While Airbnb is unarguably the largest short-term rental platform, there are several other options to help increase your bookings. Diversifying your listing across multiple platforms can also help identify which bring in the types of guests you really want. As they say, you should never put all your eggs in one basket. See below for our top 7 Airbnb alternatives to increase bookings in 2023 and beyond!
Vacation Rentals By Owner, or known more simply as VRBO, is perhaps the most popular alternative to Airbnb. While the platform takes a backseat to Airbnb, it has over 1 million properties listed and has been around since 1996. Unlike Airbnb, however, VRBO is not a hosted experience, properties are stand-alone vacation rentals and more resemble short-term letting. That is not to say, though, there aren’t some cute accommodations for a quick romantic getaway.
Since 2016, owners have had to pay a booking fee for each booking. ‘Hosting’ on VRBO also comes with $1 million liability insurance, just like Airbnb. There are also two listing options owners may opt for as well. These being:
Whichever method of listing you choose, VRBO is quite similar to Airbnb in every other way, making it worthwhile to consider if you’re looking for an alternative. This platform is most suited to listings that attract friend groups and families, as opposed to couples and individuals on a quick trip.
Ownerdirect.com is an online rental platform that allows direct booking of guests to host properties.
If you are confident in your ability to navigate directly booking your property, OwnerDirect might work for you. The fee structure for OwnerDirect is different than for other online rental platforms, which can simplify the listing so you and your guests know listing expenses up front.
OwnerDirect charges a 10% matching fee, which is taken by OwnerDirect at the time of booking and the remaining 90% is paid directly to the host.
Vacasa is a lesser-known platform, however, it is up and coming. With over 30,000 listings in 17 countries, it is important to note if Vacasa serves your location before you list. It does host an average of 2 million guests per year, so it could be an option to consider, as well as another channel of exposure for your property.
One advantage Vacasa has over larger channels such as VRBO, is that it’s a full-service property management platform. This comes with many benefits such as full cleaning and restocking, photos, virtual tours, and overall management. And yes, this does mean higher fees, so visit this link to get in contact with the property management team at Vacasa for a tailored fee.
Also included in your property management fee, are digital marketing and promotions on websites such as Airbnb and VRBO.
Most travelers and property owners know booking.com as a platform for hotels and hostels, right? Well, you might notice in your searches there are also homestays and B&Bs – and that’s where your property comes in! The 4th alternative in our 7 Airbnb Alternatives to Increase Bookings in 2023 brings as much exposure as you can imagine.
It is often the case that travelers will immediately search on booking.com for a hotel or hostel and forget about the newest category of accommodations: short-term rentals. If a traveler comes across your property on booking.com, they may just change their minds and opt to immerse themselves into the culture and become a true local for a few days.
It is important to remember, that even though listing your property on booking.com is free, they charge a whopping 10-20% booking fee, depending upon the location of your property! This is compared to 5% on VRBO, or 3% on FlipKey. However, that said, it might be worth just listing it to gain exposure, as it is a general site offering all accommodation types, so the chances of exposure are higher than most other platforms.
Similar to Vacasa is TurnKey. This is a fully-fetched property management platform that takes care of booking, guest inquiries, and housekeeping duties on your rental property. Why should you consider TurnKey?
Well, because it has a partnership with Marriott International, listing many of their properties, meaning a potential exposure to 130 million Marriott Bonvoy members. Furthermore, listings are marketed across 50 travel websites. Another reason to switch across is TurnKey’s revenue guarantee. In a nutshell, by signing up to the platform, you are guaranteed $5,000 more revenue per year than your previous property management system.
This is all good and well, but with a booking fee of between 18% – 23%, it is one of the highest seen today.
For those looking for a more affordable option with great exposure, FlipKey is one of the best options. Listing your property is free, and will be searchable and exposed throughout TripAdvisor and its subsidiaries as well. The booking fee is also a modest 3%, so you can be sure that you’re the one receiving most of the revenue.
The platform welcomes all types of accommodations; rooms, homes, apartments, houseboats, B&Bs, and many more. So if you are on the hunt for a different platform, or simply added exposure, without the high fees, Flipkey is the place to be.
If you’re seeing a trend in your rental for long-term guests or business guests who perhaps fly in and fly out, you should consider Blueground. Unlike Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms, Blueground allows stays exceeding 30 days. Sure, there may only be around 3,000 properties across the world, however, they are located in major centers and business hubs.
If your apartment is unfurnished, Blueground will rent it out for you and furnish it accordingly. They will then manage the property on their end, saving you the time and hassle of doing it yourself. It also takes away the stresses of finding suitable tenants and collecting any unpaid rent, if need be.
In order to calculate the property management fee paid to Blueground, both parties will need to agree on a set amount. There is no direct commission taken from landlords per rental period, only the management fee, which will be a pre-agreed sum.
In essence, while Airbnb may seem like the platform to be listed on, there are so many others just waiting for your property. All have varying booking and property management fees, so it depends on why you are renting out a property.
It’s important to note that if you plan to use multiple platforms, it is imperative that you have a solid plan for managing multiple booking calendars so you don’t double book, which can lead to host cancellations and upsetting guests.
Investing in an Airbnb property is a big undertaking, so you want to maximize your earning potential as much as possible. If it’s a serious gig or full-time job, you should consider platforms such as TurnKey, Vacasa, or Booking.com. If you rent during particular periods, or just as a side hustle, platforms like FlipKey and VRBO are the places to be – small fees but great exposure. The most effective platform for you may also vary depending on the city where your property is located.
Whichever of these Airbnb alternatives to increase bookings in 2023 you choose, it may result in exposure and increased bookings. Just ensure to factor in fees, commissions, possible cross-exposure channels, and services included, and you will be good to go!
Jake Leavy has worked in the content industry for 8+ years. Travel writing has been his main focus, however, he also has luxury hotel management experience under his belt. He has traveled to over 50 countries and loves immersing himself into different cultures. Jake combines his passion for travel and hospitality experience to offer hosts tips and tricks to improve their business.
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