Top 4 Amazing STR Listing Sites to Unlock a Rental Bonanza

So you have found a fantastic vacation property in an amazing location with excellent rental potential. Where do you go from here? It's time to set up your STR listing and earn some money. Selecting the right listing site can mean the difference between just getting by or knocking your rental business out of the park!


Related: Genuine STR Location Secrets: How to Make Big Money


Travelocity are all part of the Expedia travel group, which is also the parent company to VRBO. Home Away is also part of this massive travel group and is being assimilated by VRBO at this time. We have found that focusing on these four major sites will bring plenty of Vacation Rental income in the United States. Owners in other countries may need to explore regional listing sites as well.


Here is a handy comparison chart illustrating what we believe to be the strengths and weaknesses of each of the listing sites.

Vacation rental owner site comparison for VRBO, Airbnb, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor.
Vacation Rental Savant - Vacation Rental Site Comparison
 

Below is a graph showing the reservation breakdown by listing agent for one of our vacation rental properties. The chart contains 68 total bookings at the time of this publication. Note that listing site usage varies by area so that you may see different results.

Vacation Rental Savant Rental Distribution chart.
Vacation Rental Savant - Rental Distribution Chart
 

VRBO


What we love.

  • High guest traffic = more bookings.

  • Full listing site customization.

  • Best guest communication system.

  • MarketMaker feature for maximizing rental potential.

  • Multiple commission options. Yearly fee or reservation % based.

  • Premier Partner status badge for exceptional properties.

  • Simple, easily edited rate settings.

  • Good picture and video options.

  • Two-way review system.

  • Filtered search engine for guests.

  • Smooth functioning mobile app.

Could be better.

  • Must have multiple property listings to utilize some channel managers.

  • The commission percentage is higher than most. The yearly fee feature is a better option for frequently booked properties.

  • Lack of promo codes.

  • High guest and owner fees.

  • No option to rent single spaces; full home only.

  • Owners have expressed less satisfaction with the company since becoming part of the Expedia empire.

Bottom line.

In our experience, VRBO is the best all-around choice for a vacation property listing site. We highly recommend using them in all cases.

 
VRBO is the best all around choice to list STR properties.
 

Airbnb


What we love.

  • Lowest commission rates.

  • Full listing site customization.

  • Easy rate and calendar management.

  • Fully compatible with channel managers.

  • Superhost certification and badge for exceptional properties.

  • Host an Experience option to increase revenue.

  • Good mobile app.

  • Two-way review system.

  • Lower guest and host fees than VRBO.

Could be better.

  • Cannot send attachments directly from the guest messaging system.

  • Lack of promo codes

Bottom line.


A close runner-up to VRBO, we highly recommend using Airbnb as a primary listing source.

 
 
Airbnb is a fine choice for Vacation Rental Property owners.
 

Booking.com


What we love.

  • Global reach. As a Europe based company, you will get a broad base of customers. We get many of our Canadian customers here.

  • Simple listing set up.

  • Extensive use of promotions.

  • Genius and Preferred Partner Programs are available for increased revenue opportunities.

  • Visibility Booster feature to increase listing position on chosen dates.

  • Compatible with channel managers.

  • Good photo options.

  • Adjustable commission scale; a higher rate equates to a more prominent listing location.

Could be better.

  • Challenging guest communications. Email attachments rarely make it to the recipient.

  • Highest base commission.

  • Limited listing creation options.

  • The guest review system is too complicated. We once were rated for dirty conditions in common areas that were beyond our control.

  • Unusual wording in the property descriptions: the system automatically creates the property description based on the owner's info.

Bottom line.

We find Booking.com to be the most painful of the hosting options from an owner standpoint with their various shortcomings. The review system could use a complete overhaul. The guest communications are challenging if you wish to send attachments such as arrival information. That being said, they do generate a lot of revenue, which is the bottom line. Our suggestion is to partner with them but to expect some aggravation along the way.

 
Booking.com and TripAdvisor have global reach in the short term rental market.
 

TripAdvisor


What we love.

  • Worldwide customer base. Great for International bookings.

  • Compatible with channel managers.

  • Easy site set up with good options.

  • Reasonable commission fees.

  • Easy to use help guides for site set up and maintenance.

  • Easy guest communication.

Could be better.

  • Less famous for site listings in the United States than other listing sites.

Bottom line.

We really don't have much negative to say about TripAdvisor other than it has produced the fewest rentals in our experience. Other parts of the country or world may see better results. We added it as our fourth option to help pick up a few rentals here and there. There is no cost in adding additional listing sites, only the initial effort to establish the listing.

 
 

Depending on your vacation rental goals, you may choose multiple listing sites to optimize your business. Maintaining and synchronizing several websites can be a challenging, time-consuming endeavor. Fortunately, there are what are know as channel managers available to automate the process. In the end, your hard work will pay off with a thriving rental business. Keep watching for in-depth posts about channel mangers and reviews for each of the main listing sites coming soon.


Related: Top of the Line STR Listing Strategies to Make Serious Money