105 - Hospiria’s guide to the best short-term vacation rental booking platforms

Being a property manager comes with its perks, but it also has a fair number of challenges, whether that be attracting the right guests or getting your properties enough exposure. Listing on multiple platforms is the best way to solve this. What's the easiest and quickest way to do this, I hear you ask? Well, Hospiria specialises in distributing your short-term rental properties on more than 40 of these platforms. We have summarised our findings on the top players in the industry to partner with and highlighted some of their best, and not so best, features. 

One of our partner's properties in the heart of Shoreditch, London.

Airbnb

Evidently, Airbnb are a machine in the short-term vacation rentals and hosting world. Despite the pandemic, they still managed to increase their market share in 2020 and consolidate their position.  They were predicted to account for more than 20% of the vacation rental industry pre pandemic and have continued their focus on recruiting hosts.

Pros: They are without a doubt the market leader and do well at exerting this power, so partnering with them is no question. Along with their platform being one of the easiest to use and navigate, we also like that they recognise their role as an industry pillar. They take their role seriously when it comes to engaging on industry issues, for example working closely with city officials to implement local short-term rental regulations & guidance and lead from the front, which we respect. 

Cons: When the pandemic hit, Airbnb instituted a policy that allowed guests to cancel reservations for full refunds which cost hosts thousands of pounds. This was great for guests but ultimately led hosts to explore partnering with other distribution channels available to them. 

Best for: Individual hosts 

Homes & Villas by Marriott International 

Homes & Villas by Marriott International has just celebrated their two-year anniversary, and Hospiria are delighted with what they have achieved in this time. 

Pros: Partnering with Marriott offers its recognised brand name, large loyal member base through its Bonvoy programme and unparalleled quality standards. You have confidence in the high quality, high paying guests that they deliver, and it is clear to see that they are a mature, experienced partner in the industry.

Cons: When they pivoted into the STVR space, there was no denying that their technology was lagging, a common trend in the hotel landscape. However, they have put a lot of work into this in the past couple of years and the benefits are showing.

Best for: Professional vacation rental managers

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Booking.com

There is no denying that Booking.com are a beast in the online travel agency environment boasting more than 27 million properties available on their site.

Pros: We are a particular fan of their promotion section including their Genius loyalty programme and find that their Preferred Partner Programme is a useful tool to help navigate through their extensive portfolio.

Cons: Their dominance is reflected in the sheer volume of properties that they drive as they list pretty much all types of accommodation. Whilst this is great for travellers that are open to variety, it means your short-term rental can be harder to find. We feel that their user experience is not quite as curated as Airbnb and their search filters are a little cluttered.

Best for: All types of vacation rentals, both independent hosts and professional managers

VRBO

Leading in the US market with a strong portfolio of holiday destinations is certainly VRBO. They deal only with private spaces and entire homes, and do not list home-shares like Airbnb. 

Pros: Similar to Airbnb’s superhost status, we like their preferred host status function to help drive quality, which we feel is reflected in their advanced filter function ensuring that their customers book with absolute confidence.

Cons: Their specialty is focusing on villas, cabins, and beach houses, meaning they fall slightly behind in the urban space compared to the likes of Booking.com and Airbnb. We also felt that they were slower off the mark with regards to tech updates versus Airbnb – and are still working towards closing this gap. 

Best for: Professional property managers (in rural areas and holiday destinations)

Drakestone House, Stinchcombe England.

Expedia: 

Pros: The expanse and strength of the Expedia affiliate network is Expedia’s greatest asset. Partnering with Expedia means you gain access to their affiliate platforms such as Hotels.com, Travelocity and Trivago which saves a huge amount of time optimising your properties across several platforms. Further, because travellers go to Expedia for a one-stop shop for all travel needs – your property is more likely to get noticed. 

Cons: They have recently pulled back their focus on the Expedia package and are concentrating more on VRBO, so you need to bear this in mind from a property owner perspective and prioritise your focus accordingly. 

Best for: All types of vacation rentals, both independent hosts and professional managers

AltoVita:

New to our booking platform portfolio is AltoVita, who specialise in corporate and business travel. 

Pros: AltoVita mirror the high-quality standards of Homes & Villas by Marriott International. Homes are evaluated and must meet a certain criterion of standards to be listed. We like that their focus offers us a new guest profile and that the security deposit is not passed onto the guests, like most other platforms.

Cons: They are currently small in the STVR landscape, but Hospiria predict they will become a prominent player.

Best for: Professional property managers (suitable for corporate travel)

In summary, each platform offers a different solution for varying properties and managers. Therefore, using Hospiria's distribution service to partner with multiple channels is the best way to ensure revenue is maximised, and you are reaching the millions of daily visitors seeking a short-term rental. Watch this space as we continue to add our thoughts on the next round of short-term vacation rental platforms!