Tips for Better Success on VRBO

I have had my property on VRBO for awhile and get very few bookings on it (maybe once every few months), compared to 90% occupancy on Airbnb. I find the VRBO site very confusing to use (especially with all the other sites you have to list on separately - HomeAway, etc?) so haven’t put a ton of work into managing things there. But I have been reading about others who get a lot of business through that site, so I am thinking about putting a little more energy into it as it would be nice to have a few more VRBO bookings to fill in some vacant dates now and then.

For those who have success on VRBO, do you have any tips on how to maximize my listing to get the most results? With all the changes they are making to the site I find it very confusing how to optimize to achieve the best search results, etc.

Here is my listing if you have any input:

Did you pay an annual subscription or are you on commission bookings?

Same for us, nothing from homeaway. We are on annual subscription

@cabinhost I am on commission bookings.

Well I am not sure if this is still how they are placing commission listings.

But when they first introduced the commission option, they were only showing those properties sometimes. The company will never come out and say this, but basically if there are a lot of people in your market still on annual subscription, esp. those who are still on Platinum, Gold, Silver levels, etc. - they need to deliver them a certain amount of bookings to try to keep them content.

So basically they were pushing the commission listings to the top of search results, but would pull them near the bottom (or even hide them altogether) if the annual listings were not getting enough bookings.

Now that they are trying to move everyone to one “type” subscription level (or commission), and no longer offering the high level subscriptions, I imagine the “hiding” of listings would lessen.

Have you had friends search as if they were looking for a place in your city? If not, I would have them do this on different days. In some areas they are pulling in properties (an hour drive away) and showing them before the properties in your immediate area.

Also if your calendar is a bit full, then VRBO will place you lower in searches too. They will try to push the emptier calendars to the top. I have heard some say that tinkering with the listing description and photos seems to bring some activity.

So one thing I am confused about - do I need to have a separate listing for each site (HomeAway, VRBO, etc)? Or do I just make one listing on any of those sites and it will show on all the sites? I just noticed that my HomeAway and VRBO listing (for the same property) are both showing up in the search results on VRBO.

Would you recommend that I buy an annual subscription for better search results?

No, I would not encourage annual subscription for better searches. For the most part all of the search results are manipulated anyway. You just wait your turn in the rotation line.

If anything, the company would prefer the commission listings. They take 8% from you (on top of the guest service fee). Of course the lower your prices too, the easier it is for the company to convert bookings on your listing. I was only mentioning that you may have a lot of people in your market who are still being phased out of the high level subscriptions.

I show on both Homeaway and VRBO, and I only pay to list on VRBO. But I am not certain that I always show on Homeaway. They might just throw my listing in once in a while.

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