The vacation rental industry is changing rapidly, and for even some experienced owners it can be hard to keep up. Not only that, many of the “big name” companies are changing the rules in their own favor. We get calls every day from owners looking for alternatives to VRBO and the entire Homeaway family of sites. They’re charging more fees than ever, taking a bigger cut of the profit than ever, and cutting down on owner/renter communication.
As major sites merge and add smaller brands to their “portfolio” some owners are feeling the pinch as their rates go up, inquiries go down, and favorite product offerings are removed. So if you’re a disillusioned owner who is looking for an alternative to Homeaway for listing your vacation rental, you’ve found the right list.
For Florida vacation rental owners, it’s smart to consider what the top listing sites are, and what each one offers. We’re a short term rental site ourselves (you can read more about us in the post below), but we’re here to assess the current marketplace and suggest a few smart alternatives to VRBO. You’ll also learn the differences between VRBO, Homeaway, Flipkey, and Airbnb
Though there are new sites launching every year, the websites listed below are the most established and most popular vacation rental sites in the industry. So let’s start looking into who’s who and the best ways to maximize and manage your bookings.
Best alternatives to VRBO
VacationRentals.com has roughly 250 to 600 thousand visits per month, with over 80% of their traffic coming from Canada and the US alone. VacationRentals.com is part of the HomeAway family and their mission is to help families and friends find the perfect accommodations to enjoy their dream vacations together. The beautiful homes on the site feature more space, privacy, and amenities than hotels, often for less than half the cost per person.
EDITORS NOTE – 5/21/18: VacationRentals.com has merged with the VRBO/Homeaway family and is no longer a viable alternative to VRBO. Vacationrentals.com is now subject to all the same rules and regulations that unfortunately are upsetting so many vacation rental owners on their platform.
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. It’s the biggest fish going, with over 200 million guests served in 61,000 different cities. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.
This site is unique as they were the original company offering “shared spaces” instead of only a second property i.e. the owner can be home during the stay. For those who can offer a spare bedroom, couch, basement, or pretty much anywhere – this is the site for you. They’ve been pushing hard to get more property managers and second home owners listed, and have been making major headway in that space.
Airbnb also has a social component, where guests can review hosts and vice-versa, which makes it easier to feel comfortable with the exchange.
With an estimated 88 to 120 MILLION travelers visiting the website every month, AirBnb is both the fastest growing AND most popular individual vacation rental website in the world. They also have the best brand recognition out of the group listed here, with the most direct traffic.
All the subsidiary brands combine to power the vacation rental experience on TripAdvisor. With billions of visitors a year to the site (researching reviews on hotels, flights, rentals, and attractions) that’s a lot of potential eyeballs for your listing!
They recently simplified the owner experience on the platform, with one simple log in and ability to edit all your listings. When signing up, you’ll be listed on all points of sale, with some international affiliates too, if applicable.
It is FREE to list your property on any TripAdvisor site, though you pay a commission on each booking. The more popular your rental, the more you’ll be giving back to TripAdvisor
Offering properties globally with a specialization in North America and traditional warm-weather rental locales. FlipKey was the first site purchased by TripAdvisor and powered the VR experience on TripAdvisor for many years. It’s free to publish your listing. They deduct 3% from your guest’s payment
We started FloridaRentals.com in 2017 with over a decade of experience in the industry. We know what owners want, and we know exactly what they’re NOT getting from some of the big names on this list.
What sets us apart? Well, we only work exclusively with properties in Florida. From the theme parks to the warm gulf waters and the sugar sand beaches – you can’t beat a trip to Florida. Travelers know that if they want the best inventory of Florida properties, they should book with us.
We charge NO service or booking fees – which saves you 20% over other rental websites. Our team consists of rental industry experts, and we take pride in providing the best customer service to travelers.
You can trust that the properties listed are as advertised. We also allow travelers to connect directly with owners, removing communication restrictions normally placed on rental sites.
We have subscription fees ONLY. We’ve heard from thousands of rental owners that they hate the “pay per booking” model and we do not have that. Many of the larger sites are forcing owners to adopt this model, and we will never do that
Over one million properties list on Booking.com and there are 6.3 million room nights booked daily! That’s a lot of potential business. You pay per booking here, too, like many of the other large sites. Booking.com is the #1 most-visited travel site online which means you can get your property in front of more people. The site has some extra costs for owner fees and traveler fees, so it’s up to you if the extra eyeballs are worth the cost.
What’s more, it’s 100% free to list your property with them. Your properties will also be distributed to many of their international affiliates. Although you don’t have to pay commission on bookings for guests who never show, all guest bookings are instantly confirmed and deemed commissionable. Which means that potential guests can book without communicating with you beforehand or your consent to the transaction.