Congratulations! If you’re reading this blog post, you’re either 1) a new vacation rental owner who wants to learn more about listing their property, or 2) an experienced owner who wants to earn more money from their rental 3) an experienced, disillusioned owner who wants to find a better option than his or her current listing site(s).
For Florida vacation rental owners, it would be in your best interests to consider what the top listing sites are, and what each one offers. If you’re looking for alternatives to websites like Vrbo, this list is for you!
We are in the short term rental market ourselves and are constantly assessing the trends and the most current best practices. With sites constantly merging and smaller ones being taken over by bigger conglomerates, prices fluctuate and some may need your business more than others. However, you also do not want to be taken advantage of in the process. Educate yourself!
No matter what kind of traveler you are trying to market to – we have posted the best listing websites below.
How to market your property and work with listing sites
Before we get into the best listing sites for vacation rental owners, it’s important to look at the economics of how to run a successful rental. There many ways to generate business including referrals, your own website etc however, the best way undoubtedly to get the most reach is with a listing site. Most listing sites will do the work for you and in turn save you time and money, while getting the inquiries.
The bigger companies are spending tons on SEO and google. Your subscription is a small price to pay for the benefit you will receive.
Once you are listed you will want to optimize your listing. We have listed some tips below:
- You will need a great headline
- An endearing nickname for your property
- High-res pictures of all parts of your property
- You will definitely want to invest in a professional photographer – it is worth it and makes a huge difference!
- A description that lists the best things to in the area and highlights the best parts about your property
- A complete and truthful listing of your property with number of bedrooms etc
- Post-booking communications must be top notch and clear
Best vacation rental websites to get more bookings and profits:
There are tons of new sites every year, however the ones listed below are the most established:
VRBO is owned by HomeAway and focuses on the US market. This is the right site to use for any domestic vacations. They have almost 20,000 listings. This site has the same downfalls as HomeAway with higher subscription prices and only being able to communicate with travelers through the website platform.
The VRBO Consumer Affairs profile has them rated at 3.2 stars with 1349 reviews.
Vrbo: Pros & Cons for Owners
- Millions of homes worldwide
- Well-known and lots of brand recognition
- Payments methods are secure
- Instant booking is an option
- Profiles are detailed with guest reviews and lots of pictures etc.
- Offer rental insurance, damage insurance etc
- 24/7 customer support
- More expensive than other sites
- Instant booking which costs more gets better placement on their site
- Properties are rewarded for using their booking system, even if that is not as easy for them
- One-on-one communication taken away – website communication only
- The added costs or rental guarantees, insurance etc may be a turn off for renters
- Extra service fee costs
Airbnb found a unique market by allowing people to make money off their extra space. They let people rent “shared spaces.” It also allows for guests to review hosts and vice versa. They have had over 200 million guests in 61,000 cities. This makes them one of the biggest ones out there! They also get 88 – 120 million travelers visiting their site every month. Their brand recognition is through the roof!
Airbnb: Pros & Cons for Owners
- You can read reviews about your guests before they book
- Most traffic and most well-known brand out there
- You can list a home or shared space
- Customer service is known to be top notch
- “Host Guarantee” with up to $1,000,000 available for guest damages
- Easy to use
- Totally 100% free to list
- The 6 to 12% guest fees for renters is high
- They do get bad press from time to time with rowdy guests
- Cancellation policies are strict
- Funds are not delivered to the owner at the time of booking
TripAdvisor & Subsidiaries
TripAdvisor is one of the oldest in the industry. They are well-known and reputable. Here is some more information about the brands they own:
TripAdvisor has billions of visitors each year to the site. The owner experience is easy and it’s free to list your property, although there is a commission on each booking.
They offer properties globally, but focus on North America. They are a part of TripAdvisor and have the traffic you will want, as well as, brand recognition that comes with being a part of a large company. They also have fees.
TripAdvisor Family: Pros & Cons for Owners
- The largest travel site in the world
- Free to list with 3% booking charge
- With more than 5 properties you can sign up for a manager account which has benefits
- They are trusted by name and have lots of reviews to back it up
- Issues with booking on the new platform
- Pay per booking only for new properties
- Complaints of not great customer service
Started in 2017 Floridarentals.com focuses on what owners want and aren’t getting from the bigger name brands.
We work exclusively with Florida properties and have no service or booking fees. This will save you 20% over other booking sites. We allow travelers to connect directly with owners and properties are listed as advertised.
We have subscription fees only! There are no hidden costs.
FloridaRentals.com: Pros & Cons for Owners
- Subscription fees ONLY
- 20% less than other sites
- Guest and owner can talk directly
- Florida focused only
- Being a newer company there is still room to grow with brand recognition and listings
There are over 1 million properties on this site and 6.3 million rooms are booked daily. You pay per booking like other sites. They are one of the most visited sites on the market.
100% free to list. They take a commission for guests who show up only.
Booking.com: Pros & Cons for Owners
- It is free to list your property
- Lots of traffic
- International distribution
- Better known for hotels
- 15% booking fee which is very high
- They offer instant booking notification
Thank you for this informative article. One thing you need to include on the “Cons” for Tripadvisor:
“Hold owner money until guest checks in, funds are not delivered right at time of booking”
Although I am grandfathered into the subscription model (which by the way is garnering fewer and fewer inquiries each year), Tripadvisor/Flipkey have tried to get me to do the Pay Per Book model. The fact that I would not get my money until after a guest checks in is an ABSOLUTE deal killer. One of the reasons I will not list on Airbnb.
Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the
shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but
I had to tell someone!
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