With over 6 million active listings across 100,000 cities and towns worldwide, Airbnb is the most popular vacation rental listing site. However, even though Airbnb has dominated the vacation rental listing space for some time, there are many other excellent sites that can help you connect with potential guests and increase your occupancy.
One of the pain points of Airbnb hosts is the fee that diminishes their revenue. If you use several channels that charge commission, that can add up to a noticeable deduction from your earnings. The solution to this issue is simple—get your property listed on free vacation rental listing sites.
In this article, we’ll explore the best alternatives to Airbnb, including sites with no commission as well as those that charge a small fee to maximize your listing’s visibility.
Which is the Best Vacation Rental Site for Hosts?
If you approach this question from a strategic point of view, the answer is that there is no single best vacation rental site because the best practice for hosts dictates that they list properties on multiple channels.
Multi-channel distribution will increase the visibility of your property and open the doors to a diversified pool of guests. By reaching a wider audience, your occupancy will increase as well as your income from the property rental business.
If you’re worried that multi-channel distribution will cause problems like double bookings, you just need to learn how to sync your calendars (we have a handy guide that can help you with that) or use a channel manager (you can check out which ones are the best and most reliable here).
Cost of Listing on Booking Sites
Once you realize that there are vacation rental sites that let you promote your listing free of charge, you might question the purpose of paying platforms. This dilemma brings us back to what we mentioned above and that is increased visibility and a wider pool of guests. While sites with no booking fees can cut down on your costs, you shouldn’t dismiss those that charge a fee because they can lead you to more guests.
Before you decide which sites you want to use for promoting your listing, let’s review Airbnb’s top competitors and their commission rates:
|Vacation Rental Site||Host Fees||Guest Fees|
|Airbnb (over 150 million users)||Most hosts pay a flat fee of 3% of the booking total (nightly price plus any optional fees)||Up to 14% of the booking total (excluding taxes and fees)|
|Vrbo (over 48 million active monthly users)||There is a pay-per-booking fee option and annual fee option. The pay-per-booking fee starts from 8% per reservation. This is a better option for listings with a yearly income under $10,000.The annual fee starts at $499, and there are no additional charges. This is better for year-long rentals.||6-12% of the booking total|
|Booking.com (over 100 million monthly active users)||10-25% (15% is the average) per-booking fee, depending on the location of the property. The total amount of fees is invoiced and paid monthly.||No reservation fees for guests.|
|TripAdvisor (over 490 million monthly active users)||3% per-booking fee||8% to 16% of the booking total|
|Expedia (over 74.8 million monthly visitors)||15-20% per-booking fee depending on the location of the property. The total amount of fees is invoiced and paid monthly.||No reservation fees for guests|
Vacation Rental Sites With No Booking Fees for Hosts
If your commission budget is already stretched thin across various paying vacation rental sites, you can also use the following free vacation rental sites to reach even more guests.
Houfy acts as a middleman between guests and hosts, and it works on a person-to-person paying basis. The platform doesn’t charge any listing, booking, or service fees (and there’s no catch!). In this way, both guests and hosts can save money by connecting with each other directly on Houfy for free.
Once you post your listing, you communicate directly with the travelers through Houfy’s messaging system, email, or phone. To build your credibility, you can use the import tool to import or export your reviews from other sites to/from Houfy.
Houfy is connected with Square and Stripe payment systems, so you can collect payments through them or directly from guests.
Agoda is open to small property owners as well as hotels and property management companies. Its focus is mainly on Asia, so if you want to promote your listing in that part of the world or attract Asian tourists, this can be a useful addition to your multichannel strategy.
You can sign up for free, post your listing for free, and use all the onsite tools—you guessed it—for free. The only charge is a fee that covers the costs of reservation (for example, customer service costs), and the amount of the fee depends on location and property.
Vacation Rental Sites With Only a Listing Fee for Hosts
Some vacation rental sites don’t charge a commission, but instead, you pay an annual or monthly listing fee. If you prefer this type of payment, you can consider the following sites.
The benefit of HomeEscape is that you don’t need to pay booking fees or processing fees, so it is a more affordable option for hosts. Their goal is to ensure that property owners and managers turn a full profit regardless of the number of reservations.
There’s an annual listing fee at the cost of $350. Once you pay that, you can upload an unlimited number of listings, your listings will be prioritized, and you’ll need to pay a 3.5% payment processing fee. HomeEscape also offers a free plan with fewer features: a limited number of reservations (up to 25) and low priority in search results, but there’s no payment processing fee.
Another nifty thing is that HomeEscape guarantees that you’ll get at least 6 inquiries within a year or reservations through their site, and if you don’t, the next year’s membership will be free.
This low-cost vacation rental website can trim your expenses to a minimum and expand your reach to a wider audience.
Tripz.com is commission-free, but there is a monthly listing fee. They have several pricing plans, starting from $4 per month for the Basic plan and increasing to $89 per month if you want to unlock all the features with the Premier plan. The table below offers a quick overview of the difference between the plans.
Airbnb may be the most popular vacation rental website, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is using it. Just imagine the potential of promoting your listing on several vacation rental listing websites. And as long as you’re organized with a channel manager or your own direct booking website, you can sync all the data across different platforms and simplify the booking management process while maximizing your revenue.