The top 10 best vacation rental websites to get more bookings and boost your profits

(updated for 2017)

There are many different ways to market your vacation rental properties, but channel marketing is still the most effective strategy for attracting new guests and generating new bookings in the vacation rental industry.

Advertising your property(ies) on the right vacation rental sites, while using the right marketing techniques (more on this below), will give you access to more than enough traffic and visibility to build a consistent and sustainable source of bookings for your vacation rental business.

Below we've posted a list of the absolute best vacation rental websites (and website families) to advertise your properties.

The websites listed below - in no particular order of preference - are the most established and most popular vacation rental sites in the industry. 

And we are very confident in saying that each and every one of them would be a great addition to your current channel marketing portfolio.

Now, without further ado… Let’s start with the top 3

 


A true giant, HomeAway is the 800 pound gorilla that has been dominating the vacation rental industry for years.

No matter where travelers are looking to book their next vacation rental, chances are that one of the 25 websites in HomeAway’s network will be one of the first sites at the top of their Google search.

The HomeAway family owns many very successful sites, including VRBO, VacationRentals.com, and Homelidays (french), with their entire portfolio of channels reaching as much as 70M travelers per month.

And while they used to offer separate subscription packages for each channel (or website), they have since consolidated everything into one massive distribution package and are now offering seamless distribution to their 25 high trafficked websites, making sure your properties reach every corner of the world.

Here is how the majority of their visibility is distributed:

HomeAway.com

HomeAway.com has roughly 14.3 million visits per month, with over 60% of their traffic coming from the USA alone. They also have many different international domain extensions (such as: .co.uk, .ca, .es, .it, .pt, .nl), which account for another 3.15 to 6 million monthly visits.

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner)

VRBO has roughly 18 million visits per month, with over 90% of their traffic coming from Canada and the US alone.

Homelidays

Homelidays has roughly 1.5 to 3 million visits per month, and growing, with over 80% of their traffic coming from french speaking countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland.

VacationRentals.com

VacationRentals.com has roughly 250 to 600 thousand visits per month, with over 80% of their traffic coming from Canada and the US alone.


PLUS let's not forget the 21 other websites and millions of monthly visitors within their distribution network.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com


HomeAway offers three subscription plans:

1. FREE Pay-Per-Booking (PPB):

Best for those who make less than $7,000 per year in bookings and would rather not to be billed with an annual subscription, and would like to try HomeAway for free.

The PPB option costs just 8%-10% per confirmed booking (5% commission + 3%-5% for the transaction with HomeAway Payments (depending on which country your bank account is located and which country the credit card was issued). To learn more about the HomeAway Payments credit card transaction fees click here.

Quick Note: In order to qualify for the PPB account, you must use HomeAway Payments (by VacationRentPayment), you must have a bank account and billing address in one of the following countries: USA, Canada, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Not all countries can qualify for HomeAway Payments, and therefore not all properties will qualify for a Pay-Per-Booking account.

Click here to list your properties with HomeAway - 100% FREE!

2. $349/yr Subscription Model:

For just $349/year per property, you’ll be able to save the extra 5% that PPB listings have to pay.

With the $349 subscription model, HomeAway also offers the opportunity to accept online bookings without using HomeAway Payments. In other words, you can add your alternate payment methods such as Paypal or your own invoicing solution like Freshbooks (which we use for many of our clients).

On the other hand, if your properties are in one of the qualifying countries, you can also opt in to using HomeAway Payments (and pay the 3%-5% in transaction fees per booking). HomeAway payments definitely makes things easier, and more streamlined, but it ultimately comes down to what you think is better for YOUR business.

Click here to save $35 on your subscription with HomeAway (use our exclusive coupon code: HAAFF35)

3. $499/yr Subscription Model:

For those who do not qualify, and do not want to accept any form of online booking.

So for an extra $150/year per listing, you can opt out of accepting any kind of online booking for the freedom to process payments any way you choose.

That said, it’s not recommended.

HomeAway heavily favors listings using their payment system and/or online bookings, and ranks those properties higher than those who don’t in their search results - they are very transparent about this fact.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, your choices are more visibility with more potential profit (the subscription model), or zero risk with a little less potential profit.

Even if you include all costs involved, it’s a small price to pay for doing business with the best vacation rental channel family in the world when you consider the fact that their top owners earn upwards of $73,000/year per listing.*

And now matter how you look at it, HomeAway should definitely be a part of your channel marketing portfolio as it will most likely be one your top 3 sources for new bookings, if not the first.

Click here to learn even more about advertising your vacation rental properties with HomeAway and create your new account today - FREE!

 


The vacation rental division of TripAdvisor has a strong portfolio of very popular websites.

