Listing your property on a short-term rental website is non-negotiable for the success of your business. Nevertheless, as a vacation rental manager, you have a variety of options to choose from, and picking the best vacation rental website to list your property on seems like a big challenge. Vacation rental websites, also known as OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) might look similar; however, they have some subtle distinctions and each of them can display your property listing in a different way, target different sectors of the travel market, and offer various services and management methods.
Best Vacation Rental Websites
We have put together a list of the best vacation rental websites and the most popular ones; nevertheless, there is no definite answer to the question of the best short-term rental website, and you need to find the one that works best for you.
Airbnb is the most prominent and trusted short-term rental website. This platform, with its well-known brand, has attracted many hosts and guests. So, your listings will be viewed by many audiences.
Although Airbnb doesn’t charge you to list your properties on Airbnb, after booking, you need to pay a commission fee of up to 15%.
Booking.com is one of the largest travel booking websites which can increase your brand exposure. You need to pay a 15% commission fee for each booking.
Apart from making reservations, this channel offers flights and rental cars to get your listings in front of a wider audience.
One of the best short-term rental websites for listing is Vrbo, which provides accommodations in 190 countries across the world. Furthermore, this platform offers facilities sought by families and kids.
Vrbo has two options for hosts to pay their fee; per booking or an annual subscription of $499. For the first option, hosts must pay a 5% commission with a 3% credit card charge per booking.
Expedia is an online travel shopping platform based in Seattle, United States. The website offers airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruise ships, and vacation packages. In addition, Expedia provides different types of accommodation, allowing you to sort them based on your needs.
HometoGo is one of the largest marketplaces to find properties across various short-term rental websites, including Booking.com, Vrbo and TripAdvisor. Listing on this platform will increase your bookings due to its wide range of audiences.
Atraveo is one of the largest hospitality platforms offering more than 300,000 properties.
Hosts need to pay a 15% commission fee per booking.
TripAdvisor is an online travel platform offering hotel and vacation rental reservations, rental cars, lodging, and restaurants. Listing on this platform will distribute your rentals across the world. So, it’s one of the best places to list your properties.
Furthermore, TripAdvisor is well-known for its comparison option featuring over 1 billion reviews on hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, and tourist attractions.
Hosts need to pay a 3% commission fee per booking.
OneFineStay is a hospitality company and is part of the Accor hotel chain. This website provides 5000 properties (homes, villas & chalets) in London, New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, etc.
Homestay is a global accommodation booking website offering over 63,000 rooms in more than 176 countries. One attractive option of this platform is that guests can stay at the host’s place for free in exchange for offering their place to the host either simultaneously or later.
Homestay charges the host 3% per booking.
Criteria to Choose the Right Short-Term Rental Website for Listing
As a wise and pragmatic vacation rental manager or a serviced apartment operator, try to find the best short-term rental website to advertise your property on and connect with the right potential guests. To achieve this goal, you need to do a significant amount of research on each of the listing sites in detail to find the most promising ones which address your needs and bring you the most revenue. You can narrow down your list of options using the following criteria:
· Fees and Payment Options
The cost of using listing sites could be of utmost importance to you. Some booking websites are free to use while others charge commissions, guest fees, host fees, and listing costs. Some OTAs charge you and your guests a hefty commission, and you have to find out if they are even worth the money and energy.
· Your Goals
There are numerous vacation rental websites competing in the industry, yet as a smart vacation rental manager, you must pick the ones that comply with your business strategies and your short-term and long-term goals. The vacation rental websites you list your properties on must provide the customer experience you want to offer to your guests, as well as fulfil your profitability and growth strategies.
· Type of Property
You can choose your vacation rental website, and identify your target audience and the types of guests you want to attract based on your property type. Some OTA’s specialise in marketing specific sorts of vacation such as beach vacation, mountain vacation, water-sports vacation, business trip, pet-friendly, family and kid-friendly vacation rentals.
· Type of Accommodation
Where you decide to list your property will determine your prospective guests and the kind of accommodation you offer. Most OTAs satisfy the needs of the majority of people and target the mainstream forms of rentals; however, there are some online booking websites which focus on a specific group of properties like luxury villa agencies to market world-class luxury villas or couch surfing sites which offer staying with locals around the world. When you expose your vacation rental to defined groups of people, the market would be less competitive for you, and your property won’t get lost among all the other listings on the big OTAs.
