10 Tips to Get More Bookings on VRBO for Your Vacation Rental

July 31, 2023
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Vacation rental hosts like you work hard to make your properties shine. But getting those VRBO bookings can still be a struggle with so much competition out there. Well, We’ve got some great tips to share that can help you get more heads in beds and your calendar filled up! In this post, We’ll cover everything from optimizing your listing to marketing ideas, data insights and providing awesome guest experiences. So get ready to take your VRBO rental game to the next level!

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What is VRBO and How You Can Make Money

VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) is a popular vacation rental platform that allows homeowners to list and rent out their properties to travelers. With over 2 million listings across 190 countries, VRBO connects hosts with guests looking for accommodations around the world.

As a property owner, you can generate income by listing your vacation home, cabin, beach condo, or other extra space on VRBO. Travelers booking through VRBO typically stay for longer periods – a week or longer – compared to a hotel stay. So you can earn substantial rental income, especially during peak seasonal travel times.

VRBO listings include entire homes, apartments, villas, beach houses, cottages, and more. As a host, you set the nightly rates, availability calendar, booking requirements, and house rules. VRBO also provides tools to manage inquiries, reservations, and payments.

Overall, VRBO provides homeowners with an opportunity to earn substantial income from their vacation properties. So if you have extra space, why not put it to use on VRBO?

How to Get More Bookings on VRBO - 10 Tips & Tricks

Tip 1: Optimize your VRBO listing

Let’s start with your actual VRBO listing. Make sure to have stellar photos that highlight all your best features and spaces. Write up descriptors that showcase your unique property details, amenities, nearby attractions, and the experience you provide.

Double check you’ve got competitive pricing compared to similar local listings, and run occasional promotions or discounts to incentivize bookings. And don’t forget to ask happy guests for reviews! Positive ratings and feedback build credibility for potential renters.

Tip 2: Use VRBO tools and upgrade membership

Take advantage of VRBO’s own tools to boost bookings. Enable Instant Book so guests can book quickly without a back-and-forth. Set Smart Pricing to automatically adjust rates based on demand and seasons.

And consider upgrading to Premier Host membership – you get bonus visibility in search, professional photography services, and priority customer support. If it fits your budget, you can also enroll in VRBO’s traveler subscription program where they promote your listing to members actively planning trips.

Tip 3: Focus on SEO best practices

SEO is crucial for discovery on VRBO. Research relevant keywords vacationers are searching for like “beach house Florida” and work them into your listing title, description, and amenities. Give your listing a unique descriptive name, not just the address. Have a website for your rental? Link to it in your listing description to build SEO backlinks. Also use detailed amenity tags like “hot tub” or “oceanfront” to get found for searches.

Tip 4: Cross-list your property on other sites

While VRBO is popular, more exposure across multiple platforms equals more bookings. So also list your property on Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, TripAdvisor rentals and more.

Just be sure to sync your calendar across all sites to avoid frustrating double bookings. While cross-listing takes more effort, it significantly expands your reach and guest options.

Each site also offers different perks – like Booking’s Genius program – so it’s worth covering all bases.

Tip 5: Market your listing outside VRBO

  • Promote your listing on your social media profiles with beautiful property photos and highlights of things to do around your area.
  • Run Google and Facebook ads targeted at potential guests searching for or interested in traveling to the location of your rental.
  • Distribute brochures, flyers, and other promotional materials at local tourism hot spots, hotels, restaurants, etc.
  • Ask local tourism organizations, hotels, businesses, etc. if they can recommend or feature your vacation rental on their platforms or materials.
  • Partner with relevant bloggers or influencers to feature your rental on their travel sites/accounts.
  • The more people that learn about your amazing property outside of VRBO, the more bookings you’ll drive.
  • Don’t rely solely on organic VRBO traffic and listings. Actively promote your property through multiple online and offline channels.
  • Diversify your marketing efforts to maximize your rental’s visibility and reach the most potential guests.

Tip 6: Offer experience packages and deals

Sweeten the deal for guests with bundled packages or discounts. Offer multi-night discounts, throw in a wine tour or spa credit, provide a “romance” or “adventure” package deal. For returning guests, offer loyalty discounts.

Have special rates for last minute or off-season stays when you need to fill vacancies. Consider doing a VRBO promotion like 10% off 3+ nights or 5% off weekly stays. Just make sure packages are still profitable – you don’t want to give away the farm!

Tip 7: Engage previous guests

Past guests are your best promoters! Collect guest emails so you can occasionally update them on property news, local events, and specials. Ask them to write a review of their stay on your VRBO listing.

