Short-term rental property is a booming investment in the real estate world. The new trend that investors are following nowadays which is purchasing vacation rentals for tourists or travelers has become very successful. The rise of vacation rental websites is proof of how big the industry has become with the likes of Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and others.
Vacation rental websites have become so popular with all kinds of travelers (from business people to families going on vacation) that they are posing some serious competition to the hotel industry around the globe and mostly in the US.
The general view about hotels being more expensive is not a myth; it is solid facts because they provide more services and because they have to secure salaries and profits for a larger number of people. However, these services are deemed luxurious and unneeded for many, which is why vacation rentals are turning into the new best choice.
With so many vacation rental websites emerging all the time, let’s take a look at three of the most popular and reliable ones and compare their services:
The Most Popular Vacation Rental Websites
Airbnb is by far the biggest vacation rental website on the planet. It has over one million listings worldwide covering most regions around the globe. Its reach has expanded to over 34,000 cities in 190 countries. What makes Airbnb stand out amongst its competitors is that is it extremely popular among guests and hosts alike.
The Airbnb platform gives its users so many tools to stay organized, save time, and spend less money with minimum effort. The fact that the website has a well developed communication platform between guests and hosts serves all users perfectly.
Calendars that organize the check-ins and checkouts keep hosts on top of things for their rental properties. Financing tools that keep track of your profits for each month also offer hosts much needed information about their investment in an organized manner.
Becoming an Airbnb user is considered way cheaper than using other vacation rental websites for owners. Airbnb charges owners 3% per booking, which includes cleaning fees that are determined by the property owners. The Airbnb customer service, which is available 24/7 all year round, also gives them an edge over their competitors. Eventually, it seems that the Airbnb customer relations team is working hard to ensure that all guests and hosts are offered the best services with regards to bookings, payments, and everything else.
The main difference to notice when comparing VRBO to Airbnb is that the former acts as a platform to connect two parties (a guest and a host). However, VRBO doesn’t engage in acting as a mediator between the two should a problem arise. This leaves guests in particular wondering about the quality and completeness of services offered by VRBO.
Payments on VRBO are not processed by the website; instead, the guests and hosts have to facilitate payments between each other. This creates a more complex marketplace for both parties. On the other side, Airbnb’s attractiveness comes from the fact that the website ensures and guarantees a service for payment.
VRBO has a $399 annual subscription fee that needs to be paid by property owners, and it is actually one of few vacation rental websites that charge hosts an annual fee for using their services. The fee is actually risky for hosts because they are not sure if their property will be appealing to guests or not.
The amount also means that hosts could eventually be paying way more than what Airbnb users pay in their 3% booking fee. A particularly serious problem is if VRBO users cannot attract enough visitors to pay for this payment or they barely break even. It all depends on the number of bookings per year in the end.
Booking.com can be considered a traditional or even old-fashioned vacation rental website because it hasn’t broken an important barrier. In specific, Booking.com does not support direct communication between the guest and the host through the website but instead acts as the facilitator of communication between the two. This feature gives the website a more commercial standing rather than a social one like Airbnb, for example.
Booking.com has the highest booking fee amongst the main competitors in the vacation rental market. With a whooping 15% booking fee per booking, it is easy to understand why real estate investors are not thrilled about advertising their property on Booking.com.
While Airbnb is one of the biggest vacation rental websites, Booking.com also stretches to all corners of the world. The difference is that Booking.com is more focused on the hotel industry and its partnership with many hotels around the world than on short-term property rentals.
The Best Option Among Vacation Rental Websites
The best platform amongst these three (and many other) vacation rental websites without a doubt has to be Airbnb. Its platform that empowers both the host and the guest has revolutionized the real estate vacation market.
The fact that Airbnb doesn’t charge hosts so much money makes it a preference for hosts in most countries. Airbnb’s popularity and marketing reach also makes it not only a major competitor in the vacation rental industry but also a major competitor for the glamorous hotel industry that has been able to hold a monopoly in the market for years.
If you are a host starting out and are feeling lost in the pool of vacation rental websites which all claim to offer you the most, then the simplicity and benefits offered by Airbnb will put you on the path to becoming an Airbnb super-host.