Top Vacation Rental Services
Looking to improve your home-away-from-home? Owning a vacation rental is a global operation, one that requires numerous online services for advertising, listings, property management, and more. The rental marketplace is ripe with opportunity as the vacation rental industry consistently matches up with (and in some areas, outpaces) the hotel industry. Check out these top vacation rental sites and services to help with marketing, management, and real estate value of your property.
Vacation rental listing sites are either free, paid as a subscription, or commission based. These sites allow owners and property managers to post pictures, videos, descriptions, your calendar, and more for each vacation home. Take advantage of the full-service benefits of some of these top vacation rental sites.
TravelStaytion is a free vacation rental site for listing holiday homes and short-term rentals. Their simple “sign up and upload” feature guarantees owners and managers can upload unlimited rental properties for free! Users on TravelStaytion host completely free of charge because guests pay a 15% commission fee to the site. Accept 24-hour payments online and maintain full rein over accepting or declining booking requests. TravelStaytion also offers around-the-clock customer service and exposure to over 25,000 travelers every day. TravelStaytion is a pretty great bang for your nonexistent buck, in that it’s completely free for hosts and offers great returns.
The name says it all. Free Rentals is a free vacation rental site that lets users sign in via social media (like Facebook or Google Plus) or by creating a Free Rentals account. Hosts can post their short term listings to a global audience of thousands for free. Much like TravelStaytion, Free Rentals offers full 24/7 customer service, a means of connecting with travelers directly, and full reign over how listings are marketed online.
Welcome Worldwide is another great (semi) free option for vacation rental owners and managers to list their properties. They’ve added a 2% commission fee per booking but otherwise, Welcome Worldwide is a very cost-effective listing site for vacation rental homeowners. Welcome Worldwide allows hosts to post up to 20 HD photos, unique descriptions, availability calendar, and a full page advert. Enjoy the site’s free customer service and analysis features.
One of the biggest players in the accommodation market, Airbnb operates purely with a commission-based model in which travelers pay a 3% commission fee at checkout. Airbnb perhaps has its trusted brand name today for its emphasis on protection on both ends: guests are verified before granting access to the platform’s services, and hosts are protected with $1M in property damage protection — plus another $1M in accidents insurance. Hosts can list their spaces for free, reserve complete control over their listings, manage their own schedules, availability, and pricing, and have in-app direct communication with guests and potential clients.
Much like Airbnb, Booking.com is a purely commission-based online travel agent (OTA) site that offers free listings with a commission on completed bookings, full control over rental availability, price, and schedule, access to full 24/7 customer service, and the ability to create your own requirements and booking criteria. Booking.com is a great option for hosts to have direct control over their listings and guest communication. However, unlike Airbnb, a 15% commission is taken from what hosts earn and not added to what the guests pay. This may seem like a minor blow to hosts but the “no added fees” guarantee for guests may actually be a selling point. Guests want to pay the same number they see for the listing and not be hit with a bunch of hidden fees at checkout.
Turnkey is a full-service vacation rental management site. List your properties by getting in touch with the General Manager for your market. Unlike the other sites listed so far, Turnkey offers a team to help market your listings and create your brand. Their local teams collect your information, photograph your property, and create your property listing. Enjoy this full-service in exchange for commission-based payments per booking.
VRBO, or Vacation Rental by Owner, is a subscription-based vacation rental site that grants hosts access to their global audience of 190 countries. Access to this impressive network of millions of travelers will cost you, though. VRBO charges an annual subscription fee of $499. Get your free estimate on their site and post your listings with full control over availability, price, and schedule.
Because HomeAway and VRBO are both owned by Expedia, their sites and their fees are exactly the same. HomeAway and VRBO share all listings, so there is no need to do any comparative shopping between the two. Gain access to their global audience of millions for a $499 subscription fee.
Real Estate and Property Management
There are some fantastic real estate and property management services designed to cover all the bases. Services can be location-specific and only cover certain regions or continents or globally. Check out these helpful services and apps to manage all of your vacation rental properties.
Vacasa is a real estate and property management site that services U.S states, Europe, Central America, and South America. Buy a vacation home, join their real estate agent network or sell a vacation home, all in one place. Vacasa offers expert vacation rental insights and consults with real estate professionals. Vacasa provides property owners with a dedicated local property manager, hotel-quality housekeeping, and preventative maintenance. Vacasa charges a 35% management fee per property.
GuestReady is a global property management service for properties in the U.K, France, UAU, Portugal, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. GuestReady’s team of experts set up a listing for your space, complete with conversion copy, a catchy title, and all your space’s top features beautifully presented. Their services cover the entire listing and booking process, including taking professional photos of the property, setting listing prices, communicating with guests, and guided check-ins and check-outs. GuestReady offers flexible payment plans and does not charge sign-up or on-boarding fees. Their premium service starts at a 20% commission rate.
Guesty is an all-in-one vacation rental management app for short-term rentals. Their impressive features include (but are not limited to): a channel manager, unified inbox, open API, multi-calendar, and 24/7 guest communication. Guesty also offers neat maintenance management features with updates to cleaners and maintenance companies in real-time notifications, job listings, descriptions, and scheduling. This task-management app makes sure your property is always looking its best and cleanest. Guesty’s commission fee per listing starts at 3%.
About the author: Emily Russo is a writer based in New York. She loves traveling, meeting new people, reading, and being outdoors. She hopes to travel to Italy 500,000 more times in her lifetime.