommend that you get to it as soon as possible.
Once youve chosen a good mix of channels to get listed on, your multi-channel distribution strategy will still be missing an important pillar: your own vacation rental website.
Weve talked about the importance of becoming less dependent on a single booking channel. Now, its equally important to have a source of bookings that doesnt depend on any booking sites at all.
Building your own vacation rental website lets you attract commission-freedirect bookings, which should be an integral part of every hosts marketing strategy.
Direct bookings mean total control over your business and more money in your pockets. If youre serious about growing your vacation rental business, direct bookings are the way to go.
Luckily, there are lots of great website-building applications out there that you can use to build your own direct booking website using templates – no coding experience or technical skills needed. For example, check out PromoteMyPlace or Vevs.
Niche Vacation Rental Websites
The world of travel has grown in a way that tries to be a little bit more accessible for all types of travelers, be it disability-accommodation, kid-friendly, or any other needs you may have. The beauty of renting a vacation rental instead of a hotel is the customization and touch of detail that hosts add for their varying guests.
Diversify Your Pool Of Guests
If your vacation rental business is only known to a certain audience like retirees or couples, youre missing out on potential reservations. You dont want to get stuck in the cycle of only booking a certain type of client by limiting the places you publish. While its true that there are certain guests to avoid, not using vacation rental listing sites could hold you back from a variety of clients who could enrich your hosting experience.
Some listing sites have personalities of their own or they are known for attracting niche audiences , so if youre trying to move towards a new clientele or just attract a variety of guests, you might want to consider which sites best suit the clients youre seeking out.
Easiest For Landlords To Use: Cozy
Cozys listing features are so easy for landlords, its almost fun to use. Landlords can list, market, lease, and manage their property in Cozys intuitive and attractive dashboard design.
Provides an engaging dashboard and full suite of tools for landlords
Listings are syndicated to Realtor.com and Doorsteps.com
No mobile app
Online electronic signing of lease agreements not available yet
Cozy was purchased by Apartments.com in June of 2021 and will be rolling all eligible accounts into Apartments.com. Founded in 2012, Cozy has been on a mission to make renting simple for landlords. It was bought by CoStar Group, Inc. in November 2018, and will be part of Apartments.com in mid-2021. Cozy is available in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico.
As a landlord, Cozys free listing can be marketed through Doorsteps.com and Realtor.com, and you can share a custom link through social media, email, and text. With desktop and dashboard control of your listing, its easy for landlords to upload new pictures, revise the property description, or add new amenities whenever they want, which helps make Cozy our choice as easiest for landlords to use.
Landlords can get a full credit report and score, including debt and monthly payment amounts, payment histories for credit accounts, public inquiries, and address and employment histories. The landlord can also see if the tenant has any prior evictions or a criminal background, including sex offender investigations.
Luxury Vacation Rental Websites
If your clientele is more high dollar or youre aiming for that market, its vital that you target this specific type of guest on sites that cater to their needs. Luxury clientele arent seeking the top promotion or a big price cut in red, they want smooth and sophisticated.
Certain websites specialize in pairing high-end hosts with luxury-seeking guests through curated collections, sleek web design, and customized service. Its not necessarily easy to break into this field, but if your property fits the mold, it should be listed accordingly.
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Improve Your Vacation Rental Listings
As we’ve looked at many listings, we’ve noticed quite a few things that vacation rental owners can do to improve their listings, whether they be here in our site or on another listing site, such as VRBO. So, we are sharing some tips that you might find helpful.
In any vacation rental listing website, whether it by our site, VRBO or any other site, it is necessary to promote your vacation rental in the best light. Simply listing your property is not good enough as you have to compete against every other property listed in your area. Making your vacation rental stand out above the others is an act of salesmanship and you have to approach it in that manner. You are selling your vacation rental to potential guests as being better than all the others.
The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is true. The first thing people will see are the pictures you post. It is the only first impression you will make on people and you have only one chance to get it right.
You do not necessarily have to hire a professional photographer, but you do need a quality camera or cell phone with a quality camera built in. If you don’t own one you could always borrow one from a friend rather than buying one.
Order: The first picture in your array should always be the absolute best. This is the image that will lure them in to see more about your home. If the first picture they see is of a hallway, that will not draw them in and they will simply move on.
Rise In The Number Of Bookings
If you advertise through newspapers then only newspaper readers will buy your product, but if you use both television and newspaper to advertise yourself then you will be able to reach and persuade more people, which will lead to an increase in sales. Similarly, if you list your property on multiple platforms then the number of bookings tends to increase. You will be able to convince the users of both Airbnb and VRBO. With more visibility comes more inquiries and with more inquiries comes a greater number of bookings.
