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 11 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 inclusivity or pet-friendliness.
If your vacation rental also caters to a niche market, you should definitely consider listing it on one or more 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.
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 by the availability of their niche interests. This can mean as good or even better performance during the traditional shoulder season than the traditional high season.
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 travel 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 2023.
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.
Alternative booking website in the luxury niche: Airbnb Luxe
BringFido provides travelers who prefer to travel with their pets with over 150,000 dog-friendly places to stay around the world. These include cabins, beach houses, cottages, condos, and hotels. 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 the leading pet travel site in the world.
An OTA that only lists properties with availability of up to just 14 days, GetawayGoGo caters exclusively to last minute bookings. Property managers are able to fill their gap days and last minute cancellations while guests receive a more favorable rate. The platform does not impose a commission, so guests also save on platform fees. Meanwhile, hosts only pay up to $10 if they are contacted by a traveler and/or receive a reservation. Travelers can also save their favorite deals or track them with GoGoRadar.
Alternative booking website in the last minute booking niche: Whimstay
With over 1,000 hand-picked accommodations in 50 locations around the globe, Kid & Coe lists a variety of kid-friendly properties, from family homes and resorts 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. Hosts pay 10% commission on all bookings on top of a one-time fee of $99 on joining. Corporate properties and property managers with dedicated websites to promote their listings pay 15%. Hosts can also choose to exchange their property for stays with other hosts.
Alternative booking website in the family-friendly booking niche: Sleeps5
Founded with inclusivity in mind, misterb&bB is a vacation rental booking website that serves the global LGBTQ+ community. Home to one million LGBTQ+ owned apartments, private rooms, and sofa beds, as well as LGBTQ+ friendly hotels, misterb&b boasts a host community of 310,000 in over 135 countries.
Rated Excellent on Trustpilot, it also provides travelers with great information, including travel guides, lists of experiences, and safety information for different destinations. Hosts can choose to hide their profile picture in countries where homophobia is high.
Alternative booking website in the LGBTQ+ niche: Fabstayz
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 hosts over 31,000 unique outdoor accommodations in 115 countries.
If you host an eco-friendly glamping property, you should consider listing it on Glamping Hub. The website caters to families, couples, groups, and solo travelers, offering a variety of accommodation types such as tent cabins, safari tents, tiny houses, caravans, domes, cottages, log cabins, yurts, containers, and more.
Alternative booking website in the glamping niche: Hipcamp
Handiscover is dedicated to providing accommodation options for people with special needs and disabilities. With verified accessibility data for each room of each of its listings, the platform delivers accommodations that suit different levels 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.
A vacation rental platform dedicated to women travelers that prioritizes the safety of women traveling around the world, Golightly properties are also owned/managed by women. Conceived as a private vacation rental club for women where every traveler and listing is vetted carefully prior to entry and profiles – both guests’ and hosts’ – are only available within the network to ensure privacy and safety, Golightly listings can be found across the world. Members can travel alone or as a group (including with men) and book both entire homes and rooms.
If you are interested in marketing your vacation rental to the growing segment of digital nomads and/or business professionals, consider HouseStay. Available to both individuals and corporates, HouseStay offers a simplified, automated booking process with a minimum stay requirement of 30 days. Providing fully-furnished accommodations that have passed an inspection by the platform, properties are available in 18+ metros in the US. Utilities are included in the rent and the listing is free for hosts.
Alternative booking website in the corporate housing/business travel niche: Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO)
Designed to provide a “custom wellness holiday,” Retreatmi combines accommodation with experiences such as yoga and rock climbing, and food to make wellness travel more accessible. The booking platform offers over 1,000 retreats across 2,000+ properties in 30 countries across the globe. Guests can book by property or retreat packag, which includes its partner accommodations. RetreatMi accepts a broad range of accommodations including villas, cabins, manor houses, farms, yachts, B&Bs, and camps across landscapes such as deserts, forests, and mountains.
Based on the idea of Stay (host), Share, and Play (together), the highly-rated Sportihome is a niche booking platform that has over 70,000 vacation rentals available to be booked instantly based on 20+ outdoor sports. Travelers can choose accommodation based on sports such as skiing, surfing, cycling, and fishing; by rental type including houses, chalets, villas, apartments, farms, and rooms; or by experiences such as by the sea, with my dog, or eco-friendly. Hosts who share the same sports passion can also engage with guests, showing their favorite spots and providing experiences. Hosts list for free.
Alternative booking website in the sports travel niche: SkiYodl
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.