It’s a fact that there are many benefits to using both your page and external listing sites for your vacation rental.
As a vacation homeowner or manager, you may find a hard time finding where to list your vacation rentals.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to highlight all the major vacation rental websites out there. Take a look at the full guide below to choose the best vacation rental site for your business.
Why Should You List Your Property On Vacation Rental Sites?
Listing your property could cost you more money and time and sometimes cost your guests money as well. It’s no surprise that a lot of vacation rental owners rely on direct bookings and word of mouth to make sales. Just like them, you might be wondering what is the point of listing on vacation rental sites?
While it’s true that you could be spending more money than you normally would, once you look at the bigger picture and analyze the benefits, you’d see that it is money well spent. Here is a list of reasons why you should list your property on vacation rental sites.
A lot of guests who plan to vacation in a new area use these popular listings or OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.com. Having your business on these listings will put you in touch with these guests.
In addition to having your property on these websites, you could also benefit from free publicity gotten from their social media channels and their overall fame. Guests seeing that your property is associated with these sites automatically makes you more trustworthy and capable in their eyes.
When you rely on word-of-mouth bookings and random direct bookings, one thing is almost certain - you’re going to be attracting the same or similar crowd of people to your property.
Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing but, just think of all the potential reservations you would be missing out on. All kinds of groups of people make use of vacation rental sites when they are looking for a spot and listing your property could be the way to break the cycle and attract a diverse pool of guests who could enrich your hosting experience.
Make your business legitimate
Simply put, Having your vacation rental affiliated with those names makes your business appear legitimate by proxy. People who book with Airbnb or Vrbo know that the property they are booking is most definitely legitimate.
Especially because most OTAs and vacation rental listing sites maintain certain standards for their hosts, so your business being on there consequently means that you adhere to those levels of quality.
95% of all travelers read online reviews before booking so reviews are very important for any establishment in the hospitality industry including vacation rentals. OTAs and vacation rental websites do a great job of making it easy for customers to leave reviews, which means you can likely build up a good review library.
The more positive reviews you gain, the more likely you are to get more attention and bookings. Reviews also give you a chance to interact with customers in front of a public audience. By interacting and acknowledging both positive and negative reviews on your listings, you are likely to win over some more customers.
How To Choose The Best Vacation Rentals Websites
There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing what vacation rental websites to list your property on. They include the following:
Different listing websites have different fees, mostly these fees can include Host fees, Guest fees, Credit Card Processing fees, and others. Ensure to consider all the different fees and understand what it’s costing you to list.
Some listing sites charge a monthly/annual subscription fee to list on their website, while others only charge per booking. Based on your annual revenue and other factors, you can determine which payment model is most suitable for you.
Insurance is something that you should have irrespective of where you're listing as it’s not a common service offered by listing websites. However, listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo offer insurance against property damages and guest injury. If this is something you’d like to explore then you may consider these sites over others.
Listing websites with more traffic means your property is being viewed by a larger audience. If you want the sites with the most website traffic, then you’d want to list on the more popular listing websites.
You’ll want a responsive and helpful support team to step in if there’s ever an issue with a booking or an inquiry on the vacation rental website.
Look into whether the listing site(s) you choose have API integrations with the channel manager you’re using or planning to use. Listing on a site with no access to third-party integrations could be a trap in the end.
The Most Popular Vacation Rental Listing Websites
These online travel agencies (OTAs) listed below are the most common places people go to book a short-term rental. They include:
In 2021, 300 million bookings were made on Airbnb and it accounts for upwards of 20% of the entire rental market . It is one of the best and most popular vacation rental listing websites in the world.
Here are some factors to help you decide if Airbnb is a site you should list your property on.
- Host Fee: 3-5%
- Guest Fee: 10-14%
- Credit Card Fee: 0
- Subscription Cost: 0
- Insurance: $1M Airbnb Host Guarantee and Host Protection Insurance
With over 2 million rentals as compared to Airbnb’s 4 million, Vrbo comes in close as the second most popular listing site for vacation rentals. Vrbo allows you to choose between a subscription model or a pay-per-booking model. You either pay $499 per year for all your bookings or pay a 5% Host Fee on every booking.
Here are some factors to help you decide if Vrbo is a site you should list your property on.
