As vacation rental sites like Vrbo, Airbnb and HomeAway compete to attract hosts, more hosts are making the decision to create listing on multiple vacation rental listing sites. This is generally a good idea because you want to get your properties in front of as many travelers as you can.
There are also other factors to consider aside from the fees. However, the sites that will attract the most bookings are the ones that you should prioritize. So how do you decide which vacation rental listing sites are best for your business?
Here are the details you need to know about the differences between Vrbo and Airbnb. We also share the advantages of listing your vacation rental property on each site to help you create a comprehensive vacation rental listing strategy.
There are many distinguishing features between the various vacation rental booking platforms. Here is a brief summary of some of the differences, including those that you can use to your advantage:
On HomeAway and Vrbo guests can pay with a credit card or eCheck (via Yapstone / HolidayRentPayment). On Airbnb, guests can pay with PayPal or credit card. As a result, if you only list with HomeAway or Vrbo, you’ll miss out on attracting guests who use PayPal as their preferred method of payment for bookings. By listing on all of the platforms, you’ll be able to attract guests regardless of their preferred payment method.
Unlike Airbnb, none of the listings on HomeAway or Vrbo are individual rooms or shared spaces. That means that you will not be able to rent out a room of your property. Instead, you must list the entire property as the rental.
While this might be a boon for some vacation rental hosts, for other hosts, it means that they won’t be able to use HomeAway or Vrbo. However, if you’re able to list your property on all of these platforms, you will benefit because you won’t have to exclude low-budget guests who want to rent rooms or couches from your target audience.
Since Vrbo is owned by HomeAway, your listings will automatically be shown on both sites. Thanks to this feature, there is no need for your guests to cross-check between both sites to find the pricing and details for your listing. HomeAway also automatically lists your property on other vacation rental sites owned by the company. Using all of the platforms together, including Airbnb will significantly amplify the visibility of your listing.
While Vrbo and HomeAway excel in traditional vacation homes, Airbnb is known for its wide range of unique properties. On Airbnb, you’ll find as many as 3,000 castles and more than 1,400 islands. In fact, they even recently did a promotion where you could stay at the Great Wall of China for a few nights.
If your property is one that a guest might consider to be out of the ordinary, Airbnb is the best place to make your property stand out given that they’ve already made a name for themselves in this niche. On Airbnb, play up the uniqueness of your property while you market your property in the more traditional manner on the other platforms to see which listing version yields the most bookings.
Airbnb has an active review culture where guests mainly book based on reviews. In addition, Airbnb encourages hosts to maintain a high review score by improving their services. In contrast, reviews are less important on sites like Vrbo and HomeAway. This provides an advantage to hosts since it might be easier to list a new property on these sites and get bookings in comparison to Airbnb.
Now that you know the differences between HomeAway, Airbnb and Vrbo, you can leverage each site to maximize your bookings year-round. Here are the top ways to take advantage of listing on multiple vacation rental platforms:
Whether it’s peak season or off-season, you’re guaranteed to receive a lot more inquiries if your listings are available on multiple vacation rental platforms. By syncing your listing calendars on HomeAway, Airbnb and Vrbo, you can ensure that your listings are up-to-date and they are available to as many travelers as possible.
With your listing available on HomeAway, Airbnb and Vrbo at the same time, you can also split test your listings by writing slightly different headlines and descriptions. You can even try targeting your listings to different audiences on each platform, such as families versus business travelers. In fact, you can experiment with different pricing as well. By doing this you can increase your conversion rate and uncover the best performing versions of your listings.
If you want to rent to long-term guests from time to time simply because of the convenience factor, Airbnb and Vrbo have different audiences which means that it might be easier to find long-term guests on Vrbo and HomeAway. Since Vrbo and HomeAway guests are looking for entire places to rent, you may be able to find a guest that is looking to stay for one or two months or even longer.
Making your listings available on HomeAway, Airbnb and Vrbo and other vacation rental sites simultaneously is the best way to maximize your bookings and increase your profits from your business. However, making sure that everything goes smoothly requires careful management and the use of vacation rental software for the best results. It will not only automate your day-to-day routine but also help you increase your hosting revenue and grow your business.