Owning a beautiful property is not enough for the success of your vacation rental business. Even a tourist accommodation with a breathtaking sea view, a cozy cabin in the mountains, or a luxurious apartment in the city would struggle to reach potential guests on their own.
For this reason, most vacation rental owners and hosts decide to rely on booking sites. These vacation rental platforms offer visibility in exchange for financial compensation, usually in the form of commissions on bookings or a fixed subscription.
So you might ask yourself: does it make sense to advertise your vacation rental on only one of the major booking portals, thus paying a single commission, or is it better to rely on multiple platforms? In this article, we evaluate some reasons why it makes sense for you to list your vacation rental on several booking sites.
4 advantages of listing your property on several booking sites
Listing your vacation home on multiple booking sites could benefit you in many ways. Although it usually requires more involvement on your part, this strategy will help you increase bookings and profits from your short-term rentals. Let’s look together at 4 benefits you could gain by listing on multiple booking sites.
1. Get more visibility for your short-term rentals
The main benefit of listing your vacation rental on one or more booking sites is to gain visibility. Let’s consider two of the most popular booking platforms in the world, Airbnb and Booking.com.
According to data on their website (December 2022), Airbnb has 6.6 million active listings worldwide in more than 220 states, for a total of more than 4 million hosts. Additionally, Airbnb has 150 million active users, although this figure has not been updated since 2018, so it is likely to have a few million more as of today. To learn more about this booking portal, check out our complete guide to Airbnb.
Booking.com, on the other hand, another giant in the field of short-term rentals, has the advantage of offering hotels, hostels, b&bs in addition to vacation rentals. On top of that, airline flights, airport transfers, car rentals, and whatnot can be booked on the site. The platform has as many as 28 million active listings. As of January 2023, 564 million users have visited Booking.com, making it the most visited travel and tourism website in the world. If you want to learn more about this booking giant, read our full guide to Booking.com.
Now, every booking site has its audience, large or small. Listing your vacation rental on more than one portal makes perfect sense from the standpoint of visibility gained.
2. Reach different local and international target groups
Most tourists have a favorite vacation home platform that they use to book their vacations. You, too, as a vacation rental owner or host, probably make use of a main booking site when you decide to enjoy a few days away from home. Comparing prices on different platforms takes extra time and effort. Often, struggling to save a few euros may not be worth it for those who are planning their next vacation and looking for some relaxation.
This means that by listing your vacation rental on several different sites, you can reach different target groups. For example, to meet a local target, you may want to use smaller booking portals which are mostly used in your area. In case you want to open your tourist accommodation to international tourists, you may consider Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, and more.
Here, too, there are differences. Airbnb for example attracts a younger audience (millennials) looking for authentic experiences. Airbnb users want to rent a vacation home that makes them feel “at home” and allows them to live like a local. Booking.com, on the other hand, a more traditional booking site, is more in vogue among adult tourists, often with families and children. Booking.com users want an experience closer to that of the hotel, with more comfort and less relationship with the host.
3. Create a significant online presence and build your brand
If your goal is to grow your short-term vacation rental business exponentially, then you should strengthen your online presence and consider branding strategies. Nowadays not many people use travel agencies to book their vacations. Most tourists do it online, independently, on booking sites. As a vacation rental host, you will need to have a presence on portals and face competition. Your brand identity and your business logo could be the winning tools to differentiate you from the mass of online listings.
The different booking platforms offer you a perfect space where you can develop your brand, especially at the beginning of your business. By creating a consistent identity on some vacation rental sites, you will have a better chance of getting noticed and attracting potential guests.
But it doesn’t end there. Once you receive a reservation, you’ll need to make sure you offer high-quality service and a unique experience. These elements, combined with your branding efforts, will make your guests remember your vacation rental even after their stay. Perhaps, they will even decide to return and become regular guests!
4. Increase bookings at your vacation rental properties
Increasing your online visibility and reaching out to different target groups has the ultimate goal of increasing bookings at your vacation rental properties. In fact, in principle, the more people choose to rent your accommodation for their vacation, the greater your profit will be.
Using multiple booking portals allows you to increase the occupancy rate, which is the percentage of days a property is rented out of the total number of rentable days. This could help you, especially during the off-season, when tourists are less active in searching.
Of course, more bookings not only result in additional revenue, but also require a higher level of attention, responsiveness, and accountability on the part of the vacation rental owner or manager.
A channel manager for your vacation rental business
Advertising your vacation rental business on various booking sites brings several benefits. You might ask yourself at this point: why not create a listing on all available sites? The fact is that booking portals are not connected to each other. As competitors, they do not want to actively encourage users to advertise their properties on other platforms.
Therefore, having multiple listings means having to deal with each one manually. If guests book your tourist accommodation on Airbnb for a weekend, you will have to personally access all other platforms and remove the availability for that week to avoid double bookings. The same goes for communication with guests: you will need to periodically check all the portals on which you have listings to make sure no message is left unanswered.
Fortunately, some solutions can help vacation rental hosts automate manual work: so-called channel managers. Smoobu’s channel manager automatically synchronizes your calendars on different booking sites, along with the one on your direct booking site. In addition, all your communications with guests are unified in the Smoobu platform, so you only need one login to respond to all messages. Smoobu also allows you to automate some aspects of communication by creating email templates that will be sent at predefined times.
If you want to learn more about what a channel manager is, check out our complete guide on the subject.
Which booking sites are best for you to list your vacation rental?
It’s up to you to decide which booking sites are best for your short-term vacation rental. If you want to exponentially increase your occupancy rate by accommodating different target groups, you’d better turn to the major booking portals: Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, TripAdvisor, HomeToGo, etc.
If your vacation home has unique features, look for portals that highlight them. If your property is a luxury villa, you might consider Airbnb Luxe. In case you want to open your doors to LGBTQ+ customers, you could list it on misterb&b. If you plan to specialize in vacations with four-legged friends, use an ad hoc site such as BringFido and so on. Try asking yourself these questions:
- What target groups do I want to attract? Young people or families, local or international, etc.
- Do I prefer to offer an exclusive service or a more hands-on experience?
- Does my vacation rental have any unique features that I can use?
The number of portals you decide to list your vacation rental on also depends on how much time you can devote to it. Better to have a few quality listings you constantly curate and update than many low-quality ones. Whether your short-term rental business is your secondary or main source of income, having a channel manager could help you manage multiple booking platforms easily.
Conclusion: Why list your vacation rental business on multiple booking sites
In short, there are 4 reasons why you should consider more than one booking site for your vacation rental:
- Different booking platforms give you visibility to distinct audience segments.
- If you want to open your short-term rental to multiple target groups, then you should consider various vacation rental sites.
- Booking platforms can help you gain an online presence and build your brand.
- If you post a quality listing, you can increase the number of bookings and with them your earnings.
Now it’s time for you to do the math. Choose the booking sites best suited for your short-term rental and create quality listings on them. If you want to manage them from a centralized place that automatically synchronizes calendars and messages, start our 14-day trial and try our channel manager!
Table of Contents
- 1 4 advantages of listing your property on several booking sites
- 2 A channel manager for your vacation rental business
- 3 Which booking sites are best for you to list your vacation rental?
- 4 Conclusion: Why list your vacation rental business on multiple booking sites