ᐅ The Best Booking Portals for Vacation Rental Owners

The Best Booking Portals for Vacation Rental Owners

As the holiday season approaches, vacationers from around the world want to spend their time in a dream vacation home. As a landlord that wants to provide this dream vacation home for travelers, it is important to ask the question: which is the best booking portal for my vacation rental which I should use to advertise my apartment that will have low commission and not take too much effort to create a listing on?

Most of our employees are landlords and are facing this same issue every year. Additionally, our customers often ask us which portals we recommend for holiday homes or apartments. In order to make this easier for our customers, we have outlined criteria and a short overview of situations that may influence which portal you choose to advertise your home on.

Each booking portal is unique, and some may attract more visitors than others. There really is no “one way” when it comes to knowing which portals will optimize traffic and potential customers. You have the best insight when it comes to the following categories, so we hope that you find a portal that will work the best for renting your home out this holiday season!

At the end of this blog entry there is a concise overview of prices, booking methods and focus regions of the booking portals.

The pricing models of booking portals

There are different pricing models, so knowing what the various booking websites charge on commission is important. Booking.com will charge the host about 15% commission. FeWo-direkt offers a fixed price model for €299 and charges the customer 8-10%. You can also opt for a pure commission model, where the host and guest pay 8-10% fees. Airbnb charges the host 3% and 8-12% to the guest. Other portals, such as ferienwohnungen.de, charge a one-time fee where you pay €120 annually for the first place you rent and for each additional place you pay €80. Depending on the number of rentals, different portals will make the most sense to use. In addition, some portals allow you to include the different fees (such as cleaning fees) in your pricing. Try not to only advertise on the favorable sites. The reason? Traffic! The more platforms you use, the greater number of people will see your ad and rent your apartment.

Direct bookings Requests

Many portals allow users to choose if they want to accept direct bookings, while other platforms do not have an option. For example, Booking.com only allows direct bookings, whereas Fewo-direkt has the option, but charges higher standard fees if you choose not allow direct bookings. In general, it is recommended to allow direct bookings if workloads are not very high. This makes it easier for the guest to make the booking and you have far less effort in communication. If, however, you want to make a detailed calendar of your guests before completing a booking, you should exclude portals that allow only direct bookings. There are some circumstances where it makes more sense not to allow direct bookings as long as you have close to a 100% occupancy rate. Some of the benefits to not using direct bookings include: controlling your own assignments, renting out the place for longer periods of time, or controlling arrivals and departures so that you do not have vacant days between bookings. Other times, direct bookings may be more interesting to you. If you use direct bookings, then it is key to use a Channel Manager to avoid double bookings.

Think about which apartment you are offering and decide which portals make sense to you. The following passages serve your rough orientation.

You have an apartment in a larger city, whether its Munich, Hamburg or Berlin
Often times landlords with apartments in large cities have many short-term rentals and the tenants come from all corners of the world. Holiday accommodations in cities are often seen as hotel alternatives. As a consequence, you would like to be represented on the international stage in order to appeal to prospective customers of short-term bookings. According to past experience, the largest portals such as Airbnb.com and Booking.com are to be mentioned first and foremost because they will draw the most people in. In addition, portals belonging to the Tripadvisor group are outstanding, especially if you have a special apartment to offer then the reviews and experience reports help significantly. Having a place in the city is a situation where we recommend direct bookings instead of managing your own bookings. As long as you make sure you do not generate double bookings, you can use both Booking.com and Airbnb.com easily as booking portals for your holiday accommodation.

You have an apartment in a resort in Germany

The Germans still prefer to spend the holidays within Germany, and this trend is becoming increasingly more popular. More than 50% of these holiday trips are booked online, which has been recognized by various booking portals in order to better accommodate their clientele. We recommend large booking providers, such as booking.com and airbnb to German providers. For special situations, like a listing that is a dream vacation apartment with self-catering, then using Atraveo is perfect. This can also be reflected in the available advertisements on the platforms, so do not hesitate and advertise here. We can not list all of the portals here, but in some cases, it may also make sense to use specific such as bayregio. However, we advise that you also use the larger portals with specific portals, since this often results in higher prices and the viewer traffic of your listing is greatly increased.

You have an apartment with internationally known tourist attractions, such as Neuschwanstein

Although the majority of foreign tourists stay in hotels if they choose to spend the holidays in Germany, it is important to note that this trend is changing. With individual tourism on the rise, it is our recommendation, to expand to, and not be afraid of international portals, such as HomeAway.com.

Your apartment is located in a less touristy place

If you put the listing on classic holiday home portals, but it does not get many guests, look at how you can make your property more attractive or better place. Do you often have on-site events? Try putting the listing on Booking.com or Airbnb.com, since many business travelers are looking for housing accommodations for their next trip. Do you like animals? Why not focus on the animal-friendliness of your apartment? For example, you can advertise on Hundeurlaub.de.

You are targeting the LGBT community

In recent years, more and more niche market providers have established themselves on the holiday home market. If you would like to target the LGBT community specifically, try listing with ebab.com or misterbnb.com.


Overall, we recommend advertising on multiple portals and not to depend on one sole platform. Customers with the highest success rates and most amount of occupancy have their listing on an average of 6 different portals. By having your apartment on multiple portals, you can also test different prices or periods of time and you do not risk having your listing vacant.

Use a wide range of advertising opportunities! There are several advertising groups that will reach many different platforms. For example, if you use Apartment-Direct, or FeWo-Direkt then your listing will appear on all platforms of the HomeAway Group. Similarly, if you market with Tripadvisor then all ads will also be visible on Flipkey.

The Smoobu software helps manage and organize all holiday rental accommodations, without you spending several hours on multiple portals. Our Channel Manager takes away the tedious organizational tasks of the portals completely. Using the Channel Manager, you can always have an overview of where your bookings come from, which will then allow you to cater directly to that group of people on various platforms.

In addition, you have access to a portal that will gather all of your guests in a reservation system. This allows you to build up a private bank account and possibly complete the next bookings without commission payments. You can also use our free homepage kit. With Smoobu, you can quickly and easily create a beautiful website for your holiday home, without any IT knowledge required, where you can also generate booking requests.

We hope that this post will help you be successful in posting your ad on the best portals! If you need any additional support, please contact us directly, that way we can analyze which vacation accommodation is best suited for your listing.

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