Best Sites to List Your Vacation Rental
AirBnb is the progressive listing site that disrupted the lodging industry. Today, AirBnb is one of the largest sites with a marketing budget and brand awareness far greater than any individual property owner. It has become a household name! The beauty of listing on AirBnb is the marketing exposure and low "service fee" in the range of 3%, meaning there is no up-front cost and AirBnb ONLY get paid if the owner gets paid a booking. In the real world, an owner could not take a new booking direct for less cost, think about credit card processing fees and support to facilitate booking.
VRBO, Vacation Rental by Owner, and HomeAway are two of the most trafficked, established and well known vacation rental listing sites. In 2015, Expedia, purchased the HomeAway network, which includes VRBO and many other listing sites. Would you like your property to appear on Expedia and the largest network of vacation rental listing? HomeAway gives owners two options: Performance based, like AirBnb the owner only pays a commission of the booking if book or they have a subscription model where the owner pays one upfront fee instead of a commission on each booking. The commission is in the 10% range and the subscription is in the $500 per year range. We choose the the subscription model as the performance model would be much more costly!
Vacation Rental Management & Automation Tools
Initially we leveraged Smartbnb for assistance with guest communications for AirBnb. Today, Smartbnb is a whole lot more than just automating timely and redundant communications, it can help with syncing listing copy and some basic analytics. As we started to grow, we realized responding to inquiries or sending check-in details was not the highest and best use of our time, these things could be solved with automation. To be clear our property manager still monitors guest communication and does respond with personal messages when applicable. So we are glad we have found Smartbnb as it has saved us so much TIME and kept us sane in the jungle of inquiries and questions.
Vacation Rental Data and AirBnb Analytics
Growing a vacation rental business is tough. First, you need to figure out the best locations for real estate investments. But there's also learning how to optimize your property performance, understanding the value of a property as a short-term rental, and more. It's pretty challenging. So, if you have a short-term rental or are looking to invest, use AirDNA. They have the most comprehensive data on every single Airbnb rental around the world. Try their MarketMinder tool. It's easy, fun and has thousands of insights to geek out on. Its what we use to spy on the "top ranked" properties in the market too!
Easy Graphic Design Software
Snagit is a very easy to use and very affordable graphic design software that allows the user to combine images. The image above, with Tony introducing himself, was made with Snagit. We think its pretty ninja! This tool helps to create many things valuable items in a vacation rental including labels, marketing material and on-site guides. The best part it is quick and professional!
Email marketing helps an owner stay engaged with guests and keep up with potential guests or brand fans. Today, many online marketing experts claim, "your email list is your business." Failure to leverage email marketing is an opportunity cost. There are many softwares to help with email marketing, the best part about using Mail Chimp is it is FREE for a while until a persona list grows to a large specific number.
Recommended Reading for Vacation Rental Owners and Managers