Just listing your property on Vrbo is not enough to keep those bookings coming in. To stay competitive, you need to optimize your listing for Vrbo and make it more attractive to guests. Read on to find out how you can get more Vrbo bookings for your property.
Top Tips to Get More Bookings on Vrbo
As the vacation rental space gets more competitive, it is more imperative than ever that you list on more than just one channel. Airbnb may be the biggest OTA in the world but there are plenty of OTAs both large and niche that can bring in bookings. Vrbo is one of the best options out there.
Home to over 2 million vacation rentals and attracting nearly 16 million unique visitors worldwide, it is a popular marketplace for both hosts and travelers.
Vrbo functions in similar fashion to other online booking channels like Airbnb but it also has its own unique factors. This list of suggestions will help you get more inquiries, bookings, and rank higher on Vrbo search results in an ever more competitive marketplace.
Here are the top 20 tips on how to optimize your listing and get more bookings on Vrbo:
Vrbo Instant Booking allows travelers to book properties instantly without having to wait for confirmation from the host. This improves its visibility and search rankings as well as improves conversion rate, making it much more likely to be booked. They also appear on Expedia Group sites, increasing their exposure. However, the feature is not one favored by most hosts as it does not give them an opportunity to screen their guests before confirmation.
The next best thing to enabling Instant Booking is to respond to booking requests fast. Vrbo recommends responding within at least 24 hours though the faster you respond the better. Booking requests are not the only messages hosts should respond to but any inquiries from travelers. Bottom line: Don’t make potential guests wait.
Accepting as many booking requests as possible is rewarded by the Vrbo search algorithm while a high decline rate negatively impacts rankings.
Vrbo allows hosts to tag their property’s location with keywords like ‘beachfront’, ‘mountain view’, and ‘downtown’ that can be important selling points for your listing and enable it to show up when travelers filter their searches using location tags.
Vrbo asks hosts to list at least five amenities but don’t leave any out. List out all the amenities you provide, from a swimming pool and air conditioning to parking and pets. Guests use filters to narrow their search and not listing an amenity that may seem obvious to you, like wi-fi, could lead you to not getting booked.
Your headline is one of the first things potential guests see so make it as attractive as possible. You have to be creative, accurate, distinctive, and relevant. Using all capitals is generally not recommended as it can come across as immature or aggressive.
A great listing description will describe the experience of staying at your property. It will provide an accurate and complete description of what your property offers, including amenities, nearby sights, activities, etc. Use keywords that guests can spot quickly and language that will attract their attention. Don’t make it too long either. Break it down into short paragraphs or even bullet points to make it easier to read or scan.
Cleanliness is of paramount importance to guests on Vrbo and elsewhere. According to Vrbo however, most hosts don’t mention their cleaning practices on their listings. Stating how you ensure a high level of hygiene is maintained can help improve your chances of getting booked.
Reviews are an important factor in the decision-making process of potential guests. They also help your property rank higher on Vrbo search. Making sure you provide an excellent guest experience so you can continue to earn five stars. Don’t forget to ask your guests for a review to ensure you keep collecting those great reviews.
Use high-quality photographs that showcase your property at its best. It is advisable to hire a professional photographer to take standout photographs that will make potential guests want to book. Upload a lot of pictures and ensure to showcase the full scope of your property and its amenities. Make sure your thumbnail photo is not only a stunning photograph but also showcases an overall picture of your property.
There are always emergencies and other unforeseeable circumstances that can force a host to cancel. Keeping cancellations to a minimum, however, will ensure your listing is not penalized on search rankings and increase its chances of being booked. If you do ever have to cancel, try to talk to your guests and ask them to cancel so it doesn’t affect your rate of cancellation.
Add your property address to your listing so Vrbo can show your location on a map search when travelers are looking for properties in your area. Make sure your listing details such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, number of beds, etc are accurate. This ensures your property shows up through search filters and you don’t miss out on booking possibilities.
Update your booking calendar on Vrbo regularly so you don’t have to cancel on guests due to double bookings. Vrbo will stop displaying your calendar if you haven’t updated in over 60 days. If you want to improve your booking rate however it is recommended that you use a proven channel manager like Hostaway. This is crucial if you list on other channels as well.
Price is an important consideration for travelers and maintaining a competitive price will ensure you not only get more bookings but also continue to make a profit. A dynamic pricing tool that takes into consideration a number of factors including demand, season, competitor rates, etc is the best way to ensure your listing is always priced optimally.
Vrbo’s Premier program is similar to Airbnb’s Superhost program. Being a Premier host provides a badge on your listing, shows your property when guests filter their search using Premier host status, and provides access to the Boost program. And because hosts must maintain an average review rating of 4.3, it inspires greater trust by travelers and increases your chances of getting booked.
Putting together a set of house rules for your guests helps set their expectations and avoid misunderstandings. However, if you have too many rules or are too strict, you are quite likely to put off guests and decrease your chances of getting booked.
If you are a Vrbo Premier host, you are eligible for the Boost program. Boost awards you with power-ups each time you receive a booking and when a guest completes a stay. In turn, you can use the power-ups you’ve earned to boost the visibility of your listing on search, making it more likely to be booked.
If you’re new to Vrbo and have no previous reviews to show, guests are less likely to book because they can find it harder to trust your listing than a property with a collection of great reviews. Providing discounted rates can help travelers get over this gap.
If you are new to listing on Vrbo and have over a 4.5 review rating and earned over $2,000 in the past year or have received Superhost status, you can join its Fast Start program. Vrbo will provide your listing with a “new to Vrbo’ badge for 90 days as well as feature your review score based on reviews you’ve garnered from other channels, increasing your chances of bookings. Vrbo claims the increased visibility generates an average increase in bookings of 25% and in booking value of 140%.
Marketing your property on social media is crucial to increasing visibility and driving bookings to your property. Post great photos and videos, highlight attractions and activities in the area, share updates on your property, etc. You can use your mobile phone to take great photos and videos.