A Complete Guide to the Top 10 Vacation Rental Sites

As a host, you might be looking for the best vacation rental site on which to list your property so that you can start making money with your rental. As a guest, you might want to find a platform with a wide selection of vacation rentals to suit your needs. Read on to find out what platforms can help hosts to get their business off the ground and help guests to arrange a dream vacation.

The role of vacation rental sites and marketplaces is increasing. Each day they attract millions of visitors who seeking accommodation for their vacation. For hosts, vacation rental sites are the perfect place to reach their target audience at the right place and time. So, if you are looking for new ways to maximize the number of bookings, you should start by advertising your properties where your potential guests are. 

As a guest, you might want to find the best home away from home for your holiday. To help both guests and hosts, we’ve researched the top 10 vacation rental websites.

Read on to find out which of the platforms are best suited for your needs.

1. Airbnb

Airbnb vacation rental site

Airbnb is the top trusted vacation rental site. It offers hosts the opportunity to make money from listing their short-term rental properties and experiences.

It has the largest community of vacation rental hosts. Airbnb offers over 7 million listings to guests in more than 220 regions and countries around the world. For guests, it means a lot of options to choose from.

It is also the fastest-growing vacation rental platform. Airbnb has the best brand recognition among hosts and guests.

For hosts, there is no fee to list a property. However, hosts should pay a 3% service fee per booking. Guest service fees are deducted from the booking subtotal and range from 0% to 20%.

Top Features:

  • Offers a $1 million Host Guarantee insurance policy;
  • No fee to create a property listing;
  • The host service fee is 3-5% per booking.
  • The guest fee is usually under 14.2% of the booking subtotal (the nightly rate plus cleaning fee and additional guest fee (if applicable), excluding Airbnb fees and taxes).

2. HomeAway

HomeAway has more than 2 million rentals listed in 190 countries with 50 different sites to serve hosts internationally. HomeAway is owned by the Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel companies. 

On this platform, hosts have the option of paying an annual subscription fee. Alternatively, they can take advantage of the pay-per-booking option. The annual subscription is $499 per year for unlimited inquiries and bookings. When opting for the pay-per-booking option, one should pay a 5% commission with a 3% credit card charge per booking.

Although HomeAway was rebranded to Vrbo in 2019, both platforms continue to operate successfully on the market. 

Listing your property on HomeAway is an excellent way to increase the visibility of your business. Once you create a listing on HomeAway, it automatically appears on Vrbo as well. This means more eyes and, hence, more bookings for your vacation rental property. 

It works both ways, and you can start to generate bookings on HomeAway, once listed on Vrbo.

Top Features:

  • Instant booking;
  • Only private apartments and houses can be listed;
  • Hosts can choose between the annual subscription ($499 per year) or the pay-per-booking option. When choosing the latter, you are to pay a 5% commission with a 3% credit card charge per booking.
  • The guest fee is between 6-12% of the booking amount (or sometimes higher). Guests should review each listing in detail before making a booking.

3. VRBO

Like HomeAway, Vrbo is also part of the Expedia Group. Originally known as Vacation Rental By Owner, Vrbo provides vacation rentals in the United States. This makes it a good option for guests looking to travel to popular American tourist destinations. 

To rent a property on Vrbo, hosts pay per booking or an annual subscription of $499 per year. If a host opts for a pay-per-booking option, he/she pays a 5% commission with a 3% credit card charge per booking.

Top Features:

  • Only private apartments and houses can be listed;
  • Hosts can choose between the annual subscription ($499 per year) or a pay-per-booking option. When choosing the latter, you are to pay a 5% commission with a 3% credit card charge per booking.
  • Attracts families and specializes in travelers to US destinations.
  • Guests are to pay a service fee of up to 12% per booking or sometimes higher. There can be additional fees such as a pet fee, cleaning fee, or other fees.

Although Vrbo and HomeAway have a lot in common with Airbnb, there are some major differences to consider. While you can list different types of properties on Airbnb (including shared rooms, cabins, and treehouses), Vrbo and HomeAway allow hosts to list only private spaces. If you have a spare room to rent, keep in mind that you can’t advertise it on Vrbo and HomeAway.   

Another difference is the type of audience Vrbo and HomeAway cater to. Since only private vacation rentals are allowed on both platforms, they attract older audiences who tend to travel with a family and are willing to spend more.  

From a guest perspective, Vrbo and HomeAway are great for booking the entire property. It’s more convenient if you travel with family and kids. If you are into something more unusual and don’t mind renting shared spaces that are more affordable, Airbnb is the right website to check out.

4. Booking.com

Booking.com boasts more than 27 million properties listed on the platform with over 1.5 million nights booked daily. The site is primarily known for hotels and not vacation rentals. However, in recent years the number of vacation rentals listed on Booking.com has grown significantly.

Booking.com doesn’t have its own payment system. Instead, it allows hosts to choose the payment options they prefer. As a result, Booking.com invoices hosts for the 15% commission owed on each booking. The costs are deducted from your account by direct debit.

If a guest cancels a reservation, Booking.com doesn’t charge any fees. However, a guest can receive a bill from a hotel or another property that they have booked. 

If you need to cancel a reservation on Booking.com, contact the hotel or property directly to discuss your situation. 

