FlipKey is an online marketplace for vacation rentals, home to over 830,000 properties in 190 countries. Having originated in 2007, it became a part of Tripadvisor Rentals in 2008. Tripadvisor Rentals combines vacation rental hosts and Tripadvisor traveler reviews to provide travelers with a crowd-vetted, encompassing experience. Other Tripadvisor Rentals members include Holiday Lettings, Niumba, Vacation Home Rentals, and HouseTrip.
FlipKey is known for offering a lot of rental choices, not just in the main destinations but in up-and-coming neighborhoods and out of the way locales. It can also be more affordable at times, particularly with long term rentals while offering a more varied choice.
FlipKey works like most other vacation rental booking sites. Users arrive at the home page and use the booking engine to search for suitable vacation rentals by location and check-in and check-out dates. FlipKey will generate a list of properties based on the inputs as well as a map if users prefer to search more specifically by location. For example, a search for vacation rentals in Lake Tahoe will generate results across the city but you can use the map to specify which area you’d like to stay in, near the lake on the Nevada border or the mountains in California state.
Prices are listed per night and more often than not weekly, at a discounted rate. Users can filter results by a wide range of criteria including:
-Rental type including villa, house, apartment, studio, hotel apartment, cottage, chalet, lodge, manor house, bungalow, barn, castle, townhouse, camper van, farmhouse, yacht, yurt, finca, condo, private room, B&B, tented camp, guest house, log cabin, teepee, treehouse, caravan, etc
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Amenities including air conditioning, swimming pool, jacuzzi, wi-fi, garden, private pool, balcony or terrace, jacuzzi or hot tub, heated pool, washing machine, internet access, DVD player, grill, fireplace, cot, sauna, high chair, dishwasher, sea view, safe, children’s pool, shared pool, cribs, games room, clothes dryer, ceiling fans, table tennis, swing set or jungle gym, pool or snooker table, fax machine, video player, boat available, private fishing lake or river, bicycles available, housekeeping included, linen provided, towels provided, microwave, trampoline, climbing frame, etc
Provision for parking
Smoking or non-smoking property
Car not required
Children under 5 allowed
Activities available including golf, skiing, nightlife, beach, walking trips, city breaks, tennis, water sports, horse riding, golf, waterfront, cycling trips, mountain views, beach or lakeside relaxation, etc
Reviews and ratings for each property as well as their cancellation policies can be found upon clicking the entry.
In keeping with its Tripadvisor roots, FlipKey also offers content on trip ideas suited for different traveler types and seasons such as a weekend getaway, girls’ trip, island holiday, eco vacation, beach getaway, fall travel, spring break, etc, providing suited listings under each category. Users can also search through lists of trending destinations, traveler favorites, popular destinations, hidden gems, featured destinations, etc.
Listing on FlipKey is free and uncomplicated. You create an account, provide the required details such as
Property details & amenities
Rate by night, weekend, week, month, season
Fees for cleaning fees and taxes
Minimum number of nights a guest has to book your property
Booking and cancellation policies
Tourist license (only if you need one)
Payment and billing information
Listing on FlipKey automatically lists you on Tripadvisor, the largest travel platform in the world, along with its 860 million reviews and opinions as well as ratings. Considering that every month, 456 million people, i.e. about 1 in every 16 people on earth, visit some aspect of Tripadvisor to plan or assess a trip, this provides huge exposure.
FlipKey is known for facilitating easy communication between guests and hosts. While contact details are kept private until payment, unlike most other OTAs, hosts can access guest contact details and even message them using their private email afterward.
FlipKey charges a booking fee of 8-16% of the total reservation from guests and a commission of 3% on all reservations from hosts. Guests are refunded the booking fee only if they cancel within 24 hours of booking and not later.
A guest is allowed to cancel their reservation within 24 hours of making their booking as long as the reservation is over 60 days ahead. The 24 hour period begins at the time the booking is accepted or when the guest pays for the reservation, whichever comes first. The guest is issued a full refund inclusive of FlipKey’s booking fee.
Once this period is over, the property managers’ chosen cancellation policy applies. FlipKey offers 5 different cancellation policies:
Relaxed: Guest is fully refunded if they cancel not later than 2 weeks before check-in
Flexible: Guest receives a 50% refund if they cancel at least 4 weeks before check-in and a 25% refund if they cancel between 2 and 4 weeks before check-in. No refund is issued if they cancel later than 2 weeks before check-in
Moderate: Guest receives a 50% refund if they cancel not later than 4 weeks before check-in
Strict: Guest receives a 50% refund if they cancel at least 8 weeks before check-in and a 25% refund if they cancel between 8 and 4 weeks before check-in. No refund is issued if they cancel later than 4 weeks before check-in
Super Strict: No refunds are issued.
The default cancellation policy applied on FlipKey is Moderate, until the host changes it.
Travelers have the option of paying for their FlipKey bookings via credit card including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, as well as PayPal. Hosts on the other hand can choose to receive payments into a bank account or a Paypal account. This generally takes 3-5 business days and 1 business day, respectively.
Property managers can choose for guests to pay the entire reservation amount upfront or pay a deposit upfront and balance at a later date.
Tripadvisor Rentals collects and remits occupancy taxes to local authorities in some markets for its partners including FlipKey. Hosts in other markets however will have to add their tax rate to the listing and have guests pay the tax to them like any other fees. Property managers must then remit the tax to the relevant local authorities.
Vacation rental owners and property managers can access the host version of FlipKey/Tripadvisor Rentals through its mobile apps, available for both iOS and Android.
FlipKey offers property managers a number of options to gain customer support.
Owners have access to help guides which include FAQs and step-by-step guides accessible from the host account.
Hosts can chat with the chatbot available on the host account.
Property managers can call Tripadvisor Rentals directly on 1 877 354 7539.
Hosts can also send a message via the contact form though it can take up to 2 days to receive a response.
Because FlipKey is integrated into Tripadvisor, users can not only book a vacation rental through FlipKey but then easily add other bookings like flights, transport, tours, restaurants, etc across the world through Tripadvisor seamlessly.
Tripadvisor Payment Protection is a protection plan for guests when they pay by credit/debit card or Paypal where they are reimbursed $10,000 if they are denied access to the vacation rental they booked at check-in or if it has been misinterpreted substantially. Guests can only make a claim on the first day of checking in. Claims are not entertained if the guest stays overnight. Hosts who opt into the program display the Tripadvisor Payment Protection logo in their listing.
Property managers who opt for the Instant Book feature allow travelers to choose available dates and book immediately, without sending a booking request. Their listing will feature a ‘Book Now’ button.
FlipKey is available in a number of international currencies. These include the US Dollar, British Pound, Euro, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Swedish Krona, Thai Bhat, and South African Rand.
Vacation rental owners can decide on the size of the damage deposit they require from guests. Once a guest checks out, you have seven days to report any damages and submit a claim.
If no claim is raised, FlipKey returns the deposit amount to the guest. If the guest has paid directly to the owner, it is their responsibility to refund the guest. Sometimes hosts ask for large deposits which can put off some travelers.
Hosts can also opt to not request a damage deposit upfront. Once a claim is submitted and the guest accepts, FlipKey will charge guests the agreed upon amount.
All property managers are assigned an account manager from FlipKey to help provide advice on managing their properties as well as insights and information on the vacation rental industry.
FlipKey is rated 3.47 stars on SiteJabber, indicating that most customers are generally satisfied. It is rated 2.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with negative reviews from both guests and hosts generally centering on customer support, cancellation, and outdated information. Meanwhile, positive reviews center on communication and guest refunds.