If you have purchased (or are considering purchasing) a vacation rental home, odds are you will want to monetize your investment at some point in your endeavor.
Whether you purchased your vacation rental home simply to get away from the colder weather for a few months a year, or you see yourself as more of a rental investor, there are several ways that you can effectively market your vacation rental property.
In today’s modern age, the best way for a homeowner to get their vacation rental home listing to the maximum number of potential renters is through a vacation rental site. If you’re in the vacation rental management or real estate investing game, you’ve without a doubt heard of at least a few of the dozens of vacation rental sites like Airbnb, Expedia, and TripAdvisor to name a few.
If you’re new to vacation property management, or just a little bit behind in the technology sphere as a vacation home renter, it would be advantageous to get familiar with these vacation rental sites. Luckily, with this quick and easy to read guide, we will simplify this process.
Here are the 8 best vacation rental sites for owners:
If you are going to list your vacation rental property on any one vacation rental website, Airbnb is by far and above the best option. With over 7 million listings, and listings in over 100,000 different cities as of 2021, Airbnb is by far the most popular vacation rental site.
Pros: There can be no mistake made, Airbnb is the titan of the industry when it comes to listing your vacation rental home. As stated, there are Airbnb listings in over 100,000 different cities, comprising listings in over 220 countries and regions. The platform has integrated with many of the best channel management software companies, allowing owners/managers with multiple properties to easily manage their listings.In terms of pure views to your listing, Airbnb is likely to be the best vacation rental site for homeowners and property managers to direct quality traffic to their respective vacation rental properties. Airbnb also makes it extremely easy to list your property, walking you through their entire step-by-step process.
Cons: While the fact of the matter is that Airbnb is the most popular and fastest growing vacation rental site, it may not be the best vacation rental site for your particular listing. With over 2.9 million hosts, and over 14,000 new hosts joining monthly, your listing runs the risk of being lost in the shuffle in an over-saturated market area. There is also an (albeit) small (3%) host service fee.
In comparison with Airbnb, Vrbo has become an excellent emerging vacation rental site to list your vacation rental home. After Expedia acquired the rights to the popular vacation rental site Homeaway in 2015, they combined and rebranded the site to its current name, Vrbo. With over 2 million listings worldwide, Vrbo is another viable vacation rental site to list your rental home.
Pros: Unlike popular vacation rental sites like Airbnb, Vrbo only lists entire vacation homes or properties, rather than individual rooms. If you are looking to rent out your entire condo, cabin, or vacation house, Vrbo may be a better vacation rental site to list your property on than other alternative sites. Doing so almost guarantees that users viewing your property are interested in booking your listing in its entirety, rather than looking for a single room.
Cons: In addition to not being able to rent out single rooms, Vrbo also places the tax burden on the rental owner, rather than collecting tax fees at the point of booking. This can be a major obstacle for those looking to book up their vacation rental properties in a hands off manner. Vrbo guests have also complained of steep service fees, which may pose another obstacle to managing your vacation rental listing.\
Much like TripAdvisor, Booking.com is one of the oldest household names when it comes to vacation rental sites. Starting with hotels, Booking.com has now grown to over 6.2 million homes, apartments, and other unique vacation listings.
Pros: Booking.com doubles as a flight booking site, so while customers are cruising deals on their preferred means of travel, having your vacation rental home right next to that is never a bad thing. In addition to TripAdvisor, Booking.com also benefits from its ability to maintain their loyalty from seasoned travelers, many of whom book exclusively on Booking.com due to a longstanding familiarity.
Cons: Booking.com can take a standard commission fee of 10-25% of your total booking price, depending on the location of your listing.
As the parent group of Vrbo and Homeaway, Expedia is another giant household name for vacation rental sites. While mainly focusing on hotel lodging, Expedia has made strides to promote inclusion of private vacation rental listings to their site as well. Expedia is the largest online travel group, with a global network of subsidiaries over a large web of other high-profile travel companies.