Property Manager From Aurora Co
I use Gmail for all of my properties’ listings. I like that it has a related calendar and also a cloud drive that I can store all of my documents & records on that relate to the properties & their reservations.
Another thing I like about Gmail is that you can use “aliases” when replying to emails, so even though an email may arrive in the main inbox you can reply as another email address that you own. This is handy if you have a specific email address that you use for one property but you want to handle all of your communication from another email account.
What Are The Best Sites To List Your Rental Property To Maximize And Manage Bookings
Your online marketing campaign is an essential element of your vacation rentals marketing strategy, especially when you consider that all of your competitors, including hotels and resorts, probably have a very dominant online presence. In fact, without vacation rental listing websites, it can be a major challenge to find the bookings you need to maximize your vacation homes profitability.
But the web is home to tons of vacation rental listing websites, like Airbnb, VBRO, HomeAway, and FlipKey, among others. How do you choose the best site for your needs? It can be a challenge, especially if youre tasked with personally overseeing your online marketing efforts or need to provide your property manager with more direction. So lets explore the different rental property websites and how you can use these sites to maximize and manage your bookings.
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Holiday Lettings United Kingdom
Holiday Lettings was the UKs largest independent vacation rental website when it was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2010. They maintain their focus on very English-esque stays like tudor-style homes and old manors tucked away in the countryside. Today, Holiday Lettings advertises 600,000 cottages, villas and apartments in over 150 countries worldwide, including nearly 55,000 in the UK.
Holiday Lettings Fees
|Host fees||Listing fees|
|Travelers are charged a booking fee, which typically varies from 8% to 14.5% depending on the rental rate.||Hosts pay a 3% fee on confirmed bookings, deducted from the guests booking total.||There are no listing fees for Holiday Lettings|
Can I List On Both Airbnb And Vrbo
Yes, listing your home on both Airbnb and Vrbotwo of the most popular vacation rental sites on the market todaywill multiply your chances of capturing attention and reservations. While the platforms main audiences differ , both of their audiences are so vast in size that youll get in front of many other types of travelers by listing your home in both places.
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The Most Popular Vacation Rental Listing Websites
The most popular vacation rental sites are Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor. These online travel agencies are the most common places people go to book a short-term rental. These are also the most common platforms to have API integrations with channel managers, so you can sync all your bookings across multiple sites.
Uplisting Direct Booking Website
Uplistings direct booking website builder is free for all users who sign up for our short term rental management system. Enabling you to manage all your rental properties and to take commission-free direct bookings in one complete tool. All you need to do is connect your Airbnb listings and the direct booking website is created automatically in minutes, it really is that simple. No hidden fees, no additional costs, just a simple software to put your short term rental business on autopilot.
Our current customers are taking millions of dollars in commission-free bookings every month through our direct booking website, to join them all you need to do is sign up for a 14-day free trial.
In addition to taking bookings, our builder includes :
- Fully mobile responsive website
- Automated security deposit collections
Hostaway offers a number of website solutions that fit the needs of all size of property managers and web development skills. Choose from their beautiful templated websites, WordPress plugin, or use Webhooks to access Hostaways open API and build a custom solution.
All Hostaway websites are mobile friendly, customizable, and integrated with the Hostaway property management and channel management systems.
Calendars, rates, descriptions, photos, and policies remain synced within Hostaways Vacation Rental Software and your other sales channels such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking, and Expedia.
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Optimize Your Listings For Each Channel
The next step is to optimize your listings for each channel. Like weve mentioned before, you may be treating different demographics or types of travelers on different booking platforms. If you want a high conversion rate, its essential to create listings that speak to them.
You should also know that different booking channels can have different content requirements. For example, Vrbo requires you to upload high-resolution photos that are at least 1024 x 683 pixels. On the other hand, Booking.coms minimum recommended size is 1280 x 900 pixels.
Listing On Airbnb And Vrbo: Getting Maximum Results From Using Both
As vacation rental sites like Vrbo, Airbnb and HomeAway compete to attract hosts, more hosts are making the decision to create listing on multiple vacation rental listing sites. This is generally a good idea because you want to get your properties in front of as many travelers as you can.
There are also other factors to consider aside from the fees. However, the sites that will attract the most bookings are the ones that you should prioritize. So how do you decide which vacation rental listing sites are best for your business?