- Host Fee: 0 (or 5% per booking)
- Guest Fee: 10-11%
- Credit Card Fee: 3%
- Subscription Cost: $499 annually (or 5% per booking)
- Insurance: $1M Vrbo Liability Insurance
Booking.com is the biggest player in the European OTA market with millions of properties and guests around the world.
Here are some factors to help you decide if Booking.com is a site you should list your property on.
- Host Fee: average 15%
- Guest Fee: 0
- Credit Card Fee: 2-3%*
- Subscription Cost: 0
- Insurance: None (available damage deposit option)
Tripadvisor is one of the largest travel platforms in the world. It includes restaurants, hotels, and vacation rentals, and allows travelers to compare prices on flights, cruises, and other travel-related purchases.
Here are some factors to help you determine whether you should list your property on Tripadvisor:
- Host Fee: 0
- Guest Fee: 8-16%
- Credit Card Fee: 3%
- Subscription Cost: 0 (or optional annual listing fee)
- Insurance: None (available damage deposit option)
Luxury Vacation Rental Websites
Popularity isn’t all that matters, your clientele is equally just as important if not even more. If your clientele is a more high dollar or you’re aiming for that market, you must target this specific type of guest on sites that cater to their needs.
Certain websites specialize in pairing high-end hosts with luxury-seeking guests through curated collections, sleek web design, and customized service.
Here is a list of the best luxury vacation rental websites to list your property on.
VillaRental.com has been listing luxury holiday villas for 20 years and offers stunning properties in Italy, Mexico, St Martin, and the US Virgin Islands. The Concierge Team helps create a memorable experience for guests and provides excellent customer service to travelers and owners alike.
Guest fees, host fees, and listing fees are charged by villarental.com but, these fees are customized depending on the property and guest needs so the best way to know what you'll be paying is to get in contact with villarental.com .
Home & Villas Marriott
Marriott is a household name when it comes to the hospitality industry and as the vacation rental space grew, they sought out the opportunity to create Home & Villas Marriott; a website exclusively for luxury vacation homes and rentals.
The guest service fee varies depending on the stay and duration but the cap is 10-15% per booking while the host fee and listing fee are customized depending on the stay.
Airbnb Luxe is Airbnb's sister brand that focuses exclusively on super-luxury travel. It is a new premium tier Each property on Airbnb Luxe is unique, pristine and of course, luxurious. If your vacation rental comes with high-end luxury features like private butlers, special amenities, and even helicopters then Airbnb Luxe could be the listing for you.
To list on Airbnb Luxe, your properties must pass a strict evaluation across 300+ criteria to meet the standards for both design and function. Getting your vacation rental listed on Airbnb Luxe will surely grant you access to upscale clients.
The guest service fee varies depending on the accommodation, but the fee typically runs about $1,500 per guest, per night while the host fee and listing fee are customized host fees depending on the stay.
Free Vacation Rental Listing Sites
While there are not any completely free vacation rental listing sites on our radar, there is a good number of vacation rental sites that are free for the host.
In these models, the vacation rental sites take their money from guest fees or listing fees only.
Here is a list of the best free vacation rental listing sites:
Agoda prides itself on reaching a global audience with an Asian focus. Your property does not have to be located in Asia to list on Agoda but, if you mainly attract guests from Asia, this site offers you plenty of exposure for you and you should consider signing up.
For Agoda, Sign-up is free, listing is free, and all of the onsite tools they offer are also free. They only charge a guest fee which varies depending on location and the property type. This fee is to cover the costs of each reservation, such as customer service costs.
HomeEscape is commission-free for both owners and guests, making vacation rentals more affordable for everyone.
With a subscription fee of $350 per annum, you can start using HomeEscape and you can upload an unlimited number of properties for free no matter how many reservations you get, you’ll be turning a full profit.
Also, If you don’t get the guaranteed minimum of 6 reservations made through their site, you’ll get the next year of membership for free.
Tripz.com is another innovative vacation rental marketplace for owners seeking a free vacation rental listing site.
They operate on a subscription basis. You can start listing their properties on Tripz.com from $4 per month for the Basic plan and up to $89 per month for the Premier plan.
