With over 15.9 million unique visitors a month, Vrbo is one of the world’s largest vacation rental marketplaces, which gives property managers lots of visibility among travellers. However, with the vacation rental industry's exponential growth and competitive market, simply getting listed on Vrbo is not enough. To achieve high conversion rates and maximise your bookings from Vrbo, you also need to make sure your listings are optimised to rank high in Vrbo search results.
Vrbo works similarly to other online booking platforms like Airbnb.com and Booking.com, which have their own, unique factors that affect the ranking of your properties in search. In essence, if you score higher on the ranking factors, your listings will appear higher in the search results, when a traveller searches for properties on Vrbo.
Many factors go into determining the ranking of listings in search results. To rank higher on Vrbo, it is imperative that you follow all the company’s best practices and advice when listing your properties.
Why you should optimize your listing is pretty straightforward - boosting search ranking is a great way to earn more from your properties. Vrbo’s search engine is designed to help travellers find what they’re looking for fast. Thus, it always pays off to keep your guests in mind and to think about who usually books your property and what they may be looking for in search, when listing on Vrbo. Anything that persuades guests to book, also impacts your ranking. So let’s dive into the tricks and techniques of optimizing your listing.
Remember to add everything you offer to your listing, when you’re adding amenities and features. What you may presume obvious might not be to a potential guest who travels from the other end of the world. On the other hand, many people use filters when they search for a property. For instance, if your property has a pool, but you haven’t added ‘swimming pool’ to the amenities, your listing won’t appear in those filtered searches. It’s also interesting to find out the top most-searched-for on filters and checking off all that applies to your unit.
Here are some of the most popular amenities that guests search for on Vrbo:
Quite similar to amenities, labels like ‘Beachfront’, ‘Beach view’, ‘Mountains’, and ‘Downtown’ are all major selling points for your property. If your property features any of these, go ahead and include the fact in your listing.
Location tags, tell guests where they can expect your property to be located without revealing your exact address. So, if you have a beachfront property, take advantage of this desirable label and make sure you have added all the location tags that apply to the property.
According to Vrbo data, 82% of guests say they care about cleaning standards, but shockingly, only 14% of property managers state vacation rental cleaning practices on their listings. This is a majorly overlooked advantage by hosts.
Travellers value cleanliness and Hygiene and safety are at the forefront of people’s minds. Hence, adopting thorough cleaning practices and highlighting them in your listings allows you the opportunity to get ahead of your competition.
Don’t forget to include all your property’s safety features, such as fire extinguishers or smoke alarms, in your listing as well.
It is natural for guests to want to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms your property has before they book. They may even filter their search results based on their desired number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Don’t wait for people to click the description for that information.
Ensure that your listing is configured correctly to show the exact number of beds (including sofa beds and rollaway beds), bathrooms, and other spaces like a dining room, living room, or garden area. If your property doesn’t appear in filtered searches, they might not get that far with your listing.
According to Vrbo, properties with 25 or more photos receive 40% more views and 30% more bookings on average (source: Vrbo Internal Data 2021) than their other counterparts.
Vacation rental travelers are sensitive to vision; so needless to say that stunning photos will get you more bookings and help you rank higher on Vrbo. You should aim to have at least 25 photos per property, but the more you add, the better!
When taking photos, put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Look at other homes in your area, and think about which images you are tempted to click on. It is highly likely your potentials will click on the same kind of images. Use this to your advantage and always paint a positive picture of your property with the kind of photographs you feature. For instance,
Bonus Tip: Choose your “hero” photo, or thumbnail, wisely. This will be the first impression your guests get, so it must show off the property’s best features. Vrbo’s full guide to taking better photos of your property, will definitely come in handy to nail this tactic.
Along with the thumbnail, headlines are what guests see first. Make sure your headline is a short, punchy sentence that promotes your property. Keep it brief and focus on the unique features and selling points such as the breathtaking view or the property’s ideal location.
Much like the headline, your description’s first sentence must grab a guest's attention and make them want to read on. A description detailed enough to include everything that guests need to know and short enough that you don't bore them is another factor that will help your properties rank higher on Vrbo.
Emphasize on how your property is suitable for specific kinds or groups of travellers. For instance, if your property is suitable for families with children or features accessible filters or is pet friendly, it is vital that you mention those facts to have an edge over your competition. A lot of travellers are now conscious of the environment, so if yours is an eco-friendly vacation rental, mention that to attract the sustainable traveller. You could talk about the local environment and popular attractions. Draw inspiration from past reviews to see what guests love most about your property.
Pro Tip: Short paragraphs and bullet points help make your description easy to read and skimmable.
As with any other vacation rental platform, if you cancel a lot of bookings, your property will start to slip down in rankings. If your guests request to cancel, make sure they process the cancellation from their end to not affect your cancellation rate. Occasionally, cancellations may be unavoidable. However, you should aim never to cancel a booking apart from in a genuine emergency.
Fast response rates are always great for any business. Likewise, a fast acceptance rate can help your property rank higher on Vrbo. When someone requests to book your property, it’s best practice to accept bookings within 24 hours. Try as much as possible to accept as many requests as possible because a high decline rate too can negatively impact your rankings.
Vrbo discovered that 92% of guests want to see reviews before booking; and honestly, wouldn't you too? Good reviews provide social proof and are always going to make properties more appealing to travellers. So, of course, Vrbo ranks properties with plenty of good reviews higher. To maximise your number of reviews, politely ask guests to leave reviews after their stay, and make sure to go above and beyond to give guests the best stay possible.