Maintain the relationship so when they’re planning their next vacation rental, they think of you first. Offer referral bonuses or discounts for any new bookings they send your way. Even just checking in with past guests and thanking them for their stay goes a long way in getting repeat and word-of-mouth bookings.

Tip 8: Consider professional rentals management

Running everything yourself can get overwhelming fast. Professional rental management companies can list and syndicate your property across top sites, optimize pricing, handle guest communications and bookings, coordinate cleaning/maintenance, and even staff concierge services like grocery delivery.

They use data and experience to maximize occupancy and revenue. Services don’t come cheap, often 25-35% of booking fees, but the hands-off approach and potential booking boost is appealing for many hosts.

Tip 9: Analyze performance data insights

Crunch those VRBO numbers! Dive into your listing analytics to spot booking patterns, lengths of stay, page views, repeat guests, click-through rates and more.

See which amenities or listing sections draw the most interest. Identify seasonal trends so you can adjust pricing accordingly.

Aim to fill last minute vacancies with promotions. See if cross-listing on additional platforms has increased bookings. The insights will show you what’s working well and where there’s still opportunity to improve.

Tip 10: Provide excellent guest service

From inquiry to checkout and beyond, provide A+ service. Be responsive to guest questions and requests, ideally within 24 hours. Share detailed check-in instructions, directions, and your contact info ahead of their arrival. Offer check-in flexibility when possible.

Provide little welcome surprises like local treats, activity brochures, and essentials like coffee and toiletries. Solve any issues promptly and proactively. Follow up after stays to ensure satisfaction. The goal is happy guests who can’t wait to return and refer others. Word spreads fast about hosts who go above and beyond.

Advantages of listings on VRBO

  • Increased exposure – VRBO provides a huge platform to showcase your vacation rental to millions of travelers planning trips.
  • Established credibility – VRBO has been in the vacation rental space for over 25 years so guests trust bookings through their site.
  • Specialized audience – Users come to VRBO specifically looking to book vacation rentals, as opposed to a general travel site.
  • Traveler loyalty program – VRBO offers a subscription service where travelers get benefits and access to exclusive listings.
  • Listing optimization features – You can enhance your listing with professional photography, instant booking, and promotional opportunities.
  • Booking management tools – The site provides calendar syncing, messaging threads with guests, and booking management features.
  • Preferred partnership perks – There are opportunities to get preferred placement and visibility by working with certain property managers and agencies.
  • Traveler reviews and ratings – Guests can leave feedback on their stay which builds social proof and reputation for future bookings.
  • Analytics and reports – Hosts get access to listing performance data like page views, leads generated, and bookings tracked back to site.
  • Guest support – VRBO provides customer support for travelers before, during, and after trips which helps ensure positive experiences.
  • Payment processing – Securely accept payments from guests and receive payouts for completed stays. Listing is free.
  • Marketing opportunities – VRBO provides co-op advertising programs, email promotions to travelers, and other Exposure increases opportunities for bookings.

Final Thoughts

There you have it – Our tips and tricks for scoring more VRBO bookings! With so much competition out there, you have to be strategic to stand out and maximize occupancy. Focus on optimizing your actual listing, expanding visibility on and off VRBO, incentivizing with deals, leveraging tools and data, providing top-notch guest service, and constantly innovating.

It takes work, but the payoff of more bookings and happy repeat guests is so rewarding. The more you fine-tune based on your property, guests and market, the more success you’ll see. Time to turn up the traffic and get those vacancy days filled! Let me know if any other VRBO booking questions come up.

Here’s to a fully booked calendar! If you want to take things to the next level, you can even launch your own VRBO clone with our script and start your own vacation rental booking site.

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll want to update your listing at least 2-3 times a year with new photos, availability info, copy changes, and pricing updates. Freshen things up seasonally.

Premier Hosts get up to 40% more page views, priority listing in search, professional photography, traveler confirmed badges, and discounted subscription fees.

Politely ask happy guests to leave a review after checkout. Follow up via email with a review request and link back to your listing. Offering incentives can help too.

Occasional strategic promotions and discounts help drive bookings during slower periods or for last minute vacancies. Just avoid deep discounting that devalues your listing.

VRBO has direct calendar integration with HomeAway, TripAdvisor Rentals, Apartments.com and more. Apps like Avail or iGMS can also help.

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    Gauri Pandian

    Gauri Pandian is a seasoned Business Development Manager with 9 years of experience in sales and client relations. Currently, she is responsible for business growth and client acquisition as a BD Manager at Zipprr, a leading custom software development firm. Prior to this, she has worked with Early-stage startups helping them scale through strategic partnerships. Gauri has a crack for understanding customer pain points and unlocking new opportunities.