Vacation Rental Websites To Avoid
While no vacation rental website is perfect, even highly recommended listing sites such as Airbnb have hosts/guests who swear to never use the service again. However, there are a few traits in vacation rental websites that are a clear indication that they should be avoided.
The following are vacation rental websites according to hosts and guests with their reasons for advising against them:
- AlwaysOnVacation: aggressive sales calls, unprofessional behavior, multiple reports of users getting scammed
- SunnyRentals: sales calls, lack of bookings, low ROI, multiple reports of users getting scammed.
- FlipKey: hidden guest contact details, lack of bookings, inflexible cancellation policies
- CraigsList: spam and scam emails.
- OwnersDirect: lack of inquiries, poor properties usually listed
- HolidayLettings: expensive, technical issues, and accessibility to customer support.
- Wimdu: hidden fees, poor customer service
What To Look For In A Vacation Rental Channel Manager
Originally, channel managers were built for hotels to be able to sell rooms on multiple booking sites at the same time. But as the vacation rental industry has exploded, there’s now an increasing number of companies offering channel managers for vacation rentals to meet the demand.
A vacation rental channel manager is software that will automatically distribute your property listings across multiple OTAs/ vacation rental websites.
There are a plethora of vacation rental channel managers you could choose from and without knowing what to look out for, it can be overwhelming and you may fall into the wrong arms.
Before we go into the list of the best channel managers for vacation rentals, let’s take a look at some of the things to look out for when choosing a channel manager.
- Do they offer native/API integrations with Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and any other channels you want to list your properties on?
- Do they sync calendar availability as well as booking details, rates, and property details?
- Does the price fit the quality of services offered?
- Do they offer additional features like a direct booking website builder, owner commission statements and payouts, Quickbooks accounting integration, automated messaging, etc?
- Can they handle the number of properties you have?
Whether you are running several different properties or just a few, a good Channel Manager should be able to help you organize and control exactly what you need to oversee.
Why Use A Channel Manager
As mentioned earlier, channel managers were first developed by the hotel industry to automate the distribution of hotel rooms to booking sites. However, hotel channel managers don't work for vacation rentals.
Short-term rental managers have different distribution needs than hoteliers, and they work with different consumer-facing websites – many of which focus exclusively on short-term rentals, like Airbnb. That's why the vacation rental industry needs its own, specialized channel management solution.
Vacation rental owners/managers make use of channel managers because it increases occupancy, saves time, boosts direct bookings, and maximizes online sales. It allows your property to expand its reach and online bookings, as well as more easily manage its rates, availability, and reservations.
According to a Report by seetransparent.com, 67% of property managers use an external Channel Manager that integrates with their PMS to manage the distribution of their listings.
However, this could cost a lot more which is why we recommend Vacation Rental PMS like Booking Ninjas which provides a specialized channel management solution for vacation rentals.
Why Post On Multiple Sites?
Although it’s perfectly fine to list on only one listing site that you’re confident in, many vacation rentals are advised to list on multiple sites. This is because you’ll get to advertise your property across wider demographic and markets, and you can reap the benefits of all the different websites.
Listing on multiple sites means increased visibility for your property and the result of that should be increased bookings which means a potential increase in income for you!
Best Channel Manager For Vacation Rental
If you’re looking for a channel manager for your vacation rental, consider one of the following based on our research one of these should be a good fit for your business.
As seen throughout this article, there are a lot of options for where to list your vacation rentals. Whichever sites you choose to link on, you’d need a channel manager to get connected and manage your connection with these sites.
Thus, it’s beneficial for hosts to leverage a channel manager to get the benefits of listing on the listing sites of your choice. Booking Ninjas channel manager can easily list and sync your rental property to the sites of your choice.
Schedule a demo to learn more about the Booking Ninjas channel manager.
- “ Reassessing the relationship between hotels, OTAs ”. Hotel Management, 09 March 2021. Accessed 04 April 2022.
- “ 26 Mind-Boggling Online Review Statistics & Facts for 2022 ”. Website Builder, 18 December 2021. Accessed 04 April 2022.
- “ American consumers spent more on Airbnb than on Hilton last year ”. Recode, 25 March 2019. Accessed 04 April 2022.
- “ Report: European Vacation Rental Survey 2018 ”. Transparent, 21 October 2018. Accessed 04 April 2022.