Put together, the TripAdvisor family of websites owns a very significant portion of the vacation rental search traffic, with complete exposure to over 340 million travelers per month - but most importantly - it's free to list your properties!

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that the 340M visitors also includes all of the people searching reviews of restaurants, attractions, activities, etc... before and during their vacation. So realistically, the number of travellers actively searching for vacation rentals will be less.

Nonetheless, if a traveller is looking to book a vacation rental on his or her next trip, there's a pretty good chance that TripAdvisor - along with one of the 12 other websites they own - are going to be some of the first places they'll look.

In total, TripAdvisor family offers distribution to 5 separate channels (plus international affiliates), and they’ve implemented different distribution packages, depending on which site you choose to sign up with.

So depending on where your properties are located, and which geographical markets you prefer to target, you won’t have to worry about creating multiple different accounts on each website.

The most predominant channels are:

FlipKey by TripAdvisor


FlipKey is most popular in North America, with an estimated 1.9M visitors per month, with over 65% coming from the US & Canada alone. On its own, FlipKey gets enough targeted visibility to provide an average of 72 inquiries per listing per year.

HolidayLettings a TripAdvisor Company


HolidayLettings is most popular in Europe and the United Kingdom, with an estimated 2.2 million monthly visitors.

HouseTrip a TripAdvisor Brand


HouseTrip sees roughly 500,000 visitors per month and has a very strong and diverse european audience.

Niumba a TripAdvisor Company


Niumba has roughly 1.4 million visits per month, and growing, over 90% of their traffic coming from Spain.

TripAdvisor


And of course, we have the TripAdvisor portal itself, along with its many worldly extensions (.ca, .it, .co.uk, etc…) which makes up the bulk of its worldwide traffic.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com

TripAdvisor offers 2 different subscription models:

There are two types of accounts that you can have with TripAdvisor websites:
a manager account, or an individual account.

Both have the same, seamless distribution to all of TripAdvisor channels, with the same free-to-list option for just 3% per booking with no upfront charges.

If you have more than 5 properties, you can sign up for a manager account, which will give you access to a better quality of customer service, connectability with certain property management softwares, and two other payment options.

Manager accounts are supported with individual account managers in North America (as opposed to the overseas call center you get with individual accounts). You also have two different payment options beyond the regular free-to-list (3%) option; a pay-per-lead option, or a fixed fee per listing option (which can vary in price depending on the size of your inventory) - whatever best fits your business.

Getting a manager account up and running can be a very lengthy process. TripAdvisor requires extra paperwork to be completed for manager accounts and this can take a while to be processed and get approved.

So if you want to get started fast, it’s best to start with an individual account because you can always upgrade your account to a manager account later...


The Bottom Line

Even with the massive amount of visibility they bring to your properties, the true value of advertising your properties with TripAdvisor is the name.

TripAdvisor is known all over the world as one of the most trusted brands in travel (even despite the many contradictions in their review policies and sometimes difficult customer service).

So a strong review profile with them can add some serious credibility to your business.

Most importantly, it’s free to list your properties with them. And that goes for both manager accounts AND individual accounts.

There’s no up front charges, just a low 3% booking fee per confirmed booking.

Advertising your properties on the TripAdvisor family is a must for anyone who takes their vacation rental business seriously, and at the very least you can give them a try and test it out completely risk-free.

Click here to learn even more about listing your property(ies) on the TripAdvisor Family of vacation rental websites and create your new account today - 100% FREE!

 
vacation rental channel marketing - airbnb.png
 

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, AirBnB is undisputedly the fastest growing vacation rental website in the world today.

Their massive popularity has been both a blessing, as well as a curse. They are constantly in the spotlight and are consistently mentioned in almost every tech news cycle (even hitting INC. Magazine's cover as the "Company of The Year").

But with great popularity also comes great scrutiny, as they are consistently at the forefront of government regulation battles. And as the looks of it, they're still only getting started.

With an estimated 88 to 120 MILLION travellers visiting the website every month, AirBnb is both the fastest growing AND most popular individual vacation rental website in the world today (they don’t have multiple websites under an umbrella, just the one).

AirBnB.com

AirbnB.com has roughly 50-65 million visits per month alone, with over 50% of their traffic coming from the US alone.

+ They also have many different international domain extensions (such as: .co.uk, .ca, .es, .it, .de, .fr, .it), which account for another 38 to 55 million monthly visits.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com

What’s more, it's 100% free to list your property and advertise with them, and your properties will be distributed to ALL of their international domains - that's access to 88 to 120 million travellers per month!

Airbnb’s listing services works on a commission pay-per-booking model, charging a simple transaction fee of just 3% per booking, making virtually risk-free to try out.

AirBnb also offers a pretty good protection plan with their Host Guarantee. They offer coverage of up to $1,000,000 in the rare event your property is damaged by a guest, which also happens to be one of the highest policies in the industry right now.

