Today I am covering a question that I myself get quite often and the question is 'Airbnb or Vrbo, which listing site should I choose'?
I wanted to make a whole video dedicated to this particular question because... it's really not the right question to be asking. I'll cover why I say it's not the right question to be asking and how you can start thinking about it moving forward.
Let's first talk about why I say this is not the right question to be asking.
Avoid Being Site Dependent
First of all, you don't want to be dependent for all of your bookings on one listing site. The first is that you never know if overnight that listing site is going to change their fee structure and you're not happy with it and now you feel handcuffed to that site because that's the site that generates all of your bookings.
The other thing to be aware of is that there have been instances, I'm aware of several, where a host is unexpectedly kicked off of a platform without much explanation and now they're basically starting at ground zero because they were relying on that listing site to provide all of their bookings for them.
So it's definitely a smart decision to diversify here.
Diversification can Lead to Greater Profits
And what you may find also is that you're leaving money on the table by not trying out other listing sites. I know that for our business and several of my clients, Vrbo is actually responsible for driving a higher percentage of rental income throughout the year than Airbnb.
Airbnb is the listing site that gets all the attention and it is great, but Vrbo is not probably getting the attention it deserves in my opinion because what we see and what my clients tend to see is longer say bookings that result in more income. If you explore and test other listing sites, you may find that it's easier to fill your calendar with longer stays and possibly even be able to request a higher amount. So definitely something to consider there from a diversification perspective.
Why 'Airbnb or Vrbo' is the Wrong Question to Ask
I also want to point out with this particular question, 'Should I be on Airbnb or Vrbo', is that to me it says that you could go down the slippery slope of identifying yourself with a platform rather than as a business owner.
And I see this a lot with hosts that have decided to just go with one platform and the way they'll talk about their business is they'll say, "Oh, I have an Airbnb," or, "I have a Vrbo," and I think that's a dangerous way to think about your business because your business identity is wrapped up in a listing platform.
I would much rather see an owner refer to their business as a short term rental or vacation rental and the listing sites are vehicles that you utilize to distribute your property, but it is not your business. I want to caution of if you're asking that question, just make sure you're not wrapping up your identity in a platform because thinking about it as a business will really just set you up for long-term success.
How do I Choose Which Site to List on?
So now that we've kind of gotten that background out of the way, the next step is, okay, now what should I do if it's not one or the other, how do I choose which ones to be on?
This post, How to choose a listing site (Airbnb vs. HomeAway/VRBO vs. FlipKey), goes into much more detail on that process, so I highly recommend checking that out.
I recommend in the first year of business, at least be on two listing sites. Don't do too many. You don't want to spread yourself so thin that it's harder to manage and that your reviews are spread out everywhere.
I like to concentrate on two listing sites in the first year, build your authority and review count on those listing sites that you've chosen. And then if you decide to expand that, then in year two then it starts to build into other networks and that might be TripAdvisor or Booking.com or some of those niche listing sites out there.
So again, be sure to check this video out for more detail there:
And then the next thing I would recommend, if you haven't picked up my marketing roadmap yet, be sure to grab your free guide here
Need a Little Marketing Help with your Vacation Rental?
Whether you're just getting started with your vacation rental or you've been in the game for a few years but need a little help with the marketing, I'd love to help you on your journey.
That's why I created the Vacation Rental Marketing Roadmap.
This is a seven-step guide to help you walk through all of the essentials that you need to do when setting up an optimized listing (as well as the most common mistakes I see vacation rental homeowners making).
Grab your free copy of the Vacation Rental Marketing Roadmap!