Vacasa’s Take On… Getting the Best Returns from Vacation Rental Sites

Ten years ago, vacation homeowners didn’t exactly have a wide variety of choices when it came to listing their home as a short-term rental. Today, it’s quite a different story. There are websites for every type of vacation rental home, each having their own pros and cons, and most importantly, associated costs. Some offer only listings while others offer more comprehensive management services (like Vacasa).

Recently, Lodgify.com did an in-depth comparison of the various listing sites homeowners have to choose from, highlighting their distinct offerings and isolating their guest-facing fees, hosting fees, and listing fees individually. It’s a great resource for those self-managing a vacation rental and listing through rental sites for increased bookings.

However, there’s more to successfully listing your home than choosing a good listing site. We asked Keith Breon, our Manager of Global Channel Partnerships, about what independent homeowners should do if they’re looking to get the most bang for their buck when listing their home online, and he had some great advice to share.

“In today’s market, vacation rental owners should be sure to list their properties on at least two of the top listing sites, as we do for Vacasa homeowners. Those are HomeAway, Airbnb, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor. If owners have concerns about upfront costs and the ROI of any particular channel, they should pick the pay-per-booking model (PPB) instead of the pay-per-subscription model (PPS).

With that in mind, the two most important factors for doing well on these sites are: one, having instant book turned on, and two, keeping your listing’s conversion rate high, raising the number of bookings you are driving through their site. While it may be tempting to take an inquiry offline to book so you don’t have to pay the site’s commission, don’t! Doing this will hurt your overall conversion rate which will push your listing down in the search results. Taking shortcuts like this will end up costing you more than paying a simple commission.

While there are a lot of sites to list on, each having the chance to land you more bookings, each one you list on also increases the amount of work you’ll have to do. Be conscious of the costs related to each listing site, in both money and time. As far as money’s concerned, if you know you can rent your peak dates for X amount at a cost of 3% on one site, is it worth it to book those dates for X amount on another site for an 8-15% commission? As for your time, it’s extremely important to understand the booking and cancellation policies for each site you list on as they are all different and could lead to big headaches down the road.”

Keep in mind that though listing sites can certainly boost overall revenue and occupancy, they’ll likely create more work for the homeowner. For those up for the challenge, Keith’s advice can help save time and money and maximize your home’s income potential as a self-managed property.