Which vacation rental website is better for your property?
Both Airbnb and VRBO are arguably among the best in the business when it comes to listing your property for short-term rentals. And with both having instant booking options that make it even easier for renters to complete the transaction, your vacancies can fill up with just a few clicks.
Which is the better rental website for you? It all depends on the type of property you have, whether you have added amenities/experiences, and how long you will permit people to stay.
Airbnb is best for:
- Owners with properties in cities/metropolitan areas.
- Owners with single rooms to be rented for a few nights at a time (single nights and longer stays are available).
- Owners who can also create "experiences" for their guests, such as tours, lessons, etc.
VRBO is best for:
- Owners with properties in vacation destinations.
- Owners with entire homes to be rented out. While single rooms are listed on VRBO, most visitors to the site are looking for more space.
- Owners with multiple properties/vacancies because of the annual membership ($499) for unlimited bookings -- though this does mean that you'll still pay regardless of whether your listing actually books.
It bears noting again that while Airbnb is known for its single-room rentals, there are also full-house listings. However, most people who are looking to rent full houses usually become VRBO guests.
Still, a property owner or property manager looking to rent out a house would be wise to list on both VRBO and Airbnb to get in front of all those millions of site visitors. It makes financial sense, too, as there are no fees to list -- only to book.
If you want more people to click on your listing, you'll have to do some clicking of your own. Just as online real estate listings garner more clicks when there are photos available, you'll want to make sure that potential guests can see your rental property. Both sites require a certain number of photos as a minimum, but the more you have, the more you'll show up in the searches.
Positive reviews are king
Like so many things in both the real and virtual world, word of mouth can go a long way. That is why it is so important to provide the best experience possible for your guests so they'll post positive reviews on the site. Just as a hotel or resort will send out a guest-experience survey after you check out, VRBO and Airbnb hosts should follow up with their guests and solicit reviews.
As those positive reviews start to rack up on your property listing, more potential renters will see your property as a safe haven in a strange destination and feel comfortable about clicking "book." One of the things to strive for as an Airbnb host is the "superhost" status, which is an honor reserved for those property owners who book often and provide exceptional stays -- with or without the added experiences -- for their guests.
The bottom line
The pandemic has impacted many things, including the real estate industry. Property owners were left with many empty rooms and vacation homes around the world. But as conditions improve and travel restrictions are lifted, vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO will be key to getting those rooms and properties filled once more.