Another great thing about Airbnb is how their transparent community and review system, which allows you to know more about the person renting your properties. Not only are owners/hosts reviewed for their properties, but travellers are also reviewed by their hosts. Which means you get to see if the person requesting to book at your property has been respectful with others or not.


The Bottom Line:

Ultimately, it's absolutely free to create your account and explore it to see for yourself. What's there to lose?

Click here to learn even more about listing your property(ies) on Airbnb and create your new account today - 100% FREE!

 

Before we continue the list...

Did you know is that those three website families, put together, account for roughly 70% of all vacation rental traffic?

Research shows that 67.6% of ALL clicks in Google go to the first 5 organic search results alone, with another 5.59% going to results 6 to 10.

That means the organic results in Google’s first page alone account for over 73% of ALL it’s traffic, while the other 27% is split up between everything else (paid ads, news results, local results, and all of the other search results pages).

See picture below:


NOW...
To put things into perspective...

The HomeAway, Airbnb , TripAdvisor more or less MONOPOLIZE the first 5 organic search results in Google for basically any search term related to “vacation rentals” or even “holiday rentals” - in ANY given destination in the world.

You might find an exception here and there, but it’s safe to say that if you do a quick Google search for “vacation rentals in”, or “holiday rentals in”, or some other derivative keyword for your chosen destination, you will see that each website within the first 5 organic results is going part of the top 3 vacation rental website families listed in this article. - covering the first 67.6%.

You will also see that they have a significant presence in results 6-10+ AND paid placement, which adds even more to their market share of traffic - and there's your other 5.59%.

Looking at the above example: Airbnb, HomeAway and TripAdvisor have 2 results in the top paid ads, ALL 5 of the first organic results, and 2 more in results 6 and 7.

So if you add the 67.6% with the 5.59% - with a small margin of error - then you've got over 73.2%. That means 7 out of 10 people searching for vacation rentals on the most popular search engine in the world by far (Google), will most likely land on one of those top 3 vacation rental website families and most likely book through one of them as well.

KEEP IN MIND: That doesn’t even include all of the other derivative keywords that these channels rank for, or any the direct traffic that they receive from strong branding and loyal/repeat/referred travellers.

HomeAway, Airbnb and TripAdvisor also have the biggest brand recognition, with the biggest returning customer base, and the biggest media presence out of any other channel in the industry by far.

Needless to say, the 3 website families above will give you access to more than enough traffic and visibility for your vacation rental business.


BUT...
HOW you market your properties on channels is just as important - if not, more important - than choosing which ones to advertise with.

Generating REAL results from channel marketing takes a lot more than just publishing your properties on these 3 channel families.

HOW you advertise your properties on these channels is what really makes all the difference.

These channels are growing more competitive all the time with tens of thousands of new properties being added to their inventories every single quarter.

Not to mention, all of the channels now use highly intelligent algorithms, which prioritize the properties that are most likely to result in a successful booking, and ranking them from first to last in their search results. Navigating these algorithms and ensuring that your properties are the ones that get the most views is no walk in the park...

Successful channel marketing requires a strong understanding of how these algorithms work, and a deep knowledge of the process that travelers naturally take when researching vacation rentals online.

If you can provide/convey enough value, use the right optimization techniques & pricing strategies, and use each channel to its own full potential, you WILL rise above the clutter and generate a solid and consistent stream of bookings.

It's what makes the difference between this:

..and this:

In fact, when we provide detailed local market analyses for our clients, we find that many of the top performing properties on these channels have 75%+ occupancy rates using just one channel. And although we definitely don’t recommend putting all of your eggs in just one basket, it just goes to show how important the optimization aspect of channel marketing really is.

So, rather than listing your vacation rental on any and every website you come across, take the time to optimize your offer and focus more on HOW to advertise your properties.

And we can help with that.

Click here to see how.

The VRpartners approach to channel marketing uses highly sophisticated techniques that have been thoroughly researched, rigorously tested - and most importantly - PROVEN to help increase your conversions and prioritize your rankings in channel search results, boosting your occupancy & revenue by upwards of 45%. Click here to see exactly how we do it.



NOW...
let's continue the list with...


 

HomeSuite is an up and coming company based out of California that’s looking to fill the gap between the long term and the short term rental space, specializing in fully furnished monthly rentals.

Functioning as a Craigslist-AirBnB hybrid with a real estate broker license, HomeSuite is geared towards not only those searching for corporate housing, but also the niche market of people looking for an extended stay without a yearlong commitment, such as international students on exchange for a semester or families transitioning to a new city.

Until HomeSuite emerged on the scene in 2015, rental seekers had trouble finding monthly housing in a market with very little transparency. Besides the never-ending list of fraudulent listings, the biggest headache comes with negotiating rent and drawing up a rental agreement.

