6 reasons why you should keep your property listed on vacation rental sites
The housing and hospitality sharing economy has flourished in the last decade since the rise of Airbnb, HomeAway and others. Whether planning a family vacation, a business trip or a last-minute weekend getaway, vacation rental sites have opened up a whole new world of hospitality options that are better suited to many travelers’ budgets and location requirements.
The interesting side of this equation, is that it has turned many ordinary people into short-term rental hosts; with the ease of use and flexibility these rental sites offer, someone’s weekend away from home can easily become a way to earn some extra cash. A spare room or a sometimes-vacant property can easily be listed, shared, and occupied.
As hosts become more comfortable with the premise of sharing their homes with strangers, and maybe even meet a few online who are interested in their property, it may seem that the “matchmaker” is redundant. Why not take my business offline?, you make be asking yourself, I could save money on marketplace fees and work directly with tenants…
While the premise may sound like a good idea, you’ll find that in reality, you’ll be letting go of a lot more than just a matchmaker’s fee. Taking your business with potential tenants off the site is not only a bad idea, but it goes against the policies you agreed to on virtually every vacation rental site. Policy aside, let’s take a look at all the reasons why this is a bad idea:
#1: Your property won’t get nearly as much exposure anywhere else
If you’re listing your site on a vacation rental site like Airbnb or HomeAway, you’re getting a ton of exposure. According to SimilarWeb, Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway had a combined 111.3 million visits in the first 6 months of 2017. Visitors look at an average of 11 pages per visit on these sites, browsing potential properties in their destination cities. You won’t be able to replicate this kind of exposure on any other platform you choose. With a few good pictures and a detailed description, you’ll spend a few minutes on set up and get continuous, constant traffic.
#2: Social proof of your property’s value
It’s no secret that in the digital age, user reviews can make or break a deal. According to a recent study conducted by Fan & Fuel, over 97% of respondents report that customer reviews play an important role in their purchasing decisions. Moreover, 94% typically read written reviews if there are any available, and 92% would think twice about making a purchase if there aren’t any existing customer reviews. This data pertains to products and services, but the same is true for reviews on hospitality sites. Positive reviews from tenants can significantly improve the likelihood of getting booked in the future, without a doubt; the more positive reviews, the better.
#3: They’ve got your back
When renting out a property for a long stretch, you’re signing a contract directly with a tenant. You have time to call references, get a security deposit, and vet your prospects thoroughly before making a decision. With vacation and short-term rentals, you don’t have the ability to vet every single tenant that’s coming to stay for a night or a week. That’s where vacation rental sites come to the rescue.
Just as properties and hosts are reviewed, so are tenants. Previous hosts rate and provide details about their experience with the tenant, giving other hosts a better idea of what they should expect. Did a tenant leave the place a mess? Break a lamp? Make outrageous demands of the host? Their rating will go down. Hosts are then given the tools to make an informed decision about potential tenants without feeling like they’re taking a leap of faith with their property’s well-being.
Despite the best prevention measures, issues may still arise. A tenant can get hurt while on your property, or may cause damage to your home or belongings. Vacation rental sites have host protection insurance plans put in place for precisely these reasons; they take on responsibility for claims made on either side and manage the dispute. You won’t get this kind of help if you’re managing your property outside of a rental site’s protection.
#4: Getting paid isn’t complicated
Vacation rentals—by definition—attract global travelers; global travelers who have varying financial situations, may or may not have checks, credit cards, cash, or local currency. While this may be relatively easy to smooth over on some occasions, it can get complicated in others. When working through a vacation rental site, the payment process is a no-brainer: collecting money on time from tenants is just not your problem. Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway take care of the whole process, beginning to end, from collection to payment, across borders and currencies. Thanks to partnerships with Payoneer, you can enjoy even easier payment collections, with funds going straight to your local bank account in your own currency. If you prefer, you can apply for a Payoneer Mastercard®, and get funds loaded to your card to spend online and at points of sale.
#5: Maintain your flexibility
Whether you’re renting out a single room or your entire property, flexibility is key. Is your mom coming to stay with you for a few days over the holidays? Have you changed your own travel plans, affecting the days you’ll be home? Easily block out or change blackout dates in your property’s vacation site page to fit your schedule. Without that tool, you’ll have to start picking up the phone and sending out notifications about changes in your availability.
#6: Occupancy taxes aren’t a headache
Many countries in the world require property owners and hospitality providers to pay an occupancy tax on properties being rented. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel in Europe, you may have noticed an additional tax added to your bill. These taxes differ by country, and some even by city.
Collecting and paying this tax can cause quite a complication, particularly with vacation rentals. Airbnb offers special tax collection and remittance services in certain cities, virtually removing the stress from the host. HomeAway helps hosts calculate how much tax they need to charge their tenants and add fees and taxes to their property listings. Deciding to do things on your own? You’re forgoing these services and assistance.