A pricing strategy is necessary for hosts who want to maximize their income. Setting up a strategy will ensure that your earnings are above average when there’s high demand. And when there’s a dip in the market, the same tool can help you adjust the price and introduce incentives to increase the occupancy or your rental.
If you’ve heard of Airbnb’s built-in Smart Pricing tool that automatically adjusts the price according to the market’s data and demand, you might wonder whether Vrbo offers similar functionality.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into how Vrbo can help you with your pricing strategy, what pricing tools can help you effectively manage your rates on Vrbo, and what the best option is for improved revenue.
Does Vrbo Have Smart Pricing?
Vrbo doesn’t have a tool that matches the functionalities and features of Airbnb Smart Pricing. In Vrbo, you set a base rate, and if you want to change the rates for certain days or time periods, you need to do it manually in Rate Settings.
However, Vrbo doesn’t leave their hosts completely stranded when it comes to pricing strategy as they offer a comparison tool free of charge—MarketMaker. While this tool isn’t the same as Airbnb Smart Pricing, it does offer some valuable insights that can help make informed pricing decisions.
How Does Vrbo Smart Pricing / MarketMaker Work?
MarketMaker collects and analyzes relevant real-time market data from your and your competitors’ Property Management Systems to provide you with valuable insights. Based on the reports you receive, you can set competitive rates that can increase your bookings, earn more during holidays, festivals, and similar events, and overall, build your revenue.
Here’s what MarketMaker takes into consideration to deliver relevant pricing information to Vrbo hosts:
- The average rate of similar types of properties
- Travelers’ searches for the current year and last year
- Real-time supply and demand
- Competitive rates for both booked and unbooked vacation rentals
- Forecasted occupancy levels
- Local events that affect rental bookings in that area
- Booking lead times
- Historical listing performance
MarketMaker will display the average rates for your competitive sets (data about similar rentals) which can help you determine the right pricing. You’ll get notified when an opportunity arises so you can secure last-minute bookings or charge a higher rate during a high-demand season.
You’ll also get a calendar of local events and holidays in your area that might affect the demand for your property so you can adjust the price in advance.
Should I Use Vrbo MarketMaker?
Vrbo’s MarketMaker has both its strong and weak points, so it’s best to study the comparison before concluding whether this tool is right for you.
- Insights from the current and previous year that help you get a complete picture of pricing strategy
- Real-time market data about demand and occupancy that help you increase the rate at the right time and earn more
- Notifications that inform you when the best time is to increase the rate
- Information on competitors that can guide your pricing strategy and beat the competition
- Information on consumer demand behavior and supply data for the best industry insights
- Access to current and forecasted occupancy and information on travelers’ searches
- You need to manually update the pricing of your listing
- Can be time-consuming to analyze data and make all the changes manually
- You need to review the data, adjust the rates in your calendar, and then change them if the market demand shifts
- Can be overwhelming to process and apply all the data for hosts who manage multiple properties
MarketMaker will give you a holistic picture of the situation on the market, and the tool will guide you toward your goal of increasing revenue with timely alerts. However, to reap all the benefits of this plethora of information, you need something that not all hosts have—time.
Forming your pricing strategy based on these reports can be tiring and time-consuming, and that’s why paid pricing tools are better for some hosts.
Alternatives to Vrbo Smart Pricing
Paid pricing tools can automate your pricing on Vrbo (and on other vacation rental websites) without you having to lift a finger. They not only optimize your rates to increase your revenue and bookings, but they also automatically adjust the rates.
You can learn all about how paid pricing tools work and which ones are the best in our in-depth article. Here’s a quick overview of our favorites:
Wheelhouse – This is our top pick for the best pricing tool overall. According to Wheelhouse, they can increase your revenue by 10-40%. The most notable features are over 10 pricing adjustments, flexible pricing plan options (1% per booking or $19.99 per listing per month), and excellent customer support. For more information about this tool, check out our detailed Wheelhouse review.
Beyond – This tool works best for multi-channel optimization. It works great with a Property Management System (PMS), provides you with smart industry insights, and only charges 1% on all bookings. If you’re curious about the difference between Wheelhouse and Beyond, head to our side-by-side comparison of these two tools.
PriceLabs – If you manage several properties, this might be the best pricing tool for you. Paying a fee per listing or booking for pricing tools can be costly for property managers, but with PriceLab you only have to pay a monthly rate. This tool integrates with over 50 Property Management Systems. Find out more about what PriceLabs offers in our PriceLabs vs Beyond comparison.
How to Turn Vrbo Smart Pricing On and Off
Since MarketMaker doesn’t automatically alter your pricing but simply provides insights, it isn’t an intrusive tool you need to switch on and off.
To access MarketMaker’s insights, follow these steps:
- In your Vrbo account, select the listing you want to view
- In the left menu section, click on MarketMaker (between Calendar and Reservation Manager)
- Choose the time period for which you want insights
If your goal is vacation rental success and reaching the full potential of your listing earnings, you have to stay on top of your rates. With Vrbo’s MarketMaker, you can eliminate manual market research and access valuable data for free that can help you beat the competition and maximize your earnings. This can work well if you have one rental and the time to keep up with the changes and adjust the rate. However, if you manage several properties or you want to automate the pricing to focus on promoting your Airbnb, it’s recommendable that you go with paid pricing tools.