Top Features:

  • You can list your property for free;
  • Hosts are to pay a 15% service fee per booking; 
  • Instant booking only.
  • Guests don’t have to pay any extra commissions when making a reservation.

5. TripAdvisor

vacation rental sites tips

TripAdvisor was founded in 2000 and is one of the largest and oldest online travel communities. As a result, it has great brand recognition making it an ideal place to list your vacation rentals.

TripAdvisor is also a famous comparison website. It features more than 859 million reviews on hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals, and tourist attractions. It also owns a host of vacation rental sites including FlipKey, VacationHomeRentals, and HouseTrip.

TripAdvisor charges a 3% commission per booking. Once you list your property on TripAdvisor, it will automatically be featured on FlipKey as well. This means more visibility and exposure for your vacation rental. 

Top Features:

  • Hosts can list their properties for free;
  • Low commission rate (3% per booking).
  • Plenty of reviews on local attractions, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and short-term rentals collected over the years. 
  • The guest fee ranges from 8% to 16%, but sometimes it can be lower. The fee is automatically added to the guest’s invoice.

6. Homestay.com

Homestay.com offers vacation rentals and private room rentals in over 160 countries. With more than 55,000 rooms available, Homestay.com has served more than 200,000 guests since 2013.

The main difference compared to other platforms is that a guest can stay at a host’s place without any monetary remuneration. For example, a guest and host can exchange their homes or a host can stay at a guest’s place later. Stays can be provided on a barter basis as well (for example in exchange for housekeeping or work at a host’s property).  

Hosts should pay a 3% service fee per booking. If a host offers additional services, such as laundry or cleaning, he/she should discuss the price with guests before they decide to book.

Top Features:

  • Specializes in private rooms/solo traveler accommodations;
  • Hosts can negotiate the pricing directly with guests.
  • Guests can stay for free or in exchange for housekeeping or work at a host’s property.

7. atraveo

atraveo is one of the biggest vacation rental platforms and offers plenty of accommodation options mostly across Europe. This site has currently more than 300,000 vacation home rental listings.

Hosts are charged a 15% service fee on confirmed bookings (plus VAT if applicable). There’s no fee to list a property.

Top Features:

  • Hosts can list their properties for free;
  • Once listed on atraveo, your property will be advertised on more than 1,000 affiliate websites throughout the whole of Europe.
  • atraveo operates as a mediator of vacation rental accommodation and tourist services. The platform charges a service fee for business transactions. It’s already included in the price of the property.

8. OneFineStay

OneFineStay is a vacation rental site backed by the Accor hotel chain. The site currently offers more than 5,000 high-end vacation rental home listings in popular locations, such as London, New York City, Rome, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.

To list a property on OneFineStay, a host should send an application. The OneFineStay team will review it and decide if the property is a good match. If yes, OneFineStay will offer a full-service property management solution.

OneFineStay operates on an income-sharing model. Hosting income depends on many factors, such as the size, design, and location of the property. In addition to managing your property, OneFineStay promotes it through its network of partners and marketing channels. This allows you to extend your reach to a wider audience of travelers on the lookout for luxury stays.

Top Features:

  • Luxury properties only;
  • Full-service management for property owners.
  • Fees depend on the property size, design, location, and the number of days a host is willing to rent out his/her accommodation.
  • Guests don’t pay any additional fees when making a reservation.

9. Interhome

Interhome has provided vacation rentals since 1965. The vacation rental platform currently offers 95,000 vacation homes and apartment rentals in 31 countries.

Fees depend on the country, region, and type of services provided by the Interhome team. Hosts can opt for full professional property management. However, you may also manage your property yourself.

Top Features:

  • Personal in-resort service for guests from local Interhome offices;
  • Full-service property management for hosts.
  • No booking fees for guests.

10. 9flats

Launched in 2011 in Hamburg, Germany, 9flats is a popular vacation rental site serving hosts and guests in 104 countries. Many of the properties listed on 9flats are in Europe.

The company charges a service fee of 12% for listings that accept instant booking and 15% for listings that don’t accept instant booking.

Top Features:

  • You can list a property for free.
  • Unusual accommodations, such as treehouses, castles, and boats, can be also listed. 
  • Hosts should pay a 12% fee for instant booking listings and a 15% fee for non-instant booking listings.

No booking fees for guests.

Conclusion: What is the Best Vacation Rental Site?

vacation rental sites guide

Finding the best vacation rental site where you can list or book a property might be a challenge. There are plenty of options for hosts and guests to choose from. If you are looking for a vacation rental for your next holiday, determine your needs and budget. 

If you are a host in search of a platform on which to list a property, start with your goals, and identify your target audience. This way, you’ll be able to shape your offer and select the most suitable place to list your rental. 

If you want to maximize your earnings, a good idea is to list your rental on several vacation rental sites. Explore each of the options in more detail and then decide which of them look the most promising in terms of bookings and revenue.

No matter what platforms you choose, managing multiple listings on various platforms can eat up all your time. To maintain full control over your business, consider using vacation rental software. A solution such as iGMS has integration with Airbnb and Vrbo/HomeAway family sites and allows you to manage all the major aspects of your business hassle-free. With iGMS, you can:

  • Synchronize your bookings from different platforms and manage them via a single dashboard;
  • Automate guest communication and see all your messages displayed in a unified inbox;
  • Automate reviews, reporting, as well as team and cleaning management. 
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