Here are the details you need to know about the differences between Vrbo and Airbnb. We also share the advantages of listing your vacation rental property on each site to help you create a comprehensive vacation rental listing strategy.
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The Best Vacation Rental Websites: Homeaway Vbro And Vacationrentalscom
HomeAway is the parent company of VBRO and VacationRentals.com, so all three sites share lots of similarities and combined, they feature more than one million listings globally. The popularity of these sites means they see lots of traffic, which is great for exposure. So while there is more competition between actual property listings, the high traffic volume tends to offset this.
Some key considerations include:
- Guests can book instantly, which is great for capturing those impulse bookings.
- You can choose from secure, traceable payment options, which is great for confidence among buyers.
- These sites are mobile-friendly, with tons of features that allow you to really showcase your vacation home, including availability calendars, room for detailed descriptions, lots of photographs, and a guest review section for ever-important social proof.
- These sites offer damage insurance and other offerings, such as cancellation insurance and rental guarantees, although the fees are a bit higher than those on other sites.
- Guests also pay a service fee, which means its more affordable for property owners.
- The listing fee is fairly pricey compared to other sites. Property owners can opt to pay a 10% fee for each booking or spend an annual fee of $349 or more.
Why Should You List Your Property On Vacation Rental Sites
If you already receive a significant amount of direct bookings, you might be wondering whats the point of listing your property on an OTA in the first place. After all, there arent many vacation rental sites without fees and every host wants to keep as much of the grand total as possible. If you zoom out and look at the bigger picture, youll see that adding your property to vacation rental listing sites will actually increase your profits, fees and all.
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How The Listing Sites Compare
Now lets put it all together to see how the listing sites compare when you stack them side by side.
To calculate how much youll pay in owner fees, we used an annual rental income of $28,000. According to HomeAway, this is what the average vacation rental owner earns per year.
Airbnbs Host Service Fee is the lowest owner fee we see in this comparison. According to their website, This fee is 3% for most hosts, but may be higher for Airbnb Plus hosts, hosts in Italy, or for listings that have a Super Strict cancellation policy. We only see the 10% fee for hosts operating listings located in Mainland China.
The Vrbo/HomeAway subscription model comes in a close second to Airbnb with their subscription model at $499/year.
TripAdvisor/FlipKey option tie for third with Vrbo/HomeAways pay-per-booking model that starts at 5%.
Booking.com comes in the final spot when only considering homeowner fees with its 15% minimum service fee. While its the priciest option for homeowners, it is the best option for travelers with no added fees.
Its also important to consider how much your guests are going to be charged to book your home. Four of the five listing options include a guest service fee, which is calculated based on the total nightly rate and property fees.
We looked at how guest fees are calculated for one of our 3-bedroom properties in Cape Coral, Florida, to see how they add up and can impact a prospective travelers decision to book your property.
Flat Fee Or Commission
Even if you do target the right audience, how many bookings do you anticipate getting? If you have limited availability and only keep your home open to guests for a couple of weeks out of the year, a flat, subscription-based fee might not be right for you.
Alternatively, if you get a lot of bookings with a large earning, you might be giving away too much of a cut by choosing vacation rental sites that operate off commission. Take a look at the average amount of bookings you had in the past year and see which option would have given you a greater return. If this is your first year operating a vacation rental business, stick with a commission-based platform with no listing fee, like Airbnb, so you dont risk losing money by not getting enough listings to cover the cost of a listing site subscription.
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Which Website To List On
Lets take a deep dive into the world of vacation-rental marketing. As a host, there are a plethora of vacation-rental listing sites, and its up to you to decide which one works the best.
Here are some of the factors youll look at while choosing the perfect vacation-rental website:
Lets look at some of the best vacation-rental listings that will meet your different needs.
The giant of all giants. Without a doubt, Airbnb is one of the fastest-growing and most successful vacation rental websites in the world. In fact, you could say that Airbnb has completely shifted the hospitality industry by making it more focused on shared spaces, reviews, and guest experiences.
Why List on Airbnb
Well, first things first: Airbnb is massive. Around 120 million travelers visit this website every month, so you dont have to worry about whether your property will reach a decent amount of people.
Furthermore, Airbnb is more than just a vacation-rental listing. For example, since people usually rely on branded searches while looking for listings, youre much more likely to find a Paris Airbnb search than a Paris HomeAway search.
So with Airbnb, youll get brand recognition, customer loyalty, and millions of consumers on the website every month.
Airbnb is perfect if:
- You want to advertise your property to millions of people.
- Your property is located in an urban destination.