Vacation rental channels 🏡- which are the best for hosts?

There are hundreds of vacation rental listing sites (channels), and hosts (owners  and managers) are wondering where to list their properties. Which are the best? Which bring the most bookings? Which bring quality guests? We try to shed some light below.

Vacation rental listing sites (channels) have been around long before Airbnb, and new ones are springing up every week. But not all of them can bring you new bookings, and not all of them can bring quality guests. However, you want to list on as many of them as possible, as long as you don’t have to spend a lot of time managing them. Listing on multiple channels can multiply your revenue by up to 3x, and you surely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity! This article will try to help you choose the best channels for your property. Keep in mind that besides the 5 largest channels listed below, there are hundreds of niche or specialized listing sites/channels that can surely bring you loads of bookings if you can choose them wisely, but this is a subject for a future post.

 

“The Big 5”

The undisputed King of the Jungle, Airbnb has managed to reshape the industry and help create a new economy – the sharing economy. Airbnb was founded in 2008, and transformed the market by focusing on urban listings, shared spaces, user reviews and user experience. Airbnb was the first channel that truly took the shared space concept to the mainstream, by allowing – heck, *promoting* – sharing a room in your house to strangers. It is the defacto channel for any short term rental or vacation rental and usually the channel which brings in the most bookings.

 

homeaway 

Homeaway is even older than Airbnb. It was founded in 2005 in Austin, Texas, and has since acquired more than 50 vacation rental websites including VRBOVacationRentals (US), OwnersDirect (UK), Arbitel (FR) and many more. Their policy is to aggregate all the listings from all channels so if you register on one of their channels, chances are you’ll show up on all the other channels right away. They claim that they list more than a million properties in 190 countries (and we have every reason to believe them). Homeaway started out with a flat fee for owners and now also offers commission based plans. If you’re listing a large house and your first channel is Airbnb, you’ll want your second channel to be Homeaway – our personal experience has shown that Homeaway can target larger groups and families better than Airbnb.

 

booking.com  Villas.com

The global powerhouse that is Booking.com could not stay out of the vacation term rental game. They launched Villas.com in 2014 in a bid to capture a larger part of the vacation rental market beyond its existing portfolio of hotels, hostels, inns and motels.  Villas.com started out with around 100.000 properties, and when it reached 200.000 in 2016 Booking.com decided to shut it down and incorporate all the properties in the main site. “Data has shown our consumers prefer having all their options under one brand” was the official explanation, which sounds reasonable. Booking.com continues to invest heavily in promoting their vacation rental portfolio knowing that the competition is fierce. It is worth noting that Booking.com has a fairly different business model that the other short term rental websites since it lets owners handle payments if they want, and requests a payment for commission at the end of each month. Also note that although commissions are higher than other sites, Booking.com can bring you heaps of bookings – the downside is that cancellation rates are very high, since booking.com visitors have been used to free cancellation listings.

 

flipkey

Starting out as a review site, Tripadvisor has ended up adding direct bookings from withing it’s site for most of its content. In 2008 it acquired a majority stake in Flipkey, the largest vacation rental review site at the time which still to this day retains its autonomy and separate brand. Flipkey has spearheaded their expansion into the short term rental space and is one of the largest players in the market. Relying heavily on reviews, they have made a name for improving quality on both sides: guests and hosts. Every owner is verified by FlipKey staff to ensure that guests are only dealing with trusted people and they feature the largest collection of authentic guest reviews and photos in the industry.

 

Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel site with millions of visitors daily. Expedia owns several of the largest brands in the industry like Hotels.com, Venere, Trivago and dozens more, but most importantly for us, they also own the Homeaway group with all its brands!  However, they have not yet merged all their listings so it’s quite possible that if you wan to show up on Expedia it’s not enough to be listed on one of the Homeaway sites, you will also have to register for a host account on Expedia. Listing on Expedia gives you visibility to their enormous customer base and a great footing on the US market. It is one of the few channels to offer both channel collect and host collect payments.

 

As mentioned in the preface, these are only 5 of the hundreds of vacation rental channels you can list your properties on. There are many niche channels (listing sites) that cater either to a specific geographic region (eg allmykonosvillas.com), a specific activity (eg allchalets.com) or target audience (e.g. misterbandb.com). You can read our latest blog post on the subject and decide for yourself if it’s worth listing on a niche vacation rental listing website.

If you are a Vacation Rental Owner and list your property on multiple channels (or would like to), Syncbnb can synchronize all your channels so you don’t get double bookings. You can sign u for our free 30 day trial to try us out!

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