OTAs like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com may dominate the vacation rental booking market even attracting hotels to list on their platform but the vacation rental booking website market is home to many other players. They may be small but they have carved themselves a niche that a large booking agent like Airbnb simply can’t dominate in that specific domain.
Top 10 Niche Vacation Rental Booking Websites
A niche vacation rental booking website, like its larger mainstream counterparts, caters to a specific domain or niche. The niche may be based on interests like adventure, values such as eco-friendliness, geography (think state/county, national, or continental borders). or demographics like age, catering to youth for example. Niche markets for vacation rentals include ultra luxury, glamping, or sports-oriented, inclusive of families with children and people with disabilities, or ensuring LGBT- and pet-friendliness.
If your vacation rental also caters to a niche market, you should definitely consider listing it on appropriate niche vacation rental booking websites. This provides many advantages including:
The more booking websites you list on, the more exposure your vacation rental receives.
Because you are catering to new sets of travelers, you increase the number of bookings and thus occupancy of your vacation rental, ultimately leading to higher revenue.
Niche travelers are willing to pay higher rates because they understand they are receiving an additional or more personalized service to suit their particular needs which they can’t find at regular vacation rentals.
Niche travelers are generally not constrained by the mainstream travel seasons but rather the availability of their niche interest.
Most property managers use a multi-channel distribution strategy to diversify risk and increase bookings and listing on niche vacation rental booking websites opens your vacation rental to new markets.
From inventory to advertising, by targeting a niche audience you can reduce the costs of catering to a wider audience.
Serving niche traveler groups can open doors to more guests, more lucrative markets, and better marketing ROI. But serving niches only work if the niche travelers can find and book your vacation rental in the niche booking websites that they use. Here are the best niche vacation rental booking websites for 2022.
Plum Guide is a curated list of exceptional stays across the world. Known as a Michelin guide to vacation rentals, Plum Guide is unique in its strict requirements for listing. The platform only allows the crème de la crème of vacation rentals to list with each property reviewed in-person by a Plum Guide specialist before it can make the cut. If you operate an exceptional vacation rental property capable of serving the top 1% of guests, you should definitely consider trying to list on Plum Guide.
BringFido provides travelers who prefer to travel with their pets over 100,000 dog friendly places to stay around the world. These include cabins, beach houses, cottages, condos, and hotels that are available for vacation rentals. Guests can browse through the individual pet policies, read reviews, and compare and book listings on the website or app. They can also communicate with the host directly. Used by millions of pet-owning vacationers around the world who are also provided with information on dog approved restaurants, parks, trails, shops, etc, BringFido is a must list for dog-friendly hosts.
With hand picked accommodations in over 50 countries, Kid & Coe lists a variety of kid friendly properties, from family homes and rural retreats to stylish apartments, spacious hotels, and comfortable condos. Each property is checked in person and hosts are provided with professional editorial and photo editing services to ensure their listings are fresh and attractive. Over 10,000 nights have been booked through Kid & Coe. Hosts can also choose to exchange their property for stays with other hosts.
As the name suggests, Niche Escapes curates property by niches such as city, coast, culture, eco-friendliness, accessibility, rural locale, culinary offering, luxury, family-friendliness, golf, surf, nightlife, etc. Listing over 650 vacation rentals in the US, UK, and Europe, it covers over 250 top destinations. Niche Escapes a variety of dwellings, from bungalows and shepherd huts to chateaus and cabins.
Founded with inclusivity in mind, Mister B&B is a vacation rental booking website that serves the global LGBTQ community. Calling themselves the largest gay hotelier in the world, Mister B&B is home to 310,000 LGBTQ hosts in the US and around the world offering safe homes, apartments, rooms, hotels, and other accommodations. Rated Excellent on Trustpilot, it also provides travelers with great information including travel guides, experience lists, and safety information for different destinations. Hosts can choose to hide their profile picture in countries where homophobia is high.
Glamping Hub lists unique accommodations set in nature that also provide the luxurious comforts of a great hotel. A global leader in the space, it has served 98,000 glampers through over 22,000 unique outdoor accommodations in 115 countries. If you host an eco-friendly glamping property like a tent cabin for instance, you should consider listing on Glamping Hub. The website caters to families, couples, groups, and solo travelers, offering 27 different types of glamping.
With verified accessibility data for each room of each of its listings, Handiscover is dedicated to people with special needs and disabilities, enabling them to find accommodation that suits their particular level of accessibility requirements. Handiscover provides its accommodation partners with disability and accessibility training, help managing their accessibility data towards improvement and gaining a competitive edge, as well as assistance in creating accessibility focused content for partners’ websites and social media channels. Handiscover listings can be found in the US, UK, Europe, Asia, Cuba, and South Africa.
If you are interested in marketing your vacation rental to the growing segment of digital nomads and/or business professionals, consider Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO). The online marketplace matches property owners with renters looking for quality, furnished housing. Unlike most other booking sites, CHBO hosts discuss, negotiate and agree upon the rent directly with the renter and only pay a listing fee. CHBO verifies the address and contents of each listing and professionally photographs the unit. Guests can search for properties on their own or request CHBO to search for properties on their behalf based on a customized list of options.
Founded to be a “healthy adventure hub”, RetreatMi combines experiences such as ice bath therapy and biking with suitable accommodations in 14 countries around the world. Designed to be user friendly, guests can book by property or retreat package which includes its partner accommodations. RetreatMi accepts a broad range of accommodations including villas, cabins, manor houses, farms, yachts, B&Bs, and camps.
Operated by a collective of ski industry professionals, SkiYodl is a booking platform for travelers looking for ski vacations in the Alps through France or Switzerland. Users are treated to a flexible and transparent booking experience as well as tips and contacts for additional arrangements such as transport, lift passes, lessons, restaurants, etc. Properties hoping to list must be first approved by a SkiYodl expert as meeting their standards.
The niche travel market is growing. Vacation rental podcasters and marketing gurus like Matt Landau have been forecasting the rise of niche vacation rental booking sites and the chance for hosts to enjoy a wider selection and less monopolized hosting market. (It also makes for a more interesting vacation rental blog, a great marketing tool by itself.) Listing on niche vacation rental booking websites allows you to better tap into this growing segment of travelers who are generally willing to pay higher rates.