Every vacation rental manager is familiar with at least one or two sales channels or OTAs such as Airbnb, Booking.com or Vrbo. However, in reality there are probably hundreds of different sites for guests to book their short term-rentals, each one catering to a different market or niche, or offering a different booking experience for guests and hosts.
Keeping track of the pros and cons of different channels and figuring out which ones are right for you can be a tricky business.
Below you will find a few things rental managers should consider when choosing which vacation rental website to list their properties on.
Or, to find out what is the best vacation rental site for your properties in just 2 minutes, take our quick quiz! In just 7 steps we will give you a list of the best vacation rental websites according to your needs.
Where are your rental properties located?
Vacation rentals is a global business, but of course, geography still plays a key role. Certain rental websites are much bigger or more popular in certain regions, and cater to specific markets.
If a rental channel prides itself on being the foremost provider of short term rentals in Asia, there may be little point trying to list your Spanish villa on the platform. On the other hand, if you know that guests looking for a getaway in Spain always visit a particular website, that’s exactly where you should be listing.
Your destination type can also play a role in this. Many rental channels specialise in providing properties for guests looking for a specific type of getaway. Until recently, Plum Guide’s properties were almost exclusively located in urban areas and major cities, whereas other sites such as TUIvillas are more popular for coastal or rural getaways.
What type of guests do you want to attract to your short term rental?
Different guests book vacation homes in different ways. For example, for a long time Airbnb was the preserve of younger travellers looking for a cheap and informal place to stay, though it’s since transcended those demographics. Still, the type of guests you want to attract can influence your decision on where to publish your listings.
Perhaps you want to receive bookings from business travellers. In that case, you should consider publishing your properties on MagicStay, which specialises in exactly this audience. We’ve got more tips on appealing to business travellers here. Sites like misterb&b, and an increasing number of other channels, specialise in providing LGBTQIA+-friendly accommodation.
How long do you want guests to stay for?
Especially since the Coronavirus pandemic disrupted booking patterns, many vacation rental websites are becoming more flexible with their rules including those around the length of stay. That being said, certain channels still have restrictions regarding the number of nights guests are able to book, or cater to specific booking habits. Most channels will permit stays of up to 30 nights, but if you want to receive bookings for longer than this, you may need to shop around. Booking.com only supports longer stays in certain locations, permitting stays of up to 45 days in London, but only 30 in Paris.
Due to the different legal interpretations of rentals in various countries, stays of over 30 nights are often subject to different laws than shorter stays. You should familiarise yourself with the legal situation in your area before you start offering longer stays to your guests. If you’re happy to receive longer bookings as well as short stays, you might consider listing on sites like Rentberry, which support both short and long term rentals.
It’s not uncommon for more traditional rental sites, particularly those serving smaller domestic markets to insist on a minimum stay of 1 week or more, perhaps with only one permitted check-in day. These are becoming less common as they provide a poor guest experience, with travellers instead seeking out alternative providers who allow more flexibility. To list on many of the major sites, like Airbnb, Expedia or TripAdvisor, you need to be as flexible as possible, largely because the increased competition means your listings will struggle to stand out from more flexible competitors.
Do you have any niche or specialty offerings?
Some vacation rental websites cater for very specific niches, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal of potential for bookings. There are several sites offering pet-friendly rentals, which can be a great way of reaching guests looking for a getaway with their furry friends. If you permit pets at your rental property, you might want to list your property on these sites.
Even amongst the more mainstream channels, you can often find key subcategories or filters which are commonly used by travellers. For example, TUIvillas dedicates a large portion of its home page to the subcategory of “Holiday homes with their own pool” since this is a very commonly desired feature amongst their guests.
Make sure you include as many of your amenities and facilities as possible when you build your online listing. This will allow guests to filter their searches on channels to find the properties that match their needs.
The best way to do this is using a Channel Manager which allows you to build a single listing, and then publish that to several different websites in one go. There’s more information about how to use a Channel Manager here.
How to choose the best vacation rental websites?
As you can see, there are many different factors which affect which vacation rental properties you should list your properties on. To find out the best channels for you and your business, take our quick quiz. In two minutes you’ll discover the perfect sites to maximise your bookings!