Disclaimer*** I own a rental company.
I'm curious when you look into renting a vacation home in a beach or mountain town for whatever reason.
Are you more likely to look at small rental companies in the area or are you more likely to look for a vacation home with one of the big players like HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb?
I have only used Homeway / VRBO as opposed to some local company to find place to rent for a family vacation. It is easy to compare price and features. I am not looking for a bed and breakfast or renting a room at someones house.
After Using Homeaway and Airbnb to advertise my STR, I can tell that bargain shoppers are more on Airbnb so I would probably look their too since prices seem to be cheaper there. I get a much higher price and many more bookings on Homeaway on my STR. This is just my personal experience.
Have you thought about using a smaller rental company for your property? Or are you going to stick to HomeAway?
Airbnb! These companies have a larger audience. I've seen many STR companies in my area evolve into accommodating VRBO and Airbnb. They can do things from setting up a listing on the site, managing guests, key exchange and turnover. If I had a STR manager, I would either use the co-host feature on Airbnb or hire one of the local STR managers that will continue to use Airbnb as their advertising platform. I think this is the way of the future and if STR companies don't change they'll become obsolete.
@Krystle Padilla so do you believe that people are moving away from small-town companies just because of how easy it is to use the big ones?
My guess would be that it is much more advantageous for an owner to use HomeAway/Airbnb simply for the size of the customer base.
I wonder if small time companies will just evolve into management companies that buy up the properties and list them on Airbnb.
Using Homeaway allows me to easily self manage for a much lower costs than a PM.
They have a huge audience and conduct national advertising.
Plus I answer calls or respond to inquires after hours.
Homeaway is keeping my calendar full. I get a few Airbnb bookings per year if I discount my homeaway price.
I also personally have never used Airbnb to rent a place. It still has the stigma of a place to rent a room even though I know they have evolved into more.
@Nick Winikoff yes, this is what I'm seeing. I live in a small tourist town and the ONLY name you'll hear is Airbnb - it's become synonymous to saying "Google" when you mean search engine. You don't Ask Jeeves or use that small start-up search engine that donates 10 cents of every search to saving the dogs when you search you "Google" it. Here, locals and tourists use "Airbnb" to mean short term vacation rentals because they've built a strong brand and if STR companies don't align themselves with these companies they'll just be taken out by someone else closer who will. I can see that happening.
@John Underwood : I'm not sure how common this is in tourist destinations. But I do know that many urban centers are putting restrictions on Airbnb so that owners are not allowed to us the service unless that home is their primary residence. I believe it is in order to prevent a single person from buying up a lot of property for the sole purpose of using them as STRs.
@Krystle Padilla : I agree with you that Airbnb has developed a very strong brand and that they have positioned themselves and probably already are the leaders of vacation accommodations (Hotels included). But I wonder if comparison services similar to Kayak will take off once the market matures a little bit more.
If I was doing a large family vacation I would look into VRBO. If it's just me and the wife I would go Airbnb. Airbnb is cheap and great for couples getaways.
@Myka Artis : So out of curiosity you wouldn't even consider using a local company for wherever you were going?
@Nick Winikoff Not really because I also own a timeshare which gives me huge breaks whenever I want to vacation. Unless the company gave me something that I can't get through Airbnb, VRBO, or my timeshare then I probably wouldn't consider it.
@Myka Artis good to know. Timesharing is an interesting market, I wonder how it will change with this big push to vacation rentals and away from hotels.
Timesharing has actually boomed with the emergence of Airbnb & VRBO. People now post their timeshare units on those sites and get great returns. I have over 150+ units listed on Airbnb and they are always booked.
@Myka Artis That is very interesting. I'm going to have to look into it for sure.
But I do know that many urban centers are putting restrictions on Airbnb so that owners are not allowed to us the service unless that home is their primary residence.
To be clear, I don't believe that urban centers or anyone else are putting restrictions on 'AirBNB'. However, they are adding restrictions around Short Term Rentals (STR) in general. So, it doesn't matter if we list with AirBNB, VRBO, or a small local rental company, we will still be subject to the same restrictions.
Many times these restrictions are to prevent rentals of less than 30, 60, or 90 days. In these cases it's still possible to list a property as a Corporate or Traveling Nurse rental. More lucrative than a traditional rental, but probably not as good as an STR.
I think of Airbnb as more urban and for singles/couples, and VRBO being more appropriate for families or people wanting larger homes.
Personally, I'd stick to the bigger names because I know there is a well thought out system if and when there are issues. There's a record, insurance and a moderating voice that may just not be available with smaller rental companies.
@Nick Winikoff I think you are seeing a huge shift because of VRBO and now Air BnB. Ironically, the guy who started VRBO / HomeAway' business plan to venture capitalists was to buy vacation rental properties all over the world and then list them. He quickly realized it was crazy to buy them when you can just list them on the internet. The reason I'm telling you this is because I just don't see small management companies buying properties and then renting them out. You can just manage the property and put it on the various sites. There is a benefit in that for sure.
I have seen several management companies in my area decide to go this way. AirBNB provides a much better product to the end consumer because of their inherent vested interest. Just my opinion.