· Destination and Popularity in Your Local Market
Some OTAs specialise in a particular destination or geographic area, or attract travellers from specific nationalities. Your rental’s location can determine the OTAs that work best for you. You must find the sites that work best in your country or area and are popular with people looking for accommodation in your location. In addition, figure out the prospective guests of your vacation rental, and find out which demographics they are coming from and choose your OTA based on their preferences.
· Website Features
Does the OTA you want to list your property on have the features that can address your pain points and help your business grow? Are the features worth paying the OTA fees? Is working with the system straightforward or is it cumbersome and going to add to your workload? Study your available options carefully to find the website that offers the best solutions tailored to your business.
· Support Team
Opt for an OTA with an efficient, multi-lingual support team available 24/7. Make sure the OTA you choose has professional and tech-savvy staff who can help you with the software, booking issues, and provide business consultations.
Don’t Rely Too Much on OTAs
Count on OTAs as a part of your marketing strategy, not as its nucleus. You don’t always have to share your profit with them. Maximise your occupancy and direct bookings, and hence your profit margins by investing in your own direct booking website. Keep control of your own branding and marketing strategies and increase your repeat bookings by fostering relationships with your guests.
Zeevou is the pioneer of The Direct Booking Revolution! We believe that it is the time to maximise your occupancy, direct bookings, and your profit margins by investing in your own direct booking website and diminishing your dependency on OTAs. Zeevou offers free direct booking websites equipped with a built-in booking engine that allows guests to place a reservation instantly. Zeevou’s SEO-friendly direct booking website, integrated with top analytic tools, enables you to boost your direct bookings.
List Your Properties on Multiple Online Booking Websites
Expand your visibility and reach new markets by listing your properties on multiple vacation rental websites. The more the exposure, the greater the potential guests you can reach. Have a balanced, multi-channel marketing strategy, and list your vacation rental on vacation rental websites of your niche, as well as on big OTAs and reach out to people looking for specific kinds of accommodation to increase your occupancy rates.
Managing multiple listings on several vacation rental websites is arduous, so you need to put your vacation rental in the hands of a professional channel manager which links to the best vacation rental websites, enabling you to manage all aspects of your business with no hassle. A channel manager automatically keeps your inventory, rates and availability up-to-date, synchronises your rental calendars and manages your bookings from a centralised place, saving you time to focus on growing your business.
Zeevou offers solutions tailored to your real needs at every level. Zeevou’s Channel manager enables you to manage your properties with the highest degree of automation by pushing your rates & availability in real time to over 200 channels.
List Your Properties on Commission-Free Vacation Rental Websites
Thanks in large part to OTAs, reaching a large number of potential customers and generating more bookings have been no big hurdle for the property managers in the recent years. However, a big portion of the rental managers’ profit is eaten out by OTAs, and accommodation providers are tired of being dependent on dominant property listing sites.
Therefore, it is the right moment to change the game rules and say no to hefty commissions as zero-commission booking platforms have emerged as a solution. Vacation rental managers need to take an extra step and join the no-commission booking movement which is a key building block to the growth and success of vacation rental owners and the future of the industry.
As one of the biggest advocates of the commission-free booking platforms, Zeevou offers its own zero-commission booking website, Zeevou Direct, to realise The Direct Booking Revolution! Property managers can advertise their properties for free (no set-up costs, no annual costs, no commissions) on Zeevou Direct to get even more direct bookings simply by signing up to Zeevou and signing up for free plan which gives you access to a wide variety of unique features of our PMS, channel manager and booking engine. Under the free plan, once you load your properties on Zeevou, you can check a box, and your listings will automatically appear on Zeevou Direct, with rates and availability pushed in real-time and instantly bookable.
Zeevou Direct, Zeevou’s commission-free property listing website, has been featured in The New York Times and CNBC as a remarkable platform for direct bookings, in which the hosts and guests can get connected and communicate with each other without paying a single penny. The New York Times has featured Zeevou Direct as one of the most successful twists on the home-sharing and vacation rental industry because it enables hosts to list their properties on Zeevou Direct and use Zeevou’s PMS, channel manager and booking engine in one unified hub.