If vacation rental owners want to see a raise in revenue and protect their business, they should avoid becoming completely dependent on a single listing website like Airbnb. It’s crucial to know where to list your vacation rental besides Airbnb, and diversify where your rental revenue comes from. That way, if the main listing website you use were to spontaneously raise its fees, change its policies, or shutdown altogether, your business won’t shutter without it.
From major listing sites, such as HomeAway and FlipKey, to smaller niche sites, here are alternative sites to list your vacation rental besides Airbnb.
The HomeAway Family of Vacation Rental Sites
The HomeAway family owns 25 websites—including VRBOand VacationRentals.com—that reach 70 million potential guests a month from over 190 countries. HomeAway allows you to set your own price and home rules. Like many listing websites, HomeAway offers 24/7 communication.
Luckily, property owners and managers don’t need to buy a subscription package to each site—instead, HomeAway offers one big subscription package that allows owners access to all of their sites. Property owners and managers can choose between two subscription packages. With the free pay-per-booking subscription, owners pay 8 to 10% to HomeAway, which includes a 5% commission and a 3 to 5% transaction fee—this is an ideal plan for properties that bring in less than $7,000 a year. For $500 a year, property owners can waive the 5% commission fee and just pay the transaction fee. Owners only need to make $8,000 a year off their property to save money on the $500/year plan.
Booking.com and Agoda
With over 430 million monthly visitors, Booking.com accurately advertises itself as the world’s #1 accommodation site.
It’s 100% free to list your propertyon Booking.com and your properties will also be listed directly on search engine maps, like Google Maps, and distributed to a wide array of their international affiliates, such as Agoda. Booking.com’s listing services work on a commission pay-per-booking model, charging a transaction fee starting at 15% per booking—which is more expensive than most listing websites. Owners don’t have to pay commission on bookings for guests who never check in. Guests can, however, book instantly without ever communicating with you beforehand and owners must be able to accept and collect payments from guest directly.
Like HomeAway, Booking.com allows you to set your own availability, prices, and to open or close your property whenever you want. Booking.com does not charge guests any additional fees in comparison to AirBnb, which charges an additional 5-15% fee to guests.
TripAdvisor and FlipKey
The oldest digital travel community, TripAdvisor joined the vacation rental listing competition in 2008 when it acquired FlipKey and combined it with it’s immense data of local restaurants, bars, and attractions with vacation rental owners around the world.
TripAdvisor brings an immense draw of potential guests. Over 400,000,000 people have left travel reviews on TripAdvisor, according to Forbes, displaying just how popular the site has become. Booking through TripAdvisor can also be more convenient for travelers; after they book their vacation rental, they can easily book their flights, rental cars, and any other travel services without having to navigate to another travel site. Like Booking.com, Tripadvisor does not have a subscription fee—although it’s commission is much lower, at 3%. It does, however, charge guests a substantial 12% fee.
If you’re only renting out your spare bedroom—and not your entire home—your vacation rental listing will thrive better on homestay.com than on sites where it’s alongside entire home listings. With over 55,000 rooms in over 160 countries, this website specializes in private rooms and solo traveler accommodations and is more likely to attract the kind of customer who will find a single room accommodation appealing.
Homestay allows vacation rental owners to set their own rates and charges a 15% booking fee to guests based on the rate set by the owner.
Niche rental sites
If your vacation rental fulfills some kind of niche description — like it’s a family-friendly lake house, you allow dogs, or it’s located in a vineyard —then posting your rental on a listing site for that specific niche can boost your bookings. According to Rentalpreneurs, this helps you reach the exact potential guest you’re hoping to attract and leads to more bookings off-season, higher revenues per booking, and more booking by solving the needs of specific travelers and making it easy to find your unique property.
For example, certain rental markets are so popular, they have a rental website dedicated to listing for just a single city or region. Floridarentals.com, for example, appeals specifically to folks booking a vacation in Florida, while Californiavacationrentals.net caters to those looking to vacation in California. Or, if you allow dogs in your rentals, consider listing on petfriendlyvacationrentals.com. Find what makes your rental special and seek out listing sites that will better help you advertise those attributes.
Your Property Manager’s Website
Most property management companies will list their owners’ rentals on their own listing website. If you’ve hired a well respected property management company with a reputation for high quality rental options, you can benefit from their reputation by getting listed on their website. If a guest has a positive experience with a particular property manager—the home was exceptionally clean, the communication was fast and cordial, etc— they will go directly to that property manager’s website to look for their next vacation rental. Therefore, vacationers looking for a rental they can trust will be more likely to book your home if they see you’re operated by a trustworthy management company.
Additionally, if the idea of managing your listing on a dozen different listing sites sounds overwhelming or too time consuming, consider hiring a property management company. On top of listing your home on their own website, some property management companies like TurnKey will manage your listing across dozens of websites.
Want to learn more about how TurnKey can maximize your rental home’s exposure online and earn you more bookings? Schedule a consultation with us here.