Pros: As a longstanding online travel agency giant, listing your vacation rental on Expedia will expose your listing to millions of global could-be renters daily. Expedia also tailors the experience for clients, which makes it much more likely that travelers that come across your listing will find your vacation rental to be in compatibility with what they are looking for.
Cons: Expedia has long been known in the online travel agency world as exclusively a hotel booking vacation rental site. This could discourage potential renters from viewing your property on the site, as opposed to a more niche vacation rental site.
TripAdvisor is another great vacation rental site for owners to list their properties. As one of the older staples of vacation home rental listings, it is a tried and true vacation rental site that has been used for decades.
Pros: TripAdvisor is one of those vacation listing sites that has been around long enough that it is likely even your grandparents are familiar with it. Listing your vacation rental home on TripAdvisor may help your listing appeal to the older demographic, who are often preferred tenants with ample funds to arrange more long-term bookings. The TripAdvisor InstantBook feature also makes it easy for homeowners to book their properties with a more “hands off” approach.
Cons: In accordance with the pros of listing on TripAdvisor, you may be missing out on a large percentage of the younger demographic if you list your vacation rental property on this vacation rental site alone. Consider putting your rental listing on TripAdvisor and a newer vacation rental site to maximize your results.
As another top vacation rental site that has earned an excellent reputation since the 90’s, OwnerDirect has been another staple in the realm of vacation rentals for decades now. It is free to register your listing, and OwnerDirect is reportedly very up-front with their service fees and other costs for both renters and hosts.
Pros: Due to their experience and long term establishment in vacation rentals, OwnerDirect has one of the most efficient and satisfactory customer service models in the industry. Due to their superior customer service and addition of easy to use calendars, OwnerDirect is also a preferred vacation rental site to list on if you have multiple properties.
Cons: While OwnersDirect is an established vacation rental site, the site may again fall short with the younger demographic looking to use a newer, more updated vacation rental site like AirBnb or Vrbo.
If you have attempted to make and market your vacation rental property as “kid-friendly”, Kid & Coe may be one of the best vacation rental sites to list your property. This particular niche site allows renters who brand themselves as a family-oriented rental property to connect with that particular audience, and easily book in some of the most “kid-friendly” destinations.
Pros: Focusing on your family-oriented niche target market ensures that you will attract the type of renters you want to the property, and also will more than likely yield more potential returns on the views to your listing. Renters come to the site knowing exactly what they are looking for, and if your listing fits the bill, they are more than willing to book for a “kid-friendly” experience.
Cons: Being such a particular niche vacation rental site, listing your property on Kid & Coe will mainly only attract the clientele it was intended to attract. Only list your vacation rental property on this site if you take your family-oriented status seriously, as negative reviews saying otherwise could be devastating to your listing credibility.
By listing your vacation rental property with Hotels.com, you immediately get the added benefits of the much larger reaching Expedia Group, which purchased the initial company in 2001. As another long standing vacation rental site, users are familiar with the name and have a strong loyalty to Hotels.com, as many rented their first hotel/condo from here and never looked back.
Pros: As stated, Hotels.com enjoys the far-reaching scope of the Expedia Group. This means that millions of potential renters will come to the site each day, thus increasing the likelihood that your property listing will be viewed. As a household name, Hotels.com experiences a high volume of loyal seasoned travelers that book exclusively on the sight.
Cons: As is indicated in the title, Hotels.com got its start listing exactly what the name reads; hotels. While they have made changes to include inns, bed and breakfast locations, and other unique listings, they have had a hard time attracting customers to the site for anything other than their namesake. While there is great exposure upside to listing on this vacation rental site, users mainly come to the site looking for hotel deals.
When considering the best vacation rental site to list your rental property on, it is important for property owners and managers to do their research. Hopefully this guide helped to point you in the right direction, but you may want to consider a combination of these sites (or others) in order to maximize their listing’s potential, and reach the proper renters in a timely manner. Happy listing!