As the vacation rental market gets more competitive, relying on a single distribution channel to list your property is hardly the road to success. Most property managers use a multi-channel distribution strategy, i.e. diversifying their booking sources by listing on more than one booking platform, including direct booking through their own website. Multi-channel distribution is relevant to all hosts, whether they manage one or ten properties and no matter the type of property, be it a tent cabin or a hotel with multiple units. It is also important to hosts who engage in niche tourism, catering to sports tourists, college students, etc.
Listing your vacation rental on at least two booking channels, Airbnb and VRBO for example, will increase the exposure of your property to audiences while growing occupancy and growing revenue. A multi-channel distribution strategy however requires you to sync certain features such as your reservation calendar to avoid double bookings or unifying your inbox so you can easily and rapidly respond to all guests.
Syncing your prices across Airbnb, VRBO and any other booking platform you may use is also important to ensure you:
By syncing your pricing across channels, you ensure you remain competitive against rival vacation rentals in your location or niche, no matter the platform your potential guest finds you on.
Many travelers engage in price checks across channels to make sure they get the best price for their booking. By syncing your prices you ensure you remain competitive across channels.
Syncing channels improves exposure and increases occupancy while syncing pricing garners an added competitive edge leader to higher revenues.
Some booking platforms apply rate parity mandates, demanding that hosts don’t offer lower rates on other booking channels including their own direct booking website.
There are two main methods to sync and update your prices on Airbnb, VRBO, and any other booking platform you may use.
A multi-channel distribution strategy absolutely requires you to use a channel manager which syncs and automates repetitive aspects of managing your vacation rental across platforms. This includes syncing and updating your prices across Airbnb, VRBO, and any other booking channel you may use. As a preferred software partner of Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, Expedia, and Tripadvisor, Hostaway offers a channel manager that provides a reliable and robust two-way API connection to all major OTAs. All crucial data, from availability and reservation to pricing and booking parameters are distributed seamlessly across the channels.
Whether you choose to price on your own or use a dynamic pricing software like Beyond, Wheelhouse, PriceLabs, Rented, or DPGO, which are all available on the Hostaway marketplace, to do so, Hostaway’s channel manager will seamlessly sync and update your prices across the booking channels you use, including your direct booking website.
Hostaway even allows you to markup your price for each listing on each channel to cater to different variables:
1. To Make Up for Higher Commissions
For example, if you want to account for the higher commission of 15% that Booking.com charges vs Airbnb’s 3% fee, you can choose to markup up your rate for Booking.com by 12%. This way you maintain your net profit per channel.
2. To Cater to Different Types of Guests
Different booking platforms cater to different proportions of traveler types. VRBO, for example, is known for attracting large families looking for luxurious properties whilst Airbnb caters to a significant percentage of young travelers on a budget looking for new experiences. Knowing the guest profile, you may want to markup your vacation rental’s price on VRBO.
3. To Cater to Special Events
If you cater to a niche such as LGBT-friendly vacations for example and you are listed on a niche platform like MisterB&B or Pink Vacation Rentals, you could mark up your price for the channel during a Pride Parade in your locale, for example.
4. To Encourage Direct Booking
Hostaway’s channel manager also allows you to add a negative markup. This is a useful feature for property managers who want to push visitors to book directly on their website by marking down the price for their direct booking website.
If your revenue management tool directly integrates into all of your chosen platforms, you can use it directly to sync and update prices across channels without the use of a channel manager.
Dynamic pricing software pioneer Beyond, which serves over 340,000 listings in over 7,500 cities worldwide, can be used to sync and update prices across Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. Meanwhile, PriceLabs can only be used to sync across Airbnb and VRBO whilst Wheelhouse integrates directly with Airbnb and Tripadvisor which includes FlipKey.
Whether your dynamic pricing tool syncs and updates availability and prices every night or every hour, there is always a tiny window when a guest cancels or you unblock a date, when the latest prices don’t display on your calendar. By setting an artificially high base price in Airbnb, VRBO, or Booking.com, you can prevent travelers from booking your listing at low rates.
Make sure other pricing tools like Airbnb’s Smart Pricing and VRBO’s MarketMaker are turned off. Having multiple pricing tools turned on will result in inconsistent rates and lower revenue.
If you have enabled special discounts on Airbnb, VRBO, or Booking.com, to cater to long term rentals for example, it is recommended that you remove them as your dynamic pricing tool is better set to recommend the best pricing at the time no matter the length of the stay.