HomeSuite prides itself on making the experience as hassle-free as possible both for the guest and the landlord.

Rental seekers receive a seamless booking experience where furnished properties are vetted beforehand and the prices are pre-negotiated, while landlords receive a respectful and professional guest with guaranteed monthly rent payments deposited directly into their bank accounts. It’s no wonder that HomeSuite is rapidly becoming “the” place to go for monthly rentals.

So if you’d like to get month long rentals, and rent to professionals, HomeSuite is the place to list your properties.

YourHomeSuite.com

YourHomeSuite.com has roughly 100,000 to 200,000 visits per month, with over 85% of their traffic coming from the US alone, and a strong presence with professionals looking for longer term rentals.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com


The Bottom Line

Like all the other channels on this list, it's free to list your properties on HomeSuite. They only charge a small commission ranging from 5% to 10% depending on the total cost, and they are definitely one of the best options out there for longer term rentals.


Click here to learn even more about listing your property(ies) on HomeSuite and create your new account today - 100% FREE!
 
 

Founded in 2009, and originally based out of Singapore, Roomorama has successfully grown to over 60,000 properties, in over 4,000 locations across the world.

The site is already generating some 400,000-500,000 visitors a month, making them one of the most popular vacation rental websites in their region.

It won’t cost you thing to list your property. There are zero processing fees and no commissions. Instead, they charge the traveler a booking fee.

From our experience, they seem to be most popular in certain parts of Asia, Oceania, and Europe, and they also have a significant business traveller presence, with a concierge service and everything.

But where Roomorama really stands out, is that they have what they call a ShoutOut program. The program allows travelers to post what they are looking for so that owners can be a little more proactive and make them offers. They also offer travelers a Perks program with discounts to local services such as spas and restaurants.

Roomorama.com

Roomorama.com has roughly 400,000 to 500,000 visits per month, with a strong presence in certain parts of Asia and Europe.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com

The Bottom Line

According to their website, the average Roomorama traveller books for 9 nights or longer and spends $1,000 or more per booking. Seeing how this is more than double the industry average, there’s no doubt that Roomorama should be decent addition vacation rental website to add to your portfolio.

Click here to learn more about listing your properties with Roomorama and create your new account today - 100% FREE!

 
 

Founded in March 2011 in Berlin, Germany, Wimdu is one of the most popular growing vacation rental websites in Europe and has just recently been acquired by 9flats (listed below).

As one of the first “Airbnb clones” to hit the market, Wimdu rapidly secured some $90 million in funding to build significant market share in Europe, where the website is most popular.

Wimdu.com

Wimdu.com’s traffic is widely split between its international domain extensions (.com, .fr, it, .de. co.uk, .es, etc…), but in total they amount to roughly 1.7-3.25 million travelers per month, with the most popular countries being the US, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com

The Bottom Line

Listing your properties on Wimdu is totally free. They don't even charge a small commission. Instead, they charge travelers a nominal booking fee so it costs you absolutely nothing to list with them.

Click here to learn more about adviertising your properties with Wimdu and create your new account today - 100% FREE!

 
 

Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, 9flats is one of the most popular vacation rental websites among european travelers with the bulk of its traffic coming from Germany.

They offer a pretty good protection plan with 9Flats.Insurance program (in partnership with with Zurich Insurance). They offer coverage of up to €500,000 in the rare event your property is damaged by a guest, which a pretty solid policy in comparison to what other channels are offering.

9flats.com

9flats.com has roughly 250,000 to 300,000 visits per month, with the bulk of all its traffic coming from Germany.

* all traffic data according to similarweb.com

The Bottom Line

Similar to Wimdu, listing your properties on 9Flats is totally free. That’s right, there are no booking commissions whatsoever. Instead, just like Wimdu, they charge travellers a booking fee depending on whether or not you accept direct bookings.

And while it might be more of a niche website, if you're looking to target the German market, listing your properties on 9Flats is totally free will be a great addition to your channel marketing portfolio.

Click here to learn more about adviertising your properties with 9flats and create your new account today - 100% FREE!

 

Conclusion

Any one of the websites mentioned in this article could be a great addition to your channel marketing portfolio.

But as we also mentioned earlier, it's extremely important to note that "HOW" you advertise your properties is just as important, if not more important than "where" you advertise them.

Want help marketing your properties online?
Click here to take the guesswork out of your channel marketing and learn how our full service approach can help you save valuable time, get up to 45% more revenue, and even become a better host for your guests

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles C.
Charles is the Head of Marketing and Chief Vacation Rental Strategist at VacationRentalPartners.co, a company providing world class marketing services to help vacation rental owners & managers get more bookings, work less, and even be better hosts for their guests.


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