Experienced hosts often list their properties on multiple travel sites to widen their audience and boost their bookings. You could play it safe and stick to one platform, especially if you know it inside out and everything is set up perfectly. However, as a property manager, depending on just one rental site could limit your potential. Why not extend your reach by listing on multiple platforms? Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at two of the most popular platforms – Airbnb and Vrbo.
What’s is the Difference Between Airbnb and Vrbo?
There’s a whole host of vacation rental sites to choose from. However, Airbnb and Vrbo (owned by HomeAway) are two of the most popular. Airbnb boasts over 6 million listings, whilst Vrbo offers over 2 million home listings.
Similar in concept, both sites are designed to provide a space where hosts can advertise their property rentals. Guests can browse at leisure, read listings, check reviews and book online. So, is there any real difference between Airbnb and Vrbo? Let’s find out.
What Type of Properties Can I List?
Both Vrbo and Airbnb offer short-term rentals and long-term lets too. However, on Vrbo you are more likely to find lots of entire apartments and home rentals (ideal if you value privacy and space). With Airbnb, you will also find entire apartments and homes, but there’s also an abundance of single rooms to rent and shared, shorter-term accommodation too.
What Fees Will I Incur?
Hosts have to pay for the privilege of using Airbnb and Vrbo, but the good news is that it’s free to list your property on both platforms. However, there are other fees to take into account.
Airbnb charges a host service fee of approximately 3% (this could be more if you have a very strict cancellation policy). The charge is based upon the booking subtotal and is automatically deducted. If you cancel a booking you might also incur penalties and charges – so only cancel if you really have to.
Airbnb and Vrbo are similar in the sense that they both offer pay per booking options. On Vrbo this equates to fees of around 8% to 10% per booking. However, when listing on Vrbo hosts have the added choice of opting for the subscription model. With this, hosts pay an annual fee that provides 12-month access to the platform and exclusive tools. If you rent out your property all year round the subscription model will work well for you. Vrbo also charges a 3% fee to process security deposit payments and points out that if you cancel a reservation you might not get your fees back.
Guests using Airbnb and Vrbo are subject to a booking fee / guest service fee and again, these can vary depending on the reservation.
Can I Add Instant Book?
Hosts can add Instant booking to listings on both Airbnb and Vrbo. As the name suggests, this type of booking allows guests to book your rental straight away. The platform sends an automatic confirmation to accept the booking on your behalf and the guest pays via credit card. Hosts receive the booking details via an email and the reservation will show up on the bookings page on the platform.
Enabling Instant booking features can lead to increased bookings from guests who are booking a vacation or last-minute accommodation. It’s much better to fill your rental and earn money than to end up with a room or rental sitting empty for a couple of spare nights! If you are offering Instant booking on Airbnb and Vrbo, you can avoid double-bookings by investing in a channel manager or vacation rental software. This will ensure your calendar is immediately updated and provide you with an overview of all reservations.
How Do Reviews and Ratings Work?
Both Airbnb and Vrbo are big on reviews and ratings and operate very similar systems. Both platforms encourage transparent feedback that’s honest and fair. Hosts, guests and potential guests get to view feedback and although it’s helpful it can prove to be a bone of contention too.
Guests can provide feedback after their stay and can grade everything from how well the listing matched the actual rental to the cleanliness of the property (stray hairs beware)! A host can respond to all reviews and report any that they believe are in breach of platform policy.
Hosts need to offer top-notch customer service to generate as much positive feedback as possible – good reviews lead to a rise in the rankings. This, in turn, can lead to more interest from guests and increased bookings on Vrbo and Airbnb. You can encourage guests to leave a review by always ensuring you leave feedback for them. Setting up a template can make this job easier (many vacation rental software packages offer this feature).
How to Succeed on Airbnb and Vrbo
Using multiple platforms can certainly increase the visibility of your rental. Here are a few strategies to help you succeed on both Vrbo and Airbnb:
Streamline Guest Communication
It’s not always easy to keep up with messages from guests – especially if you are listing on multiple platforms. Guests expect a prompt reply to their queries and questions. Missing a message could lead to a missed booking or negative feedback. You can reduce the risks by installing a software solution that will enable you to see all messages on one dashboard. This leads up nicely onto:
It’s crucial to keep your calendar updated and synchronized to avoid double bookings. Hosts can use a channel manager or vacation rental software to eliminate this dreaded situation.
Organizing your rentals from one central dashboard means you won’t have to log onto each account separately, so you will save time too.
With listings on multiple platforms, you will be able to test what your audience likes the most. Ideally, your listing should vary slightly from platform to platform. This will enable you to try out different titles, wording, photographs to see how each listing performs.
Ready to Maximize Your Revenue by Listing on Airbnb and Vrbo?
Keen to reach out to a wider audience? Want to tap into the short-term and long-term rental market and secure more bookings? You’re not alone, competition is fierce, so you need to be one step ahead. Get organized and get listing on Airbnb and Vrbo. It’s time to boost your bookings and maximize your revenue.