Airbnb and VRBO are the two best-known vacation rental property booking platforms, and have some distinct differences. According to Your Rentals, Airbnb has four million hosts located in more than 222 countries and regions across the globe; VRBO has two million in 190. They also have different payment structures and policies, but travelers flock to both in great numbers to search for places to vacation; many hosts post their listings on both. What are the best ways to get bookings on both platforms?
Syncing Your Listings
It’s wise to list your property on all of the right platforms as long as you can afford it, and you’ll want to sync them all together to manage your rental calendars. Hostaway explains that Airbnb, VRBO and Booking.com all have links to an iCal connection tool that synchronizes the calendars together. This is an effective way to stay on top of everything, and this provides better customer experiences that can lead to more bookings.
IGMS claims that Airbnb has even more listings (5.6 million), and has more lodging variety; you can find cabins, shared rooms, luxury villas and everything in between. VRBO is more focused on large vacation homes and traditional family stays. Airbnb tends to attract younger audiences and business travelers, while VRBO is bigger with older audiences and large families with kids. Keeping all this in mind, it makes sense to list on AirBnb and VRBO to get the most exposure.
How Can I Get More Bookings?
The strategies for getting more Airbnb and VRBO bookings are basically the same. Key Nest tells hosts to have comprehensive, complete information on the postings and to include profile pictures. Also include a few sentences about yourself and a photo if you feel comfortable doing so, since being able to associate a face with the rental makes users feel more comfortable. Your page title should also be catchy; instead of “Four Bedroom Rental,” try something like “Rustic, Refined Luxury Home.”
Use a high-quality camera to take photos of your property and if you’re not good with the camera, hire a professional. Describe the amenities in detail, as this can help your webpage visitors picture themselves staying there. Don’t gush about things; short descriptions with some well-chosen adjectives will be the most effective (four-poster king-sized bed with extra-firm mattress.)
Other Ways to Get More Bookings
If your property is lacking on amenities, consider some inexpensive upgrades. Guests expect to be pampered unless they’re budget travelers, so provide them with a decent hairdryer, soft toilet paper, an iron, soft towels and cooking basics. Leave them coffee and tea and some snacks, too, and make sure that the property has a functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detector. And when guests reach out during their stays (this is common), get back to them immediately; there could be an emergency situation and rest assured, if you don’t respond appropriately they will give you a poor review.
It’s also important to have a 100 percent response rate for customer inquiries and comments that come through your webpage. Set up an alert for all communications, and get back to people as soon as possible; a few hours is best if you can swing it. Not responding quickly is bad for bookings; check your messages often. Timely responses and nice amenities will lead to positive reviews, which you can find on the platforms. You can’t change or delete them, but if you disagree you can offer an honest response. When you feel that a review violates the platform’s policy, look into making a dispute.
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