Otalo is a vacation rental search engine, we do not take vacation rental listings directly. We search the vacation rental sites on the web for rentals and then automatically include them in our index if they pass our quality standards. If you'd like to include your vacation rental in our search index, you just need to list it with one of the vacation rental listing sites below and then we will include your property on Otalo for free (just like Google)! Out of all the sites we list, here are our favorites you can list with right now (just click on the link):
Below is a list of the top vacation rental sites on the web - Otalo automatically includes properties on most of these sites in our search index in addition to crawling the web far and wide for smaller vacation rental listing sites. If you are trying to figure out which service to list your property on, review the information we list below, and then check out our section below on how to choose a vacation rental service.
|WeNeedAVacation.com||$262||4,000||#84,205||USA East||1 Year||No||1997|
* Traffic rank calculated as of June 2012 by Alexa represents where the sites rank globally in traffic compared to all sites on the internet. A number of 1 would represent the site in the world with the highest traffic (which happens to be Google.com). * Insurance is for $5,000 of damage coverage.
If you operate a vacation rental website, click here to include your properties in Otalo (and the review list above).
There are thousands of vacation rental listing sites on the inter-webs. But which of these sites should you list on? Since we've seen more vacation rental sites than you can shake a stick at, we thought we'd provide some reviews about these sites so you can find the best site for your needs!.
There are two types of vacation rental sites these days: advertising and merchants. Advertising sites, like HomeAway or VRBO or Flipkey, charge an annual fee to advertise your site. The main service they are offering is to list your property on their site. When a traveler chooses your property on their site, an inquiry will be directed to you and you will be responsible for the rest of the rental process - negotiating and collecting payment, etc. You are paying an annual fee to advertise on their site. That means you should balance the annual fee against how much traffic the site gets and how many other properties you are competing with on the site for that annual fee. Fees can be free or as low as $99 or as high as $370 - usually depending upon the traffic the site gets.
As you pay an annual fee for each advertising site, the more sites you list on the more expensive it will be. The largest Advertising Site, HomeAway, owns many sites (like VRBO, CyberRentals, GreatRentals, VacationHomeRentals, etc.). They offer a deal where you can list on multiple of their sites for a slight discount. The upside of a company like HomeAway is they get the most traffic out there - but they also have the most properties, so yours may not stand out.
With advertising sites, since you are paying an up-front fee to be listed, you should check if there is a guarantee. Some sites will guarantee your money back for a number of months or guarantee that you will also get at least your fee back in rental revenue. Also, the advertising sites are oriented to full apartments/houses and rent by the week.
Merchant sites, like Roomorama or Airbnb or Wimdu, do not charge a fixed fee. They take a percentage of the transaction. This is because they also manage the transaction for you, they collect the payment from the traveler and do much more of the work. The great thing about Merchant Sites, is that you only pay a fee if your property is rented. The fee can be anywhere between 3% to 15%. You don't have to worry about a guarantee, as you only pay a fee if your property is rented - which is great!
You need to be careful in reviewing the merchant sites' fee structure. The fee charged is usually split up between the owner and the traveler, but in the end the service gets their full fee. For example, Roomorama does not charge the property owner anything, but tacks on 12% on top of the rental price for the traveler. Airbnb on the other hand, charges the property owner 3%, and then the traveler another 6-12%. 9Flats goes the other way, and just charges the property owner a full 15% and the traveler nothing. In the end this is all just accounting differences - there is always the amount the traveler pays, and then the percentage of that amount which the property owner (called Hosts by many services) receives. In our analysis above, we show the total % that the site takes from both the traveler and the property owner.
Merchant sites like Airbnb and Wimdu are becoming increasingly popular with both travelers and property owners over the past few years, mainly because the process is so automated and easy, the property owner does not have to do nearly as much in the rental process. Most of these sites also have mobile applications that makes it even easier for travelers and owners to track what's happenning.
A winning strategy for many property owners is to list their property on as many Merchant sites as they can. Since you only pay a fee if the property is rented, then listing on many sites costs the same as listing on a single site.
Another consideration is that the Merchant give you more flexibility, in that they allow you to rent by the night (or any combination up) and also enable you to rent out just a room in your house/apartment if you so choose.
Whether you choose an ad site or a merchant really comes down to whether you think you can rent your place out fully or not. If your property has a great track record of selling out your available rental nights, and you have the money up front, then an advertising then an ad site like HomeAway or Flipkey may be right for you. If you're not sure as to the demand for your specific property, or are new to the market, or don't have the up front cash, then a Merchant site like Airbnb or Wimdu may be right for you.
Take a $200/night rental that mainly rents during the summer. If you fully rent it out for 12 weeks during the summer you would take in $16,800. If you advertise on three sites like HomeAway, Flipkey, and WeNeedaVacation, you would pay around $870 in annual fees. If you advertised on Airbnb, Roomorama, and Wimdu, you would pay around $500 in fees - and get more service (they handle all the payments, communication, and insurance).
Take a look if the site offers insurance, which is important for a property owner. Many of the merchant sites include insurance in their service at no additional cost.
Some of the things you should think about: What is your budget? Some sites are free and some cost over $350/year. Where is your property? Some services focus on the US, or Europe, or the UK. Do you want to manage your bookings on the service? Do you want phone support? Do you want to offer traveler insurance? Do you want a guarantee? Do you want a smaller site, where your property will stand out? Or a larger site that will attract the most visitors (although Otalo will help do both!)
Sites like HomeAway may be on the higher end at $350/year, but they are the easiest to use and usually deliver better results than other sites. They are the largest site and generate the most traffic. And we happen to have a discount coupon for $25 off! Sign up here with HomeAway for your $25 off coupon (enter code G307)!